"I decided to break up a fight when I was 19 years old. It was a success at first, but then some guy came from behind and tackled me. I was stronger than him and gave a few good ones, but he was obviously a trained a fighter. He put my leg in some type of jiu-jitsu hold and tore my ACL. The fight I tried to break up turned into a brawl between two groups of people. The school ended up getting involved and kicked three people out, including the guy who ruined my knee. Suing crossed my mind, but I wasn't supposed to be at the bar and I was on a full-ride scholarship, I was more worried about my scholarship being taken away. I was also an uninsured student at the time.
Ten years later, I still cannot play any sports. It doesn't hurt anymore except for during the winter months when it throbs from time to time. Sometimes I forget which knee is injured. I have to be careful when walking on an icy sidewalk. If I slip and have to regain my balance, my knee will fail me. I plan on upgrading my insurance coverage one of these days to get it fixed."
"I took my doctor's recommendation to take a prescription without questioning it.
I ended up taking Paxil to help with my anxiety at the time and it didn't chemically work for me. I ended up going crazy for a week, ending with me jumping off a parking garage, from about 70 feet onto the street below. Now I have a wrist plate, replacement elbow joint, metal rods in both legs and a half cage in my spine that was put in wrong initially, causing me to lose function of my legs.
Now I have very little function of my lower legs but managed to get myself walking again with the use of a cane. Unfortunately, this happened just before I was 18 and haven't had a job since because I can't drive and live with my family in a manual labor-driven town. I can feel my independence slipping away with each day, and it came down to trusting my doctor and the medication, granted this was before Paxil got a black box warning."
"When I was 20 years old, I was poor, my family was poor, and things got bad that year.
I decided I could make some quick money flipping stolen items (buy cheap, sell for a profit). I was an idiot and got busted. I got a felony for it, and seven years of probation. I'm 28 now, can't get a job anywhere, and life is pointless at this juncture.
I've been on the good side of the law since that all went down, and with each month that passes, I wonder if I'll eat tomorrow or have a roof over my head. I think more and more 'I could solve this by getting back into crime.'
It's a vicious cycle, and I'd rather be shot in the mouth than go through all of it again. I have no clue how I'll ever get my life back on track."
"When I was 17, I was in love with an 18-year-old girl. We both loved to drink. Like a lot. A whole lot. Anyway, I used to write her love poems all the time. She had a boyfriend but she told me she planned on ending it soon. Well, she finally broke up with her boyfriend and she came to my house that night and we made love. We never officially dated. Honestly, I didn't see the point; we were best friends who were in love. Easy enough. For a few months, this continued. She would come over and we would get wasted with my dad and then we would mess around and watch a movie. One day, she, my father, and I went to watch a play a few towns over. After the play, we decided to stay across the street in a historic-resort type hotel. They had the biggest hot tub ever. It was like a pool. Well, around 2 a.m. we brought a case of drinks and sat in the hot tub drinking for hours. Eventually, I got rather toasty. I went inside to the pool area jumped in for a bit to cool down. When I went back out to the hot tub. She and my father were screwing. Right there. In front of me. They didn't stop when they saw me. They told me to leave. I got the room key, went upstairs to the room and cried a lot. Then I got angry. Very angry. Dad had left his phone in the room. I called my stepmother and told her everything. Then I called the girl's mother. And grandmother.
Needless to say, I felt somewhat satisfied with my petty revenge.
Fast forward one month.
My dad shot himself because my stepmother left him. So yeah. I guess that's my biggest regret."
"Seven years ago, I was a young tranny in college. I had two jobs and performed temp work, which had mostly paid for college, leaving me less than $5,000 in debt. I got a job as a programmer developing Microsoft Office plugins while still a freshman, and I interviewed with Microsoft. My clubs and quiz bowl team were supportive of me going full time. Finally, I had four classes left until being eligible to graduate with a double major, and a job waiting for me up in Redmond - and thanks to always taking one or two classes above a full load, I had a semester and a half to study whatever I wanted. I felt blessed, invincible, and thought the old American maxim - that hard work leads to good results - held true.
So, when my parents came to visit just before finals, I told my parents I was going to live full-time as a girl, and there wasn't anything they could do to stop it.
After rocking finals, I went out and spent my summer visiting friends, learning to drive, and doing odd jobs - the most fun you can have while working at Labor-Ready. By the end of the summer, when I returned to school, I found I was no longer a student. It turned out my scholarship had been canceled, my grants had been cashed elsewhere, my school account had been drained, there were credit cards taken out in my name, and my parents had given my name when approached by debt collectors. My debt went from four-figures to six-figures, and I was now ineligible for just about all grants and scholarships. Just to drive the point home, I started receiving voicemails from my mother, stating that no matter what hardships I was going through, God loved me and there were churches that specialized in 'curing gender confusion.'
So now, I've spent these past seven years just trying to scrape together enough funds to pay for four classes straight up so I can finish my degree. Naturally, the recruiters who were so excited to see me during my junior year won't return my calls or email, and I can't get a job in programming because all companies see is that I'm a kid that quit school four classes short of graduation."
"I decided not to change my official address from my mom's house despite no longer living there while I lived with my dad.
Two members of Homeland Security arrived at my office one day to inform me that childhood smut was detected being downloaded from my mom's IP address, and I was the prime suspect.
I was told I could not return to work (I work with kids) and I had to tell all my clients that I couldn't see them anymore. It broke my heart. They took my computer and phone, as well as those at my mother and father's houses, with no indication of how long before I would get them back. When executing the warrant, I was lying in bed reading, and within 10 seconds of hearing a pounding on the door, I had four men in riot gear in my hallway pointing weapons at me. That memory has made it twice as hard to sleep as it already was as I irrationally await being arrested for something I not only didn't do and find abhorrent but can't imagine anyone that had access to my mom's internet doing this.
I can barely eat. I find little enjoyment in activities. I can't tell my friends what's going on due to a mix of shame and attorney advice. I feel like I'm living in a nightmarish parallel world where my real life is passing by without me. People keep telling me not to worry, that being innocent means I have nothing to worry about. As if innocent people have never been convicted of crimes before. I feel vulnerable as glass all day, terrified that no matter how things turn out, my career as a family therapist is over.
All because I decided it was too much bother to officially change my address from my mother's."
"'I don't need protection, I'll just pull out.' - 19-year-old me.
Despite MTV's efforts to glamorize teenage parents, it sucks. It's hard trying to raise someone when you yourself don't even have direction in life. You're already poor, kids are expensive, and you alienate yourself from your friends because no 19-21 year old wants to hang out with you and your kid on a Friday night. You drop out of school because you can't handle working 40 hours a week, being a parent, and trying to be a full-time student or even a part-time student.
All this being said, I love my son to death and he is probably the best thing that happened to me. Without him, I believe I would have worked myself into a bad place. It took me longer to get back on my feet, but 12 years later, I'm finally back in school and happy with my life."
"I bought a ring to go around my junk to fool around with my ex-girlfriend. The first (and only) time I used it, I set the ring size way too small - basically choked my private parts from lack of circulating blood. I completed fooling around, but the next morning my privates were shriveled (like half its normal size) and looked like it was covered in really tiny veins everywhere. Went to the ER and it turns out that I caused ischemia in parts of my junk, burst a few blood vessels, and basically destroyed my ability to 'get up' for the rest of my life. I am only in my 20s."
"My worst life decision? Hmm, I have a lot to choose from, but if I had to pick one, it would be being 15 and thinking smoking was a good idea. Close to 15 years and dozens of attempts to quit later, I can safely say that smoking, out of all my other screwups, has probably had the largest impact on my health, appearance and financial well being than all the others combined. DO. NOT. START. SMOKING. And if you are, do whatever it takes to quit. Tell your teachers. Tell your parents you've been smoking. Hope they beat you. Hope they ground you. Hope they won't let you out of the house. Hope they take your car. Hope they do whatever they can to make getting smokes the most difficult task in your life. Your future health, teeth and wallet will thank you."
"I am 39 years old and was born in Germany where both of my biological parents were hardcore addicts. I was rescued at the age of 3 by a social worker who knew my parents well and one day asked them where I was. They couldn't remember, but I was alone in the apartment for at least a week. Apparently, I don't remember surviving by eating crackers and drinking water from who knows where. I was adopted by a loving couple, and they were the best parents you could imagine. I was a difficult kid. I was so difficult to handle that a few families that gave me shelter before I was picked up by my now parents couldn't handle me. I couldn't sleep in a normal bed but had to sleep on the floor, and had massive problems with my temper and other nasty things. My now parents thought that I would never grow up to become a normal person if they gave me away again, and they kept me despite all the problems. By the time I was 10 years old, they had a psychologist evaluate me. At that time, I started to become more difficult. The psychologist told my parents that kids build up their trust at an early age, as early as a few months after they are born, so because I never learned to trust people, I would also be at risk to react oddly to people around me.
At 16, things got so bad they had to 'kick' me out. They sent me to a place for young adults who do an apprenticeship. My biggest regret to this day was that I caused my parents so much grief. The older I become the more I want to go back in time and change it. I want to go back in time and feel like a boy again. I missed out on my childhood and I would love to go back and change it."
"My biggest regret is going to get smokes for a couple friends in college. Back in 1988, I was a sophomore at a small upstate New York college. I was back early that year as an orientation guide. I ran into a bud from my hometown that night. He had two girls with him, and a case of drinks. We went to my apartment, drank it all and some more, and they needed smokes. I don't smoke. We decided to walk a half mile to a mini-mart. This is a one-stoplight college town. We started walking and it started raining. The girls saw my car, a 1977 Red Trans Am. 'Is that your car? Let's take that!' I remember looking down at my keys thinking 'Nope, shouldn't do that.' But I did.
I started the car, peeled out, tore off toward the mini-mart. I was doing probably 50 in a 30, and RIGHT PAST THE VILLAGE COP. I kept going to the mini-mart, where I was met by the OTHER cop car and arrested by all four officers of the Alfred, New York Police Department. I later had the distinction of being the first driving while under the influence conviction in that village. It has followed and affected me numerous times since. It's even cost me jobs. I lost my license for a year, had to sell the car, and went into the 'risk pool' for insurance for seven years. When I could finally afford another car, basic, no frills, no collision, insurance cost me $3,500 a year in 1991; my car cost $3,000. I'm 45 years old and it still follows me. I recently wanted to go to Canada with my wife and kids. I couldn't get into the country with a spotty driving record. I had to apply to the magistrate and prove that I was 'rehabilitated.' This cost $250-$500, several months, and no guarantees. I have a clean record outside of that one arrest as a college student."
"My biggest regret is being addicted to a certain powdery substance for nine years. I've been clean for a year and a half now, but I lost jobs, am now 26 without ever going to college, and have various minor health issues as a result.
I opened various credit cards in both my wife's name and mine to get cash advances to buy the stuff, then never paid the bills. I'm in thousands of dollars of debt and being sued by three different credit card companies, and my wife is being sued by two because I didn't tell her I got cards in her name; she found out when she got served with the lawsuits.
I was arrested for retail fraud/theft (a misdemeanor, but no one will hire me now).
I was a piece of crap not that long ago. The best decision I ever made was to grow up. I'm fixing things now. It's a slow process but I'm trying."
"I grew up poor, as in my family had no car or indoor plumbing for years, and mostly lived off potatoes and eggs we raised in the backyard. As a teen, I had one pair of shoes and two pairs of blue jeans to last an entire school year, which were worn out and patched after a few months. I envied my friends who were better off and became a workaholic that held down three jobs at a time for most of my 20s and 30s.
I bought my first apartment building at age 24, while I myself was living in a ratty 1972 mobile home on rented ground in a sheep farm pasture. I went to college part-time for years as time permitted, paying with cash. I'm not wealthy but have done okay for myself, have a nice house and enough to live comfortably, and finally got married at age 50. If I had it to do over again, I would have worked less and partied more when I was younger and made more time for a social life. I regret never taking enough time to search for and find the 'right' one when I was young enough to have kids and a family, instead settling for comfortable relationships with the few women over the years who showed any interest in me and raising their kids instead.
I would have spent more time traveling the world, getting a better education, explored art more, gone to concerts, drank more, owned more animals, sat around more bonfires, learned to play an instrument, learned to fly, owned more race cars, volunteered at more charities, gone to more beaches, planted more gardens, and formed more deep friendships with a large, diverse and eclectic group of people. These things are more important than having money in the bank or a nice house."
"Screwing around in high school and not going to college.
I'm not saying college is necessary for everyone, but I think I would be in a much better place overall if I had gone. I have a decent corporate job that I enjoy. I've been employed by the same company for 10 years. My life is not horrible, but the ceiling is getting so low that I have to crouch in my cubicle.
If I could give students advice, I would say to just tough it out, do well in school, and get a scholarship. Your schoolwork should be your main focus in life. It will suck. You may not get to go do the things your friends are doing. I know this. I chose to have fun, and now I don't have much fun anymore. I have close friends that are now lawyers, paramedics on their way to becoming doctors, Wall Street brokers, and even an astrophysicist, and I am 10 years into a middling career that can't ever make me happy.
I'm not saying my life is over and this is it for me. I can go to college in my spare time; my employer will even help pay for it. I am a decent photographer, I can see a spark there, maybe something will come of that as well. What I'm saying is I would have much preferred, in retrospect, if I had just buckled down and worked hard and gone to college right after high school when learning was still fresh and I still remembered a bit about high-level algebra. The ability to learn at the rate you currently do goes away. Now, I'll have to re-learn a lot at doing schoolwork around a full-time job."
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