I had a similar journey. I just turned 19 and had to leave a dysfunctional home and support myself, so I joined the navy. I knew no one else would take care of me but myself and so I became super responsible, worked hard, and saved every cent I could. The USA does not have the same social welfare system as Denmark.
I wound up moving from Silicon Valley where I grew up to Adelaide Australia to marry an Aussie. It was there I met the brightest group of people I ever met and cofounded a software company. It is much easier to do a startup in Silicon Valley, but we overcame the obstacles and became very successful to the point I was able to retire at age 57.
Shortly after retiring, my ex and I realised our marriage had been dead for a long time so we divorced and my teenage children stopped talking to me. Although financially I was very well off, I found myself all alone. One day I saw a documentary about prisoners in solitary confinement and I felt like that was what I was going through all alone.
I picked myself up and did volunteer work and mentored young entrepreneurs which gave me a lot of personal satisfaction that I was doing something positive to help people. I met a wonderful woman and remarried, I have an almost perfect relationship and my relationship with my children has come good. What I learned was money does not create happiness, but can take away something that can cause stress in one’s life.