1. My aunt (never met her) is part of a cult in Texas. A couple of my cousins, her daughters, got out and were basically shunned by the community. My aunt told my cousin that she would go to her wedding and then before the wedding she sent a letter to my cousin that she wasn't going anymore because the marriage was damned to Hell. She also told her sister, my other aunt, that she got sick (had cancer) because she didn't believe enough.
My cousins are very successful now and work hard but damn, they went through some crazy brainwashing as kids.
2. I was born and raised in a cult, and considered myself a member up until I left my parents' home at the age of 18. The group I was associated with is not well known, but the effects on the members are tragic and undeniable.
We were literally brainwashed. We had weekly services with a set program (three hymns, prayer, sermonette, hymn, announcements, main message, hymn, prayer.) It never altered from that layout. As well, the messages we would hear were often videotaped sermons from maybe five main people at "headquarters". The topics were extremely narrow (Prophecy/the end is coming!, Self Improvement/all of you suck and you should hate yourselves, Setting Ourselves Apart/don't talk to "worldly" people, they will taint you.)
There were many ways in which we were indirectly encouraged to harm ourselves. Many people looked down upon modern medicine, and felt that using it was a way of turning away from God - slapping him in the face, making it clear he wasn't needed. I personally knew people who died for their faith, waiting for God to heal them. On the other hand, when any of the main leaders fell ill, they were immediately rushed off to receive medical care.
They controlled our diet. We pretty much were kosher (though they denied all influence or association from/with Jewish people.) There were annual days of fasting, and whenever the leadership could scare up enough drama within the members, they would declare a "church-wide fast" so we could all get closer to God and resolve our issues. We fasted when the church's income was said to be dropping. We fasted when leaders were ill. We fasted when people died. We had our own personal fasts for the hell of it, or when we felt especially guilty and out of touch with God. Parents were encouraged to get their children involved as young as possible. My parents tell me I started observing the annual fast when I was three years old. I remember one year when my brother was two or three, at at one point during the day, he just broke down sobbing because he was so thirsty (oh, yeah - we abstained from food and drink. We got obscenely dehydrated, every time.) Looking back, I just don't understand how a parent can behave that way.
There was actually an entire message once where one of the leaders took on the subject, "Are we a cult?" and he actually went through a checklist for us. His conclusion was that we were a cult, but that it was a good thing. We should be proud! Only not, pride is a sin. We should be pleased.
They were so sex-negative, I can't even describe. We spent so much time and energy frantically thinking, "I can't think about sex" that it was all we thought about. It was "evil, dirty, wrong, and it would hurt if we weren't married." I literally built up so much fear over it that when I did finally have sex (Continued)
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I literally built up so much fear over it that when I did finally have sex (as an unmarried adult, hah...) I had developed vaginismus, a sexual pain condition. The cause is often psychological - in my case, being so afraid of it hurting, that it hurt, which further fed into my fear.
You had to be baptized before a minister would marry you. You couldn't be baptised and marry someone else who wasn't. You couldn't marry outside the church. Some ministers wouldn't baptize you if they thought your only incentive was to get married.
There were rampant cases of sexual abuse from the leadership, but we were always too fearful to report it. Always taught that it must have, in some way, been our fault.
"Traditional" gender roles were enforced - i.e., women stay home, pop out babies, cook, and clean. Men were to work and support the home. Having children, and lots of them, was strongly encouraged - "Be fruitful and multiply", and all that crap. Adoption was frowned upon, even for those who were unable to have their own children. So many families were living in poverty because there were just too many children to take care of. God forbid that any of them have a medical condition that required constant treatment.
We were robbed on a regular basis. They called it tithing. Not only did we give ten percent of our entire income, but we were also to set a second ten percent aside (to be used at a seven day religious convention of sorts every year) and on every third year, we would give an additional ten percent to the church. Imagine losing 20% of your income every year, and 30% every third year. Imagine being poor to begin with. Imagine being told you are poor because you have been literally stealing from God by not diligently paying your tithes.
I could go on forever. There is so much.
3. I was part of a fundamentalist Christian cult known as ATI/IBLP. Recent scandals have hit the news about the cult leader Bill Gothard when over 50 women came forward with allegations that he sexually harassed/assaulted them. But that's only scratching the surface. Let me tell you my scariest experience - and just keep in mind, I'm far from the only one.
First off, throughout my childhood my father and sisters abused me. Since the cult taught a strict familial hierarchy, with the father being top dog, then mother, then children in order of birth, as the youngest I was bottom of the totem pole. My father would twist Bible verses to justify anything he wanted to do. Because ATI is a homeschool cult, it was really handy to cover up the abuse from any prying eyes. My home was a prison for 11 years until he died of a massive heart attack. And that's not even the scariest experience.
Fast forward 2 years. I'm 13, with a mother who's frantically fixated on me being a "troubled child" because 1. I dared resist my father's advances and argue against the abuse I was suffering, gaining me the reputation of 'Rebellious', 2. I'm severely depressed because I'm a freaking victim and depression is considered sin, and 3. I asked too many questions as to WHY we believed the things we believed - you don't ask questions, needless to say. So she calls some cult members here and there, pulls some strings, and long story short, she gets me placed in a secretive program called the "Log Cabin" program. They tell her very little details about it, and she tells me even less. All I know is I'm about to move to Oklahoma for a while to be fixed by "nice counselors" because I'm a dirty sinner.
Wednesday, July 11th, 2001. I'm dropped off. (Continued)
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Wednesday, July 11th, 2001. I'm dropped off at a locked-down compound in the middle of nowhere near Skiatook, Oklahoma called "Eagle Springs Training Center". They pose as a "residential childcare facility" for appearances sake. This means my mother literally signs over custody of me, her own child, to a bunch of strangers in a compound in the middle of nowhere, and leaves me there and goes back home far away. They assure her I'm in good hands.
For the next two years, I am tortured, brainwashed, starved, sleep deprived, threatened, punished, humiliated, interrogated, and terrorized. I lose 40 pounds in the first month or two. They take me off my medications (believing it is wrong to take them) cold turkey; I exhibit severe symptoms of withdrawal and they go ignored. I am worked grueling hours, sent on aimless hikes and marches, scrubbing floors on my hands and knees until my knuckles are cracked and bleeding from the bleach, punished with hard labor until I'm near fainting. They had fun coming up with new and strange "punishments". One was a forced vow of silence: You were told never to speak for days or weeks on end - if you do, you are punished further. I was given tasks designed to fail (for example, extremely short time limits on difficult tasks) in order to be punished and humiliated. I was forced to grovel and confess humiliating sins (existent and non) in front of the 30-or-so members in the compound. I was given spoiled, undercooked foods, and even chemically-treated water that burned my throat and left me horribly sick. I was placed in solitary confinement for 2 1/2 weeks, while they blared music to torture me (the song lyrics went, "Trust in the Lord, he makes no mistakes, he knoweth the end of each path that we take - for when I am tried, and purified, I shall come forth as gold" -- basically it was a blatant message...you're being tortured because God loves you and he's going to put you through fire to melt you into gold) and gave me endless confessional papers to complete detailing what a terrible sinner I am. I was interrogated for hours on end, as well as hypnotized. I was screamed at and "exorcised" for hours on end. I had no privacy, even going to the bathroom they would stand outside the door.
I was there for TWO YEARS.
The scariest part of all of this is that I am far from the only one. The Log Cabin program was run in Oklahoma, Indiana, and I believe an alternate version for Russian orphans was done elsewhere (either Indiana or Illinois). All of these programs secretly tortured and brainwashed children and teenagers. Many of them were so-called "delinquents" (they had committed minor, petty crimes) who were ordered by judges to be shipped to these compounds and held against their wills.
This runs very deep. It has never been accounted for and probably never will be. They tried to investigate alarming allegations of child abuse in Indianapolis, IN and the whole thing got swept under the rug. The only thing you got to hear about on the news was Gothard feeling up a bunch of women. You never hear about his systematic child torture programs.
Bill Gothard and IBLP simply have their fundamentalist hands in too many pies. They will probably never be caught.
4. My parents were members of a cult with a fake guru/ holy man sort of thing. He used to lead group chants and things and one time while everyone's eyes were closed chanting away in the semi darkness, me and him locked eyes and he realiszd that I was laughing at how dumb it was. He had a vendetta against me since then.
He turned my parents against me first, convincing them that one day in the future (he could read the future apparently rolls eyes) i would break their hearts and leave and destroy the family. because they were so invested in him they started believing it and treating me (a 13 year old) as if I had already committed the unspeakable act.
After this he made my parents focus on my older brother more than me, lavishing him with expensive gifts such as gucci watches, a brand new mitsubishi jeep with a private plate before he even passed his driving test, and experiences like executive box seats to major sports events up and down the country plus more.
This wasn't enough, after this he (Continued)
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convinced all of his followers that I was mentally disabled, and needed to be kept isolated. for most of my teenage years I would come back from school/college/ university to an empty house, many times not seeing another soul for weeks. the story of my parents retarded child spread through the entire community where it is an accepted fact now, and i cant get married because everybody just assumes that I am mentally disabled.
After this, he bankrupted my parents and family, making them pay all his bills/ expenses and rewarding them with "prayers.
He convinced my parents that I was their enemy and to ignore me my entire life. To this day, I have never once been able to have a heart to heart talk with either of my parents. I have been working for 6 years now and they don't even know the name of my boss, or team, or even what i do. they are only interested in what day I get paid.
I am a better man than anyone has ever understood, and I forgive my parents. I forgive them not because they deserve it, but because I believe that this experience made me stronger as a person. If all this could not break me through all those years, then what can break me now?
If anybody is reading this, who is going through something similar, all I will say is that your family is ill. If they were of a sound mind, they would not be doing these things. Be kind, be good, be better than them.
7. A friend of mine accidentally got involved with a cult in Iowa. He thought it was just a really close knit church, but eventually snapped that something wasn't right. He moved to Texas for work pretty shortly afterwards and after about a week of being here someone knocked on the door. It was one of the members. She came there to try and talk him into going back, and progressively became more and more emotional. They ended up having to call the cops to have her removed from the property.
8. I was best friends with an Olympic athlete who was into Scientology. Due to his semi-fame, he was given the VIP treatment at their Hollywood "Celebrity Centre" where I often accompanied him. I sat in the waiting room with the likes of Lisa Marie Presley and Giovanni Ribisi while he did his auditing sessions. When he introduced me to John Travolta at one of their celebrity events, Travolta wrapped me in a bear hug and lifted me off the ground.
My friend convinced me to leave my day job and work as his personal assistant. He was doing a lot of corporate speaking appearances. I moved into his house and we lived like brothers, swimming in his pool, going to strip clubs, working out at his training gym. I had some amazing experiences like going backstage at the American Music Awards and hanging out with Guns N' Roses for two hours.
The Church's publicity team wanted to set him up with a girlfriend. They set up a series of dates with very cute Scientologists, but nothing really took off.
We had a lot of philosophical discussions. I found many of Scientology's aspects to be very insightful, but the money-grubbing and the Xenu business kept me too skeptical to fall in. At one point, he made an anti-gay argument, basically saying, "Imagine carrying that to the extreme. We'd all die off."
Things got creepy when he started asking me for (Continued)
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Things got creepy when he started asking me for rubdowns after his workouts. Then one night inviting me to masturbate with him (I passed). Then at a party he propositioned my gay cousin, who immediately told me. Obviously I have nothing against LGBTQ people, but I felt very creeped out. He was behind on paying me because he had run up huge debts for services at the Church. I left and we haven't spoken since.
9. Former member here.
I was a part of a "Christian" cult. They referred to it as a discipleship program. Whenever we did something wrong, they made us work-out as form of punishment.
The year I was in there, I made a new friend in the program/cult; he was a chain smoker. About 7 months into the year, he got caught smoking. They woke him up at around 5 AM to run. Later on in the day one of the leaders there took him to an abandoned prison and made him run around it several times, amounting up to about 6-8 miles of running.
All this happened because he got caught smoking a single cigarette.
10. I was married to a Scientologist (Scn).
Well, Scientology is weird. It's all consuming, as most cults are. My ex-husband only knew and associated with people in Scn. However, all his friends were actually very very nice and really cool to me. I never felt outwardly pressured to join Scn, but the insidiousness was absolutely there. I'll get to that.
Ex-husband was raised in it, you could say he was a second generation Scientologist. His parents joined up back in the L Ron Hubbard days and they were IN IT. They both worked for the church, as auditors. They were dirt poor; all of their money went to the church. Hundreds of thousands of dollars. They were deep in debt. They had no health insurance, and no money for anything except rent for their tiny, run down apartment. That part made me the saddest. They were nice people.
Now, I married him back when I was younger, more idealistic and willing to overlook major differences. I was a bit lost myself and really just looking to connect with anyone. I was always atheist, and actually really against organized religion, but he always assured me that Scn was not something he was active in and that it wouldn't be a problem. He wasn't taking any courses all the time we dated and were engaged, so I believed him that Scn was more like his parents thing, than his.
After we got engaged, he started telling me how a friend of his needs some "help". She was training to become an auditor (that e-meter thing you hear about) and needed someone to practice on. I declined.
He kept asking and insisted that its just for her practice, it doesn't mean I'm "doing Scn" and that it would mean a lot to him. So I did it, and (Continued)
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So I did it, and ...What a silly experience! You sit in a room with the auditor, hold these cans. Let me tell you- the rigamarole they use to get the "cans" set right so they pick up your wavelegnths (or whatever they call it) is laughable.
Lotion on the hands, squeeze the cans--that didn't work? Go for a walk, drink some water. Lotion again, squeeze the stupid cans ...all this over and over, until something on the auditor's end says it's all working now, and then you're good to go.
I lied though the whole thing. They acted like I made some amazing breakthroughs, (I got a "floating needle"!) and then that was it.
However, I was then called over and over and over to come back in. What the hell? I thought this was a one time thing to help this chick out?? Nope they were all over me. They wanted 3 hour sessions, days in a row, on weekdays! No wonder Scientologists are all poor- they want you in constantly, during work days! I became so disagreeable to them that they actually gave up calling me to get me in. I guess they figured me being married to one was enough to eventually get me.
The overriding insidiousness I saw was the learned ability to scam people. I witnessed a Scientologist owned business get taken down by the feds for fraud on their clients.
The reason I divorced him was because he stole a large sum of money from my account that was not to be touched. It just vanished and he had nothing to say for it. He opened TWO credit cards in my name and maxed them. He put me into financial ruin. It was a disaster.
11. I'm surprised there aren't more former Children of God/The Family International babies posting on this thread.
I was born and raised in the COG/TFI and I'm convinced it is/was one of the most detrimental cults out there because of the way their doctrines were weaved into every tiny area of people's lives. Everything was dictated by leadership and controlled by peer pressure (it was a communal cult; hive mentality was rampant). The type of food you ate, the way you dressed, who you lived with, the education you received, the movies you watched, the music you listened to, who you had sex with, who you married...EVERYTHING was controlled. There was absolutely no real free will allowed and very minimal contact with the outside world happened, except if you were asking people for money or trying to convert them to Christianity/the cult.
I left when I was in my early 20's and it's only been a few years since then so I'm still trying to unlearn a lot of things. I decided to go to college and get an education and I'm so miserable because basic things like "how to study for an exam" or "how to interact with your professor" are completely foreign concepts to me. I didn't find out till college that I'm pretty good at science and math - subjects that were highly discouraged in the group, or if taught at all were either very simplistic (math only went up to basic algebra, if you were lucky) or taught with such a religious/creationist spin that it's unrecognizable as science. (Someone actually posted excerpts from the biology textbook I had in "high school" on reddit a while ago, and everyone was commenting "haha, those are all lies and not real science!" And I'm all "well...damn...")
I like to imagine that if I'd had regular schooling when I was younger maybe I could have been an engineer or an astronaut or something awesome.
Forget dating. I have more sexual knowledge and experience under my belt (hurhurhur) than most people my age, and I don't have a clue what normal dating looks like. To me, sex is synonymous with intimacy is synonymous with control. I am terrified of getting into a relationship because I know that it would be so ridiculously easy for someone to abuse their power over me. When you're raised to always say yes, you have no idea what a struggle it is to say no.
When people find out about this cult the thing that usually gets focused on the most is the sex aspect of it (it was literally a sex cult) but for me the worst part is just having no frame of reference for connecting with other people outside the group. I can forget the bad things that happened and just get on with my life, but it's difficult knowing how to make new friends and build a life outside of TFI. I just don't GET most of what people talk about (I've only got a few years of movies/music/pop culture history in my brain), and can't really relate to how other people act/react to things. I didn't have any of those "normal" experiences like high school, dating, going to prom, etc. My best friends are former TFI people because I can't seem to make real friends out here in the great wide jungle of a world. I wonder how I will ever be able to get close to people when they will never be able to comprehend the experiences I've gone through, and at the same time I can't relate to their experiences either. "Real life" things that most people take for granted like graduating college, buying a house, having a successful job, etc. seem like fairy tales to me because nobody in my life growing up did those things. I don't have anybody who can give me advice on how to accomplish those normal life tasks because nobody I grew up with (or our parents) did any of those things.
I feel pretty lost. I'm still picking pieces of this cult out of my identity and it's exhausting.
I went to see Hunger Games: Catching Fire recently and I broke down crying in the middle of it because I had a sudden realization that I grew up believing that the sort of apocalyptic, depressing scenario played out in the Hunger Games was an inevitable outcome in my future. Not the actual hunger games, obviously, but the extreme government control, oppression of the people, dire social circumstances, etc. It made me feel very alone in that moment, sitting with the knowledge that I was viewing the very thing my childhood nightmares were made of and knowing that nobody around me could possibly comprehend the reason for my tears.
People hard up for cash will do anything. But what about the other way around?
There are a ton of jobs or favors that don't require much skill, experience, or labor, and people who are fortunate enough to get hired walk away with a king's ransom.
Looking for those kinds of "jobs," however, is like finding a teardrop in the ocean.
"What's the dumbest thing you were paid to do and how much were you paid?"
Good luck finding these well-paying tasks.
"Had a WFH gig working sort of as a personal assistant for a rich guy on the opposite coast from me. I did all kinds of wacky sh*t for him. For example, one time I had to break up with my boss's girlfriend because he was too wimpy to do it himself. That was literally my job."
"One day, I bought him a new pickup truck. Meaning, I negotiated the deal and paid for the truck with his credit card. All in all, I'd say the process probably took about two weeks, for which I was paid my usual wage at six hours per day. No big deal."
"Somehow, his dad found out about the new truck and he decided he wanted a new pickup truck too. He called me about a week after I bought the truck for my boss and said he'd pay me $2,000 to buy a truck for him. I called the same dealership back, spoke to the same salesman, told him what was up and basically said give me another truck, same price as before. The salesman was only too happy to comply."
"It took ten minutes to make the phone call and then a day or two to get the title and other paperwork sorted out. So, depending on how you look at it, I made $2,000 for just ten minutes worth of 'work.'"
"Somehow, my boss's rich friend found out about all this. He decided he wanted a new SUV. 'OhYeahThrowItAway, you have to buy it for me!' I told him the last time I bought someone a vehicle, I got paid $2,000. The friend was basically like F'k it, I'll pay you $3,000, just get it for me' and then he emailed me his wish list."
"That deal took a little longer, maybe two weeks."
"I made $5k extra in just two months buying vehicles for lazy (or dumb) rich people."
Staying Out Of The Picture
"I was paid $300 to move my car for a movie that was filming by my apartment."
Pack It Up
"Got paid 10k to leave an apartment because it was sold and new owner wanted to move in. I was tenant (renter) under previous owner. I had 4 months left in my rental contract. This was in Spain (Barcelona)."
"I was flown to Paris to do a compliance audit, the systems weren't set up for the audit, couldn't get access so spent the week being taken to restaurants and shopping. On 1 of the days and at the last minute the company decided to send me to London for a meeting, literally just to meet people. I missed the Eurostar because I forgot my passport (totally blanked that I was entering another country), they had to rebook the Eurostar. Nothing was achieved out of this trip. No audit was completed. Nothing came of the meeting. The cost to the company 25k+ for me to do nothing for a week. Corporate money is ridiculous money."
Not much labor was required for these so-called "jobs."
Ten-Minutes Of "Work"
"I used to work for a PR agency. Every month one of our clients wanted a handful of photos re-sized for their website; nothing fancy, just setting the width to 500px in Windows Photo Manager."
"It was maybe ten minutes of work every month, but the contract said the minimum amount of time we would charge them for was one day - and this was for the full team too, not just me. It must have cost them several hundred pounds every month."
"I showed the client how to do it several times, and explained that they could save a lot of money doing it themselves. They didn't seem to mind."
"In the end I made sure I got it in writing that I'd informed them of their options and let them get on with it."
Thank You, Goodbye
"$175 to do some kind of user study at Netflix, I show up in the lobby and then they go, 'actually we got the data we needed from the studies earlier today, you're free to go!'. Still got paid!"
"I did an event for a national association for deaf people at which they did every presentation in ASL. I am an audio engineer, who specializes in live sound and concerts. I did nothing for 5 days of show, $450 a day."
Paid To Play
"I got asked to do 2 hours of barrier watch (Guarding a barrier ribbon while a crew did x rays inside a power plant). This was asked last minute after a 12 hour shift so the bonuses of staying happening to be a Sunday, etc I was being paid $110 to stand and play on my phone and make sure sure nobody tried to pass all the DO NOT ENTER DANGER DANGER signs during a time of day with minimal personnel."
"I rented my chicken to a photographer for fifty bucks."
Gotta Have Wendy's
"I was driving for uber. Picked up a bunch of drunks at like 2 AM. They were like 'Yo we gotta grab some Wendy' I go 'I'm sorry this is my busy period' they go 'Can we bribe you?' I go 'Absolutely you can bribe me.'"
"One the guys said I'll give you $100...I was shocked it was that high, another guy said '$150' and finally his wife said 'F'k it I want Wendy $200 and we buy you Wendy too.'"
"I finally said yes, FYI I hadn't said yes yet because the reality is $20-$40 would have gotten me to stop at Wendy."
"So there I sat at Wendy as those 3 drunks bought me wendy and paid me $200."
"One time I was at this super fancy dinner party. I'm talking servers and everything, I was in a freaking tux! It was outside and catered by a professional bbq company. I mean these guys had won international competitions. Well get this, they were double booked and didn't show. The other servers didn't know how to grill, and this totally smokin server in her 30s is just staring at the grill like a deer in the headlights. Well I don't want to be a hero but I ask if I can help. The entire staff spend the rest of the night bringing me drinks as I make this bbq and NOBODY realizes the award winning chefs didn't show up!"
Where Do We Apply?
"Ok this wasn't a job or anything.... But I got 10$ to eat half a watermelon."
Some opportunities present themselves.
When I was a kid, I hung out at a Japanese summer festival booth where you roll a bowling ball on a track that had two hills. The objective was to push the ball hard enough to get it over the first hill but not too hard to get it over the second hill.
I was fascinated with the challenge and stayed there for a long time as my parents were over by the food booths with their friends.
It was a slow day, and the dude working the booth wanted to peace out for a bit, so he offered to pay me $50 to "hang out" in his stead.
Of course, I said "sure."
No one ever came, and I earned fifty bucks rolling bowling balls for an hour. Was it the dumbest thing I ever did for money? Maybe, but I laughed all the way to the piggy bank that day.
That guy really must have despised his post enough to give a twelve-year-old kid $50.
Everyone talks about how the 20s are supposed to be the time of our lives. And that's largely true. But it's not all wine and roses.
Among all the freedom and youthful exuberance, so many people spend that decade struggling through the chaos of having absolutely no idea what their passion is.
And when we've internalized the desire to find an occupation that aligns with our values, sounds cool to talk about, and provides us with existential fulfillment, it can be difficult to identify the perfect fit.
So we hum along rather aimlessly.
Thankfully, some people do find their vocation and hunker down. But for others, it takes a little longer.
Perhaps struggling to locate that ideal passion, Redditor wibly_wobly_kid asked:
"People who discovered their passion at a later stage of life, what is it and how did you figure it out?"
Many people talked about making a career switch when they least expected. For the longest time, they new they didn't enjoy their work, but they didn't know what to do instead.
Hiding In Plain Sight
"I went to college twice in my early 20s for journalism and communications, but never graduated. I spent the rest of my 20s in a dead end food service job, miserable and angry at myself. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life"
"My extended family has lots of little ones (cousins having cousins) and every time there was a family get together, I always found myself playing with and entertaining the kids. One day, my uncle pointed out how good I was with kids, and did I ever consider working with them? I laughed it off but later thought 'hey, I have nothing better going on. What's the harm in researching a bit?' "
"I found out I could become an early childhood educator, working in daycares or kindergarten classes. So I applied to a couple of colleges and got in right away (applied on a Monday and got accepted the Friday). I quit my dead-end job and focused entirely on school. I made the dean's list all 4 semesters (something I have never done), and aced all my classes."
"I had a placement at a daycare/before and after school card place, and they hired me right after I finished my placement. So now I'm working there and happier than I ever was in my 20s"
Never Too Late
"Law. I was 45 when I went back to school. I'd worked blue collar jobs all my life, was a high school dropout. My daughter started taking paralegal classes and I thought, 'I could do that.' "
"So I got my GED and signed up for a 2-year paralegal certificate program through the local community college. Fell in love with law. Also discovered I was good at it. I had several professors who were lawyers tell me I'd be wasted as a paralegal and should go to law school."
"So I transferred to a 4-year school. Worked full time through undergrad and graduated with honors. Got into law school. I graduated law school at 55, oldest in my class. But I'd gone from being a high school dropout to a lawyer in just 10 years."
"Passed the California bar first try and I've been a public defender ever since, which is the only thing I ever wanted to do with it. I'm 60 now but I'm healthy and energetic and have a lot of years left. I love what I do, I'm very good at it, and it's the best move I ever made."
Every Week an Achievement
"Was 39 when I took a temp job in a social services type industry. Just basic stuff."
"Realised after a couple of years that I'd circled back to my idealistic 17yo self's plan for my career. Spent the previous 20 working sh** jobs I hated."
"Turns out it's really important to do something that aligns with your values. Finish the week feeling like I've contributed to society, rather than working to screw people for money."
Others discussed the passions they've discovered outside of their working life. These won't bring home any income, but their importance to life satisfaction cannot be understated.
"My dad discovered his life's biggest passion at 67. Mountain climbing. Serious mountaineering."
"He climbed Kilimanjaro and Whitney just months apart."
Plenty More Shredding In Store
"I started Rollerskating (on ramps) just before I turned 40 , it's never too late to start, you just need more safety gear :)"
"I've been doing it for years now I'm in my mid 40s and still rollin. It makes me a bit sad I didn't start when I was younger, but I reckon i've got another ten years left in me."
Moving the Needle On Women's Pockets
"Sewing/tailoring clothes. On a whim I took a class at a local community center and got hooked. After learning some basics in the class and following some YouTube videos I can make a passable pair of pants/trousers and basic shirts. I'm lucky that my local library had sewing machines you could check out so I didn't need to commit any real money early on."
"The best thing to come out of learning this new skill was making a pair of pants with actual pockets for my wife. Guys, you have not seen joy until you see your wife get a pair of functional custom pants with human-sized pockets. I thought her head was going to explode she was so happy."
Keep an Ear Out for Jingles
"I always wanted to learn an instrument that wasn't academic related."
"Over COVID lockdown I picked up the guitar."
"I picked it up pretty quick. So I learned the drums."
"Now I'm finishing building a music studio. I wanna write commercial jingles and just throw a bunch of sh** online for fun"
Unexpected, But Sounds Awesome
"I'm 31, but one year ago I discovered camels. Now I own three. I love them 🥰" -- ZhenHen
"I assume you are not talking about cigarettes, so how does one acquire not only one but three camels? Where do you live? How much did they cost? I'm very intrigued." -- dufresne90
"When you're into camels, every day is Hump Day." -- HolIerer
And a few put a finer point on the nature of that work vs. hobbies dynamic. They assured that one's professional career doesn't necessarily have to provide all the fulfillment they're looking for.
Sometimes, we just need to punch the clock.
Earning Free Time
"PSA: you don't have to be passionate about your job. Your passion can be a hobby you do in your free time. I don't think I will ever find a vocational passion."
"Used to think I was broken because of that but really there is no requirement to be head over heels about what puts money on the table and food in the pocket!"
Career's Moving, Still Painting
"Late 40s here. Got a book called Learn to Draw in 30 Days about 4 years ago. Then about 3 years ago I heard about #the100daychallenge where the goal is to create art every day for 100 days. I never stopped and made it a goal to hit 1000 days."
"In that time, I won contests, got about two hundred commissions, raised over $5000 for a charity, and had a great time. When I hit the 1000 days back in December, I decided to go back to college and get an art degree. I signed up for classes and talked with my manager at work to see how much they would pay for college, she was excited that I was going to get a business degree and said she'd work on getting all of the classes covered."
"Free college became too tempting to pass up so now I'm planning on getting the business degree and then on to law school because they'll pay for that too. I just finished my first semester with a 4.0 and I'm on day 1136 of my non-stop painting journey."
So if you're still looking around for your passion and feeling discouraged, rest assured that it might come your way when you least expect it.
And life is long, my friends.
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Don't disturb my beauty sleep! That's the one rule I have––and thankfully I live alone, so there isn't anyone to bother me, which is fabulous. But that doesn't mean I'm immune to getting woken up in the middle of the night. The worst way I can think of off the top of my head? The time a drunk guy wandered into my friend's yard and started banging on the window while I was trying to sleep. It was 3 a.m. The incident also gave me the fright of my life!
People told us about the experiences that yanked them out of dreamland after Redditor GratefulD_86 asked the online community,
"What is the worst way you've been woken up?"
"By raw sewage pouring through my ceiling (in my bedroom) from my upstairs neighbor.
He partied and ripped the toilet out of the floor, then continued using it. Took maintenance almost 16 hours to show up and turn off the flow."
"I literally didn't even know..."
"Cops beating on my door to search my house for someone I was hiding. I literally didn't even know the person."
Terrifying. This could have ended very badly.
"Cops busted down my door..."
"Cops busted down my door to take me to jail for having meth except. They had the wrong house."
"Neighbor decided to hang shelves in her bathroom after midnight and drilled into our shared wall. Scared the crap out of me."
The walls do indeed have ears.
"The phone woke me up..."
"The phone woke me up a little after midnight. I was informed that my mother had died. It was not totally unexpected. Her health had been declining.
I still dread hearing the phone ring late at night."
"A cockroach entering my mouth on my first day of camp."
"Police department knocking..."
"Police department knocking on my door at 2 a.m. saying the meth lab across the street might blow up so we needed to get out ASAP."
Is this a deleted episode of Breaking Bad?
"My cats were chasing each other..."
"My cats were chasing each other and one ran across my face while I was sleeping. The scratches were pretty bad all across one side of my face. It was the day before my senior prom too, so I ended up having a scratched-up face for that. I still have a scar right by my eye."
Cats are always at their most unpredictable very late at night!
"My Dad would keep a bag of marbles in the freezer. If you didn't wake up the first time, he dumped them into your bed."
"The neighbor in the building across from us..."
"Glass shattering. Lived in a 6 story apartment building. The neighbor in the building across from us was having some kind of psychotic break and was throwing everything he could get his hands on off his balcony. He was aiming for the windows of other apartments. We were far enough away to not get hit but watching that go down was not super fun."
We don't envy anyone of these people. Hopefully their lives have been filled with plenty of glorious, uninterrupted sleep since.
Have some of your own stories? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
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I love food! Maybe a little too much. It's been an especially amorous relationship over this pandemic. And I know I'm not alone.
All of our palettes are tuned to our own personal tastes. And sometimes certain items and combinations of tastes can leave others less than enticed.
I've lost track of all the side-eye I've gotten when I declare how much I enjoy PINEAPPLE on pizza. I said it. I meant it. Fight me. Let's discuss who else has eclectic tastes.
Redditor u/CatVideoFest wanted to discuss the mixing of certain ingredients that don't leave the best taste in one's mouth by asking:
Food is for survival. That was the plan. But over the years it has become somewhat of a way of life. Some of the most annoying people are foodies. They get so uppity about the preferences of others. Like, let me just enjoy what I enjoy.
Mom No!Mom Smile GIFGiphy
"I don't like my mom's cooking."
"Livestock have refused to eat my mother's cooking. She's a terror in the kitchen."
Take them OUT!!
"I hate walnuts in baked goods. It tastes like wood shavings and completely ruins the flavor."
"I love walnuts but I feel this way about raisins in baked goods, raisins are fine by themselves but not in sweets, I once ordered cinnamon rolls at Hardee's and bit into it and found out there were raisins in it, and I was grossed out and didn't want to eat it. At least freakin' McDonald's serves real cinnamon rolls without freakn' raisins!"
The Fart Ingredient
"I don't like kidney beans except in chili."
Oh thew Crunch...
"Pickles and onion make the best sandwich. I make most of my own pickles from stuff I grow or get from local farms in the fall, but I responded to another comment with two different heinous concoctions I enjoy. Crunchy, salty, sour. I really like pickles and onions to begin with."
"I use more than pickled cucumber though. Like the last one I made, I used garlic naan, mayo, red onion, scallions, pickled garlic, green olives, Kalamata olives, garlic dill cucumber, and green beans. Shallot, sour pickled onion, sweet pickled cucumbers, and sushi ginger on sprouted 14 grain bread is also also a favorite of mine."
No Sizzlebacon GIFGiphy
"I do not like bacon."
Who doesn't like bacon? That seems like a sacrilege. Right? But to each their own. Though I will never understand not loving walnuts in comfort food. Y'all need more self love.
Love the Big M
"Fast food tastes amazing, yeah its unhealthy as hell but don't you sit there and lie and say it tastes bad."
Blasphemy!golden girls flirting GIF by HULUGiphy
"Cheesecake is disgusting."
Too Many Legs
"Lobsters and crabs are giant insects."
"I don't really think that's that controversial, in my area of the world we even call this creature a 'Moreton Bay Bug' even though some fisheries try to give it the more appealing name of 'flathead lobster'."
"Boneless wings are vastly superior to bone-in wings. I think bone-in wings are a ripoff because when you get half a pound of them, part of that half-pound is inedible. It's like if you ordered a quarter-pound cheeseburger, but the restaurant considers the weight of the plate to be part of that quarter-pound and you end up with just a slider. Just give me some damn meat."
The Slimeman oyster GIFGiphy
"Oysters are truly disgusting and absurdly overpriced for quarter sized pieces of snot that tastes like salt water and hot sauce."
Ok, I'm trying to stay calm. I don't want to judge. But some of these opinions... are leaving me shook. Except the oysters. That is that work of the devil. Look away...
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