What If I Join the Military and Regret It?

Ms. Vicki
Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I'm 21 years old. I have wanted to be in the military for a long time now. I never went through with it because I didn't have a green card or American citizenship. Now there is this program in the Army I can join.

I'm not planning to join only because I would gain citizenship. I really wanted to join because of the stability and the experience. I would like to be a pediatric nurse and also a nurse in the military.

I was happy about the new program, but now I've learned that I have to be in the active duty and not in the Army Reserve like I wanted.

I don't know what to do. I live with my boyfriend, and he's the most amazing person. But now I don't know if I want to go because I'm scared of leaving my loved ones behind. I would like a future with my boyfriend, but if I move away, this relationship may not last.

I know I need to do what's best for me, but how do I know? What if it doesn't work out the way I want it to and I regret it later? But what if I don't do anything and also regret it? 

Sincerely, Christina

Dear Christina,

It seems that you know some of the positive aspects of being active duty. You would have your citizenship. You would have the stability of a paycheck and benefits.  You would gain a wealth of experience.

There will be some challenges too. For example, you will spend time away from your family and close friends. This includes boyfriends, husbands, children, partners, parents, siblings and close friends.

Christina, you must understand that when you join the military, you are choosing a career. If you join the military, your career will often take precedence over everything else in your life.

You wrote to me because you wanted my advice to help you make this decision, so I have to tell you the truth. I think you have thought about joining the Army, but I don't think it's a good idea right now.

You see, if you wanted to join the Army, you would join and ask for the support of your family and your boyfriend to help you with this endeavor. Of course, you will have your family's love and support, but you may not have the support of your boyfriend. Yes, you might regret that.

Then again, you could forsake this opportunity and pursue your career in nursing as a civilian for the sake of your boyfriend. You could break up with him down the road anyway and regret that you didn't join the Army. There are no guarantees.

Either way, life will have bumps and struggles, successes and regrets. Somehow, with good coping skills, we learn to adapt to our struggles.

I say wait on joining because I just don't think you have the conviction that you need that this is the right decision for you. Let me know what you decide and thank you for writing to me.

Sincerely, Ms. Vicki

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