Every once in a while something happens that snaps us out of the routines that we run through every day and makes us realize something really important. It can be something as monumental as the death of a loved one, or as simple as an offhand comment from someone else that really puts things into perspective.
A reddit user who has since deleted their account asked:
You Never Know When It Will End
Realizing that your life can change dramatically or end at any time.
My mom had arm pain, six months later she was dead from cancer.
She never had a chance to get back to her house after her diagnosis as she immediately entered the system for tests, treatments, and palliative care.
When us kids finally made it back to her house to empty it out, it was very sobering: Stopped clocks, appoint book laid open showing appointments never kept, deadlines never met. Her desk inbox loaded with paperwork that would never get filed, fridge full of food, etc.
Point is, life is often short, frail and beyond our control and we all lose in the end unless you judge victory by how much you were able to share you life with others, in the moment.
Time To Think
I was in prison on a 16 month stretch for heroin, with plans to get right back on it when I got out. It was my third term, so no biggie.
Halfway through, I got pulled into the lieutenant's office, and instead of the lieutenant, I was greeted by a priest and a rabbi. They told me my younger sister had overdosed and died. I found out later that she had nodded off on her back, vomited and drowned. She died in a piece of sh*t run down van in a Walmart parking lot, all alone.
I was on a minimum yard with a six foot fence. Easy to escape if you wanted to. They classified me as a flight risk, which was protocol, and put me in administrative segregation for two weeks. Just me in a cell. I had a lot of time to think about my life and where I wanted to go with it, decided I didn't want the life I was currently living, and made plans to change things upon my release.
That was almost six years ago. I have a job i like, the best dog in the world, and am engaged to be married. I actually like my life today. Sh*t ain't always rainbows and blowjobs, but I don't wake up dope sick wondering how I'm gonna score every morning and where I'm gonna sleep that night.... so it's better.
Rethink Your Life
I got expelled from high school and had no real sense of purpose. My parents kicked me out of their house and I found a sh*tty two bedroom apartment to move into. The guy I bought my weed from was looking for a place to live so I offered him the other room. Over time he started selling meth and the people that came by our apartment were getting sketchier and sketchier. One night there was a knock on the door that woke me up and my roommate went to answer it and it was the gnarliest looking toothless, scab-covered sex worker I have ever seen. My roommate took her back to his room for a while and I tried to go back to sleep. I heard her leaving and wandered into the living room and my roommate gave me this look that said 'I just f*cked that woman in exchange for meth.' The next morning I called my parents and promised I would finish high school and go to college if they let me move back home. I signed the lease over to my roommate, moved out, and never saw him again.
Pop Culture To The Rescue
This may sound strange, but my big wake up call came during an episode of Futurama. When the large galactic entity said the quote "When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all," it hit me very hard. I realized right then that doing something good and right shouldn't depend on what others think, but what you think. Although feedback and positive reinforcement from good deeds is nice, the inner feeling is much more important.
"Theres Nothing To Love"
When, after years of marriage issues that I blamed on my wife, she said, "I don't love you anymore because there's nothing to love."
In that instant I realized she was absolutely right and suddenly I saw the destruction I'd caused that I completely ignored. Realized I was a lazy, manipulative alcoholic.
18 months later, I'm 18 months sober, 80 pounds lighter and our marriage is better than I even knew was possible.
It's Not Your Fault
That abuse and bullying usually stems from an inferiority complex and the reason people do it is to try and bring you down below their level.
I realized that there was no way I was going to gain validation or earnest support from my father and that the years of name calling, belittling, screaming, yelling, silent treatments weren't justified and I didn't deserve any of it contrary to my trying to justify his behavior.
It all hit when I was chased out of the house over a f*cking fork.
I've stopped talking to my dad and including him in my life and actually am starting to feel good about myself.
It Hits You Hard
When I held my daughter for the first time and thought, 'this beautiful, helpless creature is entirely dependent on you, you giant f*ck up'.
Yeah, holding your baby for the first time will wake you up hard. Never had a more impactful moment in my life than that.
Don't Miss Out On Your Life
I was playing a lot of online games and became obsessed with SWTOR to the point where I was skipping work and other things just to play the game. Eventually they changed the model to a F2P type and it triggered me to a realization of how much time and money I'd spent on it. I remembered thinking about what I had to show for it all and how much I'd missed out on in RL. My daughter was only 6 months old at the time and I didn't want to look back and think "I should have spent more time with her than playing games". Now I'm a gym addict, I can braid hair and I couldn't tell you the year I last played a computer game.
It's Not Weakness To Seek Help
Mine I guess has to be finally caving into my friend's advice and going to a psychiatrist. Apparently a lot of things I was feeling were not "normal". However, the wake up call was hearing a professional tell me how bad my approach towards handling my emotions and whatever has gone down in my life was. Granted this was fairly very recent, but ever since then I have started to make an effort to listen less to the negative voices in my head and take smaller steps towards taking control of my life once again. The voices still interfere with my work and life but compared to what it was a couple of weeks ago, I am glad to say that it is reducing even if it is a little bit.
Granted this was fairly very recent
OK, yes, but isn't just the realization that change is possible glorious?!
Yes, even the realization that what I am experiencing was not normal and can be fixed was uplifting.
A Good Point
When I was pouting like a baby at age 12 outside my hotel room in Amarillo Texas. The security guy was making his rounds and came up and talked to me. He asked what's wrong, I said I am pissed off. I don't remember what I was pissed about but I'm sure it was stupid. He looked me dead in the eyes and said "it's better to be pissed of than pissed on". Right there in that moment I realized stressing about crap wasn't worth it. People to this day 30 years later still ask how I live so stress free.