Being a hero in the aftermath of 9/11 is one thing, but being a hero during the Boston bombings too? Pedro Velazquez and his spouse Javier Pagan recount a truly incredible story that will make your eyes go all watery.
Nothing can ever fully prepare you for being an adult. Once you leave childhood behind, the responsibilities, let-downs and setbacks come at you fast. It’s tiring and expensive, and there's no easy-to-follow roadmap for happiness and success.
A Reddit user named u/Frequent-Pilot5243 asked the online forum, “What’s an adult problem nobody prepared you for?” and there were a lot of profound answers that get to the heart of the disappointing side of being an adult.
One theme that ran through many responses is the feeling of being set adrift. When you’re a kid, the world is laid out as a series of accomplishments. You learn to walk, you figure out how to use the bathroom, you start school, you finish school, maybe you go to college, and so on.
However, once we’re out of the school system and out from under our parents’ roofs, there is a vast, complicated world out there and it takes a long time to learn how it works. The tough thing is that if you don’t get a good head start, you can spend the rest of your life playing catch-up.
Then, you hit middle age and realize that life is short and time is only moving faster.
Adulthood also blindsides a lot of people because we realize that many adults are simply children who grew older. The adult world is a lot more like high school than a teenager could ever imagine.
The Reddit thread may seem a bit depressing at first, but there are a lot of great lessons that younger people can take to heart. The posts will also make older people feel a lot better because they can totally relate.
Being an adult is hard, exhausting and expensive. But we’re all in this together and by sharing the lessons we’ve learned we can help lighten each other's load just a bit.
Here are 21 of the most powerful responses to the question: “What is an adult problem nobody prepared you for?”
"Lack of purpose. All your young life you are given purpose of passing exams and learning, then all of a sudden you are thrown into the world and told to find your own meaning," — Captain_Snow.
"You can stay up as late as you want. But you shouldn't," — geek-fit
"Where did all my friends go?" — I_Love_Small_Breasts
Most of them are at the same place as you are ... Probably wondering the same thing," — Blackdraon003
"I'm closer to fifty than forty, would have been nice to be better prepared for some of the ways your body starts to change at this point that don't normally get talked about. For instance your teeth will start to shift from general aging of your gums," — dayburner.
"Didnt know that other adults have the emotional intelligence of teenagers and its almost impossible to deal with logically," — Super-Progress-6386
"$5K is a lot to owe, but not a lot to have," — Upper-Job5130
"Handling the decline and death of your parents," - Agave666
"Not having a lot of free-time or time by myself," — detective_kiara
"Not having a pre-defined goal once I was out of college. Growing up my goals were set for me: get through elementary school! then middle school! Then high school, and get into college and get a degree, then get a job, and then...? Vague "advance in your career, buy a house, find a spouse, have a kid or multiple, then retire." At 22 I had no idea how to break that down more granularly," — FreehandBirdlime
"Life is all about maintenance. Your body, your house, your relationships, everything requires constant never ending maintenance," — IHateEditedBGMusic
"Being able to do so many things because I'm an adult but too tired to do any of them," — London82
"Being an adult feels extremely lonely," — Bluebloop0
"Having to make dinner every. Fucking. Day," — EndlesslyUnfinished
"The more life you’ve lived, the faster time seems to go," — FadedQuill
"You are held to account for bad behaviour for which you are negligent even if you had no intention to cause harm. As a lawyer, I see this all the time. People don't think they're responsible for mistakes. You are," — grishamlaw
"The intricacies of workplace politics," — Steve_Lobsen writes. "
"When you're in school, you think that you won't have to deal with gossiping and bullying once you leave school. Unfortunately, that is not true," — lady_laughs_too_much
"How easy it is to feel stuck in a bad situation (job, relationship, etc) just because the cost and effort of getting out can seem daunting. And sometimes you just have to accept a figurative bowl full of shit because you can't afford to blow up your life," — movieguy95453
"Figuring out what makes you happy. Everyone keeps trying to get you to do things you're good at, or that makes you money, but never to pursue what you enjoy," — eternalwanderer5
"The kitchen is always dirty. You’ll clean it at least three times every day," — cewnc
"One adult problem nobody prepared me for is how expensive everything is. I always thought that as an adult I would be able to afford the things I wanted, but it turns out that's not always the case! I've had to learn how to budget and save up for the things I want, and it's been a difficult process," — Dull_Dog_8126
"All of it together. I was relatively warned about how high rent is, car bills and repairs, how buying healthy food is expensive as hell but important for your health, how to exercise and save what you can, my parents did their best to fill in my knowledge about taxes and healthcare and insurance that my schooling missed, about driving and cleaning a household, about setting boundaries at work but working hard and getting ahead if you can, about charity and what it means to take care of a pet and others, about being a good partner if you were lucky enough to have one, about how dark and messed up the world is when you just read the news and what all that means to me and my community… I was reasonably warned about all of it.
"No one could have ever prepared me for how hard doing all of it at the same time and keeping your head above that water would actually be," — ThatNoNameWriter
Teachers are heroes under normal circumstances. During a pandemic that has upended life as we know it, they are honest-to-goodness, bona fide superheroes.
The juggling of school and COVID-19 has been incredibly challenging, creating friction between officials, administrators, teachers, unions, parents and the public at large. Everyone has different opinions about what should and shouldn't be done, which sometimes conflict with what can and cannot be done and don't always line up with what is and isn't being done, and the result is that everyone is just … done.
And as is usually the case with education-related controversies, teachers are taking the brunt of it. Their calls for safe school policies have been met with claims that kids aren't at risk of severe COVID, as if teachers' health and well-being are expendable. Parents' frustrations with remote or hybrid learning are taken out on the teachers who are constantly scrambling to adjust to ever-changing circumstances that make everything about teaching more complicated.
But as Toledo, Ohio high school teacher Katie Peters says, teachers aren't looking for accolades. They're doing the jobs they love, even though they're incredibly difficult right now. What they do need is for people to understand what a teacher's day looks like and to extend them some grace.
Peters' TikTok video describing what she did one day as a teacher in addition to the six classes she taught has been viewed more than 2.5 million times.
After sharing that she taught six periods and subbed during her planning period, she said, “I helped a young man find safe housing. I found a winter coat for a girl who didn’t have one. I located a student's missing backpack and arranged for a Chromebook replacement for that student. I gave a student a little bit of cash for a haircut and made sure another student had enough food to last them through the weekend.”
She also comforted a student who had cramps, supported a student who was going through his first heartbreak, saved a student's art project with some super glue, walked a student to class so they wouldn't feel alone and wrote a card for a student who was struggling.
That was just during the school day.
After school, she had a meeting, tutored a student, then wrote a college recommendation letter for a student who brought her the request the day before it was due.
Then she spent four hours at home planning "fun, inviting, exciting lesson plans that could, at the drop of a hat, need to go virtual without any warning."
But Peters said she didn't want a single accolade. "No teacher I know wants a pat on the back or gratitude," she said. "What they do need is grace." She pointed out that doing all of these things are what teachers love to do and what fulfills them. But it's also why they're tired. The pandemic has made everything harder.
Peters said a piece of her was shattered when she read a comment in a community forum about her district going back to in-person learning, "Oh, it's nice the teachers decided to work again." As if teachers have not been working the hardest they ever have during all of the pandemic upheaval? Please.
"Nobody, in the history of ever, has been motivated by ugly," she said. "Loving kids is the purest form of beauty that exists—and it's always going to beat your ugly."
Peters told TODAY that negative comments make teachers feel defeated, which impacts their job. “I’m not sure how much people realize that their words carry over into our ability to care for their children,” Peters said. “We need you to hold space for us and understand that we are doing our best given the circumstances.”
People loved Peters' honest and heartfelt account of what teachers are experiencing and what they really need from the rest of us right now. Grace. Patience. Understanding. Not ugliness or blame.
If anyone who isn't a teacher has something negative to say and thinks they could handle the job better, they are more than welcome to get their teacher training education and certification and try their hand at it. Otherwise, give teachers the respect they deserve and the grace they so desperately need right now as they try to keep their hole-filled lifeboats afloat with paperclips and a hot glue gun.
Teachers, we see you. We've got your back. Hang in there.
Any time conversations about wealth and poverty come up, people inevitably start talking about boots.
The standard phrase that comes up is "pull yourself up by your bootstraps," which is usually shorthand for "work harder and don't ask for or expect help." (The fact that the phrase was originally used sarcastically because pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps is literally, physically impossible is rarely acknowledged, but c'est la vie.) The idea that people who build wealth do so because they individually work harder than poor people is baked into the American consciousness and wrapped up in the ideal of the American dream.
A different take on boots and building wealth, however, paints a more accurate picture of what it takes to get out of poverty.
Author Terry Pratchett is no longer with us, but his writing lives on and is occasionally shared on his official social media accounts. Recently, his Twitter page shared the "Sam Vimes 'Boots' Theory of Socioeconomic Unfairness" from Pratchett's 1993 book "Men At Arms." This boots theory explains that one reason the rich are able to get richer is because they are able to spend less money.
If that sounds confusing, read on:
\u2026 He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of okay for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars\u2026\n2/5— Terry Pratchett (@Terry Pratchett) 1643144843
"The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.
Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.
But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet."
In other words, people who have the money to spend a little more upfront often end up spending less in the long run. A $50 pair of boots that last five years essentially cost you $10 a year. But if you can only afford $10 upfront for a pair of boots that last six months, that's what you buy—and you end up paying twice as much over a five-year period.
There are so many areas in which this principle applies when you're poor. Buying in bulk saves you money over the long run, but you have to be able to afford the bulk cost up front. A reliable car that doesn't require regular repairs will cost more than a beater, but if the beater is all you can afford, that's what you're stuck with. You'll likely spend the same or more over time than if you'd bought a newer/higher quality car, but without the capital (or the credit rating) to begin with, you don't have much choice.
People who can afford larger down payments pay lower interest rates, saving them money both immediately and in the long run. People who can afford to buy more can spend more with credit cards, pay off the balances, build up good credit and qualify for lower interest rate loans.
There are lots of good financial decisions and strategies one can utilize if one has the ability to build up some cash. But if you are living paycheck to paycheck, you can't.
Climbing the financial ladder requires getting to the bottom rung first. Those who started off anywhere on the ladder can make all kinds of pronouncements about how to climb it—good, sound advice that really does work if you're already on the ladder. But for people living in poverty, the bottom rung is just out of reach, and the walls you have to climb to get to it are slippery. It's expensive to be poor.
When people talk about how hard it is to climb out of poverty, this is a big part of what they mean. Ladder-climbing advice is useless if you can't actually get to the ladder. And yet, far too many people decry offering people assistance that might help them reach the ladder so they can start taking advantage of all that great financial advice. Why? Perhaps because they were born somewhere on the ladder—even if it was the bottom rung—and aren't aware that there are people for whom the ladder is out of reach. Or perhaps they're unaware of how expensive it is to be poor and how the costs of poverty keep people stuck in the pit. Hopefully, this theory will help more people understand and sympathize with the reality of being poor.
Money makes money, but having money also saves you money. The more money you have, the more wealth you're able to build not only because you have extra money to save, but also because you buy higher quality things that last, therefore spending less in the long run. (There's also the reality that the uber-wealthy will pay $5,000 for shoes they'll only wear a few times, but that's a whole other kind of boots story.)
Thanks, Terry Pratchett, for the simple explanation.