Life turns into a routine, and we tend to forget we only have one life and we should not waste it. According to Confucius, the great Chinese philosopher, this one life has two stages: one of insouciance (indifference) and one of awareness. In the first ‘life,’ we tend to think we have enough time to do all the things we dream of. Then, when we finally open our eyes, we realize that we are alive and should savor every moment – that’s when our second life starts when we finally discover what matters.
On Reddit, user Lionoxer asked others in a thread about the moment when they realized they began living their second life:
“Confucius once said “We all have two lives, the second one starts when you realise you only have one”. When and why did your second life begin?”
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21. Changing Your Life
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This person witnessed someone’s death right in front of him, and it made him rethink his life choices. It was his wake-up call:
“Last week. A co-worker had a gigantic heart attack and instantly died right there in the cafeteria. I didn’t know him, so while it was a horrible thing to witness, I’ll eventually get over it. What shook me more was the fact he was only in his early 20s, just about younger than me, and wasn’t much more overweight than I am. Seeing first-hand how suddenly all my bad decisions can just erase me from existence, and the fact I’ve had a couple of small chest pains and ignored them in the past…
I threw out everything remotely sugary the instant I got home.” – Reddit user Auesis
20. Enjoying Life
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One day when this person was in Honolulu and heard the false alarm ballistic missile strike, he realized how important family and loved ones are, deciding to get more spare time and spend it with his wife:
“January 13, 2018. I was in Honolulu, Hawaii during the false alarm ballistic missile strike. I called my parents to say goodbye and waited for the impact in the basement of our hotel with my fiance. It took way too long for them to correct the mistake and let people know it was a false alarm. We were visibly shaken all day, and upon returning I decided then that I would request 3 months off work for my honeymoon instead of 2 weeks. Traveled the world and remembered how important family is compared to work.” – Reddit user vanburen4president
19. Getting Psychological Help
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Mental health is that state that has us function at a satisfactory level, regarding emotions and behavior. When trauma, disorders, and other factors affect us, we need help. This Redditor found out that life didn’t suck, and people didn’t actually fake their happiness.
“I got psychological help. I used to think that life just sucked for everyone and the “trick” was to fake your way through it. That faking was what I thought other people’s happiness was. From puberty to after my 40th I lived where ever moment of happiness was weighed down by an ever present depression and lack of self esteem. I know this is small compared to what most people go through in life, and that’s exactly the mentality that kept me from getting help.
Took a bit, but after talking with a counselor once a week for a few months, being referred to a psychiatrist with initial diagnosis, and working with my psychiatrist to find medicines that work I finally feel what I can only assume is normal. I wake up most days with an underlying happiness that’s never been there before. Moments with my kids are not darkened by thoughts that I don’t deserve them or that they wouldn’t love me if they knew me.
Don’t be like me. Even if your mountain seems small compared to your view of the mountain others are climbing, that doesn’t mean you couldn’t use some help finding the right path.” – Reddit user DBAinBama
18. Watching Them Go
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Knowing you’re spending time with someone suffering from terminal illness is heartbreaking. You are mourning them every day, even though they are still there, and see that life is so fragile:
“A dear friend got cancer. Out of the blue and bad. We were 29 and both just hitting our strides in life and work. She was dead 18 months later. It absolutely rocked me to my core how fragile life is.” – Reddit user shamoolie
17. Leaning New Skills
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When this person had an accident, he realized that he couldn’t play guitar anymore because of the damage to his left hand. Being a big passion, he was desperate that this was no longer possible until people told him to learn lefty, so now his hopes are back:
“6 weeks ago I lost my footing while climbing a platform and I’m fairly certain I have permanent tendon damage in my left hand. It didn’t sink in what exactly had happened until I was in my car after the doctors appointment. I would now spend more of my life with this faulty left hand than when it was fine. This is now the rest of my one life.
Passions gone, zero activity in my life because I’m afraid of everything, and slightly more useless than before. I miss the ignorance. A lot of people recommend learning lefty, enough so that I will give it a try. The knowledge is there I just need to get my hands to catch up!” – Reddit user inuit7
16. Now What?
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Graduating highschool and looking towards the future is confusing for many of us. You have to choose a path, and you suddenly realize it’s a lot tougher than you thought… This Redditor revealed how he started his second life:
“When I graduated highschool and realized I had no skills, no interesting hobbies, nothing interesting about myself and that it was no wonder I struggled so much with dating. Spent the last few years changing that.
[…] I invested time in hobbies (drawing, learning Japanese), being more social, exercise and dieting and just generally “got out” more. Also started buying clothes that actually look good on me and generally started dressing better. Experimented with dating a bit, and recently something stuck. – Reddit user NotABurner2000
15. After Realizing Life’s Frail
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Unfortunately, this Redditor learned two years ago that he had prostate cancer. Nonetheless, just a week after learning the terrible diagnosis, he saw a quote on Facebook that changed his life.
“I decided I needed to get fitter and healthier, but honestly, my heart wasn’t in it and I was on the verge of depression.
Its 5:40 am and I am idly drinking tea, before going to the gym but I am 50/50 about going back to bed, and pretty much giving up on life. Scrolling down Facebook, I see the quote “A man has two lives, one before he realises he is mortal and one after.” I stared at it like it was a revelation. Something I can’t describe lifted in me, I drained my tea and went to the gym.
Almost exactly one year later I am fit (officially), I have lost 15Kg, with another 13 to go. […] My last scan showed the cancer hasn’t changed one bit in a year, and now will be monitored for 2 years to see if its stable. […] Its no exaggeration to say this quote changed my life.” – Reddit user DeusExPir8Pete
14. Quitting Your Job
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Sometimes, your job doesn’t make you happy, no matter how much money you gain. It’s the hours you spend there that you feel it’s all wasted away on something that doesn’t bring you satisfaction. This person quit his job and bought a bike to begin a great adventure.
“When I quit my job 5 years ago and biked across the country. The second I finished I realized that I was forever going to look at life differently.
I had been working an absolutely horrendous job, high stress, low pay, terrible hours, all because I needed the experience it gave me for my career. At some point I realized “I don’t have to be THIS miserable.” Rage-quit, bought a bicycle, and cycled across the continental US for two months. Found my center and my confidence and started treating myself better. Met some of the most interesting, most bat-shit crazy, and most honorable people along the way.
Best decision I ever made and I still treat myself with the respect I feel I deserve.” – Reddit user readycent
13. Changing Your Lifestyle
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We usually change our lifestyle after going through traumatic experiences. Getting all the help and support from the loved ones is essential when you’re trying to be the best version of yourself.
“I was 41, skinny fat. Had a family gym membership that my wife used and my kids used for the pool but I might have gone 3 times a year. I knew it was hard keeping up with my toddler and forget about keeping up with my teenager. I rationalized my health by saying “I’m okay I can still wear clothes from high school”. My dad had a health scare last year and seeing him in a hospital bed did something to me. I used the annual free session with a trainer that I usually let expire just to get some confidence. I’m going 4-5 days a week now and have been for nearly a year. Old lady says I look way better naked, the post workout buzz is better than most drugs but best of all I legit feel better than I have in a long time the rest of the time – and I didn’t even realize the small nagging stuff I had that went away.” – Reddit user TheProle
12. Getting Married To Your Soulmate
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Your life completely changes when you meet the one. This man’s life got a lot better when he met the woman that would be by his side and encourage him.
“Meeting the woman who would become my wife. I had been in numerous crappy relationships (mostly because I was childish, lazy, and selfish) and was thoroughly unemployed with only a GED to my name. I had been taking classes at our local community college, but had no specific goal.
I was used to ex-girlfriends telling me to “get a job” and “grow up,” but this woman was different. She pushed me, but in a loving way. She challenged me to be my best. We got married right after I got my Master’s Degree. Absolutely none of what I have achieved would have happened without her, and I am thankful and grateful for this second life. – Reddit user MrsPierogi
11. The “Now What?” Phase
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We’ve all been through this phase, especially when we became adults. This Redditor shared with others how they got over their awkward phase and began their second life after 20:
“I suppose when I turned 20. Prior to that I had never thought past that age. Spent a long time stuck in a “now what?” phase trying to not have an existential crisis. Eventually went to college, got a degree and now work in the field I studied for. Battled depression and won, and found some of the things I was looking for in life. Starting to figure out what I want from life and what it’s going to take to get there… So I guess I started my 2nd life when I got out of my age 20 funk.” – Reddit user Drakmanka
10. Losing the One You Love
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When this Redditor’s mom fell down the stairs one night, she had a shock thinking she could have lost her forever. It encouraged them to change their life and start enjoying it while it lasts.
“A few months ago my mother fell down the stairs at 2 am. We were home alone and she wasnt responding. I called 112 and an ambulance came. Shes fine now but the thought of losing her shook me so much that i decided to throw my life around. I only have 1 and need to do as much as possible with it. I came out as bi, starting eating healthier and focused on school a lot more. life has been going a lot better since then. “- Reddit user Iopdev
9. Second Life Beginning Sometime Soon
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This person has been through a lot this year, and she really needs someone’s support and kind words. We hope her second life gives her more than she lost so far…
“In less then 3 months, got divorced, got fired from work, lost a grandparent and a parent and I have 2 small kids. Going on the 4th month and have put in over 200 applications. Only nibbles and no job offers from reputable places. […] My 2nd life is starting between everything, now and near future. Just have to find all the puzzle pieces.” – Reddit user FweepKat
8. Scary Diagnosis
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This person realized they couldn’t achieve any greater things in their future after receiving a scary diagnosis. Nonetheless, they tried to turn their life around, and now it’s all much better:
“Got a scary diagnosis. Had a fear that I would never be anything more than I was at that moment: a victim who never really lived. So I cut abusive family out of my life, got out of a unhappy marriage, lost a bunch of weight and started working towards a career I wanted. I’m not perfect but my life is good now and my body is mostly cooperating. I honestly can’t believe who I used to be.” – Reddit user Buttareviailconto
7. Heartbreak Changing Your Life
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This Redditor went through a heartbreak that made them realize life is tough, but you have to deal with it and true love should be somewhere waiting to be discovered, or you might not even need it to live a happy life:
“Heartbreak taught me that nothing good happens simply because you want it too. No matter how hard you try, you can still fail, because factors outside your control can have an impact on your life, and you just have to deal with it.
Realizing that made me also realize that I only have a limited time on Earth, and that there is a real possibility that I can live my life without finding true love. She’s not just going to happen.” – Reddit user Somedudethatisbored
6. Winning the Lottery
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While this person did not win the lottery, it was a discussion with their dad that made them follow their dreams. Today, they’re happier than ever!
“I had a conversation with my dad about winning the lottery. He asked me if I would go to film school if money wasn’t an issue. I, of course; answered affirmatively. He told me to go for it. […] Here I am in my first semester as a film student, living the life I want to. Life is good rn. I’m not making compromises.” – Reddit user BakedZDBruh
5. Looking Back With No Regrets
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This person has realized that, once they turned 21, life seemed like it was moving fast. So, they figured it’s time to seize the moment and enjoy it without looking back and regret their choices:
“When I turned 21, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was officially considered an adult to pretty much everyone in the world and life was moving so fast. Made me realize I don’t want to look back and regret anything. Now I work harder, laugh harder, eat healthier, exercise daily, and remember to always enjoy the moment.” – Reddit user Fanpan564
4. We Are Not Invincible
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Small accidents make us realize life is so fragile. This Redditor’s revelation happened after his woodworking accident.
“I had a woodworking accident just over 2 years ago, wasnt huge, I lost my left index finger, but it kind of punched me in the gut. Makes you realize you aren’t invincible.” – Reddit user Kurchok
3. The Road to Healing Your Heart
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Sometimes, life throws at you burdens you think you cannot bear. This man not only lost his wife, but also his daughter. His strength should be an example to all of us:
“When I lost a wife and daughter. The first few months I don’t even remember, but I do remember when I started to heal. It was a long road, but once I set my sites on going back to school to become a lawyer, I really began to start to heal. This Friday I will be sworn in as an attorney.” – Reddit user mhb20002000
2. The Crazy Ex
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Nobody wants to be in a toxic relationship, and this Redditor realized they were being the crazy ones. Since then, life has been much better for them.
“I realized I was the crazy ex and immediately switched that […] around.” – Reddit user im_carrot
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This person went through a stroke and decided to start doing more ‘stuff’ since you only live once:
“After having a stroke. I became much more determined to ‘do stuff’. I’m much more aware that YOLO.” – Reddit user 4737CarlinSir