I supposed that I am an adult now, not a young adult anymore. Earlier this year, I turned 30 which was somewhat of a shock. I didn’t expect it to come so quickly. Just thinking about it, my adult life is nothing like I imagined when I was a kid. I thought that after I graduated from high school, I will go directly to a four-year university. Probably one of the UC schools like UCLA or UC Irvine. Graduate from university in four to five years and have a career. Eventually, I’ll find a partner to marry and settle down. I even thought that most grownups are smart and know what they are doing.
I was wrong. I looked back and wish that I could stay as a kid longer. As a kid, I couldn’t wait to grow up and do my own things. Little did I know that doing my own things come with responsibility. The reality of adult life is that I want to go back and be a kid again. Responsibilities like paying for the bills and mortgage, taking the car for maintenance or repairs, or figuring out what to cook are not that fun. That’s real life.
My ten-year old self would not have imagined what happened to me after high school. I must be having some kind of a life crisis during my senior year in high school, but I enlisted in the military. The Army Reserve for 8 years. My parents had to signed a waiver because I was still under 18 and they didn’t stop me at all. They thought it would be a good experience. I don’t regret that decision, but I am surprised that I did it. The high school I went to was intensely focused on academics and it didn’t really help that 80% of the students were Asians. Getting accepted at a good university was a given. I suppose when I signed up for the Army Reserve, I rejected that assumption that it is a must to study at a good four-year university right after high school. I wanted to do something different. Since it was the Reserve, I can still go to college and further my education.
Joining the military changed my perceptions on adults fast. By the time I was 20, I figured out that majority of adults have no clue what they are doing. The Army does that to young people, it forced them to grow up fast and realized that adults are not always the smartest people. When I was 21, I received orders for deployment to Iraq. Spent my 22nd birthday out in the desert in New Mexico/Texas while training for the upcoming deployment. I was considered old when I turned 23 in Mosul, Iraq since most of the people in my platoon were under 21. We were the baby platoon because we had so many young people. Yes, there was the oldie platoon, they had a lot people over 30. I sometimes recalled my year-long deployment as my “college wild days” because it felt like that sometimes. Alcohol was not allowed, but there is always someone who have connections and there are always a bottle of hard liquor somewhere on base. It got crazy. People do things during deployment that they normally never do back at home.
After the deployment, I did my Reserve duty (weekend warrior), went to community college, and work full-time. What I imagined as a kid did not happen that way. Instead of a four-year university, it was seven years of going to community college part-time and then finally transferring to a university (Cal State Fullerton – go Titans!). I haven’t start on a career yet since I am still at the university. All I have is a full-time job which pays my mortgage and bills. I don’t have a partner unless my grumpy old dog counts as one. Right now, I want to stay single. I was in a relationship for three years which fizzled out earlier this year. Don’t think that I am a marrying type. I keep hearing from married women to stay single. So, my adult life is not exactly what I envisioned as a kid. I like how it turned out so far. But I still want to be a kid again.