Thank you for teaching me how not to be –Austin

During my time in the Army I gained a lot of qualities and characteristics. Most of which made me into a very different person. I was in many ways still the same person when I left the military, but at the same time I was changed. Two of the biggest traits that I left with going back into the civilian environment were how much less I care about what people think and how much more I dislike most people. Most of this I believe comes from the fact that during my time I was an infantryman. This alone to most people can validate why I feel the way I feel based on the image that is usually portrayed when talking about grunts. We spend a lot of time living in less than desirable conditions. We take the worst route to our objective, sleep in the worst conditions, and go without the luxuries that everyone else takes for granted.

Now that I’m out of the military, and even before when looking at social media, all I see are people complaining about the little things. People talk about all the things they don’t have or what they didn’t get. I go out in public and every time I am disgusted with people. People today are the most disrespectful, ungrateful, and lazy people I’ve ever seen in my short twenty-one years of life. Not to say there aren’t people within the military that are disrespectful and rude. There are people everywhere that carry these traits with them. It comes down to things even as small as giving someone a “thank you” for holding the door for them. I have voiced this to some saying “you’re welcome” to people who fail to just be appreciative for someone holding the door for them. This fuels my increasing hate for people. That directly ties into why I don’t care what people think of me. We have people on campus that don’t have the basic knowledge of how to make boxed macaroni and cheese. It is so pathetic to see adults that have been babied so much in their lives that they would not survive on their own.

As a grunt I had to fend for myself in many instances. I would give up my own food and go hungry so that my soldiers would be able to eat. I would pull extra guard shifts so that my soldiers could get some sleep. People in the civilian world don’t understand any of this. These traits will stick with me forever. Until a person proves to me that they are worth anyone’s time, I will not care what they have to say. Many people trust a person until they have a reason not to. Well in my case I don’t like a person until they prove I should. To me this will keep me skeptical of people and keep my eyes open.

Another problem I see in today’s society is parenting. Now this can be touchy for some people, especially coming from someone that doesn’t have kids. I even come to the point of being annoyed by my own parents. If I compare the parenting I received as a kid against the parenting they are giving my younger brother, who is 10 years younger, it is ridiculous how much I see parents let their kids walk all over them. The lack of parenting today is breeding a generation of unsuccessful human beings.

Before the Army I was taught how to do simple things as far as cooking. I was also taught how to do my own laundry by the time I was twelve. I walked two miles to school and about a mile to work every day. Although as a kid I was very shy and kept to myself. I was very nervous about what people would think if I did certain things. When I joined the Army I learned very quickly that you have your brothers to your sides and that was it. You were going to do things that everyone else would be considered “different” to say the least. At times though you don’t have anything else to do. In those times such as deployment you need to make your own fun. You lose interest and what everyone else thinks of you.

In my mind this is a great trait to live with. There will always be people in the world that don’t like what you think or what you do. So why should I care what they think? I have now from the military in some way enjoy watching people get mad. It does not affect my life in any way that someone doesn’t like me. I have lived just fine without so many people. If this one person decides they don’t like me, that in no way hurts my feelings.

I hope that someday maybe by me voicing my opinion and maybe being a little hurtful, because I don’t care what they think, that person will better themselves in some way. Maybe that person will be a better parent, exercise more, be more respectful to their loved ones. Anything like this would make me happy. Not everyone will say things in a manner that will be pleasant. Some of my soldiers needed me to be very hard on them, but that made them better soldiers and in turn better people.

With my time I have learned so many useful things. I have gained so many traits. I would like to think of myself as a overall kind and generous person. With that,don’t take kindness to mean something else. Switching to be a peer with people that don’t know what they are doing in life, or more simply how to live their life, is very difficult for me. I may not like a lot of people or care what they think of me or what I do. I do know that these people in today’s world that I have spoken in disgust of will benefit me in my life. They will benefit me in the way that I know exactly what I don’t want to be. I know exactly how my kids will not act when I have them. So to these people even though they might not say it when needed, but I will say it now. Thank you. Thank you for teaching me what not to be. I will continue to grow from these lessons and push to be the best that I can be.

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