"My Entire Life Changed In An Instant"

November 15, 2023 | Derek Choi

"My Entire Life Changed In An Instant"

The right moments in life can really flip someone’s thinking on its head. Whether it is an awful experience or someone’s wise words, profound moments can linger for a very long time with both good and bad effects. These folks share harrowing moments and enlightening words that changed the way they look at life.

1. A Heart-Stopping Scare

Discovering that I needed heart surgery at the age of 43 due to an undiagnosed genetic heart defect was a shock. Unbeknownst to me, I had reached stage three heart failure. It was a mere six months from when I was diagnosed to when I had the surgery. This terrified me, as I had never before undergone any surgical procedure, much less heart surgery. 

After returning home from the hospital, I found myself transformed. I interact with people in a much kinder way and generally feel a lot happier. The experience has given me a newfound appreciation for life.

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2. Family’s Financial Folly

Around half a decade ago, many people in their 30s, myself included, thought it was a good idea to co-invest in property with our parents. We recognized the challenge of acquiring a home of our own and genuinely believed our parents would have our best interests at heart. 

They would guide us to buy our first property and later on, help us upgrade to a better one. Unfortunately, I couldn't have been more mistaken. As luck would have it, the value of the house increased twofold. Rather than capitalizing on this success for my benefit, my parents decided to rent it out, even though I now reside in a totally different state. 

In their eyes, there was no room for family favoritism when financial gain was at stake. They insist on their innocence, contending I should have been more capable handling paperwork. Apparently, I'm not alone in having this experience. Never mix money matters with family is my advice now. 

This whole incident has left an indelible mark on my relationship with my parents, one I fear I may never get over. It has, without a doubt, caused a considerable shift in my life.

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3. A Friend’s Advice

My best buddy and I were enjoying a few drinks by a campfire during a camping getaway. We were the only pair still awake, sharing our private jokes and reminiscing old times. Suddenly, he paused, looked at me with a hazy gaze, and said something that shocked me, "I wish you weren't so mean-spirited most of the time". 

Leaning back with a hefty sigh, he added, "It's pleasant to remember the times when you weren't so filled with anger often". Hearing that compelled me to focus on managing my irritability and implementing ways to diminish stress.

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4. Bettering Myself

During my late teens and early 20s, I used to make thoughtless and mean comments towards people, believing I was just poking fun. But, I didn't realize the harm I was doing. My close friends got fed up and cut off communication. When I found myself in a new city, only knowing my partner, my solitude intensified. 

My best friend avoided me for a while, then finally told me how much I had hurt our friendship. I was taken by surprise and apologized deeply, assuring him my words never held any malice. Despite my earnest apology, he calmly refused to accept it and ended the conversation. This really hurt me. 

It was a tough pill to swallow—losing my best friend. It made me seriously reflect on my behavior. Since then, I've made changes. I stopped being mean-spirited and started thinking about how I speak and what I say. Luckily, he reached out to me a few years later, and we reestablished our friendship. 

I shared with him how his words changed my life. Thankfully, we were able to pick up from where we left off.

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5. Speaking Up More

Right when I began my internship, I was rather reserved. I handled my tasks effectively and had a good rapport with patients, but was timid when it came to speaking up to my superiors. One time, a hospital inpatient started experiencing extreme pain. I feared something might be seriously wrong. 

I dialed the surgical registrar to express my worries, but couldn't convince them to reevaluate the patient since they lacked any prior related history. Despite my efforts, the registrar was adamant they were correct and purposely postponed further diagnosis. However, six hours later, the patient finally underwent a scan. And, it turned out, I was right. 

The patient was immediately sent to surgery but tragically they didn't survive. I couldn't help feeling accountable. Over ten years have passed but the memory of that patient lingers. The incident made me discover my vocal strength. Now, I don't hesitate to voice my thoughts when I believe it's vital for my patients' well-being. 

It's shaped me into a better doctor.

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6. Forgiveness For The Future

"Forgiveness may not rewind the past, but it certainly has the power to shape the future". My mom shared these words with me, wisdom she gleaned from a simple fortune cookie. However, the back story to her enlightenment is poignant. 

Faced with my dad's return home from incarceration, she chose not to harbor resentment and darken the atmosphere at home. Instead, she shifted her perspective, vowing to focus on the future. Remarkably, such transformation rekindled their relationship.

She confided this tale when I was battling relationship challenges of my own. I can't claim to have mastered the subtleties of forgiveness yet, but the mighty impact it can have isn't lost on me.

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7. The Look In His Eyes

Back in my school days, I was part of a group that often liked to poke fun at a certain classmate due to his size. One day, however, our harmless banter took a nasty turn when one of us pushed him, causing him to fall over. We thought it was hilarious and would all jokingly cry out "earthquake". 

But I'll never forget the look on his face as we stood there laughing. His eyes silently asked, "Why?" His gaze hit me like a ton of bricks. I've never felt such guilt in my life, and his expression is etched into my memory forever. It was a real turning point for me and I immediately ceased taking part in such cruel behavior. 

Gradually, I distanced myself from the others who were involved in the incident. Thank goodness, the boy we were so mean to seems to be doing well now, as far as I'm aware. I've tried to interact with him a few more times since then. 

I always made an effort to include him and treat him kindly, but understandably, he wasn't too keen on having much to do with me.

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8. Life Changing Life Saving

I remember being at a festival when two children happened to fall into a river. One of them didn't come back up, so myself and two others immediately dove in to find him. After about two minutes of frantic swimming underwater, I managed to locate the boy. 

He had stopped breathing, so I carried him on my back halfway up the river bank. I was completely exhausted, but with the adrenaline rush, I was pulled the rest of the way by someone. Unable to breathe, the boy was quickly handed over to the paramedics who luckily were already at the festival. 

Exhausted and lying flat, drenched in dirty water, the three of us who helped were in shock. I was overcome by emotions, weeping at the sight of the helpless, limp body that I had carried. The unforgettable sound of the boy's cough, followed by cheers and applause, hit me with a profound realisation.

This single event dramatically shifted my perspective on life. Fast forward 10 years, and I'm a father to a young boy. Now I truly grasp how that child's mother felt in those dreadful moments. I'll never forget a few days after the incident, she visited my home, joyfully crying, unable to stop thanking me and hugging me. 

At the time, it was somewhat embarrassing because I couldn't fully understand her sentiment, but now everything makes perfect sense.

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9. Broken Trust

You know, I was once full of confidence, maybe even too much of it. But things changed when I was constantly tormented during my first year in public high school.

A big hit was when people I believed were my buddies nudged me to persistently follow my crush. But there was something I didn't know. Later, I found out my best friend and my crush were an item, and they would even sit and read the love letters she had pushed me to send him.

Wow, talk about a backstab. It really shook me to the core.

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10. Determined To Change

I was cradling my little girl, while her father and my spouse were shouting right in front of us. Instantly, our daughter was scared, and she began to say sorry. An awful thought hit me—she is only two, yet, just like me, she's terrified. 

That moment served as the catalyst, compelling me to drastically improve my expectations for myself, my baby girl, as well as our living environment. Nearly a year ago, I successfully secured a restraining order against my previous partner. The road to recovery has been hard, yet worthwhile. 

Both my daughter and I are now receiving therapeutic support for PTSD. We are determined to ensure that we never have to live in a fear-filled environment again.

This One Moment Changed My LifeFreepik, Racool_studio


11. What Is A Good Life?

In May, my father was diagnosed with lung cancer. Come June, he reassured me with his serene words, "Regardless of what transpires, I've had a good run". Unfortunately, he succumbed to his illness in July, just before I turned 20. Despite my father's humble beginnings, his life was a testament to perseverance. 

The loss of his mother when he was merely three and an absent father resulted in a life on the streets, often sleeping in playgrounds. Undeterred, he rose from these circumstances to become an executive in a modest-sized company, a position he held for over three decades. 

His tranquil acceptance of his life's journey brought me solace during those hard times. I find myself more grateful for each passing day now.

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12. Rock-Solid Feelings

While my dad was assisting me with something in his home office, I unintentionally glimpsed his tax returns. This led me to question him—if he hadn't needed to financially support me and all of my siblings, perhaps he and mom could've enjoyed a more lavish lifestyle, doing whatever they wanted whenever they desired. His reply made me incredibly emotional.

He met my gaze and confidently stated, "Never. The desire to provide a quality life for you all was what drove me to push myself as strenuously as I did". I recall this conversation vividly—it took place almost a quarter of a century ago. 

Even though I wasn't a parent myself back then, this interaction instantly gave me new insights into what it truly means to be an attentive, caring parent.

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13. A Matter Of Perspective

While strolling back to our place, my partner and I passed through a quite posh neighborhood filled with opulent houses. I commented, expressing my wish to reside somewhere as grand. She responded by saying, "That would be fantastic, but I bet there are people who look at our house with the same longing". 

That response truly made me cherish what I already have. 

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14. The Name On The Door

Back in the 80s, I was in the middle of med school, and my viewpoint was a bit narrow, deeply rooted in conservative values. My upbringing, which had been fairly protected and Catholic, hadn't exposed me to a lot of diversity. 

I remember clearly a situation where one of my classmates, a married woman, had chosen to keep her maiden name. This was less common back then, and out of curiosity, I asked her why she'd made that choice. You know, I was bracing myself for a deep discourse on feminism and gender norms. But instead, her response deeply moved me. 

She said, "I have a lot of respect for my father-in-law, he's a great guy. But he's not the one who spent his whole life working double shifts just to put food on our table and afford my education through undergrad school and now in med school. I want my father, every time he drives past my office, to see his own name proudly displayed at the front. He is the reason I'm here today".

Prior to this, I'd never had a moment where a simple comment completely changed my perspective so quickly and profoundly. Even now, 35 years later, I can't share this experience without being overcome by emotion. It taught me a valuable lesson about how our views are shaped by our individual perspectives. 

Ever since, I try my best to truly understand someone else's point of view before I disregard their opinion.

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15. A Child’s Plea

Growing up, my dad was often away, working long shifts at the local coal mine. I would catch a glimpse of him early in the morning before school, and again at bedtime. There was a time when I hardly recognized him, and would even shy away from approaching him. 

Adding to his struggles, my father was a smoker; he found it tough to kick the habit. But, one evening, he came home early and I saw him lighting up at the dining table. That's when I walked up to him and simply said, "Daddy, please don't do that," choking back tears. 

I was too young to understand the implications of cigarettes, but my heartfelt plea affected him deeply. He later revealed that from that moment, he never felt the urge to smoke again. He felt guilty for the distance that had grown between us, and my aversion to approach him. 

Although my statement wasn't earth-shattering, he said it was a turning point in his life.

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16. Moving On

My dad was a no-show at my graduation. Our relationship has been rocky for quite some time and honestly, I wasn't overly keen on him attending. However, after some gentle nudging from my mom, I decided to extend an invitation via text. She even reassured me that he had verbally confirmed he'd be there.

But the night came and went, and he wasn't there. His decision impacted me—not out of hurt, but it inspired me to cut off all contact with him. It was after our last text exchange that I decided to step away, making sure to cut ties financially and even went as far as to redirect my mail from his place to my mom's.

This decision, surprisingly, had a liberating effect on me. I evolved into a more decisive person, genuine and more in tune with my gut instincts. I felt more centered, happier, and for the first time, I recognized the weight his negligible involvement in my life had previously placed on me.

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17. Waiting Too Long

For several years, I was employed with a company where I made my career ambitions known right from my interview. They promised me the opportunity to grow in the role I wanted, but this meant starting from a lower position first. 

Year after year, I sought promotion into my desired role, but was continually told I wasn't quite ready. The next thing I knew, eight years had passed. Feeling increasingly impatient, I reached out to another firm that specialised in the line of work I was passionate about, and inquired if they had any vacancies. 

They initially responded that there were no open positions, but agreed to take my name nonetheless. Interestingly, upon hearing my name, I was promptly put on hold until the company's boss himself took the call. He questioned my reasons for wanting to join their team and why it took me so long to reach out.

I explained my aspiration to work in that specific field but shared how I had been constantly discouraged and told that I was unprepared for such a role. As a result, I feared they wouldn't consider hiring me. Against my expectations, not only did he create a job opening specifically for me, but he also mentioned that he would have done so years ago if I had approached him then. 

Throughout my tenure at this company, I was deemed the employee of the year, every year, and received numerous accolades for my performance. The moral of the story is, sometimes, you might be seeking advice or approval from the wrong person. They could be discouraging you from pursuing what you truly want. 

It's crucial to set yourself a clear timeframe regarding your patience and determination towards attaining your desired goals.

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18. Some Tough Love

For about seven or eight years, I worked as a bicycle courier. My lifestyle mainly revolved around parties, but I was getting a bit tired of my job. So, on one occasion, I jokingly asked a businessman in an elevator about how to land a gig like his. He fired back with a life-changing response, "You can't gain what I have without hustling like I did".

His terse and superior attitude, though unexpected, inadvertently shifted my perspective. Determined, I went on to earn my GED, quit my bike messenger gig, enrolled in a community college, and now, I'm studying in a university. I'm just one semester shy of acquiring my bachelor's degree in Computer Science.

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19. Chess And Science

Back in my grade school days, I was part of a chess club. The club's leader once shared, "Losing teaches you more than winning". At that time, it had a slight impact on me. Yet, with time, that straightforward advice grew in significance. It inspired me to experiment more, learn from my mishaps and bravely face them when I messed up.

This helped me to become more inventive in my approach to problems. I realized that a wrong or unexpected outcome isn't all that bad, as long as you acknowledge and learn from the mistake. I found myself naturally curious, often asking "what if" questions related to my school lessons. 

Looking back, I appreciate how that one statement encouraged a scientific curiosity in me. After all, in science, it's perfectly fine to get the "wrong answer". As long as you learn something from it, it’s a step forward.

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20. Changing For The Worse

Once, there was a buddy I got to know online. I genuinely liked him a lot. We chatted daily and he used to sneak text messages to me during his school hours. We shared personal jokes and talked about his crushes, my work, and so on. We were really close. Then suddenly, one day he vanished without any notice. He blocked me right after our usual nice chat.

I noticed he is still active on his social media, making me think I was the reason for this abrupt end, but I don't know why. Since then, I struggle to trust people as I'm scared they might abandon me without warning. Currently, I have a new friend who's really great, yet there's this ongoing worry that he may find a reason to leave me. 

As a result, I've become less trustful, even of those who actually deserve my trust.

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21. Looking Back Fondly

One of my friends sadly lost his five-year-old son in a devastating car accident. He found it very hard to cope in the ensuing weeks, often overcome by tears and finding even daily tasks to be a struggle. 

Another of our friends offered him some heartfelt advice, "We can't truly comprehend the depth of your grief, but just think about your son for a moment. Do you believe he would want his short but impactful five years in your lives to only bring about sorrow?"

The advice continued, "Your son enriched your lives with five unforgettable years full of joyous memories, which will always be there to cherish. No one is denying your right to grieve, it's inevitable, but remember to celebrate the good times, too. Hold onto the laughter and happiness that also formed part of your journey with him. It's okay to balance your sadness with moments of joy". 

This reframing has profoundly affected my own perspective on the loss of loved ones.

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22. Breaking The Cycle

My parents didn't always treat me right—it pushed me to set a parenting plan for myself. When I have my own children, I'll ensure they all get the same treatment. No bias or favoritism. The same rules go for everyone and if someone steps out of line, the consequences will match the action. 

If my girl wishes to take up karate or engage in sports, she will have my full support. If my boy chooses to embrace fashion and makeup, I will stand by him. My parents set way too many restrictions for me. As a female, they expected me to be graceful and compliant. 

It's hard to believe, but my mom even sent me to manners classes. Options like participating in sports, making friends, or becoming part of clubs were opposed by my parents. Their vision for me was confined—to only look after them and my potential spouse. Nobody else even mattered.

According to them, my personal aspirations had no place in my life. They told me my focus should only be on the people I was supposed to care for, completely negating my individuality. My children will never endure such an approach. It’s dreadful and it has left a deep wound within me.

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23. White-Hot Rage

Back when I was just 15, I had a chores spat at home that changed my life. Picture this—I'm at the sink washing dishes when my kid brother decides he needs something from underneath it. He's pleading, I'm resisting. Doesn't help that he starts nudging me annoyingly with his little foot. Each nudge kindles my temper, and before I know it, I actually lose it.

Anyone who's experienced this will tell you it's like being engulfed in a blanket of blinding fury. Totally disorienting. When my senses returned, I witnessed the aftermath—broken plates, bloodied hand, and my brother sprawled on the ground. At the helm of the chaos, I discovered I'd inadvertently smacked him with two ceramic dinner plates while in "limbo". 

Though he was more shocked than hurt, I didn't escape unscathed—those plates had left a nasty gash on my hand. For a while, I was dismissive—after all, he was annoying, right? But years later, I had a bone-chilling realization of how that situation could have escalated if instead of a plate, a knife was in my hands.

Calling it a "wake-up call" is putting it mildly. From then on, I vowed to keep my temper in check. Whenever I sense anger bubbling up to that uncontrollable point, I firmly step back from the situation and distance myself physically. 

In my 25 years since that incident, I've only ever been close to that edge twice. But remembering what I'm capable of doing when pushed to the limit keeps me from crossing it. And if I can, I'll never let myself get there again.

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24. Treating Yourself Better

I used to be pretty unhealthy, but I just wouldn't admit it. I was dealing with high blood pressure, creeping up on diabetes, and carrying around too much weight. Exercise was never really my thing and my eating habits were far from good. Then my husband and I decided we wanted to start a family. 

Getting pregnant was easy, and I tried my best to do everything right during the pregnancy—eating well and taking care of myself. But still, tragedy struck. Sadly, I lost the baby at 30 weeks due to problems with my placenta, which were tied back to my blood pressure issues.

Experiencing that loss was really hard, especially as I ended up with not just emotional but physical pain from internal bleeding—it was honestly pretty scarring. To make things worse, I then came down with a serious infection in my C-section wound. 

I ended up needing surgery, a three week hospital stay, and then two months of in-home nursing care as the wound healed from deep within. Fast-forward six months, and I've lost 50 pounds. 

On most days, I'm managing to get in my target of 10k steps, practicing yoga, cutting back on eating out and snacking on junk food, while also making sure I'm eating 500 fewer calories than my body needs each day. As a result, my blood sugar and blood pressure levels are looking a lot better. 

I still have a ways to go, but I've stopped taking my health lightly. I certainly didn't used to treat my body with the respect it deserves. Going through all of this has really taught me a valuable lesson.

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25. To The Next Stop

When I was 16, I found myself waiting at the bus stop, en route to college. An odd man, who looked to be in his late 30s, sauntered up and asked if I had a light. Happily, I provided one. He then began sharing tales about his life, revealing his disdain for his current surroundings and highlighting the joy and fortune he discovered while working in Asia. 

I had never pictured myself leaving my hometown, let alone relocating to another continent. Unexpectedly, he made a lasting impression on me. His stories planted a seed in my mind that bloomed into reality 22 years later. Now, I live overseas, thriving in a new corner of the world, earning a comfortable living, and feeling happier than ever. 

If I could, I'd buy that eccentric stranger a drink. Despite our brief interaction, he helped steer my life in a completely different direction.

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26. Learning To Bend Time

When I was a little kid, it was a big ordeal for my mom to get me to bed. Then one day, while my grandma was reading me a Raggedy Ann tale, something struck a chord with me. 

As Ann struggled with sleep much like I did, another character wisely noted, "The sooner you go to sleep, the sooner you'll wake up!" That simple reasoning was a game-changer for me, making me see sleep as a form of time travel.

A paradigm shift came as I found myself waiting aimlessly for the dawn each night. The desire of being active and engaged in the daylight was overwhelming. But then it hit me—by just dozing off, I would practically be teleporting 7 hours ahead to morning! It felt like an amazing discovery.

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27. Breaking And Repairing

A while back, a good friend of mine told me, "Your former girlfriend came by a few weeks ago, and I asked her on a date. She agreed". That news shattered me completely, and I no longer see him as a true friend. Sure, I was once a bit arrogant and self-assured, but this situation has made me more empathetic. 

Now, I look out for everyone's feelings and strive to keep everyone cheerful. If anyone needs a listening ear, I'm ready to offer mine. Emotions can be so powerful, you just need someone to chat with regularly.

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28. Weighing Complaints

During my final stint abroad in the military, right before retiring, I found myself stationed in a developing nation. It's an experience that truly makes you value the comforts we enjoy in the United States, and other developed countries for that matter. 

While I've always been a rather friendly, laid-back guy, it never ceases to get under my skin to see folks here at home moaning about the simplest things. Truth told, we hardly have anything worth complaining about in the grand scheme of things. If you leave your phone somewhere and can't use it for an hour, it isn't the end of the world.

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29. Rethinking The Past

My childhood in the quiet Midwest was shaped by my father's surprisingly prejudiced views, which were starkly out of place even in our predominantly white community. His negative remarks even extended to our own family—particularly my uncle, who was of Mexican heritage. 

I always felt uncomfortable with his words. But, the turning point in my life came when I relocated to Southern California. It was here that I truly experienced a diverse and integrated society for the first time, making me realize that my father's opinions were utterly misguided.

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30. Didn’t Come To Mind

I was venting to a fellow employee about the people who insist on wheeling their bulky strollers around at crowded festivals and street fairs. "Who would even do that?" I questioned my colleague. "Actually, I do," he replied, "I have a daughter with disabilities". 

That response came as a surprise; I hadn't considered that as a possibility before. While there are certainly some inconsiderate people out there, it's possible that others have legitimate reasons for their actions.

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31. What Everyone Wants

During one of my darkest and most isolated periods, when I was on the verge of losing all hope, my dad came and sat next to me. He said something that really resonated with me: "People naturally gravitate towards those who radiate happiness. It's not selfish—it's a normal and healthy response. We all need people in our lives who make things easier, not harder".

Those words had a profound impact on me.

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32. The Way We Speak

In high school, I had a girlfriend who once questioned why I constantly used curse words. I didn't have a solid reason, so I asked her why she never resorted to cursing. 

She responded, "English is a rich language with thousands of words that pinpoint very specific meanings. If you resort to cursing or using non-descriptive words like 'stuff' or 'things', it indicates a lack of effort in your communication".

Her insight completely transformed my perspective on language and the impressions we create through our speech.

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33. Keep Moving Forwards

After spending what felt like wasted years living in fear, I typed a message in my phone that read, "I don't know how to tell you this. This is your life". Somehow, I lost track of this note until about a month later. I can't say I've completely changed, but at least I've started taking small steps towards not squandering my entire life.

My fears are still present, and I haven't made progress on what I discern as my utmost priority. However, the thought is with me every day. Life doesn't offer retries. It's a choice between taking action towards what I desire now or finding myself in the same spot a decade from now.

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34. Letting Go Of Worry

My boyfriend was out driving during a snowstorm and hadn't responded to any of my texts for the entire day. Not knowing if he'd made it safely to any of his destinations had me fearing the worst. I was concerned he'd been in an accident and severely injured. I was hanging out with a friend at the time and asked her opinion on whether I should start ringing up hospitals.

My friend turned to me, took a deep sigh, and said, "Look, the likelihood of him being involved in a minor car crash isn't great. And the chances of him getting injured in a severe accident is even slimmer. Don’t stress too much”.

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35. Rethinking The Name

I recently tuned in to a show titled Status Anxiety. Essentially, it's a look at the past when people's livelihoods were determined by their birth. If your dad was a baker, so were you. If your father was a locksmith, you'd become one too. Regardless of your wealth or influence, you couldn't escape being a baker or locksmith. Your societal status remained fixed.

Ever felt the urge to purchase something specifically to show off your success or wealth to others? How about making a purchase from a big-name brand? Why did you choose it? Was it for its exceptional quality or just to stay in style? Have you encountered someone who bought a fancy car, beyond their means, simply to appear affluent? 

I started scrutinizing my own purchases. It was then that a rather unsettling truth hit me. I found myself buying items primarily to boost my image, with little regard for their practicality. Now, my approach towards shopping has changed. Everything that goes into my cart stays there for at least a week. 

If after that period I still desire it, I recognize its utility rather than it being just another item to clutter my life. I refrain from purchasing branded goods unless they guarantee quality, which is the sole condition that prompts their purchase. In essence, my life has less frills now, but it's certainly not worse off, in my opinion. 

My car's not flashy, but it serves its purpose well. I frequently shop at Kmart and if something breaks, I'll get a more durable replacement. But if it lasts, I stick with the Kmart version. Possessing numerous Kmart items doesn't make me frugal. I willingly spend on things I genuinely crave, the brand logo just holds minimal significance for me.

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36. Sensing Sarcasm

When I got divorced, my therapist pointed out that sarcasm can sometimes be a mask for anger. At that moment, it hit me how for almost ten years I lived with someone who slowly eroded my self-esteem. They would disguise their criticisms as sarcastic humor. Moving on from that relationship was the best decision I made. 

Now, I mostly avoid people who dismiss their harsh words by saying, "Oh, I was just joking".

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37. Making Mistakes

My first jazz workshop at university was nerve-racking. Having only taught myself for a short while before the term started, I suddenly found myself in a room full of youngsters who'd been jamming since they were barely out of diapers. 

Then our workshop conductor stopped us and declared, "Regardless of your skill level or the amount of time you've been practicing, you will never be fully prepared". He shared that despite being an acclaimed Canadian jazz pianist with half a century of experience, he was consistently apprehensive about messing up his gigs at the local bar every Saturday night. 

This shed light on the fact that everyone is continually learning and evolving. And making mistakes is not only normal but also an integral part of the learning process. Like every good teacher who improvises their way through each class, we are all navigating our way through life without a definitive map set in stone.

This One Moment Changed My LifeFlickr,Berklee Valencia Campus

38. Losing Too Much

In a brief span, I experienced a string of devastating losses. It's as if these events triggered some sort of response that completely changed me; it's like they turned my personality inside out. 

I now deal with anxiety over the future, fearing being left alone, oversharing my deep-seated pain with others, hunting for constant reassurance, struggling with coordination, and the total crumbling of my past convictions and moral code. It was an intense whirlwind.

These involuntary shifts in my character took place, and honestly, I'm still grappling with accepting these changes. I've managed to find a bit more stability over the last couple of years, but there's still a sense of inner conflict and dissatisfaction.

This One Moment Changed My LifePexels

39. Learning To Learn

One of my friends really likes martial arts and has been attending classes for some time now. He recently revealed that he's starting taekwondo again, right from the beginner's white belt level. I curiously asked why, to which he replied that each instructor has a unique teaching style and relearning the same skills in a new way enhances your proficiency.

He believes that while learning anything new, many questions may be left unanswered or you might try to solve them on your own. Enrolling in the class again could help understand those unclear parts. This reasoning struck a chord with me. 

Now, I always lend an ear when someone explains something familiar because there's nothing to lose if they don't present new insights, but there's something to gain if they do.

This One Moment Changed My LifePexels

40. Sharing Is Dumb!

In the past, I used to be pretty self-centered and demanding. Despite having a sister and a brother, I wanted everything for myself. I had a serious thing for cheese, any and all kinds. On a trip to my aunt's place in Italy, we made a detour to France where she bought 20 different kinds of cheese. 

When we got back, she ripped open all 20 packs and had me try each one. I wondered why she was sharing them with me, as technically, it was her cheese. Her response was, "What's more wonderful than sharing things you enjoy with those you adore?" This profound wisdom completely transformed me.

This One Moment Changed My LifeFlickr, Marco Verch Professional Photographer

41. Apology Awareness

I don't recall exactly who pointed it out, but back in high school, a buddy of mine asked me, "What makes it so difficult for you to apologize?" It then dawned on me that my family never would say sorry for their mistakes. They'd typically respond with something like "Well, you're to blame anyway" or "So what? I don't care" when they had upset someone. 

Those words from my pal really opened my eyes to my lack of emotional intelligence. After that, I started focusing on offering apologies when I was in the wrong, rather than going on the defense.

This One Moment Changed My LifePexels

42. Finding New Family

I’ve never been one to feel sorry for myself. I never have an attitude of "oh, poor me, I had it tough. Pity me," and I sure don't leverage it to explain my actions. Growing up, I had a single mom who tirelessly worked her heart out to support five kids. 

It was tough because her demanding job rarely allowed her to be home. But she was truly amazing and I appreciate every sacrifice she made. This helped mold me into a resilient, scrappy individual. However, unfortunately, growing up without a positive male influence or having short-term ones who were, well, let's say less than ideal, created a struggle. 

I unknowingly adopted some of their negative traits as it was the only reference I have. I admit there were instances where I did things I am not proud of today. However, my life took a turn for the better when I was around 18, embraced by the family of my then-girlfriend, now wife. 

I was able to find a stable, emotionally secure individual who I could confide in. They were kind, rational, and led by example. Our interactions allowed me to express my thoughts openly and receive thoughtful responses without judgment. I became more reflective. I didn't need strict rules, wealth, or pity; I needed guidance. And that's what I got. 

Those years were instrumental in shaping me. Fast forward 10 years, and I believe I'm a much better individual, and a better husband, because of their support.

This One Moment Changed My LifePexels

43. Finding Kindness Inside

In my teenage years, I found it challenging to connect with my peers. Always feeling like the odd one out and constantly apologizing for simply being there, my confidence was at an all-time low. My therapist assured me that everyone battles with self-doubt and people actually crave sincere conversation and a bit of attention.

I didn't fully grasp this until a nerve-racking day in a new class. Instructed where to sit, I found myself beside a new classmate. I was mortified, thinking how she must be unhappy being stuck next to me. Not daring to make eye contact or start a conversation, I later realized this may appear as if I disliked her.

Deciding to switch gears and try being friendly, even if I felt like it wouldn't matter, I started treating people with kindness. A year later, I found myself in the same class again. Determined to do things differently, I decided to introduce myself, share a smile, and ask my new deskmate her name. 

In response, she spoke warmly and even complimented my notebook. That was the moment I truly understood my therapist's advice. It was a game-changer. My interaction with the world and my perception of myself transformed.

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44. Taking A Weight Off

After shedding off some pounds, I noticed the significant part of life I'd missed due to my weight. The newfound freedom of movement, comfort in any attire, feeling of normalcy, and the sensation of touch have transformed my perspective immeasurably and heightened my appreciation for good health.

My relationship with nourishment is healthier today. I've come to understand how to distinguish between hunger, thirst, and fullness. Now, I'm part of a wonderful circle of friends, and for once, I feel quite "normal". I've made a commitment to myself to always be the man I am today, someone who takes his health seriously and constantly self-reflects on his actions and needs.

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45. Emotions Are Okay

Feeling anxious and down from time to time is completely normal. I once projected a chilled and laid-back image—that’s who I aspired to be. However, the better I got at masking and managing these emotions, the more intense they became. I felt abnormal and full of shame trying to tackle these issues on my own. 

Therapy played a key role in showing me that battling uncontrollable emotions is a shared experience. It helped me identify the behaviors contributing to these feelings, and how to keep them in check. Nowadays, I'm able to discuss these emotions openly, while also being the cool, relaxed person I once only pretended to be.

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46. Other Kinds Of Rewards

A friend and I were having a chat about our weight loss journeys one day. Once upon a time, she was on the heavier side but had since shaped up tremendously. She mentioned that she'd given up engaging in cheat days. That idea had come to her after someone pointed out that she wasn't a pup, and food shouldn't be her reward. 

This advice dramatically shifted my outlook on weight loss, and I realized that as a human, there are far more fulfilling rewards than just a chocolate bar. As a result, whenever I hit my diet goals, I'd treat myself in different ways. I might embark on a trip, purchase a new game, or even enjoy a cheerful ride on the kiddie train at the mall.

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47. Making Backbone

My last breakup made me stronger than before, and while I'm not fond of open conflict, I stand up for myself. Some folks, usually those who don't like pushback, say it's selfish. But I've neglected self-care for so long, so there's no need to have a fit now that I'm speaking up for myself. This, however, caused an unexpected shift in my life.

It made me evaluate the company I keep. Post-breakup, I cut ties with many who I should have let go earlier, But though I've gained a lot more peace in my life, the breakup has left me a bit bitter and cynical. I'm working on it, but every day I'm a step closer to being the best version of myself.

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48. A Trail Of Trauma

My husband developed a benign brain tumor, and later on dementia. We endured years of intense suffering and became well-acquainted with despair. It tore our children apart, and our marriage couldn't survive it, despite my best efforts to hold on. In the end, it was his choice for us to get a divorce. 

He now lives in a care facility, and after 14 years, I've found love again and remarried. Everything has transformed drastically. I experienced so much growth through this journey—not only individually and as a mother, but also in understanding my family, friends, employers, and even the legal process regarding guardianship. 

I gained knowledge on dementia, brain injuries, neurology, PTSD, chronic illnesses, and mental health therapy. Eventually, I discovered again what it means to feel joy.

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49. The Teacher’s Guidance

During my high school years, I was battling severe depression. I spent quite a length of time engaging in harmful activities like drinking, using substances and misusing over-the-counter medications. It was my flawed approach to handling my anxiety, depression, and intense sense of isolation. 

Eventually, my grades started plummeting and this prompted a meeting with a school counselor, who specialized in promoting "student success". The counselor aimed to understand why my performance was slipping. It took three months and multiple attempts on my life before I finally started opening up to her. 

Although typically composed, she was visibly upset and extremely worried about me. Her next words marked a significant turning point in my life. She stated firmly, "What you're doing at the moment clearly isn't helping. You need to try something different, whatever that might be".

She suggested that I introduce small changes, like perhaps switching the type of pencil I used or eating something different for lunch, and changing my preferred brand of drink. She asked me to make tiny adjustments every week. Surprisingly, I began to feel better over time. 

I learned that any change, however small, was an improvement over my then-current situation.

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50. What Do I Do?

One night, my friend was having a pretty tough time after breaking up with her boyfriend. She was so heartbroken, she called me sobbing. So, I picked her up and we headed to our favorite area by the local lake. As she started to calm down, she turned to me and asked, "Will things ever become easier?" 

I was stunned and had to think about it for a little while. I put my arm around her and said, "To be completely honest, no, things don't necessarily get easier. But don't worry, because the key is to find happiness in your life. When you do what you love and chase your dreams, life seems to become a whole lot better". 

Ever since that day, she managed to land a new job and returned to school.

This One Moment Changed My LifePexels

Sources: Reddit

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