See, no one told you life was gonna be this way.

But what if this was all a dream and you could change it?

Reddit user OptimalProblemSolver asked:

If you woke up to find you were still 14 years old, and you had just been dreaming of what adult life might be like, how would you react?

The variety of answers is amusing.


Hard question. On one hand, if by some miracle I retained my current social intelligence and knowledge of how things work in the real world, I would work my ass off and not waste time in places where I know were not as good as I wanted them to.

On the other hand, making those same choices might not lead me to the people that I currently know and that have made an impact in my life. I find it hard to digest a life where I didn't meet these people. SirLeos

Timeless Wealth

If I woke up to be 14 in 1987 I'd probably convince my parents to invest $10,000 in Microsoft stock. It would become $1M by beginning of 1999. Then invest that $1M in Apple stock which would become $100M by 2015. And then invest those $100M in bitcoin and have 3 BILLION dollars by now...

And now I'm imaging how I would try to convince my parents that I'm from the future... Vahanik



Confusion, relief and then regret because if it was all a dream then the people that meant a lot to me over the years weren't real. Im_not_that_angry

Could You Do It?

I'm 42 now. I don't think I could fake the stuff that I pulled to get through my high school and college years.

I'd probably walk a lot more. My hometown doesn't seem as big as when I was 14. I'd go bother girls at other schools. Actually, I'd probably bother whatever we used to call cougars.

I'd use the free gym at school to get in shape instead of doing it because my dad wanted me to do it. I'd meditate. I'd be stuck without a car but all that free time. I'd definitely get more into playing guitar and earning money for a used car, so I could leave my hometown faster.

But yeah, good kid and all that? Can't fake it again. I'd do the few things I really cannot do now:

-Hang out with my mother's father and help him get over my being a half-breed by working on soldering with him. He died when I was 16 and I feel like I knew him better long after he was gone.

-Hang out with my father's mother and practice her meatball recipe with her. I can make her red sauce, I love making pasta in sardine sauce, and I make a decent lasagna. However I never got that chance with the bugnarole and I miss those meatballs every day.

-Hang out with my uncle Paul. I miss him so much. He would love my wife and son, but that wouldn't be germane. He lived to be 68 with six grandkids. -However his last three years were a nightmare. I miss that micromanaging beast every day.

-Avoid one of my aunts. I couldn't bear to look at her, knowing what she would eventually do to my grandma and what that did to Paul. pseydtonne

Loved Ones

I would run downstairs and hug the living hell out of my parents, who've both since died. fweng


Take Your Brain

That depends on if I get to retain the "knowledge" from the dream. If yes, I'm somewhat bilingual, much more confident, likable, funny, considerate and caring, so I'll get my life together at a young age. If not, I'll probably f*** up everything the same way all over again, but ill still be glad I woke up from this nightmare. TheZiegensauger

Not The Homework!!!

I would scream because now i got to do that soul grinding homework again. Anansi3003

Forlorn Advice

Don't smoke cigarettes, don't drink and drive, sex without birth control is for stupid people who eventually become serious teenage parents (condoms are cheap and pulling out doesn't count as birth control), it's ok to say no to things that make you uncomfortable or upset, if you're on the fence about something then try it because you'll regret the "what if" more than the failure in most cases, don't mistake abuse for love (sounds dumb but easy to do as a teenager), appreciate your family (assuming they're not abusive or anything like that), have fun, you are a worthwhile person who deserves to be loved. funkyb


Bleak Future

You were dreaming of what life might be like as an adult, not the future. So you buy stock in Apple, but Apple fails as a company to the giant tech giant Microsoft. Then you decide to invest in Netflix but it barely gets off the ground and Blockbuster merges with Hollywood video and becomes a media conglomerate.

But you're not worried because you still have your ace in the hole. You invest your life savings at 18 into bitcoin.....but it crashes to be completely worthless to the point where nobody will buy it off you for pennies. egnards

Not Fade Away

I'd be destroyed. My wife, my home, the family we've built together, just a dream....

How would I ever grow to love anything, terrified I'd just wake up again? The_Foe_Hammer

No Regrets

I have few regrets. I have had rough times, poor choices, falling outs, and falling all ins. I have sunk fortunes into stupidity, and squandered talent to spare. I've also laughed and cried and shared and received. I have loved.

If it was indeed not a forecast and a guiding path with warnings, but instead a dream of a life balanced on a razors thin line of choices, I might just snap right there. I would make the mistakes all over again if it lead me to here, but it would be hard not to change things for fear it would break it all. What if not having that one fight that ledt you both raw and hurting some 18 years ago is actually the moment that forged the steel of your marriage's blade and you never realized it?

Oh, god, it's terrifying to think about. TheSpanxxx

Give Me A Chance

F*** yes, a DO OVER? I'd learn to respect and love myself more - emotionally and physically. I wouldn't let the words of the bullies weigh me down. I wouldn't eat my emotions. I'd join track and field because fitness keeps me sane these days. I'd put down the fucking ADD pills my parents put me on when I was 10 and learn to adapt early on (got off them last year at the age of 25 and it has been one of my biggest struggles/accomplishments). I'd embrace the f*** out of life, especially knowing how much easier it was it back then. ShineInThePines


I Wish...

Part horrified - 14 years old me was awkward, it was the worst of my bullying, and well even without that teens years are bad.

Part relieved because the number of times I wished I could go back as a teen, with less responsibilities, less dire consequences for my mistakes, and mostly I can correct some of my biggest mistakes like starting to smoke, not learning to drive young, and choosing the wrong career (and thus elective in HS, and majors in college). shrekine

A Clear Solution

So, so much relief.

First thing Id do is Id dump my (then) boyfriend SO fast. Life would be pretty good if I could do that before age 17 or so. cmerksmirk

A Happy Solution (tw: suicide)

i would probably cry of happiness, and then defeatist 14 year old me would deny [my current living situation] was even a possibility for my future and cry of sadness again. at 14 i was attempting to end my life every so often and had a bad self harm problem. i certainly did not think life would get better after adulthood.

now as an adult i work in the mental health field and have had to talk to suicidal 14 year olds on a fairly consistent basis over the course of my career. 14 year old me never would've thought i would grow up to help people who hurt as much as I did. I was actually convinced I would die by my own hands before the age of 30.

Nope, still here! F*** you, suicide! RatherBeRaving

Important Advice

Id tell myself that finding a boyfriend isnt the most important thing in the world! You be you. DaniWatson91


Worst Fears Confirmed

This would be a very mixed bag for me. On one hand, I'd be relieved knowing that my future bf/best friend was still alive and would be able to maybe do something more, could make better decisions and not end up with the abusers or with a crazy history of spending 10+ years with people I never saw the faces of, could turn out a lot different and avoid the pain.

But then I'd be back in hell where my depression was taking over, trying to deal with a drugged up mom and handling my siblings on my own, going through the losses I remember all over again and possibly never meeting the people I have now and love dearly.

And if I couldn't save myself from the future, if my decisions were the same? I'd probably either kill myself or find a way to block out everything until I reached my mid 20's. I never want to go through that again.

Bonus: As a note, as someone who suffers from disassociative issues from PTSD and a history of abuse, this is a real fear for me and my partners can attest that I have to ask them from time to time if the time and place we are in is real, that I'm not just dreaming and going to wake up in the trash covered hell of abuse I spent years in, or other dark places. I genuinely struggle some days distinguishing reality from my own memories and rationalizing what is real. nyvz


Total devestation. I love my life. I have an amazing wife and a truly wonderful toddler. If I woke up and they were gone, I'd want to be gone, too. Haquistadore

New Chance

Personally I'd relish the chance to not have to go through what I have. Maybe things would be different, y'know? I don't know your story but in some cases you don't necessarily have to live through it again. Before killing myself I'd definitely go live with my Grandma and attempt to live a much nicer life away from my parents. KangarooBeStoned

To The Point

I'd come out of the closet sooner. Meskaline


Final Thought

For everyone else whose reaction was "relief," maybe consider how you would react if you continued living the way you are now for another 5, 10, 20 years- however you imagine that happening.

Then suddenly on a Thanksgiving night, without warning, you wake up. It's you, as you are now. You're [current age]. The last years didn't happen at all. What do you do? How do you change? Instead of waking up as a 14-year old, as an experiment, try waking up as your current age. This is your second chance, happening right now.

I think sometimes we know a lot about ourselves that we don't confront directly, because it's uncomfortable and scary. This post is making me think about how I'm living, in new ways. Gonna do a lot of journaling before bed.

To answer the question: I would be so happy- would hug my dog, my grandma, would sit on my back porch before we moved. Would have dinner with my parents. Would think long and hard about God. I would be scared, but exhilarated, and weights would be lifted and added on my shoulders in about equal proportion. I would write everything down. fresh_owls


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