Life is hard and full of choices. Some of us like to use our time wisely, making decisions that have a clear benefit and that get us to our next goal. Some of us aren’t so well organized and are more interested in living in the moment. Who among us hasn’t gotten caught up doing things we know we shouldn’t, but can’t seem to help ourselves? Whether it’s breaking rules, going against our own belief system, or just doing something that scares us, we never really know what will come of our choices. Often, in the moment, it might seem like we’re making a terrible mistake, but things have a mysterious way of working out in the end. Maybe there was a tipping point where you just knew you couldn’t continue on doing what you’ve been doing. The only thing left to do was reevaluate your life and make a choice. Read on for stories from Redditors that prove sometimes, a jump into the deep end can be the best possible choice you can make.
42. Getting it Together
Stopped doing hard drugs. Finished treatment for hep C (cured). Going back to school for what I love (architecture). Just bought a car and have held down a job for the past year.
41. From Fearful to Flourishing
Moving alone to a city at 21 (grew up in a town of 1,300) with almost zero money in the bank for a job slightly above minimum wage as a data entry clerk on a six-month contract. Worked my butt off for that six months, as I had no backup plan, and got hired full-time.
I distinctly remember one night one or two years later looking around at my now fully furnished apartment with a meal made by my then girlfriend and realized everything I saw I earned.
Fast forward nine years later and I’ve worked my way up the corporate ladder and my fiancé and I will be putting an offer on our dream home tomorrow night.
It’s really hard to feel how much you progress in life until you look back at where you were. The small day to day progress really adds up.
40. Stuff Just Gets in the Way
Going “minimalist” with my possessions, it’s just simplified a lot of things in my life and given me focus.
39. Journal For Your Well-Being
It sounds super trivial but—keeping a diary.
Even if it’s just to keep track of what you did that day, our memories can only store so much. Being in touch with your feelings and exactly how you live your life on a day to day basis makes a huge difference to your overall well-being. Writing something down not only makes you realize exactly how you feel, but it forces you to accept something rather than repress it, and that’s the first step in tackling troubling thoughts. It’s done wonders for my mental health and working out what my goals in life are.
38. Quit That Job and Do More
Walking out of an easy job. Paid the bills with minimal effort but I knew I was capable of more. Knew if I waited to job hunt and get interviews, I’d just keep putting it off. If I quit, I had to do something. Went to lunch, didn’t go back.
Two years later, I’ve doubled my income at a job just as easy except I actually feel like I have a chance of getting ahead now.
37. Always Choose You
Leaving an abusive relationship even though I loved them very much. Sometimes you have to put yourself first.
36. Stop Harmful Habits
I stopped smoking weed.
Hear me out. I have nothing against people that smoke weed at all.
I just realized that I started lying to myself to justify smoking so at that point I decided I needed to change something.
I also thought I could get all my school work done whilst high and almost failed out of college my first semester.
Realized that I wasn’t getting the most out of life that I could because I was smoking all the time.
Since I stopped I’ve gotten only two Cs in two years of school and have found myself feeling much healthier and happier.
35. Let Go of Negative Emotions
While in a tumultuous relationship I chose to not be jealous or resentful towards my partner, or anyone else. The biggest thing was realizing that it truly was a choice. When I felt jealous I previously took it personally, for no reason whatsoever, but felt so much more free, stable, and loving when I chose to not do that.
It’s carried over to a lot of other aspects of my life and has truly helped me to judge and take situations for what they are, allowing me to feel loved a lot easier.
34. Sober Up
Getting sober. Absolutely the best decision ever. Never knew life could be this good.
33. It’s Never Too Late
Going back to high school. I’m almost done, only 14 years late. Worth it.
32. No More Pressure
Deleting all my social media (I don’t consider Reddit “SM”), it’s helped a lot with only concentrating my time on people who I care about/care about me…also you lose FOMO.
31. Back to School
This isn’t going to sound like much, but I decided to appeal the suspension of my financial aid privileges so I could go to the closest university to my house. I have a wife and kids to worry about so I can’t just leave. We are getting by okay but there’s no way I could afford to add tuition into my budget.
Anyway, after almost two years of grueling back-and-forth between us, my renewal of privileges was finally approved and I start school on September at the ripe old age of 31.
30. It’s the Little Things
I quit drinking soda as a sophomore in HS.
To make a long story short, it was an awkward and sad time in my life. I had a horrible diet and was very scrawny and pale. I would get home from school and just game and drink a ton of soda. I looked ill, and was bullied by my own “friends” that I would hang out with daily.
They didn’t believe I could give it up, but I did. My skin got clearer, my life got happier, and I began to excel in track. Now I’m fit and they’re overweight, funny how that works. There are a ton of details I’m leaving out, but I would never be who I am today if I never gave it up. It was less of just soda, and more of the bad habits/lifestyle that came with how much I consumed.
29. Save a Life
Noticing the guy crying hysterically on the third floor at my old college. Saw him begin motioning to climb over the ledge so I ran up those flights of stairs so fast. Caught him just before he jumped and pulled him back over the railing.
28. Fight Back Against Addiction
Got off my prescription anxiety medication (first Valium, then Klonopin), which I was on between tenth grade to my freshman year of college. I got hooked on the pills, started abusing them to get high, experimented with other prescriptions, stole prescriptions, stole money from my family…I was a major scumbag to be honest.
But after drugs led to me dropping out of college, I decided that was it. All they did was make me tired and lazy, and I turned into such a bad person. But upon getting off them (with the help of my psychiatrist) I started a regular gym routine, got my first job, enrolled in EMS classes and got back to community college.
Now I’m a nursing student with a job in EMS, and I look and feel better than I ever have before in my life. I have no regrets and I feel fortunate that I got to get my life back on the road it was meant to be on because I know a lot of other people have not.
27. Proper Medication Makes All the Difference
Finally getting onto anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication. Legit a night and day difference after several months and changing of dosage. Therapy was helpful but mine was bad enough to merit medicine and I’ll never go back.
26. Feeling Supported
Marrying my wife. Along with being a loving, hilarious, gorgeous geek, she had the emotional intelligence to help me go to therapy and get past decades of baggage from my family, because she had done the same to get through her childhood issues.
I love seeing how she is as a mother to our two kids. I’m so glad they’ll never have reason to fear their mother like I did.
25. Everyone Has Different Needs
For me, it was recognizing that I needed a better therapist. The first counselor didn’t really understand what I needed, and would push me to keep explaining why I was depressed. I was kept in that state of mind instead of moving on.
Second one was a recording machine. She almost never said anything, so I had to carry the sessions. Again, this just forced me to stay in my own head because I had to keep explaining my feelings.
My current therapist will talk more than me some days. I can just tell him something that is on my mind and he is able to pick it up and run. He can explain all the pitfalls that someone might fall into, and warn me to avoid them. He is very good at pressing me into answering my own questions and shedding light onto things I hadn’t considered yet. We almost act more like friends having a coffee once a week than therapist/patient.
24. Putting Others First
When I was in kindergarten if you did stuff well and didn’t get in trouble you earned points that you could buy a reward with. I saved mine up for a long time to get a mini gumball machine, but when I finally went to go get it I made a split second decision to buy a glass rose that was another one of the prizes because I was about to visit my grandma and I wanted to give her something. Now every time I visit my grandma for years I get a little warm feeling seeing that rose sitting carefully in her living room above the fireplace.
23. Public Wake Up Call
When I was in my last relationship (lasted five years) stress and such had brought on soda and food as a means of release. I had become noticeably overweight, badly. Bordering on obese.
After I became single, my friends and I went to Vegas for New Years Eve. At the Heart Attack Grill, they have a public scale, weigh over 350 pounds you eat free. Everyone stands on it to get a photo.
I stood on it and I was 345 pounds. This was a wake-up call. Immediately cut out soda, changed my diet completely. I don’t have a lot of time to work out because of my work hours, so diet it was.
That was New Years Eve 2016-2017. It’s now June 2018 and I’m a happy 240 pounds at six-foot-four. Never have felt better in my life.
Recently, it was choosing the professor that I did to be my mentor (or however you call it in English) for my bachelor’s thesis. I am fairly certain I managed to complete it on time solely based on this one professor, who both motivated me (wrote to me and regularly asked how it’s going), and also gave suggestions on books and a lot of other help.
I know some of my classmates who didn’t make it… and unsurprisingly they had mentors who pretty much gave no help and left them on their own.
21. Feel Like You Belong
Transferring from University of Tampa to CU Boulder. I was terrified to tell my parents I hated it there, and I didn’t think they’d let me leave, as they were helping me pay for college.
I was in such a deep depression and I didn’t know if I’d come out of it. I told my parents, and I ended up moving to the place I feel like I belong. I love CU, and I love Colorado. It was step one to getting my life back on track, making that change.
20. Might Be Easier Said Than Done
Cutting out the toxic people from my life.
19. Put in the Work
On a lark, joining speech and debate while in college.
I was really lacking in self-confidence and dealing with a lot of trauma when I first arrived. I went to university just to get away from the mess of some family issues going on. I didn’t have a clear vision of where I was going or why. Joining the team helped me in unexpected ways. Having something constructive to do that allowed me to meet good people, gain confidence and presentation skills, and travel around was exactly the experience I didn’t know I needed.
I’m grateful we didn’t have to try out for the team because I didn’t have any particular talent or charisma for speaking—it was a matter of “if you’re willing to put in the work and keep your grades up, you can be on the team.” Having your ideas valued, learning new things, and talking to different people across the nation about their perspectives was intrinsically motivating. I became a much better student because of that, and also arguably a better person.
18. Butt Out, Forever
Quitting smoking, I smoked for nine years and quit 2.5 months ago. One of my favorite things I can do now is run. As a smoker I could never run for more than two minutes without dying, now I proudly have a seven-minute mile.
I wish I could go back in time and undo all the damage smoking did to me, but all I can do is push forward from here and be glad I don’t smoke. Screw cigarettes!
17. Break Your Own Rules
I had a rule: don’t flirt if there is no possibility of a relationship. My thinking was if this goes badly you’re just embarrassing yourself, and if things go well you’re just setting up for disappointment.
While at my college roommate’s wedding I broke that rule to flirt with the maid of honor, even though she lived three time zones away.
Yeah, we’re married now.
16. No More Harm
When I stopped self-harming. I don’t know what compelled me to do it, but I just realized one day that it wasn’t something I should keep doing. It took a while, and I am still fighting the urge to do it every day, but I am so glad I stopped. If anyone here ever needs to talk I’m here.
15. Help Yourself and You’ll Help Others
My ex-girlfriend got hooked on drugs so I broke it off (1). I slipped a Narcan into her bag before she walked out the door (2). Later that week, I heard she tried to purposely OD. Someone found the Narcan and brought her back. Apparently, she turned her life around after that.
14. Choose Life
This is cliche and cheesy as hell, but who cares—I chose not to try to kill myself again after a failed attempt when I was 19. When I woke up in that hospital bed, surrounded by friends and family, it was the wake-up call I needed. Up to that point, I hadn’t realised how my death would affect those around me.
I honestly thought I would just fade away, leave no void behind me. Seeing how many people wanted me to recover showed me that my death would hurt more people than I knew. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I dragged myself out of that depression without any medical help, having exhausted all the options available to me, and now it’s seven years later.
I’m not recovered, and things will probably always be difficult, but I will never try that again. Not now that I know what I’d be leaving behind.
13. Teach Yourself Something New
Buying a guitar and learning to play. No matter how tough the days get, how lonely it feels to be away from the people you love or how upsetting it is to not have your love reciprocated, music helps you find serenity and peace.
The learning process can be frustrating at times but the results are tangible if you keep at it and the sense of satisfaction is unparalleled. It is an escape from all trivialities and it’s time for you.
12. PSA: Acid Doesn’t Always Turn Out This Well
Took a tab of LSD, ended up having a terrible night and dissecting everything I hated about myself, quit my job and immediately went back to school, maintained a 4.0 which allowed me to get scholarships/grants/aid, and within a year I’ll be done. Already worked a few seasons in my field and have a job lined up, ready to hit the ground and crush life.
Thanks, LSD. Your mileage may vary on that one though, I can’t help but feel like I just got extremely lucky.
11. Know When to Start Over
Moving. I had serious addiction issues and if I had stayed in the area I was (Anaheim) I would probably be dead right now.
Place is just a meth infested dirt hole. Moved away, got clean, and am living happily ever after since. My biggest piece of advice to anyone who has addiction issues who is ready to quit is get the heck away from where you are and start over
10. Love Trumps Hate
Turning my back on my racist ideals. It’s a lot harder than you can imagine.
It’s never fully healed
9. Know When to Say No
Said no to marriage. While I understand marriage is a great thing, at that point in time it really wasn’t the best thing for me.
Called it off and decided to invest time in myself. Now I feel happier and I’m more confident I can take on the responsibilities that marriage brings.
8. Take a Leap of Faith
Long ago and far away; after agreeing with my partner that it would be best for us to terminate her unexpected pregnancy, I changed my mind, and chose not to.
That night I lay awake, wrestling with our decision and its implications—projecting the “what if’s” and the “maybes” into the future as far as I could.
Finally, I realized two things with absolute certainty: that I loved my partner with all my heart and that the plan we’d set our minds to before going to bed, would slowly erode our relationship until it was no more.
In the morning, when she woke up—I kissed her gently—told her that I loved her deeply—wanted to have the baby—and asked her to marry me.
Here, decades later, having raised and loved the beautiful daughter that was that baby—it was, and remains, the single best choice I’ve ever made in my entire life.
7. Become a Better Listener and a Better Person
Being patient and listening before I respond to issues.
6. Grades Aren’t Everything
Stop stressing about school and grades so much. My whole life I’ve felt like it’s been a swirl of ABCDF and GPA. When I realized I wanted something else after school, my entire outlook and motivation to exist changed.
5. Knowing What’s Best
Fighting cancer despite my ex-fiancé leaving in the middle of it. Finished my medical residency, and moved 300 miles away to start a new life; just me and my pup!
For those that are wondering what happened with my ex, we didn’t realize how viciously our “small” problems in our relationship would come back and bite us when things got tough. He had a tendency to bury his problems in the ground when he realized how overwhelming things got. Then he would explode when it was too late.
He sadly lost many job opportunities this way because he would wait for things to get better on their own. As I got sicker, he retreated further away. Things that we ignored earlier in our relationship started becoming bigger. We both just watched our relationship drift away and then our families got nasty with each other and I would try to be the middleman and make sure everyone was getting along but I was crumbling inside. I just wanted him to step up and take control but that’s just not who he was. I made mistakes too.
It was and is the most painful thing I’ve been through. Sometimes, love does not conquer all. But I learned a lot about myself through it and came out stronger. He always will be one of the best people to come into my life and sometimes I still grieve for him not being in my life anymore. But tragically I think it’s better this way.
4. Change Your Perspective with Travel
Broke up with a crazy ex and decided to go study abroad in France for half a year. Backstory, one night I got jumped by a group of people walking back to my house late at night. End up getting pretty roughed up so my buddies took me to the hospital. I called my then girlfriend at the time about what happened and all she said was “Oh okay I’ll try to maybe visit you tomorrow then.”
Well, I was pissed that she didn’t seem to care about how I was at all so I decided to break up with her the next day and told her to not even bother “maybe” coming to see me. As I was looking in the mirror at my broken nose, two black eyes, and a busted tooth for some reason I said screw it I’m going to study abroad somewhere to get away from my horrible ex for awhile.
Ended up studying in France where I traveled all over Europe while meeting a great group of friends I still talk to to this day. Living in another country changed my perspective on the world and made me a better person all because I got jumped and my ex triggering me to do something extreme.
3. The High Road
One of the worst periods of my life was when my ex left me out of the blue and hit me with the worst comments about me and my personality, possibly to distance us more but I honestly don’t know why. In my anger and sadness, I could’ve told everyone who knew us, all our classmates, his brothers (who had a negative opinion of me) all the stuff my ex did and said, all the screenshots where he left comments on my instagram photos out of anger knowing I got upset.
I could’ve aired our dirty laundry, I could’ve said hurtful things back—like I never loved him or he never made me feel happy (all untrue of course), I could’ve slapped him because of the amount of crap I got from him. I held my tongue, cried my butt out but I still held my tongue.
And I think it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made. That I didn’t stoop down to his level, that I didn’t hurt him the way he did to me. I’m a lot more at peace with myself, knowing I didn’t hurt someone else in my pain and suffering.
2. When Enough is Enough
Quitting my last job.
I was burned out on it. Physically, mentally, emotionally.
Every morning I woke up looking for reasons I could call out. Every night I tossed and turned, dreading the next day. I found myself hoping someone would hit me on the way to work, just to have a valid reason not to show up.
Then due to safety issues I broke my foot at work. I was out six months recovering.
When I came back to work, the burn was worse, not better.
So one day, I just…quit. We did our morning huddle and stretches. The supervisor talked about how it was going to be a busy day. And I just didn’t care. I walked off. Went to the outbound supervisor, turned in my badge, and straight up told him the job wasn’t for me anymore.
Despite not having another job lined up, despite wiping out my savings and maxing out three credit cards to stay afloat while I was out recovering from my broken foot, I felt like I’d just lifted a large weight.
I smiled for the first time in months. Went and said goodbye to my co-workers, then went outside and waited on my ride.
I’m much happier now. I found another job about a month later. I got my GED. I started paying attention to my relationship and saved it when my fiancee planned on ending things. Now I’m applying to colleges to get a computer science degree and working on a book that has been bouncing in my head for decades.
So yeah, best decision I ever made.
1. Risk it to Get the Biscuit
I met this girl my first year in the Navy. She was Russian and in the US on a work visa (she was studying English and got to spend the summer in the states as a part of her university program). While she was here, she was working as a lifeguard for the apartment pool and I was swimming everyday so I could pass a swim qual for a navy school I was going to.
After a few days of flirting and conversation I find out she lived in apartment 101 and I lived in 102 of the same building. She was the girl next door. She told me her dream was to get an American education, but unfortunately, she would have to leave at the end of the summer. If you know anything about military pay, you get an extra allowance for housing if you’re married.
I married her so she could start her dream and I’d get paid more. We agreed that if it didn’t work out, we would divorce when she got her green card. It was risky. I could go to jail, and she could get deported and never be able to return. But, I fell in love with her and she with me. This next August will be our 11 year anniversary and we have two kids. I can’t imagine my life without her now. Sometimes the risk is worth it. Just plug your nose and jump.