What is the one thing you were not prepared for in life? How did you handle it or get through it? How did it change your life? What did you learn?
I would say my brother-in-law's KC-130 blowing up over Mississippi. It was a day just like any other day... then suddenly... I'm watching TV and they break in about a plane crash. While nobody told me who it was, I knew he was on that plane.
As to how I've handled it... I'm not sure that I have. I "survive" it... Television and Vodka...
Becoming a widow at a relatively young age. I wasn't prepared,and I'm still not, for letting go of many things we wanted do together when we retired. I still may be able to do a few of the things, but it's going to require a whole new plan and some thinking outside the box.
This is a hard question. I guess that I would say getting married at 19 to a man who was completely unsuitable for me. He was a nice guy, who I had known since I was a little kid, but I was to young and to inexperienced to be married. He was completely unable to make decisions, land I hate to say it, but weak. I ended up being the one to make all decisions and take responsibility for every decision from what color to paint the kitchen to a decision to make a do not resuscitate for our daughter and remove our son from life support. We were married for 25 years, and it made me a much stronger, independent, and capable person. He left me for another woman after I had breast cancer, and kept going back and forth between me and his girlfriend. It taught me that whatever happened to me was my own fault and own responsibility and that if I continued with that behavior, I had no one to blame but myself. He did me a great favor, in giving me the impetus to take charge of my life. We were good friends for the rest of his life.
Three stand out. The first was falling in love with my best friend in college. He didn't feel the same about me. But it was the first time I got my heart broken big time, the first time I knew what it was like to feel such intense feelings for someone, and taking a long time to understand that being in a relationship at that time was something I wasn't ready for... The second was almost five years ago, losing a sister to cancer. You don't expect to lose a sibling who is still young. It tore my family apart... The third was getting diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin's Lymphoma in January 2017, going through 12 rounds chemo, and being declared in remission last August. Opened me up to changes -- good ones -- I never would have expected.
This is going to be a weird explaination but here it goes nothing. I won a reading from a psychic in my hometown at a fundraiser.
She asked no questions just explained how things she would tell me might be significant now or in the future. Ten minutes in she told me I had 3 previous lives. Out of those 3 lives I only took one child with me in any of my lives. ( I have 3 children). That child is my youngest who is 17. In our previous life my youngest only lived to age 5 and was a male. Stop the world. Stop my heart.
My youngest is on the way from female to male transitioning. This woman had no way of knowing.
It somehow felt like a relief. That confirmation that all parents of transgender children struggle with..are we doing the right thing.
It may seem strange to some how significantly this impacted my life. I surely could have mentioned some truly devastating events that changed who I was as a person. This impromptu reading however just stays with me.
My daughters going through teen years where I went from hero to zero in no time. No one gave me any freaking warning !!!!! They are adults now, one turned around quite nicely...the other one still today knows (and I would say enjoy) how to push my buttons
Considering the "education" I received from my parents, there's very little I WAS prepared for. About all I could confidently do once I left home was feed myself and others well, housekeeping, and light home maintenance. I knew nothing about money management, credit, or relationships. I've had to learn the hard way.
Wow, as a former fundamentalist Christian, that's a tough question, as the list was long.
If I had to pick a single thing, though, it would be that I did not understand how to select a mate. I did not know myself, much less had a basis to evaluate others. My total concept of mate selection was "marry a good Christian girl". Regrettably, my "good Christian girl" also had severe mental health issues. That marriage resulted in 15 years of Sisyphian attempts to hold the relationship together against the divorce taboo and the resultant scarring on all involved; two children with a ... shall we say, weird ... childhood; fatal damage to my religious faith, although not fully recognized as such at the time; and a school-of-hard-knocks education concerning the realities of mental illness and mental health treatment in 'Murica. And various knock on effects like a bankruptcy.
It's been the gift that keeps on giving. My son died at age 30, proximally due to mental health issues of his own; my ex wife is in the nuthatch to this day; my relationship with my daughter was, for a long time, prickly and fraught, though now in good order; I have a grandson showing some signs of mental health issues (which, admittedly, I am only assuming come down genetically from his biological grandmother). And the experience sent me down the path of deconversion, which, at least, has on balance been a very positive outcome.