Life can be marked by watershed moments––those moments when you realized you needed to grow up and mature and get your life together––for your sake, predominantly. And for the sake of your sanity, too.
Thanks to Redditor network_not_found, we get to experience just how universal these epiphanies are, after they asked the online community: "What was your 'I need to grow up moment' that actually made you grow up?"
"When my mom was dying..."
When my mom was dying, I had to square with a whole lot of 'suck it up and deal' moments with myself so that everything could get done. She'd been sick for a long while, but had always been private about it until the last few months, when she was rapidly getting worse, especially when my grandmother also got horribly ill at the same time.
I got used to the sight/smell of bile real fast and with the fact that I needed to catch my mom's puke in a bowl because she couldn't walk to the toilet. I got used to spending nights & weekends in hospital rooms so that Mom would have someone with her while Dad was checking in on Grandma.
I got used to calmly talking about end-of-life arrangements, because that stuff had to be taken care of. I even got used to not being able to talk about it with anyone, because who was I going to spill to? Everyone else in the family was dealing with a much worse scenario than I was.
It sucked horribly and it was the worst year of my life, but it was definitely a growing experience in terms of just learning how to get shit done, even in the most horrific circumstances.
"In my late 20s..."
In my late 20s my Mom needed open heart surgery so I moved home for over a year to look after her. Up until that point I honestly can't think of a single "responsible" thing I had really done.
My parents started making dinner only for me and saying they already ate. Me being a dumb kid of 16ish I just believed it. Eventually I put the pieces together. 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 ate 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.
"When I was 22-23..."
When I was 22-23 I would always insult my brother as a joke. I never complimented him or anything. One day he kind of exploded on me and before I could say something I realized he was right. All I did was try to bring him down for no reason. I stopped, which ironically enough annoyed him for a while because I would throw in compliments and stopped insulting him.
I started teaching right out of college at age 22. I got a job in a Title I school teaching 5th grade science and social studies. Most students were held back at least once, and I had several students who were 12 and 13 years old. On the first day of school, I remember feeling so strange that I could shut my classroom door and be trusted to be responsible for the science and civic education of 90 (3 sections of 30 kids) fifth graders. At age 22. My first few years of teaching taught me a lot about how the world worked. I also grew a thick skin, learned to stand up for myself, and developed a desire to always improve myself.
"Walking into the rehab center..."
Walking into the rehab center I had left 6 months prior. December 2006, I had been a drug addict for 15 years and 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.
"Realizing that I want to..."
Realizing that I want to spend my life with someone, but don't have the means to move in with them, get married, start a life, etc. I started driving (I haven't driven due to fear and mostly got rides everywhere) and got a real job. I'm saving up to get a home with my partner so we can have a happy life together.
"When I realized..."
When i realized that i needed to start socializing with people, otherwise i couldn't get anywhere in life. I'm mostly an introvert and i hate to go outside because the grind never stops. At some point though i realized that if i never socialized i wouldn't make any friends and would never feel good about myself whatsoever. Ever since that moment, i started going out with people, chatting with people online, i started expressing myself a little better and might have a girlfriend soon. Honestly a good thing. Idk if this all fits as a "grow up moment" but i hope it does.
Realising that going to I.T school to become a programmer when I wasn't even interested in that line of work was why I had depression, was alone, and always angry. I now am going for Art and Design, have incredibly calmed down, and found myself the love of my life.
"I got pulled over..."
I got pulled over doing 90 mph in a 55. I was 17, and in my state is when you are legally an adult. Was still high school and on my way back from my military drill that weekend. The officer had me stop the engine get out, and then proceeds to handcuff me on the side of the road, in my uniform, and has me sit on the grass. Then we proceeded to have a nice long talk 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. I was going to be one messed up teenager. He then 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.
"I was 15..."
I was 15. I had a step father who hated kids, and my mom had four, me being the youngest. The eldest two bailed as soon as they had the chance, because our family was terribly dysfunctional. Stepdad would get drunk and abuse my mom. We tried many times to stop him or get the cops involved, but she always backed him up, so fuck it, her dog, her fleas. There came a day when stepdad decided that he didn't want to abuse mom, he's come upstairs after me.
Being a malnourished 15 year old facing a drunken ex-boxer with a history of violence was enough to make a boy freeze up. I couldn't freeze up, though, or my life would basically be over, I couldn't let the next 5 minutes go his way. So by the time he got to the top of the steps, I was waiting for him with a baseball bat. Not as much of an equalizer as Sam Colt would recommend, but it did the trick. I beat the monster, I grew up!
My mom and stepdad moved out almost immediately, her choosing him over us. She said when we graduated high school, she'd sell the house so be ready, but my next oldest brother (it was just him and me at that point) was into drinking and threw me out.
"My husband has depression..."
My husband has depression and lost his job a few months back so he's not in a good place right now. We're late 20s and have always muddled through together but this is the lowest he's ever been. Stepping up to keep us going through this has definitely made me grow up.
The positive side is that we're coping well and he's getting help. I'm quite proud of us.
The look of disappointment on my wife's face when we received our third eviction notice while on vacation with my family. I spent the money on everything else rather than paying bills first.
"I went to a party..."
I went to a party where I knew my ex was going to be with his girlfriend. We dated for about 4 years and had been broken up for 2 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.
"I was in my mid-20s..."
I was in my mid-20s, at a job interview for a job I really wanted. I'd already been in the field for awhile and thought I was hot shit. 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 bullshitted 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 BS 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.
My wife dying and leaving me with our three kids... I'd always been very immature up until then.
"After I dropped out..."
After I dropped out of college, I worked at a Home Depot as a cashier for a while. Then I got fired for never showing up on time.
After not being able to cut it as a cashier in retail, I thought, "It's probably time to get my act together, huh?"
I did. Currently write code that organizes financial data.
"I had a child."
I had a child. It wasn't just me and my adult, fully capable wife who could take up the slack if I screwed up - I now had this helpless little person relying on me.
Until she was born, I hadn't held a job for over a year. I then had that job for 8 years, and when I did switch jobs there was a significant pay increase and now I've been there 4 years.
"I found out..."
I found out I was pregnant. I had a part time travel only position and the previous year made money from stripping and digital consulting. I was just fooling around with my life and didn't really have any goals except to eventually get a full time digital position.
Within four months I acquired a vehicle, my own place to live and full time position.
I was in no way ready to have a child. Now I'm in a better position than ever even though my costs have gone up significantly.
Right when I graduated college and moved out on my own, I received around a $100k inheritance and started spending money like it was nothing, to the point where I finally checked my financials and realized I had spent $30k in nine months. It was only when I ran through the numbers that I realized I was being a total, complete idiot.
I think this really helped later on in life, though, it caused me to save and invest as much money as possible, even when I had a really well-paying job. While people at my level were buying either a Lexus or a Mercedes, I was clinging onto my Honda civic then later bought a Prius.