Plea for a Second Chance at Life

Ok then.

I was in somewhat of a similar situation. I've always been an introvert, and unfortunately a romantic. It makes for a completely horrific combination. As a kid I romanticized the idea of love, and also being in the military. Prepare to cringe very hard. I saw the two as completely different paths, however, since the military life is not a good place for a family. Being the naive kid, my timeline was that if I hadn't met my true love by the time I graduate highschool, then I'd join the military and embrace that life, which would most likely culminate in some grand act where I gave my life to save others. As many young people do, I couldn't imagine living alone past the age of 30.

So what did I do to attain my goal of finding love before the end of high school? I sat in my room and played video games. This was before the days of online gaming (for the most part). I bemoaned my life, hating the fact that the perfect girl did not just appear in my life and let me sweep her off her feet. The few girls that I did ask out, unsurprisingly didn't swoon at my awkward social skills. I blamed fate on my situation. As graduation loomed, I set my eyes on the other path.

I graduated and joined the Army. At first things were good, I got an MOS (military occupational specialty) that sounded completely badass and would most likely impress people. It sounded like it would be awesome. It wasn't. It was boring, and it prevented me from doing anything that really mattered. My chances of being a hero in that position were terrible, as I'd most likely always just be armed with a pencil, pen, or computer. The Army offers a lot of paths to improving yourself, giving you opportunities to attend professionalization classes in leadership, combat life saving, and volunteer for airborne training. I did none of these things, I simply occupied the barracks, and kept to myself, playing video games. It was about this time that online computer gaming really started to pick up, and I found myself hooked on MMO's (Ultima Online started it in 2000). My life was so completely depressing, and it was because I chose for it to be that way, blaming it on fate for not giving me a better life.

In 2001, things changed a bit. I was sent to Bosnia, and was there during the September 11th attacks. Following that, I was deployed to a few locations, including Iraq, and I proceeded to sweat profusely for my country. When I returned to the states, my initial contract ended, and I decided to go to college.

I stopped by the local college one day (Indiana University - Bloomington), to see what I needed to do in order to attend. They looked at my high school transcripts (from 5 years before), pulled my military training records, and signed me up immediately to start within the next month. I was on the top of the world. They told me that they were making me a junior, and crediting me with 63 credit hours from various things I did in the military. I was so excited. I thought I'd been given a second chance. I'd do the college things that I'd missed out on, and that all my old friends has been doing. I also assumed I'd be the cool guy with war stories impressing the younger college crowd.

Nope. I moved into the Junior/Senior dorms, because I thought that would give me the best opportunity to meet new people. Nope, they didn't associate with neighbors like the freshman dorms, they just did their work and met up with friends from previous years. I was the stranger that everyone was too apathetic to meet. After feeling so cocky going into this situation, I found myself in a downward spiral of depression, falling back into old patterns of online gaming. Between my first and second semesters, the Veterans Administration rep on campus retired, and the forms that she was supposed to be handling were instead taken in by someone else. For some reason, that person was forwarding them on to the retired lady, and they were getting discarded. By midway through the second semester, I still had not received my tuition coverage, or the money the VA is supposed to pay those veterans attending college for their allowance. Because of this, I couldn't pay rent, couldn't afford gas to drive to school (I given up on dorms and moved out of town), and some I just had to drop out.

I found myself at the age of 24 living with my brother, jobless, and hating life. Multiple times a day, I prayed for death. I wasn't suicidal, as that was detestable to me, but I just wished I would die somehow. This lasted about 6 months before I just decided to join the National Guard and try to do SOMETHING. It seemed to be a pay check, even if it was a small one for a single weekend.

Luckily for me, the job I signed up for in the guard required me to attend training for 6 months, so that was a decent paycheck for 6 months straight of class time. That training got me out of the state, into a new environment where i made some new friends, and I returned home with a new outlook.

I still wasn't being super social, but I also wasn't hating life as much. Believe it or not, the biggest change of my life ended up because of I'd made an account there in 2005 because of my friends doing the same. I spent some time making my own page, and included some pics of me from my army days. Bot spam was terrible there, and one day I received a comment on my page from a stranger that I assumed was a porn bot. It was a fairly vague comment, something along the lines of "I really like your page, I'd like to talk if you have time", or something like that. I'd seen such things previously, where bots would send you similar messages, and then when you replied they'd send you a link to go visit their porn page. The girl in the pictures was pretty, and seemed real. The interactions on her facebook page seemed to be real people, so I replied with a pretty basic response expecting her to respond with a porn link.

And that's how I met my wife. I thought she was a porn bot. I told her as much afterwards. We have a kid on the way. I'm currently 35, and happy. I've got a good job, and despite how terribly things have looked in the past, if you can weather those things, you will ALWAYS have more opportunities. The only time you run out of opportunities is when you just choose to give up. You have plenty of time ahead of you. College is not everything, and the crowd I encountered in college was pretty shallow, and the few people I did meet and "befriend" I have not kept in touch with.

TL:DR: Just keep your chin up. Eventually you might marry a porn bot.

/r/CasualConversation Thread