As they say, life is what happens when you're making other plans—and no one knows that better than these people. From tragedies to epiphanies, these Redditors share the moments that changed their lives forever. There's no looking back now...
1. A New Start
In December 2006, I finally faced my shameful secret. I had been a drug addict for 15 years. Even the people who desperately loved me were about to cut me off. I knew in my heart that this was my last chance to get my life in order otherwise it would be the end. I waled back into the rehab center that I had left six months prior. I vowed to complete the program and turn my life around. I did it.
2. Ignorance Is Bliss
My life hasn’t been the same since the day my husband confessed his numerous affairs to me. I had absolutely no idea. I was blissfully happy in the marriage and thought he was too. I was completely blindsided. Now, I don't see how I could ever trust any man in any relationship again.
3. A Doctor a Day (or Once) Keeps the Cardiac Arrest at Bay
A guy I know constantly looked so tired and napped all the time during the day. He would nap so hard that you would have to shake him to wake him up, and he could fall asleep anywhere super-fast. I asked him about it, and he told me he felt tired all the time because he couldn't sleep at night; he figured he just had insomnia or something but refused to go to a doctor about it.
One day, he had a legit mental breakdown after a few drinks, we basically had to babysit him all night and I'm convinced it was because of his constantly exhausted state. Not long after that incident, he went to the doctor about his sleep—and he discovered incredible news. It turns out he had been living with severe sleep apnea for years.
The doctor told him he was basically on the verge of a heart attack or stroke because of it. Now he sleeps with a special mask at night and he has completely changed for the better. He visibly has way more energy, and his performance in school went through the roof. I can't stress enough how much getting treatment helped my friend.
4. Entering Survival Mode
My mother left me in a restaurant when I was a freshman in high school. She gave me $20 and moved across the state without me. My grandparents drove five hours and to give me a place to stay while I went to high school. It was an awful experience, but being with my grandparents show me the real meaning of love and family.
In the end, I emancipated from my mom. I feel bad for my little brother though who she took with her everywhere on her drug-fuelled life. To this day, he can’t be too far away from mom in case she needs his help.
5. The Scary Cop
I got pulled over for doing 90 mph in a 55 zone. I was 17, and in my state that's when you are legally an adult. The officer had me stop the engine, get out, and then handcuffed me on the side of the road. I thought he was going to put me in his car, but instead we talked. I never could have anticipated what he had to say.
He told me about making choices and the consequences of my actions if I had crashed or lost control and what would happen if he booked me for this: reckless endangerment, operating a motor vehicle 35 mph in excess of the speed limit, reckless driving. After scaring me straight, he took off the handcuffs, handed me my keys, and told me that he had never see my name come up anywhere for anything ever again, before letting me go.
I was shaking so bad I could barely drive off the highway. Suffice to say: I've never had another traffic violation.
6. Trip Back Into Parenthood
My mother wore heels to work and slipped on the carpeted steps, resulting in a broken high heel and a broken leg. While she was home recovering, she somehow developed allergies that led to her needing an inhaler. The inhaler interfered with her birth control, and now I have a brother 13 years younger than me.
7. You Get What You Give
When my elementary school donated canned foods for the needy, I thought it went to a homeless shelter or something. Days later, I got a rude awakening. Imagine my surprise when they gave me this big box of canned foods one day. I was all like, "No no no, we're not homeless." And they were all like, "Take this food you little thing."
So I did. My parents were ecstatic about it, but my excitement was somewhat dulled by the realization that I was the poorest kid in my class. Also there was some applesauce in there that went south, and I puked it all up after eating the whole jar. It smelled funny, it tasted funny, but I still ate it. I still don't understand why I did that.
8. Things Can Change in an Instant
My life changing moment was the birth of our son—specifically, minutes after the birth of our son, when they found my wife full of cancer. Life has been pretty lousy ever since. On the bright side, the kid is great.
9. Now That’s Direct Action
Worked with a guy at AutoZone who had two set of kids and two sets of child support payments. He worked 40 hours with us and then 30-40 at a grocery store, just killing himself to survive. Then one day, he made a heartbreaking confession. Turns out that he was like nine hours away from a degree he had begun a decade earlier.
The managers at both stores knew his situation and worked his schedule together to get him the hours he needed. They started a tuition fund that anyone could donate to and both sat him down to say he needed to finish his school. The school put together a pre-req class for him, which he got an A in, and off he went, one class at a time.
One year later, he walked across the stage with a marketing degree and turned his whole life around at 41 or 42.
10. Her Life for Yours
My mother's death. My mom was diagnosed with cancer while I was in community college. Unfortunately, she passed, and it was time for me to apply to colleges to transfer. I applied to a college out of state because the running joke in my family was that she loved this place so much, she would have come with me to college to live in my dorm room with me.
I applied as a joke, never thinking I would get accepted. Turns out I did, and I accepted the admissions offer. Five years later, I live 3,000 miles from home and have an amazing life studying science. If she didn't pass away, I would have gone to a state school and followed my then boyfriend. I would probably be pregnant and married by now. But instead, I'm a very independent person who practically lives on the beach.
11. Maids of Dishonor
This actually happened pretty recently. I am getting married in less than three months and I was supposed to have a get together with my bridesmaids, four life long friends and my older sister. My sister is a very unreliable, mildly selfish, drama-filled person. My friends are all reliable, amazing people who have been there for me my entire life. It went horrifically.
The get together, which was basically replacing my bridal shower since I wasn’t going to have a shower, ended up only consisting of my sister showing up on time and excited, and just one of my friends who showed up right at the end of the event. The other’s excuses: “I don’t feel good” (her Snapchat showed her out drinking just a few hours later).
“I decided not to come into town.” “I woke up late and decided to hang out with my other friends.” I’m hard on myself, so I feel a little petty—but, come on, this is my wedding. I haven’t spoken to the other three since then because I can’t even bring myself to say anything to them other than how utterly disappointed I still am.
I almost choked to death as a child at an IHOP. A doctor who had been eating at the next table saved my life by performing the Heimlich, then nonchalantly sat back down to finish his meal. My grandma was still flipping out. From that moment on, I wanted to be like that guy and have modeled my behavior after his example for my entire adult life.
13. Why Trade in Pills When You Can Just Trade?
I had a friend who had an addictive personality. He was incredibly smart but liked to party too much. During junior year of high school, he got into a car accident, broke some bones, and got addicted to the pills he was prescribed. He spiraled downwards after that and barely made it out of high school. Most people lost contact with him and thought he would just be another lowlife.
A few years after high school, a life-changing tragedy happened. One of our mutual friends took their own life and he took it very hard, but it was enough to change his attitude. He took up an interest in investments and decided to move away from his burnout friends to attend a college. He graduated in less than four years and ended up working for a reputable bank earning six figures, and now he's always posting his luxurious vacations on Facebook.
14. Slack No More
I got kicked out of college after three semesters of slacking off, oversleeping, and missing classes. I just didn't care to be there. I was 18, working part-time at a pizza place, didn't have a car or license, and had no motivation to do much of anything. This moment shocked me to my core and I completely changed my habits.
I started working full time, practiced driving and got my license, and sold my video games for the down payment on a used car. I've basically been on an upward trend since then.
15. Some Pit Stops Are More Important Than Others
My sister's muffler fell off her car on the way to a family function. It wasn't a big deal, but it meant that she could no longer lend it to my mom later that week as it would be in the shop for repairs. My mom had already been told she could use the car and had already made a doctor's appointment. My uncle volunteered to drive her instead.
This minor change in plans made it so that my aunt and uncle, who were planning on leaving the city, had to delay by a few hours. They were supposed to go to their farm, but instead my aunt waited at her mother's while my uncle was dropping my mom off. The consequences were unbelievable. My aunt's mother had a heart attack and would have been completely alone that afternoon if not for my sister's car trouble.
Because my aunt was there, she was able to call the paramedics and they were able to save her.
16. All Aboard the Survival Path
Back in the 80s, my mom studied abroad in England. A couple of days before her flight back home to the US, she got too homesick to wait any longer and spontaneously bought a ticket home early. The flight she was originally supposed to take was Pan Am flight 103, where all 243 passengers and 16 crew died.
17. Guilty by Association
There was a guy I knew in high school who always tried to pursue me romantically, but I never really gave him the time of day. We were friends, but I told him that was all I wanted to be. He had this infamous group of friends who were wild, gang-like and could be very annoying and childish. I always associated him with being just like his friends.
About eight years after high school, we stayed acquaintances and saw each other on an occasional night out here and there. We always had good conversations when we did see each other, and he was always a funny guy. Nevertheless, I still always saw him as another one of “those boys” like his friends. Then one day, out of the blue, he asked me to hang out—as friends, but just him and me.
We met at a local bar for some casual conversation. This was the first time that it had ever been a real conversation between just the two of us, and I suddenly started to see who he really was. He was so much fun to talk to and, after a few hours of talking, I realized that he wasn’t like his friends at all. He was sweet, genuine, fun, funny, and still truly had a romantic interest in me.
We went on an actual date a week later and we have been inseparable ever since. We have been dating for just shy of two years now, and have been living together for seven months. Giving him a chance and getting to know him was the best decision I ever made. He has turned out to be the most amazing man I know, and the best boyfriend I could have hoped for.
18. Plan B
The moment that changed my life was missing out on getting into my dream school’s engineering program by just 2%. I had wanted to be an engineer and to go to that school since I was six. Now, I suddenly had to come up with a whole new plan.
19. Beating the Odds
My parents were not good people and preferred to take vacations and eat out constantly while my mentally handicapped brother and I starved in an infested shack with no heat, water, electricity, or walls in one part of the house, with the six dogs that they adopted and similarly neglected. I frequently fought with them and tried to convince them to at least not buy a fifth motorcycle in favor of perhaps feeding my brother.
I remember at one point, they parked their car behind mine in the driveway. The houses were such that I was totally blocked in. I asked them to move it so I could go to work (you know, to afford food for us to eat) and they refused. Okay, gimme the keys and I'll move it. Nope. Move it five feet and I’ll go through the lawn. Nope.
Eventually I blew up because they were taking away the only chance I had to feed my handicapped brother and I walked to work (three miles, I was late) and issued a terrible threat. I told them that if their car wasn’t moved when I came back, I was burning the house down. It terrified me that I meant it. It only got worse from there.
The final straw was when the house got fleas. I worked in food service and couldn’t keep my job if I had fleas. I slept in my car and never went inside. I offered to put the dogs in a kennel and let my brother have the car to sleep in if they'd hire an exterminator. They wouldn’t, but they went on a vacation to Vegas the next day.
That was the last time I spoke to them, I left home as soon as they'd gone and never went back. For nine months I lived out of my car. I would eat a loaf of bread a week, flavored with honey or taco bell sauce. I worked two jobs, 13 hours a day, just so I could stay out of the cold.
20. The Language of Love
I was encouraged to enter a poetry competition by my teacher when I was about 17. There was a cash prize, so I decided after some convincing that I would give it a try. I ended up winning, and my poem got published. A couple of months later, I get a message on Facebook from a girl who would like to know more about the poem, because she has to analyze it in connection with her upcoming exam.
It turns out her and I are about the same age, so we decide to meet up and discuss it. We've been together for four years now and we're getting married next month. I often wonder what my life would look like if my teacher hadn't approached me back then.
21. Cheater Cheater Pumpkin Eater
My opinion of my good friend of nearly 15 years changed instantly the moment he told me that he was cheating on his wife. He explained that he absolutely "loves his wife to bits" but that she's "boring" now that she only has time for her full-time job, being a mom to their three kids, and honestly doing a lot to keep his life running.
He was totally shocked when I said that it was inexcusable and that he needed to stop immediately. He thought it was just fun and harmless, even knowing full well that his wife would be utterly devastated if she ever found out.
22. Better out Than in
Might sound weird, but...they spent a night in jail. A friend of mine had been a little bit of a screwup the past few years. Good kid at heart but had a terribly addictive personality and was hanging out with crummy people, in debt to all his friends, lost one of his two jobs for showing up not sober too much, you get the idea.
He just sucked at saying "no" to people and his self-control suffered for it. Well, it caught up to him in a brutal way. He ended up getting a DUI, and as part of the punishment, he had to spend the night in jail. I never used to believe in the whole "scared straight" thing, but it seriously worked. I picked him up the next day and he looked like he'd seen a ghost.
Just kept saying, "I never want to end up like the people I saw in there, man" and shaking his head. It's been almost a year since then, and he's been totally on the straight and narrow. Got a promotion at work, is making rent on time, I haven't seen him have more than a couple beers in a sitting in that time.
23. Trade Him in for a Decent Model
My sister was in a really toxic relationship with a complete basket case. Dude was a wannabe tough guy and was always putting her down. She is a very outdoorsy person and loves going on hikes, working in the forest, and is studying to become a forestry biologist. He had zero of her interests, never went with her on hikes, hated the forest, not very fond of animals.
They never ever got along but refused to break up because it'd leave him with nothing. One day, she meets a nice guy at her new job who's super into hiking, loves working in the forests, loves animals almost as much as she does, and genuinely enjoyed her company. Not to mention he bought his own truck with money he saved up.
I think that was a wake-up call for her. I think she realized there are decent men out there and she could have one if she wanted to. She immediately broke up with her old boyfriend and started dating the new guy the same day. We were a little worried at first because breaking up with one guy and immediately going to another is usually a bad sign.
But after getting to know him, he ended up being a nice guy with a sense of humor and decent social skills. They've been together three or four years now and so many of the issues my sister was dealing with have dissipated, she's more financially independent, doing well in her classes, has a better outlook on life.
24. Dial 1 to Save Your Life
At 3 AM one night, my friend called me. As soon as I heard his voice, I knew something was terribly wrong. He was sobbing uncontrollably, word vomiting about all of the problems he was facing. I sat there and talked to him until around 10 AM. We went that afternoon and got him checked into some rehabilitative care.
Fast forward a year to having lunch with him and having him grab my hand, half sobbing, telling me that my answering the phone is what stopped him from shooting himself. Please, be like my friend. If you are ever struggling, please. Just make a call. To anyone.
25. Clutch Hitter
My moment was realizing that my house was on fire and that I had about 30 seconds to get out. From that moment on, I tapped into a well of determination I never knew I possessed. It was a horrible experience but the realization that I had that power within me made me come out of it a much stronger, more confident person.
26. A Really Bad Interview
I was in my mid-20s, at a job interview for a job I really wanted. I'd already been in the field for a while and thought I was hot stuff. This would have been a huge step up in my career. I thought the interview was going well. At one point the hiring manager asked me if I had experience with a certain subject. I said "Yes" and bluffed my way through the questions successfully. Or so I thought.
After the formal interview they asked me if I wanted to go to lunch with them. We proceeded to go to the nicest, fanciest place I had ever been to up to that point. They treated me very well. On the way back to their office, the hiring manager said, "Let me give you a piece of advice: if you don't know something, it's okay to say you don't know it. It looks a lot worse if you try to bluff your way through it."
I knew right then that I lost the job opportunity. The combo of how well they treated me, and how matter-of-fact the advice was at the end, really stuck with me.
27. Bringing out the Best
My life changed when I met my partner in high school. She's really smart, studious, and driven. At the time, I had been none of the above. Being with her made me want to work harder, learn more, and just generally keep improving. I ended up doing a degree instead of a trade, quitting smoking, and hitting the gym. We are still together years later. Love that girl!
28. My Kingdom for a Horse
If I hadn't bought my horse, I might be dead/very disabled. Why? In 2014 I bought my horse. At the horse pension, I met L. We became friends, although not being the same age and having really different personalities. In 2015, we had a nice evening out at a winter market, which we wanted to repeat at the same date in 2016.
I had strong headaches and had to tell L I couldn't come. She asked some questions and when I answered, her reply disturbed me. She insisted I come into the ER in the hospital she worked at, as they have the best neuro around here, which I did not know. This might have saved my life, because I had a freaking thrombosis in my head.
If I hadn't bought my horse, I would have never met her, and if we hadn't had planned on repeating that evening and if she wouldn't have worked at that special hospital things would have turned out different for me.
29. Trough Luck
My best friend openly wondered why I began to date an overweight person in my 40s. I explained that she happened to be the only employee at the company dinner who had remembered the waiter's name. Before I could explain the waiter rule to him, he cut me off with "Every pig remembers the name of the farmer who keeps their trough full."
And that was the end of that friendship. It changed my life for the better, honestly.
30. The Real Failure Would Be in Not Trying New Things
In high school, I didn’t get into the AP history class wanted. Changed up my schedule, including a different gym class, without everyone I knew. I was heartbroken. I really wanted to teach, and without an AP class senior year, I was screwed. Made a new friend in gym class, who was wearing a volunteer firefighter shirt. He had just joined.
Seemed interesting, and he invited me to check it out. They paid for me to get my EMT. Fell in love with healthcare. Fast forward quite a while, and I'm an ER Nurse and I precept students and new nurses, teaching them how to survive in the ER. I also do public outreach and injury prevention. And I love it. Glad I missed out on my class.
31. Do the Math: You’re Not Heading Places
In middle school, there was a guy who was always goofing around in class, would get in trouble a lot, and didn't seem to care about school at all. Once high school came around, he was suddenly taking advanced calculus classes and ended up getting into a really good school after graduating. I always wondered what caused the change—until I discovered his yearbook confession.
In the yearbook, there was a section where he explained what had happened. In a really touching passage, he remembered the day his worried cousin sat him down and staged an intervention, telling him to stop messing around and start caring about school or else he wouldn't end up in a good place in life. Amazingly, that's what he did.
32. Uncouple Yourself From Bad Habits
My dad left my mom, and she was solidly depressed for a year. Then suddenly she exploded with self-improvement. She joined a bunch of volunteer positions, met a bunch of new people, became part of the "in" crowd in her city, literally goes out every night with her friends, and has a lover who pays for her trips to Europe, where they travel around on a motorcycle.
Also, she joined a gym and lost a bunch of weight, started taking care of her appearance. It's strange to think just a couple years ago I would hear her sobbing in the shower and now she's this powerhouse! This didn't happen overnight, there were a lot of downers I left out and it took a whole lot of freaking effort on her part and some therapy, but my mom has always been very strong and able to lift herself out ruts.
33. Don’t Drop off the Face of the Earth
I knew a guy in my Master’s program who was overworked to the point of exhaustion. He had to keep a job as well to pay for all his bills and student loans, on top of taking five high-level classes per quarter. We had an e-mail chat group with me, him, and like five others. One day, we all got an email from him—it unsettled me.
In it, he said he was sorry he wasn't going to be able to help us finish our project and that he was dropping out of school and we wouldn't see him again. All of us really liked the guy and we told him as such. We also told him things he probably didn't hear too much, like "you are a vital part of our group" and that we relied on him for not only his work but his general input as well.
A few hours later, he e-mailed us back saying he thought it over and was not going to drop out, and he was sorry for clogging our e-mail feed with his stuff. A year or so later, his girlfriend told us the real truth about that day. Not only was he simply thinking about dropping out of school at the time of the e-mail, but actually walked to a bridge to end his life that day.
He's a high-level manager at Amazon now with a wife and two kids. It's fun to check up on him from time to time and see how happy he now is. I don't know if us just showing him gratitude that day helped him step away from the edge, but I’m sure it helped at least a bit. It makes you realize that people just don't tell other people how grateful they are for them enough.
34. Alcohol: Not the Answer
I went to a party where I knew my ex was going to be with his girlfriend. We dated for about four years and had been broken up for two years at that point. He started dating his girlfriend within a few months of us breaking up, and I guess I hadn’t gotten over how much that hurt me. So I brought a date to the party, told everybody he was my boyfriend, and got absolutely trashed.
I woke up the next day and hated myself. I realized I needed to let it go, so I did. That was a huge growing up moment for me.
35. Drop That Emotional Baggage
Managed an apartment community where one insanely obese man experienced the most humiliating embarrassment. He splintered the bottom of his shower from simply standing on it. We replaced it at no charge, but the embarrassment got to him. Within a week, he found a dietician and started walking around the community.
Within a few months, he bought a bike and started riding around the neighborhood. Within a year, he dropped what seemed to be at least 100 lbs. Within two years, he weighed less than I do now. Casey, if you happen to see this (and I know you're a Redditor), you're a freaking inspiration! We're all so proud of you, keep at it!
36. Not Without My Kids
My old coworker used to be on every substance under the sun. She was in and out of jail, she lost her driver’s license, house, friends, etc. Finally, she got to the point where she almost lost her kids and then she decided that she wasn't going to do it anymore. She stopped using and she got a job (with my old place of work) and she really was one of the best workers we had.
She ended up getting her license back and got a house with her boyfriend. She had a baby girl and now she's working in a nicer restaurant. It honestly made me proud. She's a strong woman.
37. Exorcisms Aren’t as Glamorous as They Sound
I was 18, I just wanted to start a new life and they seemed so inviting. I told my mom I was going to school in the states. She didn't ask many questions, my dad had just passed and I told her they offered me a scholarship. I left in January. I was greeted by many foreigners who had just graduated high school. It took a dark turn very fast.
I think in total there was 55 of us. They didn't have a place for us to live when we first got there. We ended up living in an abandoned hospital. I was scared, but everyone else around me acted like it was normal. The second day they took our passports to "scan them in case we lost them" that was the last time I saw my passport for three months.
When I questioned them about it, they said the scanner needed repairs but it was high on their priorities. The second week was a struggle, one of the leaders called me out amongst the entire group and said I had been infected with evil and was demon-sent. This lead to me being cast away from the group. I tried to find friends in the locals but instead found drugs for the first time.
Went on a good two-week binge spending nearly $800. Eventually, they invited me back, they held me on the ground and had an exorcism to remove the evil. I was so scared, I was so high, I played along. This went on for almost 10 months on and off being attacked. I got my passport and fled back to Canada (my home country) with one of the girls who was also enrolled.
It's too long of a story to tell the entire 10 months. I ended up going back recently to the city to shoot a photo series that I'm currently developing in the darkroom to turn into a book.
38. Hammy Downs
I remember being probably six or seven years old when my brother told me we were poor. I didn't believe him. We had a TV, I had toys, we had an apartment and a car so I thought we were doing great. My brother explained to me that the clothes I was wearing and the toys I played with used to be owned by other kids and my mom bought them after the other kids were done them.
39. Returning the Favor
My parents started making dinner only for me and saying they already ate. Me being a dumb kid of 16, I just believed it. Eventually I learned the heartbreaking truth. They hadn't eaten. They were prioritizing feeding me, and we were hurting real bad financially. I went into town and got a job at Carl's Jr. First paycheck I bought groceries as a surprise.
Sure enough, they are dinner with me that night. My mom later on told me her dad had done the same thing when money was tight. My family is incredibly diehard loyal to their kids.
40. It’s Okay to Put Yourself First
Being selfish. I grew up watching my mother bend over backward for people that did not give a darn about her. A few years ago, I realized I was doing the same thing and was an emotional/financial/functional mess because of it. I re-examined my life and cut off the people who didn’t need to be there—it was difficult getting over the guilty mentality at first but I’m doing great now and really proud of the progress I’ve made. I just wish my mother would do the same.
41. Forced to Grow
My mom found out she had MS when I was nine or so. At the age of 12 I had to take care of her by myself while also taking care of two little brothers. Three days before I turned 19, she passed away. But the nightmare was just beginning. It happened on my birthday. I had to go into where you confirm the body. I'll never forget that sight.
It made me realize that after that I had to grow up and make sure my brothers had a roof over their head. I'm 23 now. I'm a CNA and on my way to become a nurse. I'm dating a girl that has two kids and I love them like they were my own. My brothers are at the age where they can take care of themselves with a family member of mine. I think I did a pretty good job.
42. Breathe Easy Now
For years, I was constantly exhausted. I coughed all through the night, woke up feeling like I hadn't slept at all, and dropped out of school sports because they made me feel like I was going to die. By the time I was in college, I thought being tired was just part of my personality. As an adult, I was diagnosed with asthma.
I went on maintenance medication and, within a couple of weeks, I felt like a completely different person. Holy moly! Turns out sleeping is supposed to be restful. I never knew!
43. I Don’t Want to Leave Like This
Not personally, but I heard one of my teacher's stories about his brother. Dude did a ton of substances, was violent towards friends and family, spent lots of time in jail, and was just a general douchebag. The teacher and his family completely disowned him—but then it got even worse. The brother got into an accident with a severe head injury and almost died.
Guy did a 180 after he healed. He believes that his near-death experience brought about his change of feelings, but I've been around a lot of people with traumatic brain injuries. That stuff changes you on a biological level. Getting your grey-matter rearranged changes you into a different person. This just happens to be one time where it did it for the better, thankfully.
44. Fooling Around on the Web Pays off
I met my boyfriend randomly in an online game. We became best friends. I lived 800-900 km away from him. His parents offered me a job and now I work and live in a completely different country. I used to work in a dead-end factory with no future. Life is finally good. Don't be scared to try moving away if that's what you want. Maybe I got lucky, but in my case, it worked out.
45. It’s a Long Way up From the Bottom
I was a terrible kid. I got suspended every other month from the third grade until the seventh grade until the school system gave up on me and sent me to a delinquent school. After being surrounded by people who I knew would never amount to anything, I decided I would stop being a little freaking jerk right there. Was the fastest kid ever to leave that school and return to a regular curriculum.
In ninth grade, I realized I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life and felt like a failure all over again. Spiraling depression, stopped going to school, failed half my classes. Blah blah. After 36 absences, I had to go so summer school to retake English. During this time, I thought about going into the military after college, which meant not only did I have to make it into college, I also needed a good GPA and be competitive—at least if I wanted in the airforce.
Went from a 1.8 GPA to a 3.2 the next year. Then I found out I could do my senior year abroad in another country, and my whole world opened up. At that moment, I realized the chilling problem. I freaking despised home and everyone there. I didn't fit in, I wasn't challenged, I was alone, and I felt like I wanted to do something different than my whole family.
To prove to them that I wasn't the screwup joke of my family, I was going to be better than all of them. I waited a couple months before I broke the news of my intentions having researched and tried hard to improve everything about me. None of them believed I could do it. I proceeded to get into the best youth exchange program in the world. Completely changed who I was.
Went abroad, paid for it my freaking self (family was poor), and was the most successful of my group. Returned on two more programs at the top universities in the country with a full scholarship in college, which is only given to two people per school. Now I'm working in sales at a great company in that country doing something I'd never thought I'd ever do in my life.
46. Excuses, Excuses
A key moment in my development happened in a summer job I had when I was 18. One of my duties at this small industrial facility was to open up the garage-style overhead doors at the start of the day and close them at the end. One day I went to close them and discovered one had been pulled so far up that the roller had come out of its track, and I couldn't get it to go back down. I got Frank, the low man on the totem pole at this place (besides me and the other summer hand).
He looked up at it and said, "Did you do this?" I hemmed and hawed and explained that it wasn't my fault, that there should have been a stop or a guide or something to keep that from happening. Again he asked, "Did you do this?" Again, I evaded. Finally he said, "Stop making excuses, admit you screwed up, and let's fix it."
I almost uttered some more excuses but instead said, "Yeah, I did screw that up. Let's fix it." And we did. That lesson is still fresh after a third of a century.
47. All It Takes Is Prince Charming
I was very poor and basically living in poverty. I was living in an apartment that was subsidized, and so I paid less than $100 for it. It was very cheap for the expensive city I lived in, which meant it also came with bedbugs. But that was just the beginning of the nightmare. I went days without eating, waiting until I was allowed to use a food bank again. Life just sucked because of how poor I was.
Anyway, my best friend bought a condo and told me I could move in with him to get away from the bed bugs. I moved in with him and paid him the very little money I got in exchange for room and board. He paid all the bills, fed me and bought me clothes; he basically gave me everything I needed to live comfortably. A year after moving in, my best friend of six years proposed to me.
We have been married for eight years now and I am no longer poor. I never worry about money or food now. So, I basically went from being piss poor and having nothing one day, to living very comfortably and not worrying about money or bedbugs the next.
48. With a Little Bit of Luck
Cancer. A few short years ago, I was just your average, happy 12-year-old kid. Then, I found out I had Burkitt's lymphoma. If they had discovered the cancer and started my treatment a single week later, I might not have survived. After a year of painful treatment, and A LOT of luck, I was finally cancer-free and still am now.
After this terrible ordeal, I have started to care much more about my health and have become more careful about everything. Now, I understand how easy it is to lose my life. Today, I am back to my normal happy self—but I will always have this experience as a part of who I am.
49. You’re the Only Drug I Need
I'm really good friends with my two neighbors who are a married couple. We partied together for a long time, but they always partied way harder than everyone else. They would get blackout drunk on work nights, get DUIs, etc. I would often be witness to their intense drunken arguments with each other and our group of friends worried that they might divorce.
Then one day, it reached an absolute crisis. The dude set his kitchen on fire one night while cooking drunk. They decided to cut it out. They quit everything. No more drinking, no substances, no cigarettes, and they started eating clean. Since then, they've been promoted at their jobs, seem to be closer than ever to one another, and even dropped close to 100 pounds.
They've saved a bunch of money and now they're on vacation in Thailand having the time of their lives. Our friend group still parties moderately so we don't see them at all as often anymore, but I understand. I'm just so proud of them for turning their lives around like that, it's really kind of inspiring me to do the same.
50. Look Me in the Eye
My life changed after seeing the emotional pain in someone's eyes after I told him rather harshly that he couldn't sit with me because I didn't like him. "What did I ever do to you? You're just a jerk!" he shouted. He has no idea, but his words really got to me that day. From then on, I became a much more accepting, caring, and nicer person.
51. The Unfriendly Ghost
We were in an extremely committed, long-term relationship. He was talking about learning French before we have kids so that they could grow up bilingual. What happened next was and still is a huge shock. He just ghosted me. Before he left, I was already suffering from horrible depression and anxiety, and was having suicidal thoughts and tendencies. I was in therapy.
After he left, everything changed. Most of it is too emotional to ever try to explain. I had to work twice as hard in therapy so that when I went back to school the coming semester, I could do so on my own and stay focused on it. Seven months later, I am in a major life crisis, but I am getting through it. I know that I will survive whatever comes my way.
In hindsight, him leaving me may have been the best thing that has ever happened to me.
52. A Solider Always Looks out for Their Own
There was a guy in my unit when I first showed up as a brand new private. His nickname was Hoffinator. We never really talked too much, just worked together, but he taught me a lot in regards to being a good soldier and how to do our job efficiently. He got out around five months after I got to the unit. I got out of the army in October 2015.
I knew he had moved to my area of Florida, so I decided to shoot him a message and see what's up once I remembered that. He called me a few days later and I could barely hear anything he was saying because of wind. He told me he was on his apartment balcony smoking a cigarette. I wasn't in the middle of anything when he called, so I just sat down and started talking to him we talked for over an hour.
I invited him to come drink with a few buddies of mine that upcoming weekend and he accepted. That was in February 2016. Just recently, he gave me a wrenching confession. He said that when he called me that night, he was standing on an I95 overpass, planning on jumping into traffic to take his own life. He said he called a bunch of guys from our unit and that I was the only one who picked up.
He did say that two other guys called him back later, though. He's an EMT/paramedic now, is dating a wonderful girl, and says he's never been so happy before in his life. I just wanted to catch up with the guy who taught me a lot of stuff when I was a dumb private. I didn't know I was talking him off the edge, but I'm so incredibly happy he called me that night.
Please, if you're dealing with bad stuff in your head or life seems to just be taking a fat, steaming dump on you: Talk to someone. Anyone at all. Hell, message me and I'll talk to you.
53. A Scheduling Change Can Save a Life
On Monday, September 10, 2001, my father received a call to let him know his job interview for tomorrow had to be postponed until that Thursday. Because his would-be employer had overbooked his schedule, my father was not in the World Trade Center when it went down.
54. Missed Connection
Pregnant cousin usually takes the bus at around 5:10 PM after work. She was about to hop inside the bus, but she needed to pee really badly, and the commute is about an hour long, so she decided to go to the restroom instead and just catch the next bus. This small thing saved her from a horrific fate. That 5:10 bus ended up falling from a cliff.
55. Birth Parentage Isn’t a Binding Contract
I had a mental breakdown in spring during my junior year of college. I wasn't doing well in my classes, so I withdrew and went into some therapy. My mom's reaction was utterly disturbing. She's a narcissist, and she flipped out, of course, and said many horrible things to me. I really wanted to end my contact with her, but I just wasn't able to.
I never ended up re-enrolling in school. At a music festival, I had some powerful realizations: That I really just wanted to be happy, that I needn't be rich, and that I can remove myself from my family at will. I got a full-time job as a server with some of the best people I have ever met. My managers are excellent, the pay is excellent.
I live in an apartment with my boyfriend and our one-year-old puppy. With financial stability, I have started to pay for everything myself without struggling. I taught myself how to budget. Then, I cut contact with my parents completely. My five-year plan: I want to earn a bit of bartending experience before I move to Vegas in 2020, so that I can bartend out there.
56. Without You, Heaven Is a Place on Earth
I was raised in a cult. People think they understand what that means, but it's so much worse than you imagine. Basically, every bad stereotype you've heard about "that creepy homeschooling family"... that was me. I had no friends outside of the cult, because all outsiders were evil. I was forced to stay home to work and take care of other children all day.
I was trained for my inevitable torture, starvation, and martyrdom under a One World Government. "Demons" were everywhere: in objects outside, in toys and books that people gave me, in the faces of people who tried to befriend me. Even I was "exorcised" several times. Basically, I was taught that the world was out to kill me, and it would probably succeed, but that was okay, because I'd get to Heaven sooner.
I didn't know what it was like to dream of a future where I would grow old. I didn't know what it was like to trust another human being, to see an open hand and expect a caress instead of a slap. I didn't know that little girls like me weren't supposed to be beaten, assaulted, and punched. How could I know, when that was my first memory?
And even at that moment, at four years old, the only thought in my mind was "Oh, not this again." I didn't know that I was allowed to think for myself, that I could have a life where I could be free and happy, and never fear for my life again. That was the Heaven I wanted...the Heaven I didn't deserve. Then, about four years ago, I made an unforgettable discovery.
I somehow made just one outside friend. She treated me like an actual human being, and I finally realized how messed up my life was, that it was wrong and horrifying and it was going to kill me. So, I ran away. I got into university with nothing, and I busted my butt. I wore the same clothes until they fell apart. I starved myself to afford classes.
All on that single thread of hope, that I had a friend in the world who thought I was worth something. Soon I was on the honor roll, getting scholarships, awards, and recognition. Nobody knew I was homeless, wearing the same clothes from high school. That sometimes after school I spent the evening crying and trembling weakly under my blankets, trying not to panic as flashbacks consumed my mind.
Today, I just finished my first year abroad, at one of the best universities in the world. I can never thank my advisors enough for teaching me and helping me adjust to living in a new country, when just four years ago I didn't even know how to live independently in my own country. But things are getting better. I've made a lot of friends, even had a few romantic interests.
I've become a mentor for other foreign students. And when I graduate soon, I have a government job waiting for me in my new home. I'm finally free, and the world isn't out to hurt me. This is the Heaven I always wanted.
57. You Can’t Build a House of Grass
I have recently stopped smoking weed. Not because I have anything against it, but I realized that not only was my personal use unhealthy, it was also stopping me and my partner from moving forward. We were trying to save for a house and limiting spending on everything, except I was spending $250 every two weeks, literally up in smoke.
I realized it was our house deposit I was smoking and decided to make a change. After around seven years of habitual use, it was an intimidating prospect, but I decided enough was enough. Since then, I have saved every dollar I would have spent on green and all of a sudden, our dream of our own house is becoming a reality.
This has already improved my quality of life dramatically and I look forward to seeing if this trend continues.
58. Rug: Pulled
I made around $34 an hour my second year out of the army. I was on top of the world. I could afford to have my wife stay at home with our infant child at the time. It wasn’t until six months later that everything came crashing down around me. The company went under. My wife eventually found a $12 an hour job while I stayed at home receiving unemployment and searched for work.
Took five months until I finally found a job. In the end I sold my house and moved into a smaller, much less appealing place. We're finally back on our feet two years later, my wife is back to staying at home, and I learned a lot of valuable lessons.
59. To the Gut of the Issue
By getting bariatric surgery. Before surgery, my anxiety was always sky high and I had regular bouts of depression, both a direct result of how I felt about my body. I felt so stuck and hopeless. I was already active but couldn't seem to get my eating under control and constantly yo-yo dieted. I finally said, "Screw it."
I went to Mexico, paid cash for the surgery, and lost lots of weight in a short amount of time. Here I am two years later, have kept every pound I lost off, gone are my anxiety and depression, I have run countless miles, become a blackbelt in taekwondo, moved states, switched careers, and look fabulous in a bikini. I have never been healthier.
My entire life drastically changed from that one decision to have 85% of my stomach removed!
60. Four Weddings and a Banking Issue
To make a long story short, I over-drafted and caused four marriages and five babies. Longer version, I was just out of high school and new in town with no job. I was living off what savings I had left, and my account went below zero without me knowing. I was overdraft charged like 10 times and owed $300+. I went down to the bank spoke with a teller, and she ended up being a lifesaver.
She worked with me and helped me and got all the charges removed. On top of getting the charges removed, we got to talking about my current situation and she said that her son worked at a local restaurant, and she would help me get a job. She was a woman of her word and by the end of the week, I was working at the restaurant full time.
Fast forward, I met a cool dude who worked there, we became friends, I introduced him to my sister, they fell in love, got married and had two kids. His best friend came into town for the wedding and I introduced him to my roommate at the time. They fell in love, got married and had two babies. I also got my best friend a job at the restaurant where he met a girl working there, they fell in love, got married and had a kid.
Right before I left, I got my roommate a job at the restaurant, where he met a customer, fell in love, got married and had a kid. As a bonus, my best friend, whom I helped get the job, repaid the favor and got me a job at a different restaurant, where I met a girl, fell in love and got married.
61. Hit and Run
My motorcycle crash. Before it, I had never been in the hospital for any reason—ever. I see this woman pull out in front of me and make a blind left turn across a couple lanes of traffic. As I'm emergency braking, I somehow manage to look in her window and see that she's looking at her phone. BAM! Leg injured, concussion, road rash—all for her "be there in a few" text.
But that wasn't even the most chilling part. She didn't even come over to see if I was alright after I stopped rolling. I still don't even know what she looks like and this was three years ago. People suck. Nowadays, my eyes are constantly darting in every direction, but it took a long time for me to get back to being okay with intersections. Stay off your phone while you're driving.
62. Hitting Rock Bottom
When kidney failure, liver failure, septic shock, lactic acidosis, severe dehydration, severe malnutrition, and severe alcohol withdrawal syndrome all hit me at once, I had a less than 10% chance of living. When I awoke in the ICU eight days after being admitted, the doctor told me I was a miracle. He had no medical explanation as to how I was able to live.
My liver and kidneys basically did a complete 180, one hour after he had told my family that I would be dead by morning. They had a priest read me my last rites and everything. I'm only 24, yet I was drinking almost two litres worth of 100 proof vodka every 12 hours, for six months straight. Morning, noon, and night. I was never sober.
Nowadays, I don't drink, I eat healthy, and I run every night. My liver enzymes are perfectly healthy, and my congestive heart failure is no longer an issue. They've had to re-diagnose me as someone without heart failure. All of my muscles and vital organs are healthier than they have been since I was a child. I no longer have liver fibrosis, my legs work, and my heart is as healthy as any average young adult's.
63. A Harrowing Moment
When I was a young boy, my dad hid a dark secret. He was an alcoholic. He'd hide alcohol all over the house and often go to the bathroom for hours to just hide from my mother and drink beer without being lectured by her. He had a lot of problems. One day I was watching a movie with my dad and brother when my mom came over, screaming at him because she found more hidden alcohol.
He was pretty drunk at this point and must have reached some sort of breaking point because he just jumped to his feet and immediately shoved her, knocking her to the floor. She just got up and screamed, "I'm calling the police!" before dashing through the kitchen towards the phone. He followed her and grabbed two knives from the counter while her back was turned.
I must have been around 12 at the time, but the moment I saw him grab the knives I lunged at him and latched myself onto his leg to slow him down. This alerted my mom to the issue of him running towards her with a pair of knives. She bolted out the front door to the neighbors. He simply stopped at the front door and after several moments I followed my mother to the neighbors.
About five minutes later my little brother showed up as well. I didn't think I was traumatized by the incident or that it had any effect on me, but looking back, there was a fairly dramatic change in my personality.
64. Delete an Account to Make Your Life Full
I deleted Facebook and drastically changed the way I use other social media. God knows how long I used to spend every day just scrolling through Facebook, but I didn’t realize how unhappy it was making me until I stopped using it. I thought I would miss it, but I haven’t for one second, and I’ve seen massive improvements in my mood, anxiety and overall happiness. It’s a weird freeing.
When I realized how toxic my life was around me (family, professionally diagnosed mental health, abusive relationships etc), I finally realized I needed to get it together and be a grown up. I got myself out of my family's house and moved into my own apartment with two people. Then, something incredible happened. I fell in love with one of them. We're getting married later this year.
66. Can I Take No Orders?
Getting my ears pierced the day after I graduated high school got me where I am today. I worked at McDonald’s at the time and was scheduled to work that night. Before my shift, my girlfriend at the time convinced me to get my ears pierced. Well, when I showed up to my shift with these clear ear studs in, my manager gave me an option: Either take them out or go home.
Being only 17 and not taking anything seriously, I went home. On my way home, I called that girlfriend’s father and asked if I could work with him laying tile. He gave me a chance, and I quit McDonald’s that very day. Worked with him for about a year until the 08’/09’ recession caused us to run out of work. I got laid off.
Four months later, I land a job in a new hospital doing admitting in the emergency room. Did that for two years before I got my phlebotomy certification. Been doing that for a few years and now I’m in my final semester of nursing school. I attribute everything I’ve done to that day my ex-girlfriend pressured me into getting my ears pierced. Who knows how long I would have stayed at McDonald’s?
67. Taking the Wheel
I knew something was going on but didn't know what. My son's mom started being late for everything. Baseball practice, getting him to school on time, and eventually started forgetting to pick him up for school. The last time it happened the school called her dad, who hates me, to pick him up. He ended up keeping my son.
We never had any kind of visitation set up because it was never a problem until that point. I went like two months without being able to see my son. Then I got a court summons in the mail. I couldn't believe what it said. My ex-wife's sister was trying to get custody. It turned out that my ex was addicted to drugs and was running my name through the mud.
Anytime they noticed her acting erratic or anytime she asked for money, she'd blame me. Her family started to hate me. We all ended up in court, fighting over my son. The judge made my ex start taking random drug tests and all kinds of classes and some stuff. Her family thought for sure my son would go with them but when the judge asked, I said I wanted him.
I went from living like a bachelor with a kid on the side to full time dad. We had to deal with child protective services for close to a year. Home visits, drug tests, mental health evaluations. It was a nightmare. During that time my baby's mom lost her house, failed tons of drugs tests, and went to prison for theft.
She is out now and has supervised visitation on Thursdays but never shows up. It's really sad to have to explain to my son. Her side of the family has come around. I let them see him whenever they want, I'm happy for the help really. The whole situation has really changed my outlook on life and then some.
68. The Gods Toss a Coin, Someone Gets a Degree
Almost everything that has happened in my life for the past eight years is a direct result of me literally flipping a coin to decide between two colleges. I play the sport I do, have the friends I do, am dating the person I am, and very nearly every other aspect of my life, is because a nickel landed on heads.
69. One Pain After Another
When I was in the hospital, my entire life came crashing down on me, and not for the reason you'd expect. My girlfriend left me when I was recovering. While I was stuck in the hospital, she also broke into my apartment, stole my medication, and then ran off with an addict. Soon after getting out of the hospital, the addict assaulted me and I had to call the cops. We had been together for two years.
70. Healing Is Sometimes Hurting
My coworker has a big ego and thinks she knows best. We had a patient who received home visits. He had a medical condition that, if observed by a newcomer, might cause alarm, but we were very much informed about it and familiar with it. Instructions were that the condition was “normal” for him, not a concern in itself.
One day, my co-worker made the biggest mistake of her life. She and the patient’s wife seemed to have some kind of power struggle/disagreement about his condition and treatment, and the coworker ended up calling an ambulance (for his long-term unchanged condition that we were very familiar with). He was taken to the hospital and while there caught an infection.
This infection impacted his eating, and he lost a lot of weight fast. His condition deteriorated over the next few months, and he passed away. Honestly, it wasn’t unexpected that he might pass, but it seems the specific way it ended up happening stemmed from that unnecessary hospital visit.
71. From an Extra to a Star
I had a friend who was the typical “frat bro hunk” type. You know the kind I mean: party hardy, slept with lots of women, athletic, huge male ego. Super nice guy, though. Like the kind of loyal friend who would give you the shirt off his own back if you were cold. One day, he says that he's found his true love and is going to get married. I am dubious.
Then he surprises us all by really going through with it and marrying her. Has a kid, too. A daughter. "Haha," I think. "God has a sense of humor." For years, I see this kid grow up from afar. Then, when she was about 5 or 6 years old, she started hanging out with our kid, who was around the same age. I always found her to be a little mousy and timid.
She was kind of a static background for a bit. Like a "minor recurring character" in a sitcom. One summer day, her parents asked us if we could watch her for two weeks while they took care of some family issues. Yeah, sure, bro. She's no trouble. I think she was around 7 years old or so by this time. A few days into her staying with us, she gets sick.
Some kind of stomach bug. Nothing big, but she is on the couch with a mild fever, and is clearly a little scared. Nevertheless, the dogs kept her warm and my partner and I stayed with her to keep her company in shifts. At one point, she gets up to throw up. She doesn't make it to the bathroom, and just throws up on the kitchen floor. You have kids, it happens.
So my spouse and I clean her up and make sure she's okay. Meanwhile, the kid is bawling. She keeps apologizing, and we're like, "It's okay, really! We know you didn’t mean to do it. The floor is washable vinyl. You have extra clothes. Vomiting is just your body trying to get rid of the virus." She gets even more hysterical. "What's wrong?" my partner finally asks. Her reply sent chills down my spine.
"Why are you so nice to me??" "Uh... because you're sick and we like you. You know, decent human beings take care of one another." She just lost it. "I wish you were my parents..." My partner and I were stunned. Throughout the rest of her stay, she just did this verbal dump on us about her home life. It was awful.
I mean, not surprising, really, but the change was suddenly this kid bawling in our living room went from a background character to "Holy cow, this is a real person. She really needs us." From that day forward, we sort of adopted her. Her parents were grateful, sort of, in their own way. They aren't bad people, but they probably shouldn't have had a kid.
She stayed with us a lot. We took her to the school stuff that her parents found boring. We planned her birthday parties, and even made sure that she got all her shots, doctor visits, and all the usual stuff that comes with childhood. Eventually, she grew up to be a fine young woman. She's living on her own now, and my partner and I miss her as much as we miss our own kid.
72. All It Takes Is “Sorry”
Apologizing to someone I'd hurt. It changed me and my life drastically, and that's not an exaggeration. I married the person I apologized to and now have a completely different life than I did before. Everything may not be perfect, but my home is with him. Nothing can heal a soul so much as being forgiven.
73. This Is Why You Stay Hydrated
It was early in the morning and I was about to leave for work when my mom reminded me that I forgot my water bottle on the table while I was walking out. For whatever reason, I decided to go leave my backpack in the car and then walk back into the house for the water bottle. Well, that took about maybe 10 seconds in total.
It started to rain heavily on my way to work and couldn’t see very well but I noticed the brake lights of the cars ahead stopping suddenly and some moving off onto the shoulder and decided to slow down and put the hazard lights on for the people behind to slow down. When I found out what happened, my blood ran cold. Turns out everyone was breaking because a five car accident had just happened seconds before.
All the cars were scattered across the highway spread across the left/right shoulders, and one had hit the crash barrier—basically a total bad mess. The drivers were still in their cars, I guess processing what had just happened. After seeing it I immediately started to think that if I hadn’t gone back for the water bottle there’s a chance that I could have easily been in the accident, or at least even closer to it. It tripped me out for the rest of the day.
74. Better off Without You
I have a friend who dumped and divorced her ex-husband a couple years ago. It was an abusive relationship where the ex would call her ugly names, push/hit her, taunt/belittle her intelligence (she is very smart, even though she only has a high school education)—but that's just the start of the disgusting things he did to her.
He even treated their two boys like garbage and denied his youngest they had together, but luckily the courts did a DNA test and proved the child was his. The worst part was, he almost killed her when she was pregnant with their youngest on Christmas Eve one year. He got sent to jail for months. I saw it firsthand after the incident, and she so was terrified/visibly shaken—she was seeing her life flash before her eyes after just barely escaping death, and it was on Christmas.
It took her until late 2016 to get OUT and leave that sorry jerk. She just took her kids and ran (I mean LITERALLY RAN) from the house to her friend's car, who was waiting for her after she finally called for help. She jumped in and told him DRIVE, and never went back. The friend is now her husband. He's a total gentleman and he treats her 10 times better than her ex ever did.
Even her kids see him as a better father figure and even call him "Dad." The eldest is aware of his biological father but doesn't want to acknowledge him, and the younger child has zero memories of their life before. My friend and her new husband now have a house together. He has a great job where my friend can be a stay-at-home-parent to their kids and recently welcome a baby boy in September 2018. Life has been good since she left the ex.
Once, she told my boyfriend a terrifying confession. She said that if she would've stayed for one more week, even one more day, she probably wouldn't have made it out. She was terrified of being killed by her ex, leaving her kids without a mom. Since getting out, she's thanked everyone who told her to leave and has been happy ever since.
As for the ex, a judge ordered him to pay child support until their youngest son (who is now a middle child now) turns 18. He got mad and didn't want to pay child support, or even acknowledge either of their children, and threw a tantrum. But too bad: he lives in another city and has to work to pay child support since NONE of his family is helping him out.
75. None of Your Business
When I went to a recruiting event for a business fraternity at my school. Growing up, I never really had any friends. My freshman year of college wasn't much different, and I also wasn't happy with my major. By my sophomore year, I switched into the business school and wanted it to be a fresh start. I heard about this fraternity and thought it sounded interesting, so I went to their mixer event.
I remember walking into the atrium and looking around at everyone mingling. I saw a group of guys talking who looked friendly, took a deep breath, walked right up to them, and introduced myself. Long story short, they're now my best friends and I can't imagine what my life would be like if I didn't go to that event and say hi to them.
76. You Can Count on Yourself
About five years ago, I came up with a game-changing mental trick. If there was some small thing I needed to do, I just counted to three in my head and did it. Stuff like "1, 2, 3: put on my workout clothes," "1, 2, 3: empty the dishwasher." I promised myself that every "1, 2, 3" would be something I could achieve in less than 10 minutes and that I would never fail to do something once I finished the countdown.
I was amazed at how many of life's problems were solved by overcoming those little moments of inertia during the day. My level of motivation before and after that shift was night and day. It made a huge difference in my health, career, financial state, etc. I know it probably sounds silly, but my life made a massive and quick change for the better once I adopted this strategy.
77. Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire
I lost everything in a fire. I had no money and no insurance. It was definitely the hardest time in my life. I can definitely recognize the difference in me from before the fire and after. I'm much more mature and confident now than I was two years ago. I'm in a better job and I have my own place. It was really a kick in the butt that made me into a grown up.
78. It Takes Time
My dad was killed in an accident. That didn’t make me grow up. My mom decided to deal with it by watching TV. Forever. Barely ever leaving the couch. That didn’t make me grow up. The rest of the family exiled me for not participating in their religion. That still wasn't enough to make me grow up. I was two years post-graduation, unemployed in a dead-end gig-economy career path, spending most of my time on an X-Box. That didn’t make me grow up.
But then I had an epiphany. My girlfriend’s friends had an intervention and told her she could do better than me. That made me grow up. She was my first and only girlfriend. We had basically grown up together. We read the same books. I’d beat her at Smash but she’d beat me at Mortal Kombat. I’m not a complete person without her. Her friends weren’t wrong, but I wasn’t going to let them be right.
Two months later I had a bad minimum wage job that I worked for a year before it fell through. Then I got another bad minimum wage job that I worked my butt off at for almost a year and then got promoted. Took my "real" job money and found a place to live. A year after that, she agreed to move in with me. We’ve been married adults for almost a decade.
79. Take a Sick Day, Start a Better Life
First off let me tell you just a little back story. My mom and dad were married in Mexico but soon after their wedding, my father immigrated to the US. He was a legal resident so he could come and go as he wished, yet my mom was not. He would visit, get my mom pregnant and soon after, go back to the United States to work.
Well, while living here he would carpool with a friend to go to work. He never missed a day because he was saving up to bring my mom, my two siblings and I to the US so we could all finally be together. One cold winter morning, he woke up and decided not to go to work. It was heavily snowing out. That never stopped him from going to work, yet that day he decided otherwise.
It was a simple twist of fate that had incredible consequences. It turned out that the guy that he would carpool with got in a car accident and died. It's scary to think that my dad would have died along with him. We would have never come to live in the US, and overall life would be so different for my family and I.
80. Your Loss Is My Family’s Gain
My grandpa went off adventuring as a young man with some of his pals: a buddy who boxed and a buddy who played guitar. My grandpa didn't have any special skill like that, so he washed dishes for money. These three guys just ambled across America, boxing, strumming, and scrubbing for enough cash to make it to the next town.
After a while, the adventures tapered off and the other two fellas made their way back to their corners of the world—but my grandpa couldn't scrounge up the money to get back to Illinois. So, he kept washing dishes for quite some time, hoping for a lucky break. That break came in the form of a wallet he found lying on the sidewalk with enough cash for a bus ticket back home.
He wasted no time. He met my grandma back in Illinois, settled down, started a family. And as a result, I exist. Sometimes I think about that man that lost his wallet, and how mad he must have been when he realized. I owe him my life.
81. The Language of Friendship
Grew up speaking Spanish, so in high school my mom made me sign up for French. I didn’t really care, but I figured whatever, at least it’s something new. I was a good kid, bit of a cut up with absolutely zero direction. In that class, I met a girl and we sort of became friends. She got sick that year, cancer. It was horrible.
Visited her in the hospital, got close to her family (still am), she passed the following year. French, it turns out, was her favorite subject, and her dream had been to study abroad. Her parents asked if we (her friends from that class) could do that for her. The years went on, I worked every summer trying to save up to study abroad.
I noticed the others who had made the promise weren’t making moves towards it, so I worked even harder. Finally went for a semester in my third year. To be fair, I always enjoyed French, but it wasn’t a passion. Except that semester, something kind of shifted. Came home, finished undergrad, then got into a masters in French.
The whole time my friend’s mom is excited, feeling like my friend is somehow vicariously living through me. I graduated from my masters and then moved back to France. Been here three years now, and May 1st was the 11th anniversary of my friend’s death. As I type it out it’s not so outwardly obvious, but the entire time it’s been so clear for me that she’s been with me on this journey.
82. There’s a Reason It’s Called an “Ex”
To be completely honest. it was cutting off my ex completely. Even though she broke up with me, she wasn't able to let me go or accept me back and it just kept hurting the both of us. But as time went by, I lost that need to rely on her emotionally like I had before. And I've started fixing other parts of my life that I had set aside for the relationship I had with her.
83. Be Willing to Get Called out
Friend of mine once called me out for bullying—nothing loud or public, but she pulled me aside and said a few quiet words about how she was disappointed about the way I acted. "I know you've got a better heart than that. You should show people, I think they'd like you better," she said. Blew my mind and got me to meaningfully think about the people around me—which, as many of you know, isn't easy for a high school athlete.
84. Love Thy Daughter
My mother was very conservative and devoutly religious. On the Fourth of July one year, some friends and I took a bunch of mushrooms. My friends tripped out and called their girlfriends to pick them up. I called my dad since he was the more relaxed parent when it came to that. He told me that he couldn’t help me and that I was going to have to wait it out.
So I called my mom. She picked me up, clearly furious and asking how drunk I was. I hit her with “Penny, Andy, and me just ate a bunch of mushrooms.” Her response blew my mind. Her whole mood literally changed in an instant when I uttered that sentence. She suddenly seemed happy. She asked if my friends were really with me or if I was just tripping. I asked if she would buy me cigarettes since I left all my stuff in the car.
She made me go into the gas station with her and I started to freak out. I yelled, “YOU CAN’T KEEP ME HERE!” and stormed out. As soon as I got a whiff of fresh air, I felt fine. My mom was in tears laughing so hard. She let me smoke in her car too. She said that everyone should experience that at least once. I literally could not believe that my mom was totally cool about this.
85. Some Love Is Worth the Investment
12 years ago, out of boredom, I paid $5 for a premium Hot or Not account that allowed matches and messaging. A few minutes later, I clicked Hot on this girl and almost immediately got a notification that she did the same to me. So, I took the chance and sent her a message. We'll be married 10 years in April and have two amazing kids. All because of a bored whim.
86. A Minor Problem
I had this teacher in high school. He was funny, intelligent, and down to earth. He liked to tell us stories about growing up on a farm out in the sticks. I was a pretty good student and he always went out of his way to encourage me, even above and beyond the call of duty. He wrote me some recommendations that got me some great opportunities.
I wanted to call him up earlier this year to ask him for some advice on becoming a teacher. The first thing I saw when I Googled his name was a news headline. The police had recently busted him for doing indecent stuff online with minors. I was floored. I still get chills thinking that it could have happened to me.
87. Quit the Habit, Get Paid
A close friend smoked two packs a day. Every day, he'd walk to the 7-11, buy a couple of packs, and walk home. He wouldn't buy cartons for some reason. Liked to change his brand occasionally, I guess. Anyway, his apartment was right across the street from the 7-11, and he would always take the same stoplight to cross the street to get there, etc.
Smoke a cigarette on the way over, hang out outside the 7-11 to finish it, throw it in the garbage, then walk in, buy two packs, and smoke one on the way home. The guys at the 7-11 knew him by name, loved the guy. He was always friendly, and they knew his schedule. Home from work around 7, come over, grab a couple of packs.
Sometimes he grabs a six pack of beer. So, eventually, he decides it's time to quit smoking. He has a tough time of it. Tells the guys at the 7-11 he wants to stop smoking and they tell him good luck and encourage him. They encourage him so much that they refuse to sell cigarettes to him when he has a moment of weakness.
He freaks out, heads back across the street in anger without waiting for the light, and his whole world changes. He gets clipped by a motorcycle speeding through the intersection. Motorcycle crashes, the rider is tossed. Ambulances come—both head to the same hospital. Turns out motorcycle is ridden by a guy who runs his own construction business. Feels pretty bad about it.
Talks to my friend about his business—my friend hangs drywall, but doesn't like his boss. Eventually, the rider hires my friend at a higher salary. Friend has a good job for a bit. Two years later friend, is doing very well, promoted numerous times, now has a team of guys working for him. He gets a phone call—boss was in a motorcycle accident, in hospital.
Friend rushes there directly. Boss ends up being paralyzed, has some brain damage from a concussion that slurs/slows his speech. Within a few weeks, Boss has a friend running the business for him. Friend is doing great. Business is doing great. Boss decides to sell the business to my friend. He decides to take it over and buy it.
Friend now owns a construction business and has grown it a lot. A few years later my friend gets an offer to sell the company to a larger company. Takes the money. My friend is 42 years old and retired, worth over $10M now. All because he quit smoking. Well, and because he worked his butt off when the opportunity arose. But still, if he hadn't decided to quit smoking, who knows?
88. No More Mother’s Day Gifts
My friend’s stepmom attempted to suffocate him with a pillow in his sleep. He was 17 years old at the time and a linebacker on the football team. He literally woke up and threw her out of his second story window. She is still in prison for attempted murder, and in a wheelchair for life.
89. Kicking Him While He’s Down
"What does he have to be depressed about? He doesn't have a job, and he doesn't do anything!" This quote was said by my aunt to my mom, while I was in a mental hospital. She relayed it to me later, but I kind of wish that she hadn't. It really made me question my relationship with my aunt from that point on.
90. Save Our Souls
I joined a very extreme charismatic church in around 2006 when I was 18 years old (I'm female). I was very involved and would attend church around five times per week. The movement started in the UK, but I am from Canada. When I was 18 years old in 2008, I took a gap year after high school to go and volunteer in one of the churches in the UK.
Before I knew it, I was knee-deep in a nightmare. Women were not allowed to preach and it was taught that men were the head of the household. Things got more intense the elders not letting me leave prayer meetings ‘til I "encountered" the holy spirit (i.e. falling on the floor). I was made to sign a contract that I would work 60 hours a week for 12 months.
However, before signing the contract I reminded them that I would be leaving in June because I was starting university that fall and wanted to have the summer at home. In April they told me that I was not allowed to leave until September when my Visa was up. The 'elders' told me that they had a meeting without me and God had told them that I had to stay the rest of the year.
Being an 18-year-old girl I was naive and terrified. I told my parents. My parents threatened to go to the media, as I was being held against my will in the UK. The elders from my church back in Canada basically had a lot of bad press already so they convinced the elders in England to let me go. Since then I have become an atheist.
91. That'll Do It
I realized my family was in a cult when I was 10 and we had a burn party for the television. As it exploded, people chanted, "Die, Satan! Die!" A life-changing moment if I ever saw one.
92. Let’s Meet Again
Telling my wife, after a rough time between the two of us, that I really wanted to have a wild, exciting affair and I'd prefer it be with her. That was about 25 years ago. Turns out we have a lot more fun treating each other like lovers than we did as spouses. Also? Getting a Fitbit. That's really motivated me to walk more. So, there's that, too.
93. Doing Her Best
I have a boss who is very good with numbers and making plans, but she is not good at all with interpersonal relationships. I once very publicly exposed her lack of people skills, and she called me up to a meeting which I thought for sure was to fire me. Her actual response stunned me. She just asked me: "I think you hit the nail on the head back there, I’m not really that good with my people skills. What do you think I can I do to improve them?"
I was totally surprised to hear that, and my entire opinion of her changed in an instant. She’s now very clearly trying to warm up to everyone, and even still asking me for advice from time to time.
94. An “A” for No Effort
I stopped giving a darn at work. Literally stopped giving 110% and started to give maybe 50%, and no one gave a darn and my evaluation stayed the same. I guess one day I figured that finance can wait another day to get the report, but my child will remember me playing Monopoly with him on Wednesday night.
95. Why Stay Down When You Could Push Up?
I started going for walks and doing pushups when I felt overwhelmed. Now I'm in the best shape of my life and I go to the gym five days a week. It's given discipline, self-confidence, and helps regulate my mood. It has led me to be more conscious of what I eat and makes me get enough sleep. It really helped me discover my love for exercise.
96. Guns A-Blazin’
I was at a Halloween party several years ago with a secondary/tertiary friend group. You know the kind. I was kinda friends with some of them, only barely knew others. But it was a costume party and I didn’t have anywhere else to be, so I went. There was a guy who was near to the center of said group that was always a little odd.
Everyone called him Prison Guy because he had been to prison. I had run into him a few years before when I was maybe 14 and he had offered me $20 to take off my shirt. He was at least 20 years old at that time. Real class act. Well, during the party, he committed an utterly disturbing act. Hepulls out a LOADED GUN. He starts waving it around in the air and saying that he could end it all right there if he wanted to or something to that effect.
Two guys eventually manage to get it from him. Now he’s pissed and running around the house yelling. A third guy steps in and decides to break down the gun. So one guy has all the bullets and one guy gets the actual gun. Someone else took the magazine. NO ONE ELSE reacted. They were just like “Welp, typical Prison Guy behavior”.
So that’s the day I decided that this entire circle of friends was completely crazy and stopped hanging out with them.
My moment was when I snuck into my ex-girlfriend's apartment to set up a surprise for her, only to find her in bed with my brother. Oh, and my other brother was covering for them. Before this, I had an innate feeling that my family was my one safe haven in a rather dark world. Now I know it's not.
98. New Lease on Life
I was on a plane that lost power in a storm and dropped in mid-air before the pilots were able to correct the situation. It was nothing newsworthy, but enough to scare the anything out of you if you were on board. Those seconds that lasted a lifetime are forever burned into my brain. I remember everything about what was going on, even the guy across the aisle who started to rock back and forth praying out loud.
I remember being thankful that the plane was over water so that we wouldn’t hurt anyone if we went down. I remember thinking about how I wouldn't get to watch my goddaughter grow up. It made me so sad that I felt like my life was so incomplete. I never finished all of the goals I had made for myself. I felt terrible for not being true to who I wanted to be, and I vowed that the second the plane touched down, my life was going to be different.
What followed was an extremely difficult period. I had nightmares about it and refused to set foot on a plane for almost two years. But during that two-year span, I accomplished a lot. The first two weeks alone, I quit smoking, I quit drinking, I quit eating all the garbage food that was a norm to me. I managed to lose 20 pounds in three months.
I quit the job I hated and found a new one doing what made me the happiest I had ever been. I got into a relationship with an amazing person and have been with them ever since. I suppose sometimes life can scare you back into living.
99. Man’s Best Friend
When I was about 10 years old, my parents and I were in our backyard clearing out a ton of weeds that had gotten out of hand. I had trouble focusing because our next-door neighbor had this really adorable puppy and all I wanted to do was play with him. We found out that they were actually going to take him to an animal shelter because their son was not taking care of him as he promised.
So I came up with an ingenious plan. I decided to ask my parents if maybe we could get him instead. I was an only child and never really have anyone to play with unless a friend would come over, and the thought of having a puppy to play with whenever I wanted to was great. My parents agreed and our neighbors offered to sell him to us for $20.
I had that saved up and immediately agreed and promised I care for him and love him forever. So, he became my puppy, my brother, and after a few days of debating, I named him Snoopy. Snoopy became my closest friend. He made me laugh, played with me, and would just hang out and watch TV with me. He was always there for me, especially through some tough times in my life where I was extremely self-destructive.
He saved me from myself. He was there at my side through tough breakups where all I ever wanted to do was lay in bed. He was an amazing friend. He was there to see me graduate eighth grade, high school, and college. I hoped he would be there on the day I got married and maybe be around for when I had kids, but unfortunately, as much as we wish for things, sometimes they don't happen.
Today is the four-year anniversary of his death after being by my side for almost 17 years. That little ball of fur made such a huge impact on my life bringing me years of happiness, friendship, and love. Even though I'm sad he's gone, I'm grateful to have had him in my life.
100. Blood Isn’t Everything
I have young parents, they were 18 & 19 when I was born. They got married because they got pregnant and got divorced because they got pregnant and married. They just weren't ready and way too young. It sucked. Eventually, my dad left the picture altogether, and my mom remarried. She dated this guy since I was 5 or 6, really young.
They got married when I was 9. He raised me. He's my "true" dad. This seems to be rather common among people my age (23, almost 24). Then my mom and stepdad got divorced when I was 18. It was awful. Much worse on me than my biological parents' divorce. I was so young when they got divorced (2 years old) and then I gained another "dad" pretty soon afterward—my stepdad.
When my mom told me that they were getting divorced, I was terrified. I'm an only child, I live in a relatively small town, and this all happened at the beginning of my senior year in high school. I didn't know who would move out and where I would end up. They would fight all the time. For some reason, they'd wait until I went to bed and then start screaming at each other.
But there's one night I'll never forget. Stepdad: "Get your stuff and leave." Mom: "But where am I supposed to go? What about my daughter?" Stepdad: "I don't give a DARN where you go, but OUR daughter is staying right here at home. With me." At first, I was a little pissed that he thought he could make that decision for me, but after I thought about it for a bit, I realized the gravity of that sentence.
It was the first time I had heard him refer to me as his daughter. I still call him by his first name. Old habits die hard, I guess. And really...the main cause of tension between them was money related. He knew that and knew he'd be able to provide for me better than her. My mom is the most irresponsible person I’ve ever met when it comes to money.
She got my first car repossessed (I was "paying" for it. As in, I'd give her the money and assume she was making the payments. Nope. Pocketing that stuff. She also wrote thousands of dollars’ worth of hot checks to my place of employment, using my employee discount and my checks! I was a minor, so she legally had to be on my bank account.
I barely got away with keeping my job. There’s more, but that's a different story for a different time. Long story short: my mom and I didn't have the best relationship anyway. Months later, my mom was making plans to move in with my grandma in the neighboring "city" and was going to uproot me and transfer me to a new bigger school.
During Christmas break of my senior year...ugh. I told her that I wanted to stay with my now ex-stepdad. She didn't know I had heard what he said that one night. She couldn't believe I was choosing him over her. Also, when I was 19, I still didn't have a car and my boyfriend at the time was driving me around everywhere...and his grandma had an old 1991 Cadillac DeVille she wanted to sell.
So, my ex-step-dad gave me $2,000 cash and told me to go pick it up. He just gave it to me. No questions asked, no expectation of payback. I still live with him rent-free, as long as I keep a job and stay in school and pay my own bills: new car payment (the Cadillac was awesome but just not cut out for driving all over the place in super-hot summers and a few pretty brutal winters.)
Car insurance, cell phone, etc. I think this has helped me be more responsible with money (definitely something I wouldn't have learned with my mom) Anything I want I have to pay for myself, but I don't have to pay for a roof over my head or a bed to sleep in or a shower to use. All because a man who had no legal or genetic responsibility to me took me in anyway, and fought to keep me when my mom left.
I get to experience his generosity every day, and I'm grateful for having him in my life every day. My ex-stepdad is the greatest man alive. Be jealous.
101. Can’t Put a Price on Education
On September 14th, 1986, my dad dropped me off at boarding school and gave me a five-dollar bill. I never heard from him again. He never paid my tuition bill. So, from the age of 14, I took every job I could get and worked my way through. At $4 an hour, I didn't even come close to paying off my entire bill, but the school let me stick around because I was a model student in and out of the classroom.
We get to graduation. I opened my little diploma thing expecting to see a bill in five figures. Instead there was a note: “Congratulations on your graduation. A group of us who believe in you and love you have taken care of your bill. We are proud to present you with your diploma.” I later found out that one of my friend's dad, a fairly well-off dentist, went fundraising among his golf buddies because he didn’t want to see me enter life at 18 under crushing debt.
102. Eating on the Floor
I was poor, but I never did realise it as a kid. Kid me had totally thought sleeping on the floor, eating on the floor, and a rickety old house was normal even though I did go to my wealthier friends houses I had never thought of it as them being "wealthier" but had thought "man they clean a lot more than we do." When I finally came to the truth, it changed my whole perception of the world.
103. She Would Swim Any Waters for Me
I'd been drinking one night and pissed the bed...her bed. With her in it. I spent an hour wide awake and mortified, as we hadn't been living together for very long at that point and I had no idea how to handle it. I eventually woke her up and shamefully told her what happened. Without ridicule or anger, she got up, helped me get the sheets in the wash, and took a shower with me.
It's been three years since that day, and she hasn't once used that event as harmful ammunition in an argument, or even mentioned it at all except as private playful banter once or twice. I understood then that she respected that embarrassing things happen to everyone and that I could always count on her to have my back, and to always keep our secrets.
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