16 People Talk About Mistakes and Decisions That Drastically Altered the Course of Their Lives

©Unsplash,Mahir Uysal

Life is about choices.

I used to hear that a lot when I was young from older people but I’d always brush it off because it never really hit home.

Now I understand what they were talking about.

One small decision or mistake can impact your life in ways that you can never predict.

And that’s exactly what happened to these people.

Let’s dig into these stories from AskReddit users.

1. Wow.

“When I was 27 i missed my usual train to work and had to wait another 30 minutes. So I got to talking to a random guy who turned out to be a doctor, he noticed dark patch under my nail and recommended i go get it checked out.

It urned out to be subungual melanoma (Skin Cancer). I thought it was a bruise and probably wouldn’t of went the doctors over it.

I never saw him again.”

2. A love story.

“I met a guy online on AOL in 1994.

Fell in love. Moved 2300 miles away from home to be with him. Could have been a disaster. But 26 years later, we are happily married and are still very much in love. Best decision I’ve ever made!”

3. Ugh. That’s bad.

“Ordered a pizza from Dominos.

Wound up with the worst case of food poisoning I’ve ever had, I was essentially bedridden for 3 months and I’ve since developed severe post-infectious IBS that I’ve been struggling with for the past 3 years.

I’m basically not functional probably 50% of the time, it’s essentially destroyed my quality of life, and I’m terrified that I may never have a normal life again.

It’s taken everything I enjoyed or was passionate about away from me.”

4. Way to go!

“Going to trade school.

For some background, I am a young woman. After being moved out for several years and accumulating some meager savings, it was time to begin looking at post-secondary options.

The course that piqued my interest was in a separate province, but my parents offered to both pay for my tuition and let me move back home if I chose a course closer to home.

This was a trap.

After selecting a course with transferable skills to the course I had planned to take (welding and machining), my father drove me to the office at the school to pay for the course. In front of the entire office staff, he laughed in my face, telling me he was never planning to pay for anything except a music degree.

Horrified, I decided then and there to use my line of credit and savings to pay for the course. Unfortunately, my father took the opportunity to max out my line of credit and bank account to leave me with no additional funds after paying for the school. Now, I could not just move out again.

The year that followed was grueling and harsh, my sister committed suicide and I contracted mono as an adult. In the process, I booted my father from my account and moved back out, having to expand the line of credit in the process.

I finished the course with the program excellence award, as the only woman present, and 5 years later I have successfully passed my Red Seal exam as a millwright.

My debts are paid, my job is incredible, and I moved cities. Life has never been better, despite the rough path that it took to arrive here.”

5. Skills to pay the bills.

“Taking Videography as an elective in middle school instead of Photo like my sister.

Throughout high school I won numerous student filmmaking awards, made tons of friends I never would have had I not joined those classes, developed a super useful skill, and got paying jobs throughout high school because of my skill set.

I even got hired at my current job because of my video skills.”

6. A very close call.

“Wanted to see the Eiffel tower.

Me and my girlfriend at the time were traveling from New Zealand to my family back home in Sweden. We both decided to spend a bit more money to fly back through Paris instead of Amsterdam, just because we wanted to see the tower. It cost us maybe an extra $50 and we got to see it on the landing and then take off, but never actually set foot in Paris proper because we were poor students.

When we landed in Auckland, New Zealand, jetlagged to shit, we turn on our phones and notice that we have about 50 missed calls from our travel agent, which was odd. When we call her, she sounds super relieved and out of breath.

She tells us the flight she originally suggested to us, the one from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over Ukraine. My brain couldn’t process that information at the time, but once I woke up the next day it hit me like a ton of bricks. $50 made the difference between seeing the big steel thingy that has so many photos of it and bring sent to Sweden in body bags piece by piece.

Sometimes the absurdity of my existence comes over me, and this story always gives me goosebumps. One hell of a story to tell over beers, though.”

7. Basic training.

“Just arrived to basic in Ft Benning. They had us all in this room giving us like a welcome speech. The drill sgt left and I had to pee. So I got up and went to the bathroom. When I came back to the room nobody was there.

I walked around till I found a different drill sgt and he said he had no time for my stupid shit and took me to a room with a whole different group of guys. They were like a day ahead of me in the reception phases. So I was quickly caught up.

I didn’t have to deal with a ton of the BS that others had and the group I was placed with became 11b instead of 11c. That sent me to a unit that got an amazingly awesome mission in Afghanistan, and led me to meeting some awesome people and getting crazy life stories.

So when you need to pee, just go pee.”

8. Turn it around.

“At my lowest point in life I decided I didnt want to live anymore. I was too much of a coward to do it myself so I figured I’d walk into a store, rob it, and get shot by police.

My cowardice continued and I ended up being arrested and sentenced to 3 years for armed robbery. I’d never been to jail let alone federal prison. I learned alot about myself serving that time. Helped me kick drugs and stop drinking so damn much.

Also taught me that at the end of the day you dont really matter and it’s up to me and only me to make my life what I want it to be. It gave me alot of confidence I didnt have before.

I suppose I thought if I made it through prison I can make it through anything.”

9. Very exciting!

“After finishing pre-university college, me and a friend went to Australia on a working holiday visa. In Sydney, I worked for a few months saving money while my friend worked for accomodation in a hostel without pay.

We were supposed to go travel up the East Coast and she had no savings. I waited for her for a few weeks, got her a job she quit because she didn’t like it, then decided to go on my own.

While on that East coast trip, I met an English guy. Wouldn’t have met him if I had gone when I was supposed to. We ended up both living in Melbourne for 5 months, got in a relationship etc. I

t’s been 3 years and he has now come to Canada twice, I went to England and Wales twice, we went to eastern Europe together, and in 2 months if all goes well I’m going to study abroad for a year in England, where he lives.

It’ll be the first time we live together, been a year since I saw him last, so it’s exciting.”

10. A great turn of events.

“Quit my job without a plan.

Ended up panic applying at every shitty little place in town, got a job at a coffee shop. met the love of my life, supported each other through going back to school, got actual careers, got married, had two amazing little girls.

All because I got in a fight with my boss and walked out.”

11. Crazy.

“Playing roller derby.

If I never said fuck it and joined the roller derby team, I would’ve never injured my hip and would’ve never found out I had an underlying life threatening illness.

Getting treated for it now, can’t play derby anymore, but man am I glad I didn’t just die in my sleep from an aortic dissection not knowing I had an illness.”

12. That sucks.

“Playing catch with my buddy in a parking lot right after Winter time. I slipped on Rock salt as I threw and tore a bunch of muscles in my back.

Went from throwing 85mph at the age of 15 down to low 70’s. Still played college Ball but I was never the same. My dreams were crushed and I think about it every day.”

13. Go find yourself.

“Had a very bad breakup, I went to self introspection instead of emotional breakdown, I realised I had no skill throughout my school years, not good at sports neither studies nothing.

Started to invest my time to improve my self and said no to anymore relationships, its been about a year and half, I am joining college this year with lots of general knowledge, graphic designing skills, still learning to code, improved self esteem, and also income of my own through side hustle.

None of these would have happened if I hadn’t decided to find my self rather then weeping for a girl.”

14. Drugs are bad.

“Got high once, to cope.

Two months later I was doing it every day and got kicked out of college preparatory school for it. I had huge scholarships, had been accepted to every college I applied to.

Oh well, I’ll just finish high school at a public school and go to a state college or something, right?


Ended up in rehab, and then a sober living halfway across the country. Had to finish highschool online. Tried to go to community college, but dropped out because I would rather get high. Ended up spending my rent money on drugs.

Now I’m homeless. Sober, thankfully, as of maybe a week ago, but homeless. I’m NINETEEN. Had I never gotten fucked up that first time I would be at Drexel or UIC with scholarships paying most of my tuition.”

15. No regrets.

“I blew off a female friend to go to a concert last minute.

I was supposed to go hang out with a friend to watch some live acoustic set and eat ice cream. I had a few friends that asked me if I wanted to go to a concert while I was walking home from school.

I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I met my wife that night. That friend never talked to me again. 15 years later and I’m still with her. No regrets.”

16. Holy shit.

“Dad: Wanna go to the gun range this weekend?

Me: sure sounds fun (it would turn out to be anti-fun)

Got shot by a stranger, almost died, now have permanent nerve damage and poor blood flow in my right leg.

Was at a gun range and a guy with a AK-47 accidentally/negligently shot me point blank in the groin.

I was talking to a random guy about AKs and he told me he had one with a bad trigger. I work on guns and trigger work is easy to do so we go over where he has two AK-47s in a hard rifle case, no mags in them and we are just talking so he reaches down to (what I thought to grab the handle) and pulls the trigger with his thumb.

Heard a dull thud and it felt like someone kicked me in the right leg. I was 3 inches from the end of the barrel.

The bullet ricochet off the front of my pelvis and took out my femoral artery and nerve bundle in my right leg (Dr said I had a softball size hole in my leg).

Knowing you only have about 20 minutes of life left will make you fight as hard as you can to stay awake and I stayed awake until the Dr in the trauma center put an oxygen mask on me.

The doctors told my parents I had a .7% chance of living, I woke up 2 days later after about 14 hours of surgery. 4 years later, foot still doesn’t work great, lots of nerve pain and a pile of metal in my leg I’m still here.

Adrenalin kicked in super hard and it hurt very little at first. I was able to take a few steps and lay myself down with my leg blown apart. It didn’t start to hurt until half way through the helicopter ride to the hospital.

The real pain happened AFTER surgery and the next 12 that came after it. I was on the highest dosage of IV drip Dilaudid they could give and I would still pass out from pain in the intensive care unit. The first time I was awake enough for them to show me how the meds button worked on my IV drip I pressed it 184 times in 12 hrs.

It had a built in 4 hr delay between hits so I didn’t OD but it (meds) wasn’t working. I’m no wussy either, my pain level is stupid high. The skin graph (2″ X 8″ strip off my left leg) I later got to patch the hole never hurt, I was told it was going to be terrible by the Doctors.

I can feel (with my hand) a large bullet fragment kinda close to my right butt cheek/leg area but it doesn’t bother me.”

How about you?

Do you have any big mistakes or decisions you made that changed your life in a big way?

Please tell us about it in the comments!