The Wrong direction

January 21, 2010
It’s been 12 years since I made that right at the first intersection since High School. To this day I still ask myself why, why did I make that right turn? Maybe things would’ve been different if I had just stopped to think about what my future would be like. Listening to my loved ones would’ve made much more sense knowing what my future holds. Yet again I found myself at another intersection only 5 years later. Didn’t I learn my lesson the first time? The stupidity in my mind kept on telling me, “Well Timmy-boy, here’s the second right.” I just figured that if I hit one more intersection, I’d make another right. I never thought it would take another seven years to get to the next intersection, to finally get back on track. Shouldn’t I have learned something from it all? If I had, would I have made that deal with the man in the dark uniform? I can remember everyone shouting, “You’re going the wrong way!” How was I supposed to know? After all, I was seventeen and just graduated from High School.
It was August of 1997 when I arrived at the University. My Mom was crying while my stepfather being the strong one smiled at me. They walked away leaving their child to live on his own. I was starting fresh. I knew I had wanted it, the freedom and the legendary partying that college would bring. Well that’s when I made my first right turn. I knew I needed an education; I just wasn’t mature enough to juggle my future yet. That was my first mistake. So there I was making that right turn. As soon as I made that right I noticed something strange, I was looking at steps. As I looked up those steps I saw weird letters entering a faded yellow house with purple shutters. The house looked to be in poor condition, but the sounds coming from inside that yellow house was tuning out every thought from my mind. I found myself at a Fraternity party, and just as soon as I entered those steps college had flown right by me. Three years had just been sucked away from my life. What did I have to show for it? All I seemed to have taken from that whole experience is 29 stinking credits, withdrawals from all morning classes, girlfriends I can’t remember and a bunch of friends. I woke up to a phone call one morning; it was my mom calling me. At that point it was too late. Mom had called to tell me college was over if it was her money paying, so I packed my things and drove up to New Jersey in a rusted out U-Haul truck.
I spent the next two years in New Jersey, and I was going nowhere fast. I was on my way to work in May of 2002 when I found that next intersection. I saw a man in a dark uniform who had promised me a job, fortune, education and money. All I had to do was sign my life away. When I told my family about it they all warned me with, “No, Don’t do it!” As much as they begged me not to give in, it was too late as I had already made my decision. I had turned right for the second time. Curiosity soon turned into fear as I was shipped out to Fort Jackson with my head shaved, stuck with over 15 needles and pushing through Boot Camp covered in mud and a Drill Sergeant constantly screaming in my face. I didn’t even have time to think what I had gotten myself into. It all happened so fast. Then somehow as if to throw salt on my wounds, the news was slowly making its way from all of the other Soldiers in the streets to the privates I was surrounded by. Saddam’s got weapons of mass destruction, and I’m stuck in the worst place possible.
The Army is the sword of our great nation, and I’m sitting at the tip of it. The next 8 weeks until I graduated from boot camp and Advanced Individual Training got twice as long and twice as worse with that news. Everyone had to push through boot camp with that on their minds. Well through turmoil and stress, I finally graduated after seventeen weeks from when I first arrived at Fort Jackson. I was finally on my way home for a nice long break. I hadn’t even spent 2 weeks at home before my unit got called up. We were leaving for Iraq in 1 week. The next 7 years of my life were going to be long and grueling, as I was a Soldier first and a citizen second. I spent three quarters of a decade making the best of things. Instead of just following orders, I was proactive. I listened and learned from my great leaders, and ignored the bad ones. I had made my way through the ranks and promotions faster than anyone around me. To the surprise of everyone I encounter even to this day, they can’t believe that I’ve achieved the rank of Sergeant First Class in only six years. It takes most people at least thirteen years. What else could I say; I had finally found my maturity. It was time to get my life back on track, and an education was looking like gold to me.
Here I sit writing up a personal essay that you’re in fact reading right now. You’ve run through a fast version of the last 12 years of my life and met up with me at the right moment. The reason why I’m allowing you into my thoughts is because I can see it now, the third intersection. I finally made the decision to stick with my gut feeling. It is the decision I’ve thought about for the last 12 years; the future I owe myself and the one my family wants for me. I’m making another right turn. Before you ask yourself “Why, why go through it all again? Didn’t you learn the first two times?” Before I answer that question, let me just pass on this message. If I had to do it all over again I would. The experiences, friends and learning to be a leader that I’ve taken from it all, forced me to become the man I am today. Maybe that’s the only thing that would have woken me up from immaturity. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been rough but it’s been fun. So now I get to finally answer your question about all of the right turns. My answer to you is this, “While two wrongs don’t make a right, three right’s make a left.”

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blureeyez said...
Feb. 16, 2010 at 12:50 pm
I guess it must have been too much work for them to seperate the entire thing back into their paragraphs.
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