Events That Changed Your Life and Shaped Your Outlook

Share a survival experience with us and explain what you learned from it. You might help someone.

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Events That Changed Your Life and Shaped Your Outlook

Post by Meat N' Taters » Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:15 pm

(I've been in in introspective, serious mood lately...so forgive me dear ZS from deviating from my usual menagerie of poop jokes and sexual innuendo.)


1) I was on a middle school field trip to Washington D.C., and was approached by a homeless man asking for money so him and his friends could eat. Feeling bad for him, I gave him $20 of the 100 bucks that my mom had given me. A few minutes later, as we were walking back down that stretch of street, I saw the homeless guy smoking a crack pipe. In the years since then, I have given a shit-ton of hamburgers, sausage biscuits, cans of soda, packs of cigarettes, and to-go bags...but I have never given cash to a homeless person again.

2) A few years before that, someone robbed our house while my mom and I were gone. They took a bunch of our shit that my mother had worked her ass off to get for us. I was enraged, and it was explained to me that in this world, there are people that work hard to provide for themselves, and there are people that feel like they don't have to work, and instead let others work hard and then steal from them. My mother only told me about people who literally steal/burglarize in the literal sense. It wasn't until my late teens that I began to form my own opinions and realizations of how many people steal from the hard-working people in other ways (won't get into politics here). Aside from this, the robbery profoundly shook up my sense of security. I immediately felt the primal urge to protect my homestead. Being a boy of 12 or so raised by a single mother who didn't believe in guns...I was shot down when I begged my mom to get a pistol to protect our house. My mom believed that one's home and one's goods weren't worth harming another human being over. She also felt that for self-defense, a baseball bat was all a person needed. She let me keep a Louisville Slugger underneath my bed, but it provided me little comfort. I realized then that her and I had different opinions on what was worth fighting over. You see, I believed that one's home and one's goods ARE worth fighting for, even to the point of harming someone. To me, it wasn't about material things...it was what they represented - someone else's hard work; someone else's dreams. The fact that someone would try and take MY hard work and MY dreams sickened me. They had no right. They had every opportunity to work hard just like my mom did, just like I do now, to get what they want in life. I knew then that I was prepared to defend that with all I had. When I turned 18, I bought my first firearm, a piece of shit Marlin 9mm carbine. Since then, I have not slept without one or more guns within arm's reach.

3) I was 19 years old when my grandfather died. Ever since I was little, the man had absolutely adored me. Matter of fact, the day he found out that my mom had gotten pregnant (she was 19 and unmarried, with the father nowhere in the picture), he didn't get angry, judge her, or even say one word to her about how it happened. He drove straight over to the grocery store where she was working as a cashier, marched up to her, and said "Tell your boss you're quitting. Let's go buy a crib, and then you can live with us as long as you need." The man had his share of problems with his own children...he was an alcoholic, and kind of a stubborn old hardass. But with me, well I guess you could say he saw me as a second chance to have the relationship he should have had with his own children. The man treated me like gold. He was an imperfect man, and he made life rough for his kids at times. But he also made life wonderful for his grandson. I learned that within all of us is the capacity to create, and the capacity to destroy; it's just human nature. Sometimes we are lucky, and we get a second chance to rebuild things we've destroyed.


possibly more to come.

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Re: Events That Changed Your Life and Shaped Your Outlook

Post by Vicarious_Lee » Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:20 am

I'll play.

EDIT: Actually, no. On further consideration I'm with Squinty. My bad. I wasn't down with seeing the 3 defining moments that changed my entire life and career for the better posted up on a message board.

Sorry.....
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Re: Events That Changed Your Life and Shaped Your Outlook

Post by Glennbo » Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:29 am

The event that made me decide to carry a gun was being jumped by three guys on my way to my car after work late at night. One fractured my jaw with some sort of brass knuckles. I managed to break away and escape. I don't know if they intended to rob me or just have fun beating up a white guy (racial insults during the attack...it was right after Rodney King), but even though I wound up with my jaw wired shut for seven weeks it could have been much worse.

I was dumb. They were standing around and I walked past them saying hello. Total condition green. I was 30 years old...old enough to know better, and only had a small pocket knife on me.

I CCW a Glock 9mm now, and if I ever get jumped again I'll use it, no question.
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Re: Events That Changed Your Life and Shaped Your Outlook

Post by squinty » Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:51 am

redacted. too personal for the internet. my apologies.
Last edited by squinty on Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Events That Changed Your Life and Shaped Your Outlook

Post by Fletch » Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:59 am

What that guy said
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Re: Events That Changed Your Life and Shaped Your Outlook

Post by squinty » Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:01 am

redacted for opsec reasons
Last edited by squinty on Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
George Orwell wrote:Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.

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Re: Events That Changed Your Life and Shaped Your Outlook

Post by squinty » Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:28 am

Meat N' Taters wrote:(I've been in in introspective, serious mood lately...so forgive me dear ZS from deviating from my usual menagerie of poop jokes and sexual innuendo.)

Well, OK, just this once....
George Orwell wrote:Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.

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Re: Events That Changed Your Life and Shaped Your Outlook

Post by Istvan56 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:57 am

Like Squinty I started a response but then deleted it as I felt it was too personal. So I'm starting over again.

I am glad that Meat-n-Taters said "Events" and not one single event that changed my life. For me it was a series of events that shaped my outlook on life for both good and bad. Let's start with the bad.

My father was an alcoholic and not one of those happy-go-lucky drunks but the mean kind. To say he made our lives a living hell is an understatement. I am the oldest child and bear his name which is why I also bore the brunt of his shit (after my mom, bless her). Fortunately he was also not home a lot, which is why we all made it alive till adulthood. That and my mom running away from him when I was ten.

The bullying I suffered left me vulnerable to other bullies that were closer to my age. My mom is a pacifist and rabidly anti-gun. I mistakenly thought that meant that I should never defend myself. However at the age of 9 following one more beating by a schoolyard bully my mother surprised me by saying that it was okay to defend myself, just never be the aggressor. So the next time that kid tried to beat me up I surprised him by fighting back. The scene where Ralphie in "A Christmas Story" gives the bully his due looked a lot like what transpired that day in 1965 only without all the swearing. I pinned down that bully and beat the snot out of him. Walking home I felt like a huge load had been lifted from my shoulders. And when I got home I overheard the telephone conversation where my mom gave the bully's mother a tongue lashing saying that the little punk deserved what he got for hitting me with rocks and all the other crap he'd done. I think after the call he was in for a second beating. :twisted:

The bullying didn't stop there but it was the start of my learning to stand up for myself and then later, to stand up for others. In high school I took Jr. ROTC and learned how to shoot. That didn't help me since obviously a kid can't legally CCW, let alone buy a gun. Furthermore my mom absolutely forbade it when I approached my stepdad with the proposition for getting a used target .22LR and joining the shooting team. I think my mom was afraid that either I'd use it one of my druggie siblings or, more likely, one of them would steal it and use it on somebody else.

In addition to learning how to shoot I wanted to learn martial arts. There really wasn't much I could do until after I got out on my own. The opportunity came my way when I went to Korea as a Mormon missionary. There I earned my 1st degree black belt in Hapkido and Hoshindo (self-defense). When I got back I continued my studies by then studying Japanese Wadoryu karate and then Chinese Chuan-shu Gung Fu. All of this helped me in my chosen career, law enforcement.

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Re: Events That Changed Your Life and Shaped Your Outlook

Post by Sealegs » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:27 am

I have one that isn't too personal or opsec risky, it was the day I realized you fight your own battles, or you die trying. [Knowing you can die and realizing it are two different things IMHO. Often recruits know it before rotation but realize it after.]

I was seven or there abouts and skiing the 10clicks to my grandparents farm, it was about 1800hrs and already kind of dark. We were going hunting the next morning and wanted an early start. So, skies on.

When I was out on the lake making good speed the winds started to pick up and temperatures drop. Not really a full on storm but bad enough when I had the wind in my face, coming down the entire length of the lake. After a while exhaustion hit and I realized I was too far in to head back and the route ahead was no picnic either.

In a typical kid way I contemplated just laying down to rest/giving up [Which I knew was death.] At that point, pitch black, except for the yard deep snow on the ice and the flakes that whipped at me through the wind I realized that no one would find me before I was stone cold dead. There was no chance in hell I would even be missed before I was done in for and that my only chance to actually live laid in my ability to actually man up and go on.

I did and ever since that day I've never imagined myself immortal to dying or getting hurt or under the illusion that other people can or will do what I have to do.

On the other hand it really drove home the lesson my old gramps was trying to teach me about being your brothers keeper. You survive alone but we thrive together.
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Re: Events That Changed Your Life and Shaped Your Outlook

Post by Tribunal Power » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:34 am

I might make this a little more verbose later on, but for now I'll keep it simple and hit the big points.

Being...

--Victimized by bullying when I was young led to martial arts
--Victimized by bad circumstances in life taught me the importance of a strong faith
--Victimized by violent crimes as a teenager taught me martial arts was not enough, and that caution, situational awareness and preperation were necessary too
--Victimized by more violent crimes taught me that all security is false, and that the only true security in this life must be trained into us
--Victimized by loved ones that me that the above applies to emotions as well
--Victimized by those as perceptive as I am but with worse intentions taught me the importance of a facade of a casual appearance ("grey man")
--Victimized by my country's politics taught me that the government can't be trusted any more than anyone else, and that it is important for me to make sure the right people get elected and the system works like it should

And after learning these things, I learned that caution and preparedness does not have to be a trade for happiness; after some of the things I've been through, I've felt jaded and soured as though I should not have to do the things I do to protect myself from anyone. And that's true, I shouldn't have to, but I should still do it whether I have to or not because it's prudent. I've learned that protecting myself is not something I'm forced to do against my will, but rather that ensuring the sustenance of my life is part of being alive. I've found my happiness and my attitude of caution, attention to detail, and preparedness for personal protection does not affect it.

Carrying my firearm (although not my only preperation, I assure you) is part of my every day life and I can't imagine going back to how I used to live, afraid of being a victim again. I was always, simply experiencing it in highs and lows, but until I made the concious decision to do whatever I needed to stop being a victim (in my ase, moving out of state), I was doomed to it. Being a victim gets old after about 20 years.

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Re: Events That Changed Your Life and Shaped Your Outlook

Post by SwampRat » Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:14 am

When I was 7 I had a fight with my best friend. He said some hateful things to me. I was pretty upset. My dad took me aside and said "Son, friends are not all they are cracked up to be. There is nothing wrong with being a loner." And I have been ever since then. While I have a pretty fucked up view on humanity and relationships that I believe stemmed from that conversation, I believe it has made my life a hundred times easier just to realize that there is nothing wrong with being a loner. I actually enjoy it.

I had an earring once. Yeah, yeah I know. Shut up. Saw a guy get in a bar fight one night a few years ago and got his ripped out. Since that night the only jewelry I've ever worn is my Mala. Also, learned a good way to make a grown man scream.

Totaled a truck 3 months after getting my first drivers license, prob should died. 11 years later, I haven't gotten so much as a parking ticket, let alone anything else.

Was sitting in the passengers seat of my buddies car at an atm. Thug came up and tried to jack us. My buddy grabbed the guys arm and stomped the gas. Now I never put my truck in park unless I am actually getting out.

I'm sure there is more, I'll just have to think about it.
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Re: Events That Changed Your Life and Shaped Your Outlook

Post by Istvan56 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:16 am

Like Fletch I too had an epiphany one day following two years of absolute misery and betrayal by those I trusted and loved.

In early February 1999 my first wife took me aside after dinner and announced that she wanted a divorce, that she had never loved me but only married me because she wanted a good man to be the father of her kids. Oh yeah, she wanted the kids, the house and everything else. After all that I had given up to be a better husband and father I was handed that. But wait, there's more! Like the TV offers I got the additional news that she had been secretly maxing out all the credit cards, was shopping instead of paying bills and was cheating on me. We stuck together long enough to get through a joint bankruptcy before splitting up.

The problems weren't over between us, not when we had joint custody of two children, but I tried to move on. I met a woman online through a dating site and she told me a similar story to what I had been through. Being a family man I welcomed the opportunity to be the stepfather to her four kids. After all, my dear mother had remarried to a wonderful man who became the dad that my own birth father had not been so I thought I could do the same. The red flags were there but I was blind to them, masked by my own desperate need to feel loved and whole again.

So in late February, 2000 I got married for the second time. Big mistake! The woman was a fraud and worse, a horrible mother. Yes, her first husband had dumped her and married his secretary but he was escaping a greedy, selfish woman who, when she had sucked every last dime out of me (easy to do since I was rebuilding my life following bankruptcy) tossed me aside. The worse thing wasn't the financial loss, it was the heartbreak of losing those four kids. Well, to be honest it was losing three of the four. The oldest was "the stepson from hell" who even his mom admitted would likely be either dead or in prison by age 19. He wanted to go live with his father and did everything in his power to force us to send him there. It worked and she followed the boy to Utah which I warned her was a bad idea. Being so close to her ex- would allow him to prove her to be the incompetent mother she was which soon occurred.

She divorced me before the year 2000 was up and by Y2k I was ready for TEOTWAWKI. Alas it didn't happen and my misery continued. In January, 2001 my car was repossessed due to the mess my second ex-wife had left me with. At least I was still working and seeing my kids though that wasn't going so well. My kids didn't know why we split up and my ex- was only too happy to spin it as my deserting them when it was the other way around. Then they were hurt by the second divorce as they lost their stepsiblings of only a few months. I felt like an abject failure as a father and human being.

Just when I thought things couldn't get any worse God gave me a gift, the wonder gift of melanoma. And I had to face it alone with no family and few friends to support me. Fortunately it had not yet metastasized so surgery to remove a portion of my right shoulder blade down to the muscle should cure it, my doctor said over the phone. Yeah, I didn't rate an office visit for the news, my lousy HMO doc just called me to tell me that and to give me a referral to a surgeon at another hospital.

Now I talk about the cancer as a gift and it was. It made me realize that my life wasn't that bad, that things could be much worse. About 75% of melanoma patients die, it is the most deadly of all cancers. Futhermore I had lost a neighbor to melanoma and saw what it does not just to its victims but to the families. So I pulled my head out of my ass, quit beating myself up for all my woes and embraced life.

It took me years to turn my life around again but I did it. To help me stay on track God gave me a couple more scares, my last one being in April, 2005 when I lost a chunk out of my left upper arm. Also to help me he gave me a new wife and family with four more step-kids and just to keep me humble they are mostly girls. :shock:

To say my life has been an easy one since overcoming cancer would be dishonest. I've had further financial trials, legal troubles, sorrows from losing my oldest daughter to an early death and my son to drug addiction. The difference is that I have the emotional and spiritual fortitude to face these troubles and get through them with my life, my mental health and even my marriage intact. What is more is that we are able to give back to our community through being foster parents to kids with special needs. We are on our sixth foster child, an infant girl who turns eight months old this week. Yes, that means I have to deal with poopy diapers on a daily basis but that is a small matter compared to the joy that comes from having a loving child. So while I may be poor when it comes to things of this world I count myself rich in so many other areas. I love my wife, family, church and even my job (most of the time or I wouldn't have stories to share in "my job, my hell" :wink: ).

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Re: Events That Changed Your Life and Shaped Your Outlook

Post by DarkAxel » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:00 am

When I started school in East KY, my fellow students targeted me for torment because I didn't sound like they did when I talked. For a long time, I took it, hoping that someone would notice my despair. No one did. So one day, after enduring an hour of bullying, I turned and put an end to it by stabbing the little fucker in the leg with my pencil. No one was going to stand up for me. I had to stand up for myself. I also learned that actions have consequences, even justified actions. In this case it was a paddling and two days' suspension.
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Re: Events That Changed Your Life and Shaped Your Outlook

Post by TacAir » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:01 pm

After reading the other posts, thought I would share some of what 'drives' me; even today.

I lived in SoAz as a youngster, surrounded by Titan II sites (ya, I am that old) - IOW, the middle of a big nuke target, something you normally don't think about or worry about as a kid.

Then October 1962 happened. I remember my Dad putting a footlocker in the station wagon. It had a couple of blankets, some dry food and 'stuff'. I asked him "Where will we go, what will be do?" He got angry; because he had no plan and there was no help at the time (CD was and still is a joke). He took the footlocker out of the car two days later,

That got me started on trying to be as self-sufficient as could be - fishing, hunting, camping, that sort of stuff.

While in the AF, was stationed at Fairchild, a SAC base. The base held an exercise of their war emergency plans - the first ever. That was scary enough. The results taught me that the FedGov was completely unprepared for nuke war, and likely everything else. I believe past history has driven that point home more than once.

So, since then, have been working to have the family as prepared as possible, without being crazy about things. It has been a long term learning curve and in a couple of cases, an expensive lesson set. But, we are set to take care of ourselves for some time, at least any available resources can be used for others....

I found ZS quite by accident, and have been impressed by both the level of knowledge and the open (and fun) nature of the board. As a learning/teaching resource, it is one of the best I have seen on the Web - which says a lot about the board founders.

(edit once again, to chip in - as have others.)
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Re: Events That Changed Your Life and Shaped Your Outlook

Post by raptor » Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:21 pm

The singular event that shaped my life most occurred when I was 12 years old. My mother bought me a a one design sailboat. It was a keel boat which was raced extensively by adults as opposed to a small sunfish or laser day sailer. It was a real boat that MEN raced not a child's toy.

I was an excellent sailor by then but this boat while easy to sail leisurely; it was a difficult boat to master. On top of that since I was a kid, the adults I raced against dismissed me as a spoiled child with a new toy and thus were not willing to share the secrets of making the boat "go fast". How would you like it if a 12 year old up with a boat you had to work hard to pay for.

I was then faced with the prospect of figuring it out on my own and learning the hard way through trial and error how to make the thing work. In the process I broke a lot of equipment and made many mistakes. However I learned some valuable lessons:

1) Humility - There will always be someone better at a task, smarter than me and while I may be good but that does not mean I will succeed all the time. Learn to to deal with this fact.

2) Self Sufficiency - It is up to me at all times to do the best job I can with the tools and parts at hand. When something breaks and you need that part to make the boat get home, either have a spare or plan to deal with such a breakdown. It is long swim home otherwise. Plan ahead.

3) Count on only yourself - People do not have to help and in fact many people will take pleasure in your failures. Do not given them the satisfaction learn to deal with the issues and solve your own problems.

4) Take responsibility for your actions - If you screw up, admit it , fix it and move on.

5) Plans are great but be prepared to improvise - Shit happens and plans must be adjusted accordingly. Deal with changes and setbacks calmly and rationally. Displays of temper unnerve the crew and make you look silly.

6) The final lesson is a sailing metaphor. Always charge the starting line, up wind and on starboard tack. In a sailboat race and in life there is a favored position and a disadvantaged position to the start of any task. If at all possible opt for the favored position and the advantages that brings. In other words study the problem/task, determine a strategy, maneuver yourself such that you can take advantage of that strategy and then go boldly in that direction.

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Re: Events That Changed Your Life and Shaped Your Outlook

Post by NorrisUnleashed » Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:10 pm

To keep it short, my family through being shitheads and or inhuman abusive tools, taught me that i did not need approval or justification from anyone. I just did what what I expected from myself. Whether it worked or not I still did things my way and got through the first part of my lfe without much help.

When I was a 11 years old my aunt and uncle were the victim of a home invasion. Without getting into details of the case, I learned that I could take measures to protect my self.

Years later I met a beautiful woman whose family is the polar opposite of mine. She and her family taught that it is ok to have help and it is ok to love and be loved.

When I 25 I had a wife and shortly after a child. At this point I went from "boyscout" prepared to "emergency" prepared in the sense of my entire family might need the basics of life in the wake of a catastrophe.
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Re: Events That Changed Your Life and Shaped Your Outlook

Post by mr_slappy75 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:45 pm

When I was in my later teens, the rise to power of General Manuel Antonio Noriega in Panamá during the mid ‘80’s; Before that as far as I was concerned; preparedness, self reliance and survival were all fun and games, more of a ‘what if…’ academic exercise than a skill set for practical use.

That bastard became proof positive of how little it takes to push a relatively stable, pretty sophisticated country into a SHTF wonderland, Way before Venezuela’s Chavez had even thought about talking shit about the U.S: Civil unrest, government sponsored deaths quads and vandal mobs (asshole had the gall to call those “Dignity Batallions” :evil: ), indiscriminate censorship, repression/suspension of civil and individual rights…I could go on and on. I was lucky my mother had siblings already living in the U.S. but for the first year we were here (’88) I couldn’t hear a helicopter go overhead without trying to get a visual in order to be absolutely sure that it wasn’t a military Huey.
I mean seriously? What kind of sick fuck uses those to buzz his own civilian population!?!? :oops:
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Re: Events That Changed Your Life and Shaped Your Outlook

Post by XtraBright » Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:59 pm

Istvan56 wrote:Like Squinty I started a response but then deleted it as I felt it was too personal. So I'm starting over again.

I am glad that Meat-n-Taters said "Events" and not one single event that changed my life. For me it was a series of events that shaped my outlook on life for both good and bad. Let's start with the bad.

My father was an alcoholic and not one of those happy-go-lucky drunks but the mean kind. To say he made our lives a living hell is an understatement. I am the oldest child and bear his name which is why I also bore the brunt of his shit (after my mom, bless her). Fortunately he was also not home a lot, which is why we all made it alive till adulthood.
Sounds very like the beginning of my story, with the twist:

I was on the best way to become just like him, a always drunk bully.

But when i was almost 18 my father died (after a 2 year struggle) of .. almost everything in combination, from heartstroke to cancer at 48.

He spent the last 4 months in the clinic and it was a few days before his death that i realized:

The bloated (beer belly) person with the glasses implanted into his intestines (control glasses for the doctors), a f.. stoma bag, a destroyed liver, a destroyed hearth, .. and hated by his own offspring will be me in 30 years.

The realization was like *ZAP* and i walked out of the room like a zombie.

I already had fucked up my school career at that time but did a 180° turnaround on my path trough life and have never touched any alcoholic drinks since that time.
I also changed a lot of other things .. like getting my lazy ass into movement.

This is 15 years now and except for my face, people from the time before would not recognize me, damn .. i am pretty well off.

Which is somehow funny, all men in my father line were or are heavy drinkers and always piss poor and deep in debt, none have seen 60 years ever.
"Heisenberg may have been here."

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Re: Events That Changed Your Life and Shaped Your Outlook

Post by Geppato » Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:38 pm

Cambodia - seeing how things work on the other side of the fence... and seeing things that aren't covered by CNN. I just wanted to say that, I apologize for not going deeper into that but it is very personal but meaningful to me.

Somewhere in the pacific- I was on a frigate, on a VBSS team, and I was a SCAT member (that is crew served weapons ship defense). I was asleep in my rack because my watch roation was 6 hours on 6 hours off ... so it was watch-eat-sleep-watch-eat-sleep- and workout whenever possible. We were doing things that I won't get into but it involved escorting, and we were on a hightened condition. I remember hearing faintly "Now man scat- now man scat not a drill". I rolled out of my rack, and I punched my buddy who was sleeping and was also SCAT and said "they need us man". Then shortly after I heard "air threat inbound port side". The wording was different but opsec will prevail. Now to give a little background on frigates, they are fast attack ships designed for bang and run. we didn't have a launcher any more so it was no longer missle equipped so our big weapons were the 76mm turret in the middle of the ship and a CIWS on the rear. Both capable of firing and defending but the versions of the weapons are outdated and unreliable so we had to man up .50 and the vulcan minis as support.
So me and my buddy we hopped into our coveralls and jumped into our boots in record time, didn't zip up anything or tie my boots just started running. Climbed 4 flights of stairs and got on the 02 level and was helping the GMs get the ammo out real quick from the lockers. They handed me 3 boxes of ammo for the .50 I was going to man on the port side and while I was doing this in a robotic mindless and expedited fashion it hit me real quick... like a huge cold ice cube inside my stomach... then I remember thinking - "wait this isn't a fucking exercise, if this goes down I have a huge chance of death"... then I ran while struggling to carry the ammo to my gun. The phone talker was there hooking up the cables to talk to the bridge and was ripping the gun covers off my gun, and I set the first ammo can on the feed tray and did my head space and timing real quick. Then I looked at my phone talker and I will always remember this time. He was older than me, probably in his 30s I was 21 at the time and he was shaking and ghost white in the face but he talked normally. We didn't say anything to each other, but we had a complete conversation with just a few nods and smiles. Finally he said, "fuck man" and I said remember laughing from shear terrror and shock almost and said "don't worry man, I am blessed we are gonna be fine". Then order came... condition 3. so I popped the lid off, and placed the first round outside chamber and stood by. Meanwhile I was looking around at the other gunners and my buddy especially and we are always busting each others balls and playing around, I looked at him and he just had this solemn look and was shaking his head.
Then I prayed.
I started looking around because the threat was port side which would be coming towards me so I was imagining some small low slow flier or something and was remembering my marksmanship and tactics to use with a .50 and then I had a resolve set in that, well if I have to shoot I am going to make sure that it is going to be the most costly life to take for my adversary because I was going to hold that fucking trigger down and aim every round at whatever was coming until I was dead because I was the the only barrier between the rest of my friends and letting them see their loved ones ever again.
All this was a matter of 8 minutes from the first call to man scat, then the order came that was uplifting... Set condition 4 secure from SCAT, that is secure from SCAT.
I took a huge breath and my heart was beating so hard that I thought you could see it through my coveralls.
Won't talk about what happened with the threat, but I didn't have to shoot my weapon and that was one of the moments in my life that matured me. I looked at life a little differently after that.

The other things are a little personal for a forum but I wanted to share that little bit with you guys.

Cheers.
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Re: Events That Changed Your Life and Shaped Your Outlook

Post by razi » Wed Jan 12, 2011 5:45 pm

about 6 or so years ago, I don't remember exactly, I was in a period of my life where I was severely depressed, and it was bad- I'm talking 'every telephone pole and concrete support post for a bridge looked like a perfect place to crash my car' sort of depressed (no, I was never going to actually do it, but the temptation was so great I could taste it). I'd been depressed for years before that, to varying degrees, and finally I'd just gotten sick of it. I decided that this was my life, and since it was my choice to be depressed or to be happy, I'd chose happiness, and I did.

It's an odd feeling, when something just clicks in your head, but this time it did, and it stuck.

Now it's not to say that I haven't been depressed afterward, but it was never as bad as that again, and I'm not going to allow myself to get back to that place again.
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Re: Events That Changed Your Life and Shaped Your Outlook

Post by ninja-elbow » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:00 pm

Getting bullied, got me into Tae Kwon Do, got me into scholastic sports programs (wrestling, football and track). Taught me to win and lose.

Mom and Dad bought a house. It came with a big backyard. Got a BB gun when I was 9 years old.

Navy, saw warfare. Changed me completely.

Mom died, fiance cheated on me and grandma went into a care home all in one year (1999); great way to end your 20s.

Getting fired from many jobs between 1999-2002.

Quit drugs.

Quit any kind of theological faith system that involves dieties and/or magic. Realization that I am not a unique snowflake sets in and I am fine with it. Any politics in my mind suddenly become irrelavent.

Quit drinking.

Met my SO, Roxxors. :)

ETA: 1984 my first live concert - Black Flag. Changed me for good. Got me into the hardcore scene, DIY, be responsible and it's OK to be a pissed off little boy as long as you do something about it other than sit around and be pissed off. Evolve... Rise Above.
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Re: Events That Changed Your Life and Shaped Your Outlook

Post by Takaaco78 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:39 pm

Like a lot of people 9/11 changed my life and sent it in a whole new direction. Prior to then I was doing drugs, which lead to me dropping out of high school and getting arrested for concealed weapon. My life was going in the wrong direction. After 9/11 i realized I was going nowhere, and i was pretty pissed about the attack. So I went to the recruiter and signed up for the Army, and with in a month i was headed to basic training then shipped out to Germany for a few years then got to spend a year in the desert of Iraq. Since then i got married quit drugs got a G.E.D. now im working as a Federal Officer for the Bureau of Prisons.
I still ended up in prison, but on the other side of the door. :lol:
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Re: Events That Changed Your Life and Shaped Your Outlook

Post by DarkAxel » Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:07 pm

When I was a baby, I learned not to touch the stove the hard way.

When I was five, I learned not to drink gasoline the hard way.

By the time I hit age ten, I thought I had things figured out some, and stopped giving my parents heart-attacks every other week.

Now I'm a parent, and have suffered some of those panic induced attacks myself. After reflecting on my messy divorce and other stupid choices I made as an adult, I realized that for all of my intelligence and ego, all of my supposed maturity, my decision-making skills are little better than my son's, or my own at his age (Six).

Talk about a wake-up call.
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Re: Events That Changed Your Life and Shaped Your Outlook

Post by TheLastRifleMan » Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:40 pm

Lets see,

1986, May. Just out of high school, going to college and working my first job. All those things happening at once taught me a lot about life, working with different types of people and how much I could handle at one time.

June of 1993. Nearly killed in a major car accident. Taught me that I was NOT going to live forever. Still have some physical effects from that, such as a distinct limp, hearing loss in both ears, etc. that give me some problems still.

April of 2002. Without warning, fired from a company I had worked extremely hard for two and a half years for no good reason. I had never lost a job before and was of the belief it was all my fault. Turned out it wasn't.
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