I’ve been thinking about the future a lot. Well, that’s not really surprising. I think about the future all the time, I always have. When I was a kid I would write everything down in these little notebooks I called “Future Books” and they were full of little drawing and ideas of what I wanted to do when I was a grown up. They really started to develop when I turned 11 or 12 (when I stopped wanting to be a medical doctor and started writing more).
For a long time I thought I was going to be with my ex and we were going to be together forever doing…something. The whole of our future never came together for me. I knew what I wanted: be a published author and help as many people as possible. When I put my ex in the mix, things got cloudy because you have to consider the feelings and aspirations of that other person. So much of my life is based on a loftier goal and his was more practical, more monetarily driven. In hindsight, our aspirations were never on the same plane. Not that my goals were better or worse than he is, they were just different.
Do I want to make money? Of course. I want to maintain a certain lifestyle that allows me to travel and meet new people. But I also want to be brave and do things that are beneficial to others. My ex never seemed to want to do any of that. That’s okay because everyone has their path.
Me? I’ve never desired to do something that benefits me. There’s something inside of me that pushes me towards a desire to help people. So, against all odds and original, I started to think about military service. It’s not outside the realm of possibility, it never has been. I was raised in a military house. My dad and both of my brothers are Marines. Our family believes in loyalty and honor. These are tenants I’ve carried with my whole life.
My father always said that joining the military gives you purpose because you become a part of something bigger. As human beings we search for purpose our whole lives. I like the idea of having the chance to achieve at least a little purpose because it would mean that there’s a place for me in this world. And yet, I don’t like the idea of being a part of a community that perpetrates war and violence abroad.
Then again, the U.S. military is responsible for a lot of humanitarian efforts, too. Their main job is to maintain American safety and to keep their brothers and sisters safe. How can I want to join something like that when I believe in a pipe dream like unifying the world by achieving some sort of lasting peace?
It’s challenging to be a human being sometimes because we’re walking dichotomies. We want all of these conflicting things for ourselves in order to achieve happiness for ourselves. In obtaining that goal, our dreams have to change while still maintaining their ribbon of “trueness” in order to give us what we want.
My list of desires have changed over the years, but the desire to make a difference is still there. I wonder how I’ll work out my own dichotomy. I guess I can only take it one day at a time. What more can any of us do?