|Expert rider but no expert on child safety|
I never charged into battle or exhibited amazing acts of bravery or even earned a medal that would be considered distinguished for someone of my rank. Sure, I deployed overseas twice (to an actual war zone and not someplace like Kuwait) but I spent most of my time inside the wire, on base. I suppose what I'm trying to say is that, despite being in the Army for six years, I didn't exactly participate in the most intense aspects of war and military service. In the face of all that I still managed to complete my years of service a braver person than when I first enlisted.
I will be the first to admit that "brave" is not a word one would use to describe me, nor are "sociable" "friendly" or "fearless leader". You have to look at where I've come from first of all. For those of you who know me now you may find it hard to believe that I was once more reticent than I am now. I had the annoying habit of letting people run all over me and of avoiding any difficulties that presented themselves instead of dealing with the issue. Unless I was in completely familiar surroundings I was in a constant state of fear; fear that something would happen and I wouldn't know how to handle it or what to say. Well, the Army cured me of all that.
I can't tell you when I changed but it most likely happened gradually. All I know is that I somehow became a person that, instead of being told what to do by everyone, avoided listening to anyone simply because they decided to tell me what to do (and in this regard became a lot more noticeable as a member of my own family). Aside from this stubbornness I also developed a sort of fearless abandon. Okay, maybe that's too strong a word but I do feel as if I'm a little bit braver and eager to prove myself. I'm considering jobs now that I would never have considered before because I would have felt that it was too difficult for me.
I guess the biggest source of this new found bravery is the increased knowledge of my capabilities and my faults. I have a much better picture now of who I am and what my skills and abilities are. I also realize that my personality and personal preferences aren't likely to change much over time and that I need to follow a path that compliments my personality instead of one that struggles against it. No matter how much I might want to be a people person, I never will be. While it's true that working on my social skills will improve that skill, it will never increase it to the point that it comes natural to me.
Now the older, wiser version of myself is able to charge ahead with a much better idea of who I am and who I want to become. I hope to approach things with a balance of ambition and realism from now on as the younger me probably wouldn't even know how to distinguish between the two. Many adults still don't. Then again, I still have a lot to learn. I'm eager to see what lessons I'll learn as I get older. I just have to remember to keep my mind open to the knowledge.