Life's Most Confusing Biological Mysteries Explained So Anyone Can Understand
1. frozenncyborg asked: Why are adults woken up automatically when they need to pee, while young children pee the bed?
It's both learned and related to development.
All mammals have the instinct not to "soil the nest". We mostly train our babies out of this instinct by putting them in diapers and being totally oblivious to their signals that they want to pee, but it's possible to keep it going - there is a thing called Elimination Communication which is one of those "parenting movements" with an awful name but effectively, it's a googleable phrase which means you can find information about how to watch your infant for signs they are about to pee or poop and "catch" it in a little pot instead of using a diaper. This is also common practice in some non-Western cultures. Of course, if you want to do it at night you have to sleep in very close proximity to the infant. But doing this even very young babies will wake at night to pee and then go back to sleep.
So partly we train them out of it and then have to train them back into it again when we potty train. What happens when potty training is that toddlers are learning to associate the feelings of a full bladder/bowel with the imminent arrival of pee, and control the muscles around the urethra to hold it long enough to get to a toilet first. Children sleep much more deeply than adults - they tend to sleep through noise, for example, much more easily - and it's common that for some time during and after potty training they are either not aware enough of the nerve endings around the bladder to pay attention to them even during sleep or they are just too deeply asleep to notice these sensations. Once they become more accustomed to paying attention to these signals, they'll be more likely to wake up, assuming they are not too deeply asleep.
Secondly, the hormone part somebody mentioned below is also true but it's not strictly related to why we wake up, more the amount of pee created. The adult body produces a hormone called ADH (antidiuretic hormone) during sleep which tells the body to produce less urine during this time, meaning that adults rarely produce enough urine at night to get into a desperate enough state to wake us up. When we do, it's likely unusual enough that this is a significant factor as well. For children who haven't started producing this hormone yet (the exact age varies, but girls tend to develop it a couple of years earlier than boys, which is why boys are more likely to suffer from bedwetting for longer), the feeling of having a full bladder at night wouldn't necessarily be unusual meaning it's less likely to wake the child up.
Lastly there is the simple fact that adults tend not to be afraid of the dark and additionally are much more aware of where their limit for actually peeing themselves is, whereas children might delay getting out of bed because they are cold, scared, or just sleepy and they don't have as good of a handle on that tipping point yet because they don't have as much experience. (This is the same reasoning for why young children sometimes hold on so long that they just pee themselves because they were too busy playing or didn't know that they didn't have enough time to get to the toilet, whereas this rarely happens to adults without incontinence issues.) But again, this isn't strictly the same situation since you mentioned waking.
Submitted by caffeine_lights
2. BenRayfield asked: How did ancient people figure out that sex leads to kids, since the effects are so delayed?
They observed animals. They noted that women who did not have sex did not get pregnant. Some Neolithic art can be interpreted as actually showing Some Neolithic art can be interpreted as actually showing that they were aware of the relationship. But we can never know for sure.
Submitted by Rhynchelma
More interesting biological mysteries on the next page!
3. Polish_William asked: How come when you're sick you can blow your nose and they'll be completely empty and 5 minutes later they're full and dripping. How does mucus generate so quickly and where is it even made?
The mucus comes directly from the surface of your nose, called a mucous membrane because it produces mucus to protect itself and as lubrication. This mucus is a combination of long, stringy proteins and water, which allows it to stick to most surfaces.
We produce a ton of it while we have upper respiratory tract infections like the common cold because our immune systems are trying to isolate the virus causing the infection and prevent more from getting in. This measure isn't actually that effective, as it only slows down viruses and bacteria can swim right through it, but we do it anyway. Allergies do the same thing because they are an attempt by the immune system to attack something that isn't actually a disease, like pollen. We are less clear on why allergies happen, but some hypothesize that they occur due to infants and children living in environments that are far too clean. Their immune systems don't have anything to fight, so they start fighting random things instead.
Submitted by Frommerman
4. Hrothgarex asked: If you did a ton of sprints, going farther and building endurance, could you eventually full sprint a mile? Is there a limit we can push ourselves?
Professional sprinters can only hold their top speed for about 10 strides. Usain Bolt achieved and maintained his top speed for 8 strides during his 9.58s record 100m run.
Slow twitch muscles, where endurance is built in, are required even for 100m. The opposite is true for fast twitch muscles, one needs a speed to run a marathon. There is no clear physical boundary between a sprint and endurance runs. The difference between a sprint and endurance runs is in contribution of each muscle type. Sprint events "end" at 400m, and endurance events "begin" at 1500m, 800m is a like a 50-50 combo of the two, meaning 50% of work(=power*time) comes from each muscle type.
You can try to "sprint" a mile mentally, like go a full force from the start and try to hold for as long as possible. But physically it would be something like 95% of power by the fast muscles and 5% of power by the slow muscles from the start. Then the ratio changes as the run progresses, and in the end your power ratio is something like 20% and 80%. I'm making these numbers up, but you get the point.
Such attempted "sprint" would be extremely exhausting and maybe dangerous. I don't think even animals running for their lives from a predator can pull this off. They still tactically pace themselves and conserve strength even when a certain death is right behind them.
Submitted by iiRunner
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5. pmmecoolpianopics asked: What causes some people to be more "addiction prone" than others?
There are several factors at play, and it seems to vary from individual to individual. The problem of addiction and alcoholism has been around for millennia, and we still don't have something we can point to, and say, "There it is. There's the problem, right there."
Genetics seem to have an influence. It can cause a tendency to be prone to addiction, but is not the causative factor. There are studies of identical twins, where one is addicted, and the other, not. There are also "black sheep" that come from a long and wide genetic history of normal intoxicant use, but these "black sheep" become addicts.
Dr. Gabor Mate, in his book "In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts" postulates that it is a combination of a genetic predisposition to addiction, triggered by environmental conditions, which may include trauma, such as sexual molestation as a child.
As time continues, and the consumption of intoxicants continues, it messes with the normal distribution of certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine. It is speculated that genetic vulnerabilities make this rewiring of the brain easier, and this is why some people are more prone to addiction.
As the addiction takes hold over time, its effects begin to manifest in the environment of the addict. They spend time with other addicts, and tend to damage their relationships with the non-addicted. If you become drunk and aggressive, you don't get invited to too many parties...unless everyone else at the party tends to get drunk, too.
At this point, the genetic tendency has been fully triggered, and the environment becomes one that fosters the consumption of intoxicants. The brain has become rewired so that pleasure by normal means is elusive, but can be had in an instant with another helping of the drug of choice.
Now the spectre of withdrawal sets in....and to break the cycle requires a complete overhaul of one's life, as well as suffering the physical symptoms of withdrawal. At this point the addict feels trapped, hopeless, and alone. Feelings of shame, remorse and self-loathing are common...and again, the only escape from them is another dose.
But there is some hope. It has been proven that participating in a community of recovery is beneficial to many addicts...indeed, most recovered addicts claim that the loss of a sense of isolation, the feeling of belonging to a fellowship, and the advice and support of other recovering addicts was instrumental in their recovery.
I am an alcoholic in recovery. My brain is wired in such a manner that the consumption of the smallest amount of alcohol creates a powerful, and virtually irresistible, craving for more. I can't open a bottle of rum, have 2 drinks, and put the bottle on the shelf. I just can't. I will drink until that bottle is empty.
Through my work in AA I have learned better patterns of behaviour. If I am feeling unsettled...lonely, stressed, anxious...I no longer reach for a glass, or a joint, or a line, or a pill to make me feel better. I have slowly brought the wiring in my brain to a more normal state.
But I don't fool myself. The changes made to my brain are permanent, and if I have one drink, I risk falling back into state of addiction. This is why so many people fall "off the wagon". They believe that a period of sobriety has provided a measure of control, and that they now possess the ability to moderate their consumption. In my personal experience, i have never met an addict or alcoholic that could PERMANENTLY moderate. Some manage to, for a time, but gradually slip back into a state where the neurotransmitters are only experienced with intoxication.
So, I guess the short answer to your question is, "Nobody knows. It's different for each addict." Personally, I find my life without intoxicants to be vastly more rewarding, and I am much happier.
And maybe that's the root of it. People take drugs because they are unhappy, and want to change the way they feel. The genetically predisposed quickly find themselves in a position where the brain has rewired itself to the point where happiness is difficult to achieve without the drugs.
Submitted by PJMurphy
6. PM_UR_PICS_asked: Why is cannibalism detrimental to the body? What makes eating your own species's meat different than eating other species's?
Your own species meat is infected with diseases that can also infect you, by definition. (Conversely with other animals, some but not all diseases can be spread by under-cooked meat.) There are also some degenerative diseases that are spread by mis-shaped proteins, which you can generally only get by eating a human brain.
Submitted by simpleclear
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7. Elocmada asked: Why does adrenaline in certain circumstances give people super human strength? (Being able to lift extremely heavy things off of people, etc.)
First its important to note that so called feats of "hysterical strength" are not scientifically recognized, although they are well documented. They clearly happen, but science has a hard time testing them, because its obviously very hard to reproduce in a lab.
However, they have given small tests, like testing grip strength, and then electrically stimulated the muscles and tested again, and found that people exhibit about 25% more strength under electroshock, which definitely verifies people are in general stronger than they're normally able to access. Additionally, you may have heard of people being flung across an entire room after being electrocuted. This isn't because of the electricity - electricity doesn't move things like that - its because the shock caused massive muscle contraction, and the people flung themselves across the room, jumping far further than they would have believed possible under normal circumstances.
So, because they can't test hysterical strength, we can only hypothesize why adrenaline causes it. More than likely it is because your muscles are under several inhibitory systems, including pain as well as the neurological restriction of simply having not enough signalling at any given time to activate all the muscle fibres in a group. Strength isn't just about raw strength, its about timing; you need one perfectly timed electrical burst to signal all fibres to work in concert when exerting force. The more fibres activated simultaneously, the more strength you'll have.
Adrenaline most likely acts to remove several different limiter systems. Your pain sensation is dulled or removed entirely, your blood vessels are dilated and your muscles are more heavily oxygenated, and your neural activity increases; more brain activity = increased signalling, which means you're better able to activate more muscle fibres at once.
The reason we can't do this all the time is fairly obvious - it puts much more strain on the body and consumes far more energy. Since our bodies evolved in times of scarcity, our bodies evolved a logical mechanism for limiting the bodies ability to use its full strength and energy; only when the brain sensed certain stimuli (a tiger, a child in trouble), would it release its natural chemicals that overrode its own internal limiters, allowing for a brief state of higher muscle performance.
Answered by ninemiletree
8. Consinneration asked: Why is it that when you get hit (I.e. bang your head on a corner) you instinctively apply pressure with your hands? Why does that seem to help?
Your body can only process so much sensation at once. By touching the place that you've hurt, you're basically distracting your brain from the sensation of pain by introducing pressure.
It's another reason why ice packs can help with pain - not only do they reduce swelling, they introduce the cold sensation and give your brain something else to think about other than the pain.
Edit: what I've described above is apparently known as Gate Control Theory. I didn't know this, all I've done is transcribed the explanation that I was given when I was little, because my dad is a very knowledgeable man and I used to ask a lot of questions!
I think it's worth noting some of the other theories given below that may have been buried: you instinctively check the damage to see if you are bleeding or missing anything; you place pressure on the area to stem the bleeding.
I'd imagine it's a combination of the three, and probably more! Thanks for your input everyone. I've learned a lot today.
Submitted by BindweedHawkmoth
Continue reading answers to your burning biological questions on the next page!
9. MaxwellVador asked: Where does our head voice come from if it doesn't sound like our actual voice?
The psychological theory of bicameralism [a hypothesis in psychology that argues that the human mind once assumed a state in which cognitive functions were divided between one part of the brain which appears to be "speaking", and a second part which listens and obeysa bicameral mind] is controversial, but interesting nonetheless.
It basically states that humans developed consciousness with an intermediary step -- bicameralism. This involved two parts of the brain communicating, one is talking to the other and telling it what to do. The author states that this is where the concept of "god" came from, as early humans were literally hearing another voice giving them commands. Over time this evolved into true consciousness with an internal dialogue.
Some of these themes are being addressed (via artificially-intelligent androids) in HBO's new series Westworld.
Answered by TheLorenzo
10. AmericanPixel asked: Why do men appear to have a "stitch line" or "scar line" at the base of their ballsac?
Saying it "started out as a vagina" is an overstatement, but it's grounded in truth.
When we're forming in the womb, we start with a shallow slit between our legs. For women, that slit deepens while in men it stitches together.
The left side is grown, the right side is grown, and then they fuse together. Later, the testes descend into them.
Calling it a vagina at that stage in development isn't really accurate; a vagina is more than just a gap in skin, it's a structurally complex organ with a dozen different unique cells and its own intricate biology. The prenatal gap superficially, however, is closer in appearance to a vulva than to testicles, hence the common narrative that we all start as women.
Submitted by ManualNarwhal & Notmiefault
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11. LebumGermsJr asked: Why does a hangover get worse as we age?
Alcohol is metabolized by liver enzymes and first broken down into acetaldehyde - which is our hangover culprit. After that, it is broken down by an enzyme into acetate which eventually turns into carbon dioxide and water. All are then washed out along with sins from the night before...
The number of enzymes used in this two step metabolism process slowly dwindles as we age, making us less and less efficient at processing the toxins. This means that the asshole acetaldehyde hangs around longer in our aged bodies that it did before, making us feel like we're slowly dying.
Submitted by marriedtodata
12. MisterE_MD asked: Why do animals (including humans), in general, become less playful as they grow older?
Play is all about exercise and learning. Part of it is simply about increasing strength and coordination. A lot of it is about learning valuable physical skills like stalking, fighting, chasing, catching etc. And a lot of it is about learning non physical skills. For instance a lot of young animals (including humans) do mischief because it teaches them about social boundaries.
Young animals go too far in their play because they only learn about social boundaries when an adult puts them in their place. Along the same lines, they learn about appropriate consequences by watching adults interact with other adults.
And finally play teaches young animals about their personal limitations. Theyll teach it to climb fearlessly because it knows what it can and cant do. Itll know how fast it can run, how far it can jump and so on. Itll help them learn that their abilities increase as they grow because they run faster and jump farther than they could last week during the same game.
Play tends to be unique to animals whose abilities change and grow with them. You wont see much play among insects, arachnids and most reptiles for instance. Theyre born fully capable (even though practice and learning can improve their capabilities).
Submitted by TheSecretMe
When in the beginning stages of dating, it's important to know as much as humanly possible.
The element of surprise is no longer a fun aspect of romance.
Ask the small questions. Ask the hard questions.
Interrogate. Grill. Investigate.
Of course, you should do it with a subtle hand instead of an interrogation lamp.
The truth is all we have.
Redditor RedditPenguin02 wanted to make a list of the best inquiries to make when starting a relationship, so they asked:
"What is a good question to ask before you start dating someone?"
From what I've learned in my past, always ask... "Are you into Buffy the Vampire Slayer? The TV show."
If it's a no, then it's a dealbreaker.
I DoShocked Schitts Creek GIF by CBCGiphy
"Are you married?"
"I would ask that. If they said no, the next question was 'Would your wife agree?'"
"If they laughed, they were telling the truth. If they got indignant and pissed off that I thought they were lying…they were married."
"Worked every time."
"Do you clap when the plane lands?"
"I swear people used to do this all the time when I was a kid (early 2000’s), and I don’t think I’ve heard anyone do it in 5+ years. I guess 9/11 really made people afraid of flying for about 10 years and then most folks decided they didn’t need to applaud when the plane landed safely?"
"Do you want kids in the future? If one person wants kids and the other wants to stay child-free, then they are not compatible. And it is better to try dating someone else."
"It confuses me whenever some couples who disagree on this end up in a conundrum because one expected the other to change their mind. This is something I bring up early cause I see no future with someone who wants kids when I do not."
"You should always put childfree on your dating profile. It's not a small thing. Either you agree on it or not. If I had to date, I would put childfree on my profile too."
Carb it on...
"Do you like bread? That is the extent of my flirting skills."
"Being German, bread is like a frickin' cultural phenomenon here, we have around 300 kinds of bread, there's a bread museum, every time I go on vacation I'm like yeah it's nice here but the bread ain't it yall, never as good as home lol. So yeah, valid question and the only answer to this is an enthusiastic yes."
Room TemperatureFrosty The Snowman Winter GIF by filmeditorGiphy
"What temperature do you set the thermostat to throughout the year?"
"Haha this one always gets me as someone who needs low temps - you can always put on more clothes, I can't peel my skin off to get cooler."
The thermostat is a dealbreaker for me.
It's gonna be 60. Love it or move on.
DiscoveryBlown Away Wow GIF by AminéGiphy
"When was the last time you changed your mind about something?
"Opens a window to how they think."
"If that was really early on in the dating I’d think it was a bit of a head-f**k question. I’d probably find that question a red flag, tone dependent, although I agree with the sentiment."
"Aside from major differences about finances, kids, politics, or religion, a big one is; What are your hobbies? If they don’t really have any, you may be the next hobby, which isn’t going to work unless you’ve got that kind of time. If the hobbies are time-consuming ones generally done with a SO."
"But you have no interest in them, that could be an issue as well. If only one of you likes camping, wanted to spend vacation lounging instead of exploring, didn’t like sports, etc either that partner is annoyed or the other feels like they don’t get to enjoy what they love."
"Ask them about their exes. If they think every single one of them is an a**hole... they are likely the real a**hole."
"I have mixed feelings about that - I've been in three previous relationships and all three were emotionally abusive towards me (one wasn't nearly as bad as the other two, though) in various ways. I know this is a common sentiment and it always makes me afraid that people won't believe me or something.
"I mean, I realize in your comment you said 'likely' and not '100% sure' and there's plenty of room for nuance."
"I would try to take care of any dealbreakers. If I find out that she has different political values than I do, it's not going to work out in the long run, so I wouldn't bother. Same thing with other factors (religion, financial values, etc.). I would also ask how much cuddling she likes to engage in, as I prefer a lot."
EssentialsTell Me More To Do List GIF by Disney ChannelGiphy
"When I was dating my three essential questions were always kids, sex, and money. If you're not on the same wavelength for any of those three things, just don't even try."
"So, how much personal debt do you have?"
"Source: the guy who dated a woman with huge debts and was asked to pay for everything and then some".
"After that, I'd go with, 'Have you ever been diagnosed with borderline, narcissistic, or histrionic personality disorders?"
The questions are basic.
Just ask for the truth.
Do you have any good Qs to add to the queue? Let us know in the comments below.
As much as we always hop for our dating efforts to be worth it and for every relationship to work out, we all know that some relationships are not destined to work out.
But sometimes relationships end for totally valid reasons, and sometimes the reasons are painful, if not devastating.
Redditor overIorded asked:
"What went wrong with your last partner?"
History Repeating Itself
"He cheated on me. And I was glad because that was finally reason enough to allow myself to leave."
"Now I know somebody who's in the same situation. They're trapped. And she's such a gentle and fun person who's afraid to leave him because 'well, it's always been like this, I'm used to it,' and 'I deserve it.'"
"She wants to leave him, she knows she should leave him, but it's so hard to do it, and I know that feeling."
"I'm thinking I should give her my phone number like when the day comes you've had enough, I'll gladly come to help you move out from that s**thole."
Mental Health Struggles
"I'm lost in my own trauma and mental illness and he deserves better than anything I have to offer right now."
"I’ve been on the receiving end of this, and mildly said, it absolutely ruined me. Her trauma and mental problems were BAD, but I still wanted to be with them. So if you ask me, as long as they can give you the space and support you need, and want to be with you, let them make the decision."
"It's also fair and mature to care very much about someone but realize that you only have the emotional bandwidth to take care of yourself right now."
"I'm sure it was very hard for both of you to come to terms with that decision. I don't think it's that he deserves better, I think it's that your attention needs to be on guiding yourself through this thicket of trauma and mental illness before you can be someone else's partner. You can love each other very much but also acknowledge that you don't have the tools to spare for a relationship right now."
"I'm proud of you for focusing on your own mental health and someday, when you have more emotional stability and energy, I hope you find a wonderful partner."
"We disagreed on how many women he was allowed to date. I’m very strong on monogamy and have no interest in someone (in a supposedly committed relationship) that isn’t."
At Least There's That
"Her psychotic brother tried to kill me. Thankfully he has a Stormtrooper's aim..."
"Hate the attempted murder, love the 'Star Wars' reference."
"He wanted a big family, like, six kids, all-natural. Obviously, he wouldn't be birthing them. This was very important to him while I was pretty ambivalent about kids, and the further into my adulthood I've gotten, the more I've realized I just don't want to be pregnant."
"I broke it off so we could both get the lives we wanted. He was also quite a bit more conservative than me, and at the time closeted pansexual person, and some stuff he believed just didn't line up with what I believed. It hurt, but it was amicable."
"Now he has a wife and kids like he wanted, and I am happily partnered and childfree. It worked out for the best."
"She hated that I had a healthy relationship with my family and was trying to find ways to sabotage it."
"Similar aspect to mine, she hated my sister and mother because she had a bad relationship with her sister and mother. She would get mad at me whenever I brought my family up."
"My last boyfriend dumped me because I got mad that he was coming to Dallas after I hadn't seen him for two months, but didn't want to see me."
"He was going to meet up with some friends of his he hadn't seen in a few months. I told him that was fine with me, but I felt he should make time to see me too since we hadn't seen each other in two months and we were supposed to be a couple."
"He responded to my anger by ghosting me. That was two years ago."
Distracted with a Punch
"A girl contacted me about him talking to her. I asked him what was going on, and he sucker-punched me in the face."
"He cheated on me for all six years we were together and then accused me of cheating on him, even though I wasn't allowed to leave the house."
"I'm also pretty sure he slept with my sister-in-law when my brother and I went to pick up dinner."
Children Come First
"He was and still is no father to his kids, has anger issues, and probably has other mental health issues. I tried for years to help him and help the relationship, but he wasn't having it. After seeing how my oldest suffered under him, I had to leave."
"I communicated how I felt about many things in the relationship. He never communicated about anything."
"Oh look, it's the last 14 years of my life..."
"I'm guilty of this, and boy, do I regret not being able to open up about my feelings. It cost me my marriage. But now I'm trying to be more open and share my thoughts and feelings. Just wished I could've done this earlier than later."
"I started drinking again and became a miserable a**hole due to my own depression and my s**tty job. As such, she didn't get the attention she deserved, and had to put up with my s**tty mood all the time... so she left. I don't blame her."
"So, it was me. I don't know if I trust myself with a relationship again, but aside from the shame of knowing I hurt someone who I loved, and loved me back, but I was too self-absorbed and selfish, I am trying to be a better human to everyone."
"And to my ex: You'll find someone again... someone better."
"He wanted to move to Alaska to be with some girl he was 'friends' with before me."
"My ex's early-onset Alzheimers (at the age of 50) and the resulting violence, paranoia, and irrational thinking. I tried to honor my vows, but he was so far out there, I feared for my life."
Different Definitions of Marriage
"She cheated on me after five years total together, the last one of which was while we were engaged. She cheated on me for months, all while I was planning the wedding, working part-time, and going to graduate school so I can support us comfortably in the future."
"I planned on giving her everything I could and sharing the rest of my life with her, and apparently she didn’t care."
This conversation just goes to show that relationships can end for all kinds of reasons. Even in relationships where there is still a lot of love and committment, the relationship can still end, just like how the relationship can end suddenly because of a surprising and devastating realization.
We all had our aspirations about becoming a certain type of person or accomplishing different goals when looking towards the future.
But the goals we have for ourselves can drastically change once we're adults, and that's partly due to the influence of different life experiences.
Sometimes, despite our best intentions and respective strategies to achieve something by a certain age, we can never imagine experiencing different outcomes.
Curious to hear from strangers online who never saw themselves in their current positions in life, Redditor graces-taylor12 asked:
"What about becoming an adult caught you completely off guard?"
The following Redditors were not ready to process the inevitable when it came to their parents.
A Role Reversal
"Watching your parents becoming old and frail."
"Dealing with this yesterday and it is an eye-opener. Its hard seeing someone you’ve known as a pillar of strength for 30+ years in a position of such weakness, and knowing that he might improve but generally the decline is coming."
"I've had a weird atypical experience. My dad was pretty old when I was born and always had a bad knee he could never afford to get fixed. He could barely walk and has never been able to run since I could remember. It got so bad that he couldn't even walk up or down the stairs in our house."
"Well he eventually got a knee replacement and he's now more agile at 73 than he was at 53. It's weird to see."
"I'll never forget when I first realized how frail they actually were. I went over to their house to help out with some chores, and they couldn't even clean out any of the pens by themselves. They ended up selling most of their animals that year because they couldn't look after them."
Life Can Be Cruel
"It’s slowly beginning with my parents, small hints here and there, they’re in their mid 50s.The big freak out for me has been watching my grandparents slowly declining over the last 3ish years. One set of grandparents have been gone since I was a kid, so these two are all I’ve got now. My Pap’s arthritis and sciatica is to the point now where it’s a process for him just to stand up. 2020 I saved him from a fall, if I wasn’t there to catch him, he would’ve easily been in the hospital for quite a while. That was the first 'Oh sh*t, he’s not immortal' moment."
These Redditors discovered older doesn't always mean wiser.
"I can do whatever the f'k I want. But I don't really want to do anything..."
"Yup, the idea of doing whatever you want as an adult was the biggest scam cartoons sold us."
"Yeah, you can do anything you want but you're gonna need money. So you get a job, there goes most of your day to your job."
"So now you have money but that'll go to bills first and by the time you can do what you want you don't have the energy or funds. Then the loop continues.."
Fake It Til You Make It
"How clueless other adults are. I really thought adults had their sh*t in order while in reality most people are winging it."
"Maturity is a skill. Some people learn it quickly. Others never do."
"Children are limited by their youth. Their brains aren't fully developed. But adults are not guaranteed to get more mature without working for it."
"Some people never grow up. They just get old."
"I'm surprised by the amount of people who genuinely couldn't live by themselves if they had to. They somehow never learned basic life skills like simple cooking or cleaning and always had someone else to do it for them."
People became more aware of time.
Not Enough Me Time
"How little free time you have. You have to work, you have to prepare for work, drive to work, drive home from work. You also have to do household chores. You have to take care of kids if you have some. When do I get to enjoy my hobbies?"
Point Of Exhaustion
"Most of the time I'm so tired from the day, I just don't have the mental capacity to do anything but go right to bed and watch tv ;_;"
Never Going Back
"Transitioning from college student + part time worker to full time worker I gained a bunch of time back. I was shocked that I could just decide to do laundry tomorrow if I didn't feel like it. Every evening I had this huge chunk of time that was just open."
"But then, moving from an apartment to a house, now there's a bunch more chores to do. Then introducing kids, now there's all that. But still, I wouldn't go back to the hectic college life."
"How it just goes on endlessly."
"When you're a kid, there's a summer break every year, and a new school to go to in a couple of years. Whatever part of your life you are in is clearly delimited and there is something new to look forward to after it."
"Once you're an adult, it's just 5 days of work and 2 days of weekend over and over and over until you die."
After having a decent, long run in the entertainment business as a dancer, I've long held the belief I was invincible.
I was physically stronger, more agile, and foolish enough to think I could perpetually live in such a state.
All of a sudden, reality smacked me in the face one morning when I woke up and heard and felt various parts of my body crackle and pop like when milk hits a bowl of Rice Krispies.
My tired body had the audacity to inform me:
"Not today and from this day forward."
We're currently not on speaking terms.
Not much good can come from dwelling on the past.
Even so, no matter how hard we try to avoid doing so, we can't help but look back on things we've done in our lives which we regret.
In some cases, it's nothing which had any sort of lasting effect, like wishing we thought more carefully about where we had a birthday or spending more than we could afford on an outfit that didn't end up paying off.
In sadder cases though, we often wonder what our lives might have been like if he had made a different, and smarter decision.
If we didn't say certain things to certain people, not spoken up when someone needed us to or rushed too hastily into a life we weren't ready for.
"What is one thing you regret doing in life?"
Giving People Attention Who Didn't Deserve It
"Wasting time worrying about people that never spared me a single thought."- Eborys
Getting In With The Wrong Crowd
"I regret making friends with people who I knew were bad for me just because it was easier than becoming friends with good people."
"Now I don't have many solid friends."- misswallflowerr
Staying In, When They Should Have Gotten Out
"Not ending bad/unhealthy/unfulfilling relationships sooner."- Superseriouslyguys
"Hanging on to a relationship for too long."
"I should have up and disappeared the first time he was disrespectful."- Mirrorflute88
Not Taking Enough Risks
"Not putting myself out there enough."
"I probably missed out on a lot of opportunities because I'm so self-conscious."
"Working on this though!"- Fife_Flyer
"Not following my dreams and ended up sitting behind a desk for 30 years."
"Of course, I'm currently on Reddit sitting behind my desk."
"So, there's that."- CatOnTheHill
"Overthinking my way out of potentially rewarding choices."- mmmmike1590
Rushing Into Things
"Going to college before I had the slightest idea what I wanted to do with my life."- Mysterious_Shake2894
Taking Things For Granted
"Not spending more time with my mom."
"I visited her 2-3 times a week but still, there were other times she'd call and I'd ignore the call or tell her I didn't have time to talk."
"Would give anything to go back and take every one of those calls."- Fruitjustlistens
Putting Their Health At Risk
"Most of 2019–addiction bottom."
"Sober now for 432 days and counting."- CommunicationTop5231
"20 years spent on expensive, self-fed poison."
"Biggest regret of my life, by far."- Itsprobablysarcasm
"Mentally exhausting myself at work for companies that turned out to not give a sh*t about me or value my work."- fpuni107
"Being too nice to tell undeserving people to f*ck off when I should've been putting myself first."
"Lessons learned."- MrsHppy
Not Having Enough Fun
"So, this is gonna sound kinda dumb, but I kinda wish I had acted out a bit more."
"Taken more risks, gotten in trouble more, explored and pushed my boundaries."
"I was pretty sheltered growing up and really wanted to be this good person."
"It created a lot of conflicting feelings for me."
"It also contributed to me avoiding doing some stuff cause I thought it'd be bad for me."
"Now that I'm older and worked through some of those issues, I feel like I missed out on a lot of stuff other people got in their teens and 20s."
"I'm now at a point where I'm exploring that, but most people my age have already gone through it."
"I just feel like I'm trying to 'catch up' with everybody."- animewhitewolf
It's only human to look back on things we regret, or wish we had done differently.
But living in the past will only keep us in the past.
The only way to move forward and make progress is to accept the present for what it is: a present.