Regrets, I have a few … oh yes – did I ever mention how much I love music and lyrics? Sometimes I hear a song and all these thoughts fill my head, so I have to write them down … well, that’s another story. As for one of my regrets … yesterday being Veterans’ Day reminded me about it … oh to have the wisdom of “50 something” when we are but only 19.
I did something a little unorthodox for a female in the mid-70s after my high school graduation – joined the military. I came from a very simple life in a small town where finances were limited and probably less than half of the girls attended college. I was a good student, however, and should have found a way to attend right then. Joining the military appealed to me. If I joined the military, I could use the GI Bill to receive my education – just a couple years later. I scored really high on the military entrance exam and was allowed to be trained and to go into any field I desired except that of an auto mechanic. 🙂 I chose finance and accounting. After basic training and my extended training in finance, I was assigned to a regular job where I worked and interacted with civil service employees even though I was in the military. I enjoyed military life and my work and began even then to further my education by enrolling in night courses. During my second year, I was ordered to attend a meeting one seemingly ordinary fall morning. I entered the room and discovered that I was the only invitee to meet with a major from West Point Military Academy. He had my personnel folder in front of him and began asking me various questions. About a half hour into the session, I realized I was being interviewed to be a cadet in the first graduating class at West Point to include females. At the end of the session, I was told that I was accepted and had two weeks to decide. In retrospect, I did not have the maturity to make this important decision. It should have been a “no brainer.” But at 19, the eight-year commitment seemed overwhelming. I elected not to accept the appointment. Quite frankly, I didn’t realize the opportunity that I was letting slip away until years later. This was one of those opportunities that would not come again – yes, a regret.
Pondering life-changing decisions like this is why I selected a proverb as my epigraph in Reflections. I had set my course with this decision. It was not a bad course. Ten years later, I was blessed with a healthy baby boy; within five years, was blessed with another two; and had already experienced success in the corporate business world. But perhaps I could have had both. After all, it was ten years later, and the commitment was for only eight years. Who knows, I might have retired a general by now, worked in the Pentagon or White House – you see, we don’t know. But this one thing I do know, I set my course; and a higher power was still at work throughout my lifetime as I took each step.
I am proud to say I am a veteran of the United States Army.
And as I ponder the regret of not fulfilling my potential in this area, I still have an appreciation for life’s blessings. So today, 30+ years later, I can set my course again and watch my steps unfold as I acknowledge this higher power. It’s a new day.
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)
Sister Vickie says
Thanks for your service. You would have been a GREAT General or even US President 🙂
Debra Irene says
President? Pretty sure I’m not qualified; but I do believe I would have been a decent General. Instead, I’ll keep marching down the path I’m on right now – for now. Glad you’re a part of that.
Cathy Elliott says
As usual, wonderful blog Debbie. I already knew parts of this story but not the whole thing. I loved the scripture you provided and will add it to my collection – so maybe at some point I can start truly listenting to God instead of trying to control what is going on in my life. (I can see you as a General).
Love ya, Cathy
Debra Irene says
Cathy – it is a new day, one day at a time. I have to remind myself of that each day. I enjoy telling my stories as they come to mind. Thank you for reading!
I think it was probably a blessing NOT to be in that first class. You were protected from the hazing and craziness that happened to those first women. Rejoice that you life was/is good and that you were protected!
Debra Irene says
Thank you for that perspective Vickie – appreciate your comments.
Great post Debra!
Unlike you, I wanted desperately to be in that first class of women at West Point. My father is a 1952 graduate. I wanted to make him proud of me by going – he wanted a “legacy”. My father was a career military – 1 tour in Korea, 2 in Vietnam, he built weapons of mass destruction and worked on a top secret projects for NASA. The Army was his entire life. I didn’t get in to West Point; the competition was steep. It took me a few years to realize I wouldn’t have thrived in a regimented environment. I simply don’t like anyone telling me what to do. So yes, we can make our plans but God decides our path. Or as my pastor says, “if you want to see God laugh, tell him your plans.” 🙂