We all have to grow up at some point or another, and we all experience watershed moments that lead us to make choices that come to define the overall trajectory of our lives.
When Redditor JapShag asked the online community "What happened that finally forced you to grow up?" the answers were about as revealing as you might expect.
Warning: Some sensitive material ahead.
"My mother left me in a restaurant..."
My mother left me in a restaurant when I was a freshman in high school with $20 and moved across the state without me.
I had my grandparents who were willing to drive 5 hours and to give me a place to stay while I went to high school, but it got me to get emancipated and get rid of that drug addict from my life. I feel bad for my little brother though who she took with her everywhere on her drug fueled life, he still to this day can't be too far away from mom in case she needs his help.
"At some point, I started running out of money..."
I used to be an extreme and unapologetic shut-in. I moved to a new city to attend university but stayed very isolated. I used to take regular trips back to my hometown for weed and beyond that the only significant social contact I had was one friend from back in high school who was studying in a different city on pretty much the other side of the country. He lived the shut-in life, too, but didn't smoke and always seemed to have his sh!t relatively together. We regularly skyped for hours and hours, since we both spent a lot of our free time in front of our computers.
At some point, I started running out of money and had to start taking jobs. Around that time said friend committed suicide.
My brother getting cancer. Dude doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, takes AMAZING care of himself, and has a successful career as a screenwriter. I was sixty pounds overweight, smoking a pack and a half a day, and getting drunk/stoned every night of the week. When the big C showed up, I realized I needed to get my shit together. Got a gym membership, curbed the drinking, quit the sticks, and got my life together. My brother recovered and now we can enjoy healthy living together. It's rewarding.
"That didn't do it."
Dad was killed in an accident. That didn't do it.
Mom decided to deal with it by watching TV. Forever. Barely ever leaving the couch. That didn't do it.
Rest of the family blackballed me for not participating in their religion. That didn't do it.
I was two years graduated, unemployed in a dead-end gig-economy career path, spending most of my time on an Xbox. That didn't do it.
My girlfriend's friends had an intervention and told her she could do better than me.
That did it.
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 shitty minimum wage job that I worked at for a year before it fell through. Then I got another shitty 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.
"We had no idea who my uncle was."
My uncle passed away in 2011 and I attended his funeral. We typically don't do open caskets in Hinduism and we cremate the body as soon as possible, but because he had helped out people in the neighborhood we held an open casket for one afternoon.
A thousand people showed up at my late grandma's house, each one of them sobbing when they saw him and coming up to me and family members telling us about how he helped them get off the streets, how he bought clothes for them, how he gave them food when they were hungry, how he helped them get jobs, get into school.
We had no idea who my uncle was.
I carried his legs on my shoulders to the funeral van which was to take him to the cremation site, and the day after I picked up his warm bones with my bare hand and helped them release his ashes into the nearby ocean.
That was the day I realized that I was no longer a kid and that I had some big footsteps to follow if I was to make a difference to my family, my friends, myself, and everyone around me.
"Changed my entire outlook on life."
When I was 21 I suffered pregnancy loss. I was 5 months pregnant and had my son stillborn. I feel like I aged 10 years over those days of finding out he had no heartbeat, delivering him, and having his funeral.
Changed my entire outlook on life.
"Got arrested for a DUI."
Got arrested for a DUI. Made me realize how many stupid decisions I was making and the fact they could have extremely bad consequences, potentially for others as well.
"I guess time will tell..."
The first was when I put the barrel of my handgun in my mouth and pulled the trigger. Unfortunately, the chambered round was a dud from a cheap box of ammo that had probably gotten wet in the past. Thinking it was a hangfire, I sat there with the barrel in my mouth waiting for it to go off, just thinking over everything that brought me to that decision. I'm not even sure how long I stayed that way.
The second was a year or two later when I quit a job that I really liked. My performance was poor and getting worse, the higher-ups had nothing but resent when they looked at me, and I just couldn't find the will to do better. I begrudgingly left to make it easier for them, since they didn't have the reasoning to legally fire me. I spent the next few years homeless, in an unfamiliar city with no contacts.
The third was after I had gotten a job on my own to get a place to live. It wasn't a great job, but I scraped by. Part-way through my second year, I quit so I could make another suicide attempt. With a different method this time, I knew I wouldn't fail. Unfortunately, I was stopped while I was waiting for it to take effect. I spent another few years homeless after that.
Fast-forward to today, and I'm still 'growing up'. I enrolled at a university and was making some headway there, but I recently have taken a break to think over another suicide attempt. I like to think, sometimes, that my suicidal tendencies are the last vestiges of my young self trying to hold me back from growing up. I guess time will tell if I ever grow up, if I float through life stuck in between, or I'm finally able to give in and end this ride.
"...are pretty much all depressed and miserable from my experience."
Realizing that it is a better alternative than not growing up after doing a lot of soul searching and reading.
Just living like a kid and not taking up much responsibility when you're in your 20s and 30s is great in the short term, but in the long term it makes you feel terrible, depressed, regretful etc. when you don't have a sense of meaning and accomplishment that only comes with taking up adult responsibilities. Having a career, starting a family, starting a business, etc. etc.
People in their 30s and 40s who haven't done much of value or meaning in their lives are pretty much all depressed and miserable from my experience.
"But there was a shift that day..."
Age 25, I was in the middle of having a panic attack on the subway and I realized that I was so exhausted and sick of myself that I didn't want to go through the panic attack and just... stopped having it. Stopped shaking almost immediately, did not care anymore.
This is not at all to say that panic attacks are anything to "grow out of" or generally controllable at all most of the time. I still have them, triggered by irrational reasons, and usually have to ride them out or take medication.
But there was a shift that day in how I think about my anxiety & phobias. I was using my anxiety as an excuse to be an antisocial hermit, overspend, overeat, flounder in my career, not advocate for myself at work, continue doing avoidant anxious behaviors all the time, hate myself, and a whole host of other bad stuff that I am now more consciously working on - and that moment triggered me finally taking control back.
"I miss that life all the time, but..."Giphy
I was playing in a band, living in and out of a van, playing 150+ shows a year and touring for extended periods of time and yet I still lived barely above the poverty level.
Got sick of the poor boy, ramen noodles and microwave pizza grind and quit the band in 2012. Seven years later, I've quadrupled my salary.
I miss that life all the time, but I'm finally comfortable and able to enjoy life and not stress about money or pawn belongings to put food in my stomach.
"My boyfriend at the time broke up with me."
My boyfriend at the time broke up with me. Forcing me to move out of his parents house where we lived the whole four years of our relationship (as far as I know he is still living there 3 and a half years later).
I had to sleep in my sisters nursery, she was pregnant with my nephew, and I realized how pathetic my life was. Got a job and moved in with a roommate 3 weeks later. Now I have my own car, own apartment, and a healthy relationship.
"Those years still sucked though."
I came out to my extremely homophobic parents at 16. I spent the next 2 years being verbally berated by the two of them and was very close to being kicked out. Sobering up to the fact that I couldn't be honest about something I knew I couldn't change (I knew when I was 12, tried to change it for years prior to coming out) and have them love me anyway matured me a lot.
Parents are still a bit homophobic 13 years later but are working on it. Those years still sucked though.
"I ended up doing everything..."
Parents moved us across the US without having jobs beforehand. Spent a year there, they were supposed to be looking for jobs.
Not waking up their 9 year old at 3 am on a school night to see if she wanted pizza.
I ended up doing everything for myself that year and never stopped.
"Sleeping in my car..."
Sleeping in my car instead of either of my parents' places because it was safest, emotionally and physically, to sleep in a car than to sleep in either house (i was in high school) I've always been too mature for my age but the first night I did that I realized "no one is going to save me from this. The only thing that will save me is if I save myself, because no one can do it for me." I ended up moving out a year later and now I've been independent for almost 4 years and I can honestly say that I'm happy,
"The greatest love I have ever known..."
The greatest love I have ever known was thrown into limbo as a result of my self-destructive behavior and hurtful words. I miss her so much, but this needed to happen. I wasn't taking life seriously, in a number of ways. I don't know if she'd ever take me back, but that hasn't stopped me from working actively to grow up and be a better man.
"I felt like I was able..."
Going to automotive school felt like the biggest change for me. Until then, I was extremely shy and had what I thought was really bad social anxiety. When I was first there, nobody knew what my voice sounded like for the first month or so that I went there. Somehow, things just clicked and I found myself much more eager to communicate and initiate conversation myself (whereas my helicopter mother usually spoke for me, interrupting me if I tried). Not to mention being away from my mother helped me realized how screwed up she is. I felt like I was able to start actually doing basic things on my own.
It's easy to get caught up in the past.
...so long as we knew what time of day it was going to be on.
What's something nostalgic for your age group?
Video games today are horrible!
Give us a 2-dimensional side-scroller of an Italian plumber fighting a dragon monster and nothing else good for many more years after that. Who needs all these fantastic releases, year in and year out, every year?
How Do We Enable "Big Head Mode?"
"Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a, select, start"
"My toddler son has a toy game controller that plays a little jingle if you put this code in. I loved that they put that little Easter egg into a kids toy and it makes my husband smile every time he does it."
When Was This Old? *cries in tired old man
"Anytime recently I've tried to get back into Minecraft it breaks my heart because the game just feels so different now. I played it from 2010 up until 2018 or 19 almost religiously, but the past couple years have really changed the game. I'm sure it's just as fun to play now, but it doesn't have that same nostalgia factor anymore like it used to."
Tests Of Parenthood
"Neopets in 2005"
"My girlfriend at the time made me take care of one as a test for being a father. Literally."
Some things you long for aren't actually possible to do anymore, leading to the reasoning this is why the nostalgia is at an all-time high. What's worse than missing something that no longer exists?
The Smell, The Sounds, The Sights, The Ambience
"Going to Blockbuster with my friends on a Friday"
"Renting cheesy horror movies and making fun of them with the group!"
You Can Miss That?
"Dial up modem noises"
"Kiiiiiiiiiiii…kiiuuuu…kiiiuuuu.. it was something like that right? I even forgot."
"And then I used to open yahoo login page and do some other work for few minutes and come back while it loads, and then enter id password, hit login and then get a coffee until it loads."
Illegal, But, Yeah
"I remember the really early days of mp3 sharing, before P2P came along. There were hundreds of FTP servers that you could connect to with huge libraries of mp3s. No domain name, just a raw IP address that you found somewhere on usenet."
"But they couldn't just give it away, because then everyone would take and nobody would give. So they had quota systems: you'd upload an mp3, and for every byte you uploaded, you'd get to download 2, or 3, or maybe even 5. And this was over dialup, so uploading or downloading a single file could take 30 minutes."
"But it was FTP. Very simple and dumb. There was no memory of your "credits" between sessions, so if you uploaded a bunch of stuff and then lost your connection, you were SOL."
"It amazes me to think how much time I spent getting a few songs that today I can play any time I want on Spotify."
For some people, this next section will sound silly.
For others, this was our childhood, which sadly (when you really think about it) revolved around a television schedule we had no input on, meaning we had to plan everything out around when the next episode of Power Rangers aired.
Cartoons After School Are The Best
"Anime on Toonami. Cartoon Cartoon Fridays"
"Toonami had really great western cartoons as well. I loved watching Samurai Jack, Ben 10, Teen Titans, and Clone Wars on Toonami growing up."
"Old Cartoon Network, spiky gelled hair"
"Old Cartoon Network" is an interesting answer because people are gonna have different ideas about what "Old Cartoon Network" is. I think of Ed, Edd n Eddy and Codename: Kids Next Door. Another commenter mentioned Gumball which is still well after my time."
When Life Revolved Around Someone Else's Schedule
"Born in the 70s, grew up in the 80s...I remember huddling around the TV as a family to watch certain things."
"For some reason, they would show The Wizard of Oz every year on network tv..and it was a big deal. My mom would make popcorn...in a pot on the stove (It was the 80's) and we'd sit on a blanket on the floor and watch."
Or Friday Nights....Dukes of Hazzard (when it was new). Mom would get takeout from Burger Chef...and we'd sit on the floor eating hamburgers watching 'dem Duke Boys at it again."
"Or in the summer....they'd show Creature from the Black Lagoon 3D on tv. 7-11 would give out free 3-D glasses."
"For the younger Redditors....this was well before any kind of streaming/on demand service...and back when cable TV and VCRs were still a luxury that a lot of people didn't have. So, you really only got to watch what was on the few channels that your antenna allowed."
"Another one is coming home from school to watch old shows like Gilligan's Island, The Munsters, The Addams Family, Batman, F-Troop."
"Or staying up late and at midnight....the TV would play the National Anthem....then show a control screen and just "BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP" like this: https://youtu.be/Cnchea6LHN0"
The good ol' days.
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When determining how to spend our life in a way that feels worthy, many place a heavy emphasis on experiences. We want to die with scars and stories.
And sticking our necks out inevitably leads to a whole lot of struggle. But that doesn't mean we wouldn't do the same thing the very next day if we could go back.
Some things, though we'll never do them again, were too important an experience to pass up.
Redditor JackIrishJack asked:
"What should you do once, but not twice?"
Many people talked about the life experiences, big and small, that influenced their outlook. They recommend people go through some discomfort to gain important awareness.
A Capacity for Empathy
"Working in the food industry I feel like everybody should do it once so they can have a respect for food workers but it's also a hell I never want to go through again"
Paying for a Daydream
"Buy a lottery ticket"
"You're not going to win, but buying a lottery ticket gives you the chance to dream and pretend. Having a second lottery ticket isn't going to make your dreams more vivid."
Plenty of Implications
"Visit Auschwitz. I firmly believe everyone should go visit it so as to not forget what humans are capable of doing to each other. But no need to visit twice. Once was enough for me."
Others brought up things which, if done twice, would be a sure sign that something is very very wrong.
Supposed To Be Permanent
"Learning how to walk. The first time - good on you. Having to
relearn a second time means something went terribly wrong."
Only Two Sets
"Lose all of your teeth" -- Outrageous_Cream_112
"Haha I had to think about this for a second" -- ApplesauceDoctr
Don't Wanna Find Yourself There Too Often
"Get beaten half to death breaks the concepts of your limits. Second time breaks the spirit. Third time is overkill."
Others apparently viewed the question as an opportunity for a little cleverness.
If You're Good
"Cut...you measure twice before." -- wxguy215
"For me its more like 'measure twice, make sure it's just a teeny bit too long then go back and shave it off little by little until it wedges in perfectly' " -- pistpuncher3000
As the Saying Goes
"Fool me" -- Thia_suzieUzi
"FOOL ME THREE TIMES FU** THE PEACE SIGN LOAD THE CHOPPA LET IT RAIN ON YOU" -- nixusthegod
Only a Couple to Work With
"Donate a kidney" -- RealisticDelusions77
"Donate one kidney, you're a hero. Donate two kidneys, you're a corpse. Donate three kidneys, you're a felon." -- Drach88
"Be born. Going through the birthing process again would probably kill my mother." -- cylonrobot
Here's hoping we can all find the healthy balance between living a full, experienced life and punishing ourselves a little too much.
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Whenever I visit clothing stores, I make it a point to fold the clothes I unfurl. That is apparently my downfall as a customer.
Because of this, fellow customers often peg me as an employee and always ask me questions like where the bathroom is, or if the store has certain sizes left in stock.
Umm, no, I don't work here. I'm just a responsible customer. As you were.
Many of us make assumptions about other people just by looking at them. Who knew we were so presumptuous?
Curious to hear the experiences of strangers online, Redditor lilmizzvalz asked:
"What do people assume about you, based on your appearance?"
People often misinterpret moods based on how someone looks. That's unfair, wouldn't you say?
"That I'm caring and supportive. I have a resting nice face."
"That I am always mad. Nope just dissociating and staring off into space."
Not Meaning To Be Mean
"That I'm mean. I have a resting mean face for a dude I guess. Also lately it's worse because I'm bigger now. I don't really notice how my face appears but apparently, I seem angry when I'm looking at stuff."
"'You should smile' and 'are you ok?' comments followed me from busboy, waiter, bartender my whole career."
When it comes to measuring intelligence of others, some people are just way off.
Hard To Live Up To Expectations
"That I'm clever. People keep saying it to me, but I'm dumb and that sh*t is hard to live up to."
"I have glasses."
Eyes Full Of Wisdom
"I apparently have something similar going on mixed with looking like I know sh*t, because people come up to me in public and ask about directions, bus schedules and stuff all the time. Like, they'll deliberately avoid other people to ask me. Including when I'm abroad and should look a bit out of place."
"They assume I have an intellectual disability. (And also that I'm deaf, since I'm not able to speak.)"
"No, I am a person with two university degrees who happen to need a wheelchair because of a nasty neurological illness."
People don't always look their age. Some don't even act their age. But these Redditors have gotten their fair share of wrong guesses for their ages.
"That I'm 15."
"I'm 38 and a doctor. 'Did you just finish school?' EVERY DAY."
"This thread was depressing to read as I am 38 but often get mistaken for 50. I hate y'all and your youthful beauty."
Some people are typed out as certain types of people with just one look.
Watch Your Tone
"That I have a southern accent. Not one stranger has ever suspected that I have a 'New Jersey' accent (Born and raised in New Jersey before moving south)"
Not A Biker
"That I ride a Harley and/or work on them. I'm bald with a long goatee and tons of tattoos, but I'm in IT for a living and don't ride motorcycles at all."
Like others have expressed in the thread, I've also been accused of having "resting b*tch face."
You know, that neutral expression where you're not smiling the one time you're not in a situation where you have to be "on" for other people?
Yeah, that one.
If someone's resting face comes across as unfriendly, well, perhaps it's best not to upset them by asking them what's wrong all the time. Just sayin'.
Ideally, a teacher should take the job because of a genuine interest in helping students, furthering their education as well as their self-development. Of course, it's not as simple as that (administrative issues aside). Unfortunately, there are some teachers out there who aren't cut out for the job––and they even have a mean streak when it comes to their students. The effects this can have on the learning process are dire.
Teachers don't get paid well, and they're well aware. Many stick with the job because they have a passion for teaching; many others stick with the job because of the position of inscrutable authority it offers them over helpless students.
People shared their experiences after Redditor Ara-Rat asked the online community,
"What did your teacher do that made you call them 'the worst teacher ever'?"
"Questioned 5th-grade teacher's manner of pluralizing a word on the board. Got sent to the library to look it up in a dictionary and report my findings to the class.
Decades later and I'm still mad at that woman for trying to publicly humiliate a ten-year-old student."
That's awful. What is with adults who try to deliberately an example out of children?
"My old band teacher..."
"My old band teacher threw a projector at his students. He left the district later that year."
That was... probably for the best, when you think about it. (I had a teacher who threw a girl's pencil case out the window when she wouldn't stop talking; no, he was not fired.)
"My 3rd-grade teacher..."
"My 3rd-grade teacher got frustrated with a kid's stutter and started pounding the kid's desk with a closed fist while mocking his stutter."
Hopefully this teacher was disciplined and/or fired. That's the sort of behavior that thankfully would not fly today––it would go viral so fast.
"The worst were the teachers..."
"The worst were the teachers who would take books away from me and hold me up for ridicule because they disagreed or didn't approve of the genre or subject material. I was always into science fiction and horror genre's and many of them didn't consider it true literature worthy of reading. I remember my father getting into it with one of the teachers who disapproved of Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, to which he pointed out it was on the required reading list of a lot of major universities. Dad was awesome like that, and chewed the teacher and principal out for having the temerity to try to stop any student who wanted to read, regardless of what the genre was."
Teachers who mock students for reading are the worst. Reading is one of the best things any student can do––there are so many benefits! Hopefully you have not lost your love of reading.
"When I'd instinctively try..."
"She tied me to my chair. I was hyperactive, and also 5. She would also hold my hand during formation in the mornings and squeeze so hard my tiny knuckles would crack. When I'd instinctively try to pull my hand away, she'd hold onto it and smile at me and ask me if it hurt."
The abuse here is almost incomprehensible. But it happens: a few years ago, a teacher made headlines for hanging a student by his coat on a coatrack. You can bet there were lawsuits.
"I was in the only dress I owned..."
"Tried to get me suspended for a dress code violation when I was 15. I was in the only dress I owned at the time because I was going to my best friend's funeral. She'd committed suicide two days before. I was crying and begging her to just let me stay till my mom picked up my remaining friends to go to the funeral. Said teacher then took me to the office and I had to sit in the front office under a tarp until my mom picked me up."
"My 8th grade English teacher..."
"My 8th grade English teacher never published grades and every time I'd ask her about it she'd answer with, "I don't know, what do you think it is?"
IF I KNEW WOULD I BE ASKING?!"
I've had a few teachers like this. Makes one wonder: Are you actually grading anything? WHAT are you doing, exactly?
"My biology teacher..."
"My biology teacher took my yearbook away right before the summer break. I didn't put it away in time.
That year my parents divorced and I was moving away. I told her this after class and she didn't care. She kept it until the last day. I didn't get any signatures.
Ended up throwing it away. What a witch."
"My university lecturer..."
"My university lecturer was the most incompetent bloke I've ever met. He taught I.T and for the life of me, I can't figure out how he got that job.
- In the first lesson, he got us to sign up to Twitter so we could share lesson content, tweet at each other so we'd get to know one another, and also tweet him. Everybody, including the lecturer, used Twitter once. We just used the university intranet to share stuff.
- Again, during the first lesson, he announced he was going on holiday for four weeks during our first term.
- All of his lessons were PowerPoint presentations, each slide had about a paragraph of text written on them which he would read out loud while awkwardly looking over his shoulder. Once he was done doing that he would essentially repeat what he had just said.
- One day he asked us for help in booking his airline tickets online because he couldn't figure out how to use the website.
As sad as these stories are, consider that these teachers are very much the exception to the rule. The majority of the teachers I have known over the years genuinely care for their students, work tirelessly on their lesson plans, and would never tolerate a single moment of the behavior featured here. Thank you to those teachers for doing their jobs––we appreciate you. (And ya'll deserve a raise, it's honestly messed up how little lawmakers understand about how hard your jobs actually are.)
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments section below!
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