That feeling of finally being a soldier is great and overwhelming but after a few days you start to miss being a civilian. It’s hard to always be on someone else’s schedule. It’s frustrating not be able to do whatever you want, whenever you want. However you need to accept your new reality of being property of the army. That might sound like a horrible way of putting it but that is what you are. You can no longer think or do whatever you want. Everything is on your mefakedet’s (commanders) command.
Something that was really hard for me was getting a gun. I’ve always seen soldiers in the streets and thought they were “so cool”. However I no longer see it that way. Now when I see them I feel bad for them. I have anlong M16 which is about 3 kg. It hangs on me awkwardly and bangs into my knees whenever we have to run. The first week I was covered in bruises. Slowly you learn how to hold it without it banging into you. But the weight and awkwardness of the gun wasn’t my problem. I was having trouble focusing and understanding the lessons.
This past week was Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzmaut. My Yom Hazikaron started on Sunday night when I attended atekes (ceremony) in Sderot about 10 minutes from where I live. Standing there in my uniform I began to think about the bigger picture. This was reinforced even stronger the next day when I went to Har Herzl cemetery for the first time in my uniform. Standing next to the section for lone soldiers I wondered what their stories are. Each and every one of those soldiers in Har Herzl has one. It’s scary to think one day I may know someone buried there. But that is why each and every lone soldier I know is in Israel. They are all willing to risk their lives for our home.
Settling into army life is not easy. After my first full week I didn’t want to have to come back. I felt unmotivated and was focusing on all the negatives. A friend helped me realize that I would never be able to do it until I changed my mindset. So this week I did. I realized that the army is just a game and I just need to win the game. Every time we are told to run, I run as fast as I can to be first. Whenever we are told to say or do anything I give it 100%. Doing this has really helped me handle the army better. I’m just a piece on the game board trying to get to the finish before all the other players. Now, this doesn’t always end up working out. Many times I think I’m moving ahead when all of a sudden I get thrown back a few spots.
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