None of these is my dad, by the way.
When Dad graduated from Provo High, he was offered a scholarship at BYU, I believe. Instead, Dad chose to join the Navy. I have a feeling that one of the reasons he joined was because his best friend at the time also joined. It turned out they never served together, so if that was the reason, I imagine Dad was very disappointed.
Dad did not serve during wartime (which, in a way, is slightly unfortunate as his veteran's benefits could have been of use to my Mom as we continue to search for economical ways to care for her). He joined shortly after the Korean War ended.
I believe he was a radar operator on the ship he served on. I get the impression that Dad didn't care too much for some of the rougher, harder-edged men he served with.
I always wonder why my Dad, who was kind of a meek, intellectual guy would choose to forego a university scholarship to join the Navy. It just doesn't seem like the military would have been his kind of bag (and, it turns out, it wasn't). I think he would have been happier going straight to college.
...if Dad had not joined the Navy, he would not have met my mom and gotten married to her and had the family he had. The Navy is also where my Dad gained his testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and that certainly shaped the rest of his life and the lives of my mom and us kids.
Dad met Mom at a church dance when he was on offshore leave, I guess. Mom lived in San Francisco. There's little chance that that Provo boy would have have met that San Francisco girl were it not for his time in the Navy. Mom might still be in the San Francisco area still. That's where both of her brothers are and where her mother resided until her death.
I guess my point is that what sometimes feels like a poor or bad decision and the unpleasant experiences that go along with it may still have the greatest positive effect on your life. I imagine there were days (perhaps many of them) when Dad regretted his decision to join the Navy, and yet, Dad's family and religion were probably the two most important things to him in his whole life, and neither would have happened the way they did without his having joined the Navy.
Dad also worked at a life insurance company as a computer programmer for most of his working life. I think he didn't care for his job much. Mom told me once he had always wanted to open a record store, but gave up fantasy for practicality. It's because of that job he disliked that he was able to support and care for the family he loved so much.
Sometimes (and often) the unpleasant things we have to go through bring us some of our greatest joys. I try to remember that during the tough times.
Life is good right now. Still unemployed, but very happy to be with Jonah.