Life doesn’t always go the way we planned, sometimes fate gets in the way, and things change unexpectedly.
The internet is a vast resource for learning lessons about life. While scrolling through one of my favorite Reddit subs, R/AskReddit, I stumbled upon a question asking users to share the most brutal lessons they learned as adults.
The responses showcase the vast array of obstacles life can throw at us but also offer fantastic insight into human ingenuity and our ability to overcome.
Here are some of the harsh life lessons Redditors have learned.
Sometimes Bad Things Happen
The top comment lamented the fates, saying, “Bad things happen to good people without reason or explanation.” They received over 2000 upvotes and numerous responses.
Life isn’t fair. Sometimes things happen with no reason or explanation, both good and bad. On the plus side, when we accept that there are things we can’t change, we can focus on improving the things we can.
Another user mentioned that chronic illness could strike anyone at any time. Developing a condition can decimate your savings and throw your goals off track.
Of course, as many Redditors pointed out, the risk of developing a chronic illness is made much worse by the lack of affordable healthcare and safety nets for those unable to work in America.
Quality Beats Quantity in Friendships
It’s better to have one amazing friend than a cadre of acquaintances.
Friendships take a lot of work to grow and maintain. Focus on nurturing a few deep, meaningful relationships instead of trying to support many shallow ones.
One Redditor scored gold by noting how quickly time passes, especially as we age. They said, “If there’s something you want to do in life, don’t wait if you do, you might find five years have passed without you doing anything.”
It’s true. We often have lofty dreams that we never turn into reality. When setting your life goals, be sure to include an action plan on how to achieve them.
“Sometimes you just have to walk away, let people go, and let relationships end,” commented one user. Another said that friendships sometimes slowly drift away.
As much as we might want to maintain relationships, we need to understand that each one isn’t meant to last. Let relationships go when they’ve run their course, and look back fondly on the time you enjoyed together.
You Can’t Always Help
Sometimes we will watch the people we love make terrible decisions, regardless of the advice we give them.
One Redditor reminded us that we can’t always help. People have to make their own decisions, whether we agree with them or not.
You Can’t Force Love
You can’t make anyone love you, and you can’t force yourself to love anyone else, offered one astute user.
Don’t try to force it. You can’t make someone be in a relationship with you or want to pursue a friendship with you.
You’re All You’ve Got
When it comes down to it, the only person you can rely on is yourself. Sure, you may have friends and family willing to offer a helping hand, but you can’t always count on it, and you have to be able to take care of yourself.
Another user agreed but considered it as a positive. Why worry about what others think when they won’t be there for you anyway? Live your life on your own terms without letting others hold you back.
One Redditor offered the sage “When searching for a job, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is true more often than not.”
On the plus side, you can overcome this by nurturing professional relationships, joining organizations, and being personable at work.
Financial Health Matters
We don’t often consider the impact of financial decisions when young, but once we reach adulthood, we realize how important financial responsibility really is. One commenter said, “Years worth of smart decisions can be undone in a few months of negligence or mistakes and severely limit your ability to operate in the adult/family world.”
They’re right. A red mark on your credit report or a bad investment can derail any financial plan. Those who don’t plan for their financial future may never be able to retire.
It’s vital to invest time in your finances when young. Start saving and investing as early and as often as possible, and revisit your financial goals regularly to ensure you stay on track.
Harsh Life Lessons
What do you think? Was the internet right in calling these harsh life lessons? Some might be apt, but on the plus side, we can use this list to live our best life despite them.
Nurture meaningful friendships, let go of things you can’t control, and focus on living your best life.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.