I think it’s in those moments – the ones that make us feel alive. When you’re walking along the beach, taking everything in, being so in awe of the beauty that surrounds you. Or those late nights out with your friends. The windows are rolled down with the wind blowing through your hair. You’re blasting a song that everyone in the car is screaming the words to. And suddenly, you realize you are alive. You are alive and things are okay, even for just a little bit of time. I think it’s those moments that I have begged for most.
I left home at 18. Life had been unkind to me, forcing me to grow up far sooner than one should. I lost my entire family, besides my mom. My mom got sick when I was 7, and I had to step up and be her sole caregiver from that day on. Despite the hurt, the challenges, and the uncertainty of everything, I never let anyone have the final say in my dream. I learned that every time you are told ‘no,’ you’re just one step closer to finally achieving your goal. So, I finally became a United States Sailor.
I’ve been in the Navy for four months. I’ve broken my own personal limits, giving me new confidence. I’ve lost weight. I’ve gained purpose. I’ve had a lot of boring days, and unfair circumstances. But I’ve also had some of the most rewarding days of my life. More than anything, I’ve made friends who have become my family. I’m a firm believer that human connection is the only thing that makes life worth anything. We laugh together, cry together, go on adventures together, and share together. People I would die for, and I know would die for me. It’s kind of a silent agreement we have. I’d do anything for them.
I remember meeting Garland the first night of boot camp. We joked about being identical twins, despite looking completely different from each other. I was her wingman, and she was mine. We were kickin’ it since P Days, and four months later I hugged her goodbye as she travelled to Japan.
I remember smirking at Phillips during inspections at boot camp as we tried not to laugh. We hugged as soon as we got Liberty Call on graduation day. A month later, I hugged her goodbye as she travelled to her duty station.
I remember meeting Williams for the first time, she helped me take my bags to my room in A School. Little did I know, we’d hang out basically every day after that. Movie and Game Nights with Johnson, talking about Airframer things, and late night talks in the smoke pit. Two months later, I hugged her goodbye, too.
I remember hanging out with Marin and Grant for the first time at A School. Marin was in my division and Grant was in my brother div. We’d hang out everyday; going out to eat, going to the beach, playing tattoo roulette together, and sneaking into each other’s rooms at night to watch chick flicks. And soon, I’ll have to hug them goodbye. It hurt with the others. But it will really hurt with them.
Somehow, I’ve gotten the privilege to meet and get to do life with so many amazing people. From those I spend every second with, to people I interact with in passing. The little inside jokes, the bullshitting, the facial expressions. I’m gonna miss that too.
I don’t know how I got so lucky to live my dream and to gain such a massive family. Maybe these last moments won’t be a goodbye, but a ‘see you later.’ For if fate permits, I’ll see you again.