Say your in the Guard or Reserves and have to go once a month for training. You hate that you have to get up early to drive to your unit to play soldier and dress up funny. When you arrive your mindset changes and you switch into soldier mode and you get hyped up and there's a light in your eyes saying you're glad you dragged yourself there. At the end of the day, you're drained from work or the lack of work and bull shitting with your friends who you trust for no other reason than to protect you. You leave, shower, and lay down at night and can't wait for the morning to come. At the end of the second day you say your goodbyes and say you can't wait for next month but in reality you know what will happen. Its a repeating occurrence that doesn't seem to go away. The only thing to keep you in the military is those good times you've had, the ones you want to experience, and the thought of "without the military where would I be?".
At least thats how it seems to go for me. I have a love/hate relationship with the National Guard. The one thing I want to do is serve along side my comrades in battle, to put my faith in them to keep me safe and them to do the same for me. When you get injured before even setting foot in the desert its a sad and maddening feeling. I have to go through so many processes to get my commanders to sign off on me going to the big sand box across the atlantic. I will go. Promise. When I go home, however, it seems to change. I enjoy the civilian life and freedom and dread the authority issues I'll have once I return to duty. About a week before drill it changes yet again. I speak to my friends who will be there and make plans for the weekend and talk generally about if we're ready for drill. I start getting excited, the uniform changes you some how.
I can remember when I returned home from basic training. I thought I hadn't changed, I was the same old me. Little did I know that I had changed and my friends seemed different to me. They were immature and didn't seem to realize that life was around the corner and the horrors that could be seen. It amazed me at how trivial things seemed to me now that were once so important. I ended up hating civilians for their lack of understanding. The only conversations I seemed comfortable talking were related to military or war. If I met another person in the military I lit up like the sun and beamed at the ease of the conversation that seemed to flow between us but when it was over it was like the sun was doused by a huge wave leaving me bare and vulnerable to the world around me. Strange, yes.
Now, three years and 3 months after enlisting, things seem different. I realize that without the military I'd have huge amounts of student loans verse little amounts. I am proud to serve my country even though I don't always agree with what our leaders put us through. They mean well even if its retarded and we can see that its retarded.