I felt, and in many ways continue to feel a meeting point of feelings and influences which combine to create the endstate of me having joined up, and stayed on in the face of adversity and any arduous circumstance.
On the one hand, I'd spent my entire childhood running around the backyard with toy guns, digging in, building wooden machine guns in my grandad's shed and playing with little plastic soldiers. I read every book I could lay my hands on, saw every movie and played every computer game. It was barely surprising to anybody who knew me that for some strange reason it was always something I was interested in and wanted to do for real. So that was an initial contributing factor.
Secondly, defence service had shaped generations of my family. I'm a decendant of the Captain of Marines from the First Fleet, and have had family and extended family serve in every conflict and theatre from the Boer War to Afghanistan, from the original 2/2 Commando, to 3CAV in Vietnam and 2/11th Bn in Tobruk. There was a feeling that putting the uniform had made these men who they are, and that I would only truly understand them, my heritage and who I was, by following in their footsteps. No amount of books or movies could ever compare to doing it for myself. I believe that wearing the uniform does good things for an individual, I am glad for the skills, experiences and confidence that it has given me.
I believe that it's something worthwhile. This reason, perhaps more than any other, is the driving force that keeps me in. It is hard, it is challenging, it's not a picnic, but its worthwhile. I believe that all Australians should try to in some way to contribute to their community, whether that be becoming a volunteer or whatever, and defence service is just one way to achieve this. I raise digrar's example of the being in a hole you've dug yourself, which is full of water from 3 days of rain with some enemy party out there trying to 'kill' you, your shoulders and hips rubbed raw from tabbing, having not slept or eaten properly in days. In one such situation I could actually sit in my pit and see civilisation, see a city. And I thought, i'm better than those c*nts. They are sitting in their nice warm homes watching TV, or sinking beers in the pub, or at the footy, and here I am in my hole, I volunteered to be here, and I'm better than them because of it. It might not be entirely rational, but it is motivating.
The OR's here might prise out some different reasons, citing sticking at it for your mates, not wanting to let them down. But the reality is for O's that mates are something for the mess, because at the end of the day you are always competing with each other, and command is a lonely place indeed, so you need to find alternate motivation.
A key motivation for me then, is the soldiers who will, inshallah, one day be my responsibility. I want to get it right, to put my best foot forward, best game face on and best effort so that they aren't let down, that they get the best from their commanders that they possibly can. I have to read all the books, know my shit, pay attention in my training, so that when 30 young Australians do what I task them to, its the right thing to do.