Didn’t expect to spend my 19th birthday being taupoked by eight guys (some possibly homosexual… or are they? =.=) and having powder poured relentlessly over my face, but ah well that’s army I guess. I must really be growing older now because this birthday was the least eventful or anticipated. Is the army’s policy of self-denial finally working??
Well it has to be in some measure because my 19th year has been strikingly different from the first 18, despite some resistance from myself. Army has changed me (or at least my perspectives insofar as they were impacted by my NSF experiences), made me more mature but also jaded, serious but also silly (the whole course is infected with 9gag now; we draw memes on whiteboards and birthday cards and no conversation is cool or complete without smartly referencing at least one good meme. I don’t know if it’s a step up or down from our everyday conversation), retarded but boring. I’m still a contradiction and a wreck but by different parameters and measures at least.
The people are great so far but then it’s admittedly still pretty much the same crowd. People from top JCs with more As than can be counted on one hand, with the occasional high-flying poly student. It’s not all high scorers and driven, focused people there but it wasn’t the proverbial hodgepodge people’d have you expect out of NS.
Anyway, I’m commissioning in seven weeks time and while that statistic sounded nice, I’m starting to feel a little apprehensive. Stories of life in unit aren’t very bright, even for “officers” who apparently get the best life (as I secretly think we should, after eleven months of doghood). A second lieutenant isn’t much in a unit after all, where there’re so many higher ranking people or more experienced people only too eager to put you in your place. And I still don’t conclusively know what I want to do after I commission (as if I had a choice) – a staff officer does admin saikang and (quite likely) gets to book out every single day at 5:30pm; sounds like the perfect job for me, right?
But somehow commanding a platoon of men appeals to me. To lead men and feel directly responsible for their lives; to know how it feels like to nurture people and watch them grow out of the mold you set for them (isn’t the ideal leader necessarily self-effacing?) I’m by no means a great leader and the military context doesn’t enthuse me further but I don’t think I’ll ever get the chance to feel so responsible for so many people at so young an age, and I think I’d regret it quite badly if I went through nine months of shit to do paperwork…
And that’s really been the crux of my life the whole year. There’ve been brief spates of civilianness, like the post-As life and applying for unis and getting back A level results – but until next Dec that’ll have to be the exception rather than the rule. I’ve become a very silly person obsessed with memes (because caricatures scare me less than real people) and am not very witty any more, at least not in writing. I’ve learnt to cope with the transience of friendship, and some travails of LDR. Still quite miserable and boring but just give me some time and I promise I’ll stop being so weepily introspective!