Honestly my whole career has been a series of these.

Growing up no one in my family had a professional job. Most of them didn’t even work. So while I knew that in theory I could get a CS degree and have a software career, it wasn’t something I really felt in my bones. Even after I got the degree I did not feel confident that one of “us” could get a job like one of “them”, especially when you’re raised with that working class crab mentality.

Later on, it was getting my first self employed contract. I had dreamed about going solo, but always doubted I could pull off. Then it was getting my invoice paid by a director of an overseas company I had never met. Something I knew was possible but felt like utopian science fiction when I read it on HN.

So as cheesy as it sounds – my career has changed my life forever. The realisation that I didn’t have to struggle to make ends meet, and that I was in the drivers seat of my own life.

When I was a little kid, I was at a department store and saw a guy doing something with a television. Or so I thought.

Me: What are you doing?

He: I am programming. What’s your name?

Me: MG

He: Check this out:

    10 PRINT "MG"
    20 GOTO 10

Me: Woah!

I picked a book from a shelf about “Basic” and started to try figuring out how this worked. And never stopped. Have been looking at these “televisions” more than anything else since then.

I visited (trespassed) in an underground bomb shelter with accomodations for 11000 (eleven thousand) people. It was mothballed and parts of it were used as storage, but most of what would be needed for housing people there if war or nuclear fallout would hit was there.

Dry toilets with no privacy, toilet paper, some dry rations, mattresses, blankets, air filters, first aid kits etc. For 11k people.

It was two giant vaults, 5.5k per vault.

It changed my views on war and peace. Made me stop playing war games and watching war movies.

I wish peace would return to Europe soon. Right now, there are people who have to endure conditions worse than what I saw not very far from here.

March 2020: Finding the body of my mother in the basement. She had died suddenly and unexpectedly that morning. The neighbours were alarmed because they couldn’t reach her. I went to investigate. She was 74, so she didn’t go too early and had a good death.

I realised that my life will be over relatively soon too. I decided to make it count (in little ways). Quit my job. Became a freelancer. Made a big effort to cut bullshit from my life. To give less fucks about irrelevant stuff. To be happier in simple and sustainable ways.

My favourite quote: “We all have 2 lives, the second begins when we realise we have only 1”.

In 2012 I bought a book called “Getting Out: Your Guide to Leaving America”.

It had a chapter on how to move to (almost) every country in the world. Nothing seemed practical, I didn’t have the skills and there was a recession.

But in the end there were some interviews with people who had left, and there was a throwaway line: “I got a working holiday visa for Ireland”

I didn’t even know working holiday visas existed! I figured I could move to Ireland for a year and enjoy what I could.

6 months in I wasn’t having much luck finding a longer term sponsor, despite applying lots of different places.

Then I was at the pub and heard someone having a laugh about “JSON? I said JASON!” (it was funnier when we were drunk)
Had a chat, got an interview, got a job, got a green card, and recently got naturalized.

I think a lot of things in life have been small serendipities like this.

I remember reading your post about this a few years ago, when I was first considering moving abroad!

Glad it’s going well for you. I have recently taken the plunge and moved to Estonia 🙂

I always mention looking at working holiday visas to any friends who bemoans how hard it is to leave their country. For anyone below 30, it’s often a very good pathway to immigrating, getting a job and eventually a more stable visa situation.

I’ve also seen it combined with student visas, so one year on a student visa to learn the language (that costs more in most countries, although there are some countries with relatively cheap language courses and possibility to work for up to 20 hours a week, example Japan or France) then a working holiday visa and then finding a sponsor.

In many cases you don’t even need a “working holiday visa” to go and live somewhere else.

E.g. if you have a remote job, you can just travel to a third country and work from there. Most countries just require that you get out for a few days per 3 or 6 months (which can be just visiting a nearby country, staying in a hotel, and returning) to renew your plain tourist visa.

I’d be careful with this. I’ve done that in the past in Malaysia, going through the border from Malaysia to Thailand every 3 months.. Eventually when I took a plan from the airport to travel somewhere else, I got questioned by immigration because of the patterns of staying 3 months and then leaving for a few days. They asked me how I could finance my stays and told me that any work I was doing while in Malaysia remotely violated my visa.

In the end, nothing happened but ymmv. I also know a few people who did the same in HK and eventually got into trouble because of that.

I do think it works well but it’s not a long term plan and if you do it, you must plan with potentially being denied entry eventually.

Indeed, though I’ve always been a “cross my t’s and dot my i’s” kind of person. Keeping things above board saved me a lot of worry.

It worked out nicely; as an Irish citizen I still have the right to live and work in both the EU/EEA and the UK, which is handy.

I had a religious experience decades ago. Stone cold sober. I only talk about it with my closest friends, because I don’t want to be perceived as another nutter. But it keeps me up when I am feeling down, and holds out the promise of living a life on a proper path. My 0,02€, YMMV.

It’s not the factual accuracy of the comment that’s getting downvoted, it’s the disrespectful attitude, tactless delivery, and/or assumptions about the nature of a religious experience.

This is neither here, nor there.

Not all hallucinations are religious.

And not all religious experiences are hallucinations.

In fact, when we talking about a specific kind of experience, the term hallucination has no meaning.

You’re not “seeing things”, you’re feeling and thinking things. So there’s no relevance at all to whether they’re “really there”.

You could have a religious experience by runinating on something that’s actually, 100% there (e.g. an experience with near death from a car accident that makes you appreciate life in a religious way, or even a nice sunset).

Hallucinations are often not religious experiences. Most often when people feel it’s religious it’s connected to a deep sense of meaning. This can be accompanied to drugs and or hallucinations but doesn’t have to. Often connected to feeling of perception of self dissolving, not having any seperatioe, feeling fully one or dissolving into the “outer” world

Finally admitted to myself and others I no longer believed in the religion of my family. After that it was like a huge weight was lifted and I could more clearly rethink all my conclusions about the world and people.

No more need for magical thinking, confirmation bias, or hoop jumping to justify inconsistent rules made up by centuries of grifters.

I remember a conversation with a dear friend of mine. I was studying CS at the time, he was studying Philosophy.

We went into a discussion over some esoteric topics, and we got stuck on a definition of a word, so I asked him “but how do we know what exactly does [the word] mean?”, to which in response he paused, looked me in the eye, and just said:

    It means whatever the hell we agree it means.

That sentence has been with me ever since. For some reason, my whole life before that moment, I’ve had a feeling that words have some definite meaning that we can somehow learn. Only then did I realize how language actually works – every word is just an agreement between humans.

Ever since I’ve been spending a lot of time learning how to communicate effectively. I believe that a lot of bad things in the world happen simply because of miscommunication of ideas – more precisely, not being in agreement to what some words mean, while using them in discussions, assuming the other person has exactly the same understanding of the word as we do.

Nowdays, in discussions, when I feel that there’s “something wrong” in the air, I tend to ask people “what do you mean by X” and some people get annoyed by it. But the number of times I’ve defused a conflict that way, by revealing it to be pure misunderstanding, makes it worth it.

Yeah it’s interesting how much people unknowingly fight over semantics.

> Ever since I’ve been spending a lot of time learning how to communicate effectively

How exactly do you learn this?

For me, simply spending time with a Philosophy graduate in, and having these exact sorts of discussions around language quite frequently has had the effect of encouraging me to constantly question how efficiently I’m communicating (at times, to detriment).

On a more basic level however, logical sentence structure is a good place to start: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_form

I found the book Nonviolent Communication helped me a lot to improve my style of communication.

It helped reinforce the importance of listening and communicating in a way that the other person knows they’ve been listened to. How to change the framing of what I’m saying so the other person doesn’t feel like they’re being attacked.

Maybe some of this stuff is obvious/natural to some people. But for the rest of us are this book is a good place to start.

> How exactly do you learn this?

Unfortunately, I don’t have a good answer to this. My learning process is somewhat chaotic and random. Reading analytic philosophy and psychology definitely gave me important insights.

However, the method I’ve found works the best is try to imagine society as a system, and humans as processes in the system. Every human has their own will, and they decide what they will or will not do. Nobody owes anyone anything, so every human protocol relies on the will of the other person to follow the protocol with us. So the most important question for any kind of communication is “how do we get the other person to do what we want?”.

This may sound selfish, but is (in my experience) more efficient than trying to read minds or conform to some abstract authority of how we should act, then being mad at other people when they act the way that doesn’t fit the abstract authority. Even more, it makes dealing with you easier for other people, which makes other people like you more.

In lots of ways?

Good spelling, grammar, and syntax, for example are basic prerequisites (and many people have margins for improvement).

An expanded and more precise vocabulary is also important. For this you can make an effort of looking up dictionary definitions (especially for any word you’re not 100% clear on its meaning), read technical, historical, and philosophical dictionaries (those are special-purpose dictionaries, as opposed to a generic one).

Reading (widely accepted as) good prose and non-fiction also helps pick up ways to structure your own communication.

Reading books on writing (e.g. “On writing well”, “The elements of style”) will also help.

Learning a second language also makes more evident all kinds of internal language workings and subleties that monolingual people often ignore or take for granted.

And, of course, practice (talking to people, speaking publicly, writing a blog, etc.) makes perfect…

surviving a mass shooting

The conversation surrounding such events and lack of political or social will to change left me jaded with Americana, ultimately I left the country and decided to contribute to a more sane society.

Me too. I wasn’t at the October First shooting in Vegas, but I was not far away and I helped take food and stuff to first responders and hospital staff in the trauma ward after. Watching people call that a “false flag” was contemptible.

And now I live in England, where a loud report really is a car backfiring. It has its problems, but I’m not likely to get shot or go bankrupt from a hospital bill.

I was traveling around north-west Australia in 2001 and hadn’t seen the news in weeks. I stopped at a cheap hotel in Broome for a couple of days as a treat and to take a warm shower after weeks of camping, switched on the TV, and saw the wall-to-wall coverage of 9/11 that had happened the day before. I didn’t understand what I was seeing and I sure didn’t understand why it had happened. I decided I should try and figure that out.

Four months later I enrolled in an undergraduate international relations program on the other side of the country in an effort to understand why these sorts of things happen. I went on to write my PhD in the field and the study and teaching of international politics became my life for probably the next 15 years.

Your question is so broad that I’m not sure that you will yield any satisfying answer.

But yes, many times. The problem is that some of the most profound and lasting changes come from trauma that requires significant content warnings or require a degree of empathy that only other survivors appear able to fully understand or display. As such, these things are hard to talk about on an immutable public forum.

(Not trying to score sympathy points)
I got diagnosed with metastatic cancer (incurable). Five weeks later (while getting chemo) I quit my job. I was a workaholic software developer. I haven’t programmed since. Best decision I ever made and I’m happy and enjoy life (with some limitations).

A friend of mine wanted to make some speaker-stands from some thick pieces of wood, in a Z shape. He didn’t know what angle to cut it, so asked me (knowing that I had, some years earlier, obtained a maths A-level). The problem reduced to solving a quadratic, but I couldn’t remember the formula for the solutions (-b ± something?) so spent 2-3 days trying to reconstruct the proof (this was pre-internet). Eventually I cracked it, and enjoyed the process so much that I applied to study maths at University … He never did make those bloody speaker-stands.

I went to university in 1997 to study Broadcast Engineering with every intention of going into the film industry. Some friends and I decided to make ourselves some webpages after reading about HTML in a magazine, and after a few late nights of not getting things to work I saw my first page load in Mosaic 2.0. I realised anyone in the world could access it. You can’t get that feeling of connectedness from anything else. I completely changed my career goals and decided I wanted to build web stuff instead. I’m still doing it 25 years on.

Yes. The first time I was arrested and prosecuted and ended up with a criminal record.

I went from a security cleared I.T consultant that could (and did) walk in to any server room any where for any client (government, financial etc) with pre-approved security clearance to having to decline contracts and shift some of my existing clients on to other contractors. I didn’t serve any time in jail and the crime was minor damage to property but none the less the rule book is clear about these sorts of things so my ‘go anywhere’ clearance was ‘yoinked’ (I let the various vetting agencies know rather than wait for them to do their periodic re-checking).

It left me with a few smaller clients and I was upfront with them about it so that they were free to walk if they wanted to. Only one did but the rest were fine about it.

My income went from FAANG++ levels (gosh, FAANG shows my age, its’ now MAMMA?) to a few steps above Fiverr gigging levels of income so in the end I closed down my consultancy and drifted in to a different industry (a mixture of QA, tech-support, component level design type role).

All of this happened within the space of 4 months or so.

Under UK Laws, any non-serious crime becomes a ‘Spent Conviction’ after x number of years as long as you are not convicted of any further criminal acts. These means that although it (my conviction) shows up in an enhanced background check it is effectively wiped off and no longer needs to be declared when purchasing insurance, rental checks etc and doesn’t flag up in a standard background check.

In other words – I got back my ‘Go Anywhere’ card a few years ago and am now semi-retired so I guess All’s Well that Ends Well 🙂

Applied to FANG for an internship and 5 years later I’m still there.

I’d call it life-changing as I can FIRE around 40 now (current trajectory). Planning to care for my siblings however, so realistically it’s more like 45-50.

In college I had a small freelancing business doing email marketing for real estate. I needed to use the photos from one of the real estate firm’s websites that I worked with.

On a whim I setup a lunch with the freelance developer of this website.

A little nervous I showed up in a dress shirt and khakis. He showed up in ratty old white t-shirt with pit-stains, disheveled, and completely unwashed.

As we ate the expensive meal I was treating him to, I couldn’t help think but the meeting was a waste of effort and money.

As we got up to leave, he mentioned a little website he made about mosquito ringtones that made $100 day and that was why he didn’t care about our mutual real estate client. He just wanted to maximize his passive income.

It was that day I learned about affiliate marketing and SEO. As a finance/marketing guy it changed my life 100%. Taught myself WordPress, SEO, PPC, and everything in between.

Funny as I was dead set on becoming a ibanker.

Not sure if really life changing but in primary school I saw a senior draw a big circle with two eyes in GW BASIC and all I could think about that day was “woah.. the possibilities.”

That silly thing consumed me so much I even had a dream about it that night. That time we had computer labs in which access was pretty limited and the teacher had to authorise students and small kids weren’t allowed.

Didn’t get to do it in school but from that moment on I bugged my parents so much to buy me a 386 that finally my dad sold his car and got me one on my birthday.

No wonder I’m still doing programming to date. And I still remember that smiley face on that ega screen(?) to this date 🙂

I’m just going through it.

I’m 35, Web Dev since 2009, work from home (2 hours away from work) since 2020, and my company just decided that they want everyone back at the office immediately, or quit.

So I quat. And I decided I’ll never be an employee ever again.
I’m gonna make a living out of my passions: write a book, create video games, adopt pets, photo, video, and if I run out of money I can still do Web Dev as freelance.

Frightening but also exciting!

When I hear employers present these ultimatums, I always wonder what would happen if you didn’t quit but also didn’t come into work, simply continued doing your job as before from home. My sense is that many employers are bluffing and would not fire, but I’ve got not data points.

Learned I have ADHD and getting medicated in the span of 3 months has completely changed my quality of life and my outlook on the future.

The second best thing was during a dark time with work-related burnout of top to take my mental health seriously and talk with a therapist. Made it a serious commitment for a couple years and it’s been the best investment in time and money I could ever have made. Learned a lot about myself, my approach to the world, the world’s approach to myself and what makes me tick… just by talking it out.

Nothing else in my life has created such long-lasting and radical changes in relatively short time.

I feel like there are a few moments that can change your life, at least I think I can resume them as:

health issue

read a book

break up / got into a relationship

moved abroad

got a new job

The easiest way is really to read a book. The problem is finding the right book and spending time reading bad books.

Feeling no particular drive for having children for most of my adult life, that changed when me and my partner got the very shocking news that she was pregnant last november. We were there to start the process to harvest her eggs, as she was about to undergo aggressive cancer treatment that would leave her unable to conceive children afterwards.

The pregnancy turned out to not be viable, and two weeks later the treatment started.

Seeing that heartbeat changed everything. Nothing seems to matter anymore in comparison to having kids, as a life goal.

Wait till you get them ;). Sort of joking. I know the feeling, also had that. Getting them is very different from this high, but probably even more worth it. Although you will be more tired and busy then ever before.

My ex asking a divorce. It taught me some lessons (the hard way):

– Nothing is yours, you only borrow things. Everything is temporary.

– Focus on the things you do have. Your base level should be “nothing”, not what you currently have. Be happy with the things you take for granted.

– It really is all about the journey, because there is no destination.

My divorce changed the course of my life so much that the first years it felt like living in a parallell universe.

Two years into marriage I was driving down the freeway and had an epiphany that my wife loved me even though she didnt show it. We went from verge of divorce to strongest marriage I know 10 years and 3 kids later.

I broke my back (shatter a few discs) in the Army and it wrecked my career but it probably saved my life.
Recovery was a slow process, but the change was sudden. It took me a while the learn the lessons from the experience. Which can be broadly summed up as ” Try and end up spending more time doing things you like, than things you don’t”.

My father passing away. Not because of COVID, it happened in 2019.

Somehow it triggered my awareness and focus on taking care of myself better. It made “death” very real for me, to the degree that it had never been up to that point.

I have been able to work out a lot more regularly motivated by “how to live longer and healthier”, vs. “I want to have a jacked body to attract women”.

Quite few I had (assuming OPs question to be broad enough)-

1. Reading Malcolm X’s autobiography _The Autobiography of Malcolm X_ in college. It transformed me such that within that one week of reading it, I developed (given my low standards) the strongest sense of orderliness in my life. Additionally, I decided for myself ‘to straighten myself up’ for this life.

2. Reading Dostoevsky’s _Brothers Karamazov_. My ‘inner’ transformation (at the age of around 20.5) was so immense that it was also apparent from the outside. My transformation was ‘not to be surprised by bad/evil’ and seeing good in everything.

3. In programming/ computer science/ functional programming/ mathematics (I still don’t fully get LISP, Haskell et. al. like other people here) but there are encounters in the field of lambda calculus, computation, cryptography that have left me totally transformed. Too many to elaborate.

Once upon a time my buddy was in the data center swapping drives, so i logged onto all the servers. 8 cabinets and like ~18 or so servers in each.

~$ base64 /dev/urandom

I don’t know if that qualifies as ‘changing my life’ but when he told me he had to plug his ears and run away because it was so loud, it certainly made me want to turn this into a long-term career.

Probably CPU cooling getting extremely loud. Server fans are notorious for very high levels of noise unlike what you usually see in personal desktops. (At least I think so, never having actually been in a datacenter due to living in the middle of nowhere.)

I was WAY behind in my study schedule and would have likely failed.

But in 2001 earthquake stuck and the exams were postponed. That extra time helped me complete my studies and I got more marks. Which helped me get into good college and have a stable career.

A tragedy actually changed my life.

When my dad died, shortly followed by my mum.

It really made me realise the futility of life.

Since then, it’s been ten years or so, and I look forward to being dead.

Not for any religious, spiritual purpose, but just to get all this life nonsense out of the way. It will be much easier to not exist any more.

There is me before my first psychedelic trip, and there me after, and those two are probably not the same person.

I still maintain that everyone of a sound mind should do psychedelics once. There are no real negatives (only meta negatives such as from loss of coordination leading to a fall, all of which are prevented by a trip sitter), and the perspective it gives you, namely being able to experience different emotion towards things including yourself, is invaluable.

What in your life or your personality changed? What have been the real effects on your life from this? Did you switch career paths, stopped being depressed, made a big move, stopped feeling ugly, etc? Or is it just that you see certain things differently? I’m really interested in this subject.

Clothes dryers aren’t that popular in Europe. Getting one a year ago and having access to clean clothes faster and with less effort had a surprisingly big positive impact on me.

This seems quite anecdotal. For example, around 60% of the Dutch population has one. Belgium is around 70%. The USA/Canada is around 80%.

For me personally, I never bought one. I have a garden and the sun works quite well, it is much cheaper and a very easy environmental way to dry your clothes. (In the USA, clothes dryers are the third most consuming residential electrical energy consumers)

Oh, there are infinitely many moments where the course of my life branched into some different direction, but nothing that really changed me. That’s probably why I’m a loser, I never changed in since I was young, just let life wash over me like water.

Many of them. A heart attack followed by open heart surgery on the day the coronavirus was officially declared a pandemic was one of them. Having the parent company of my online music store fail was another.

You can always find these moments in your life, but usually in retrospect.

I got dumped by someone who I really thought could be the one. It taught me that the world has its own plans, irrespective of my own wants, and good times end. Sort of snapped me out of autopilot for the first time in my life.

This question and these comments are giving me flashbacks to when I first discovered (and became a habitual visitor of) r/AskReddit. Back around 2014.

I don’t read r/AskReddit anymore these days. I replaced it with this site..

This is completely irrelevant to the topic at hand but my employer provided me a MBP yesterday. Being a Windows guy all my life, I naturally wanted to remap some keys so I looked for an app to do that. Karabiner-elements was the most recommended so I got it. I was _shocked_ to see how much space this tiny app uses [1]. I bet such an utility for Windows written in terse C/C++ would take no more than 1MB (if that). I truly hate today’s “programming” using ton of frameworks built upon ton of other frameworks.

[1] https://i.imgur.com/DSSXY39.jpeg

/rant over

When a university buddy told me: “with VHDL you make the instructions yourself. You can make your own registers!”

He didn’t need to tell me anything else. It was 2006. I am still designing chips.

I’ve found that nothing lights a fire under your ass to get yourself into shape quite as much as having kids, especially as I was on the older side when I had mine.

Wow, well done. I was in shape before having kids and I’m kind of a wreck now. I go for convenience foods and struggle to work 30 minutes of HIIT in to my day. Though I suspect if I lived somewhere I could throw them in a bakfiets for errands it would be different….

Hmm, sleep deprivation so far has conspired into me and my wife being in the worst shape of our lives… Both of us gained 10 pounds since my son was born 🙁

I think learning Python changed my life.

Learning Groovy came close, but it wasn’t as popular as Python, and the Java ecosystem was still a drag.

Python actually made programming effortless and enjoyable for me.

My own health issues, and then Dad’s old age illness(heart attack, knee replacement surgeries)- Forced me to quit the code superstar life style, and I prioritised four things as the most important things in my life- Health, Side income, free time and peace of mind.

Nothing else has been more transformative.

Plenty, travelling in Southeast Asia, already booked flights to Burna, got visa and just doing two interviews with Chinese companies (one over phone, other over webcam) from guesthouse (actually i found these offers also by luck through talking in travellers forum and some guy mentioned they are looking for people), both quickly responded they are hiring me, so instead Friday flight to Burma from Bangkok switching to flight to Hongkong, taking Shenzhen to Beijing train without seat reservation (24+ hours) and Monday going to sign papers in Beijing.

Plus plenty of life threatening situation where I was lucky, slipped on rock in jungle but hey didn’t fell down, slipped with motorbike in mountains doing Mae Hong Son loop, but hey handled it in the end without falling down or across railing, lost in jungle etc. But in general I know my limits and trying to avoid life threatening situations not relying on luck.

Yeah, a tv advert for a new CS school.

I was studying to be a youth camp (or similar) director, specialized on culture. I drafted a second year pedagogical project was about computers, and i saw this emission (which might have been a disguised ad) about a new school, where the selection was basically one month of coding non-stop to learn the basics. I crushed the online tests (i did have a mathematic bachelor degree at the time, it helped). I hated the CS class of my uni, but thought it would refresh my mind a little.

The first three days, i learned about the command line, bash scripting and git. I was amazed at what i could do with a few commands (check for every picture on a computer, check the date, then put them in folders depending on the creation year?). The following two days were about syscalls and functions, not that interesting, but the “recursivity” day was the one that blew my mind. I proceeded to rewrite everything with recusivity or backtracking, overcomplicating things (i was really new). I think this is the moment when i told myself “i want to continue working with this”.

Now i write API calls and response and write yaml configuration files for kubernetes. How things change.

My wife had a ~6month long affair, after ~15 years together. While we were core renovating our just bought home and despite having three kids. I found out the hard way, not because she confessed it openly. We had no money problems (due to my work), we always talked about everything. Life was somewhat stressful (due to the house renovation in addition to my full job and kids) but fine. I had developed feelings for a friend once, talked about it with my wife, she wanted to stay monogamous. She didn’t return that behavior years later with her affair.

In counseling and long talks, we found that I could not have done anything different. She’s sorry. And while I often think of leaving her, I won’t break up the family for my kids – still seems like the best option, ~2 years later (if I take their mental health into account and am not only considering myself).

It’s a cliché, but “knowing” things and “living through” things are very, very different:

Never give yourself up in a relationship or a job

Never risk everything you have (I couldn’t divorce her even if I wanted, without having to pay exorbitant monthly payments)

You can do everything right and it still can go wrong

Just because you give everything doesn’t mean others will behave the same towards you

“Knowing” these things is different than “living through” them. The affair broke my mental model of the world as a whole. I thought: no matter how bad it is, I can influence my very tiny happy bubble in a distopian world, and giving everything to the right people (who also give a lot back) will make them honor our common code of behavior.

Now, I trust a lot less. I don’t waste time on relationships I don’t get as much out as I put in (no matter if acquaintances, friends or business related), I secure myself a lot more (prenup, letters-of-intends, etc.).

I’m still miles away of not being depressed and feeling broken, or being able to concentrate or being creative again (which means I’m still unable to work effectively for more than a few hours a day). And the model of the world I have in my head now does not feel like something I want to live in, but it’s still – slowly but steadily – changing for the better. Getting here took an enormous amount of effort: Being unable to work at all for about a year, being physically unable to stand, just breaking down in public or in front of clients, amnesia (there are weeks of my life I simply can’t remember, whole vacations during the depression that are just gone). It took psycho-therapy, clinical stays, (re)learning habits and techniques to get me out of bad places…

This is not a call for sympathy, but please do learn from me (I made a throwaway account to keep my anonymity).

TLDR: My point is:

Take care of yourself and don’t trust others unbounded. Ensure the “what ifs” don’t cost you too much (e.g. prenup, letters-of-intend, …).

Happiness is a choice for the most part. Enjoy life and the moment while you can. Sometimes it’s little things, sometimes it’s big things. But notice them as much as you can.

There’s different levels of honesty – think good about which one you choose. Honesty leads to vulnerability and some people will misuse it.

Stay positive and give first in relationships, but always listen cautiously to your gut – if it tells you that you are giving too much and receiving too little, reconsider and react. fast.

Keep friendships and hobbies you enjoy alive – despite family, job and relationship. Friendships are built on common experiences (not common interests!), and the older you get, the less chances for new common experiences with new people you’ll have. Hobbies and things you enjoy are as important. If shit hits the fan hard, friends and having routines to recharge your battery are the things that can save your life and get you out of the hole.

While that is an absolute possibility, the statistics give that outcome a much lesser chance than fucking up the children in one way or another. Nice to hear it went for the better for you! 🙂

So far, we manage quite well – although my children obviously know something’s wrong with me and we talked about my depression symptoms (without telling them the reason), we manage to keep our kids out of our problems.

When a kid (10+ years younger) at a rave told me –being a vegetarian at the time– that I’m not “nice to animals” and not “doing enough” and if I cared to be consistent with my beliefs I should go vegan.

Also: children, DMT, studying Buddhism and a not to be named hard-core socialist music festival near Berlin.