If there's any chance of me still switching it up this year, I'm going to need inspiration. That's why I asked the BuzzFeed Community what are the wildest risks they've ever taken.
POP / Via giphy.com
Here are some of the riskiest, and sometimes most rewarding, stories:
1."When I was 15, I heard about an exchange student program by pure coincidence. I told my mom that I was interested and she told me they would never accept me and laughed in my face. I filled out the application that same day and got a callback less than 48 hours later because the organization liked my essay that much — the look on mom's face was priceless. It took an entire year to handle the paperwork, but it was so worth it. I lived in America for an entire year and got to have the real American high school experience. It was probably the best year of my life. I learned so much and became much more independent too. I absolutely consider the American family I lived with my second family. I got my first tattoo there too. I truly felt like I was capable of doing anything because I managed on a different continent speaking English for an entire year. It was my achievements that got me there in the first place, and I got to escape my toxic mother too."
2."I was working to make it as an actor in my city, and pretty miserably employed as a barista. After my boss bullied me into walking to work in a -30°F degree snow storm when my car wouldn't start, I quit the next day and made myself a promise: I would never work another non-artistic job ever again. I started searching for a new job, and came across a posting for actors at a LARP (Live Action Role-play) company for kids. I'm a huge nerd. I love Dungeons & Dragons, Lord the Rings, Game of Thrones, you name it! So, I was really excited. I almost didn't apply because it wasn't full-time, but something told me I had to. Not only did I get the job, but three years later, I run part of the company."
Hulu / Via giphy.com
"I get to spend my days dressed as a warrior princess, playing with swords, and making absolute magic for kids--not to mention working with the most talented, supportive people I've ever met in my life. Not to mention that I actually make enough to live on! Truly the best decision I've ever made." —rhoward3115
3."I left my husband for a famous Vine star in another country. He approached me on Instagram and we hit it off instantly. The risk didn’t pay off — he turned out to be a manipulative loser. I regret wasting my time on the Vine star, but I don’t regret leaving my husband."
4."Late 2008, I quit an analyst job in the Canadian civil service. Everyone said I was nuts. It was a guaranteed job for life, retirement package, benefits, etc., but I hated the brown-nosing needed to advance and knew that with my personality, I'd never rise to anything. I also did not want to wait 30 years to start living. So, I sold everything, bought an RV, and hit the open road. Thirteeen years later, I've lived in 13 countries, visited all Canadian provinces and two territories, 45 states in America, emigrated to Mexico, found a much higher standard of living, and built my own successful business. I went all in with no safety net or exit strategy to give me no excuse to quit. I just had to keep working the vision for my ideal life until I got here."
5."Two weeks after my 30th birthday, my husband (boyfriend at the time) was paralyzed in a plane crash. I was working a high pressure sales job while trying to manage his needs, his caregivers and my own needs. It wasn't working. I realized a huge part of what was making me miserable was my job. So, I quit my job with no backup plan. I started volunteering with a non-profit that holds outdoor-based retreats for family caregivers. Eventually, I became a retreat leader, so that I can help and serve those caregivers who have forgotten who they are outside that role."
"Every action I make now is for the mission of making the path just a bit easier for the next family caregiver who unexpectedly finds their life turned upside down." —r473dfab9c
6."I met a guy at a bar one night with a neck tattoo, and I asked if I could choke it. We’re now married, with a little boy."
7."I had an I'm-turning-30-and-I-hate-my-job crisis, so I quit my well-paying job in tech to become a body-positive personal trainer, and was immediately hired at a local gym. Two years later, I was close to burning out with the hours they demanded, so I quit the gym job in January 2020 and went into business for myself...obviously having no idea what was in store for that year. But here I am two years (and a lot of anxiety and hard work) later, with a mostly-online training business, a full client roster, and a waitlist. I'm making just as much money as I did in my tech job, working to crush toxic fitness culture one day at a time."
8."I was married to a man for almost five years and right before the COVID lockdowns began, I decided to get out. I left him, our home, took next to nothing, and moved in with my parents. Queue March 2020 and complete lockdown: I decided to focus on my mental health, why my marriage had failed, and why I was so unhappy and miserable. Two months later, after many hours of therapy, I came out as a lesbian to my entire family. I did not know exactly how they would react — I live in a small, rural, ultra conservative town. It went better than I could've expected. It brought me closer to my parents, siblings, and many friends. I started dating my girlfriend in June 2020, and after a few months of living with my parents, I was able to purchase my first home, which she recently moved into!"
9."You know that movie about the man and woman who fell in love, got married, had two kids, she stayed home to raise the kids while he started businesses, made money, and had a mistress? Then, she found out, left him, walked away with half of his money (a lot) and the kids whom she loves dearly, and the three of them lived happily ever after? I am her."
10."Garth Brooks asked me to perform on stage after I told him I loved to sing and play guitar but suffered horrible stage fright. I went up on stage and played a song even though I was terrified! 6 years later, I’ve toured throughout the U.S., my music has been played on radio stations across the country and internationally, been featured on blogs around the world, and I’m in the process of releasing my first full length album."
11."I was living in downtown Washington D.C., training for the Olympics, and working in marketing when I found out a car accident I had been in a year and a half earlier had actually broken my back. I had to retire as an athlete. The mental & emotional fallout of that was messy. After one Hangover-inspired night out, I realized I needed to sort my shit out and set some new goals. So, I started applying to MBA programs abroad. I was accepted by all the schools I applied to and picked a school in New Zealand, only to find out I had to wait a year for the next cohort to begin — damned if I was waiting a year for a fresh start. Three months later, I moved from D.C. to a dairy farm in the middle of nowhere New Zealand. During that year, I met my now-husband and started kickboxing. And yes, I did finish my MBA."
12."I was bullied at school and it traumatized me, so I grew up with social anxiety and a lot of fears. As a grown-up, I saw an ad on a social network: a high school was looking for volunteers to speak about school bullying in front of their students. I told them I wanted to do it. Honestly, I was terrified and it was so far out of my comfort zone. But now that I've done it, I have no regrets whatsoever. Maybe I inspired one of these kids to take a stand for bullied students. Maybe I made them feel they were not alone."
"Helping people is the best revenge." —silencesilence
13."In college, after a really rough nine months of transferring schools, losing my mother to cancer, having a major surgery, and my then-boyfriend breaking up with me, I developed a crush on the smartest (and cutest) guy in my major. We had a couple classes together and were in a related club together. And I had a feeling that he liked me, too. It was the week before final exams, right before summer break. I made him a little art project related to his favorite sport. I am not artistic at all. Anyway, I slipped him that gift after class one day. We had our first date the next week. 19 years later, we are married, with a couple of kids. And one of our kids is playing dad's favorite sport."
14."I sought help for my mental health! I’d felt 'wrong' throughout my youth. I lived with panic attacks, disordered eating, and self-hatred for so many years. I felt like I'd be labeled attention-seeking and weak if I sought help. It took getting kicked out of high school four times for absences before I finally saw a doctor. After a long assessment at the psychiatric hospital, I learned that I am on the autism spectrum, and from years of ignoring my own needs, I had developed an eating disorder, anxiety disorder, and episodic depression and stress. Five years later, I’ve learned more about autism and how to not overstrain my head. I finished high school and started my dream education. I’m still handling the aftermath from so many years of psychological overload, but now I actually have the tools to get better and I’m so hopeful for the future."
15."I took a job that had six months of training in India as soon as I graduated college. I was scared it would wreck my relationship with my boyfriend and I was terrified of joining a team of strangers, but I thought the technical job training would open doors for my career. I cried for hours the night before I left and threw up on the way to the airport out of anxiety. It was a really hard six months, but I learned a ton of skills that helped me build my career. I made lifelong friends, got to see some incredible sights in a part of the world I’d never been to, and now my boyfriend and I are married."
16."Came out as gay and my husband and I could not be happier. Years later, we are getting a divorce, but both of us are moving on to better things and are going to make more money than we ever did while married. I am lucky to still have him in my life and still consider him a deeply close friend."
17."I wasn’t happy at my last job, and one day when my boss walked by, I asked if we could chat. Told him I was resigning and giving my two weeks. I didn’t have a new job lined up, but I knew I’d figure it out. The day after my last day of work, I flew out on a three-week solo trip to Hawaii — one of the best trips of my life. The day I came home, I slept for 14 hours, then applied to what is now my current job at a global travel company. It’s been seven years and I’ve been promoted several times and traveled to several new destinations for work. I love my job and am so glad I took that chance."
18."My 40th birthday was approaching and I didn’t know what to do with my life, but I kept thinking about going to university. I took the leap, which was pretty terrifying for a single parent who hadn’t had formal education for 20 years! I’ve learnt so much about my self and achieved things I never dreamed I could."
19."I was temping at a big financial firm north of London and wasn't interested in staying much longer. In my second week, I was grabbing a coffee at their cafe and overheard a couple of women talking about how they needed to start recruiting ASAP for a new team they were setting up in Barcelona. I had no clue what sort of team it was or what roles they needed to fill, but I had lived in Barcelona a few years before. So, I went up to them and asked for a job. I ended up having an informal interview with them right there and got hired the next day. I moved to Barcelona two weeks later."
"My advice: if you have no strings tying you down, take as many opportunities and risks as you can. Most of the time it will lead to amazing experiences." —bluedecor
20."I left my emotionally abusive marriage after 23 years. It took years of saving money, months of planning, and several friends who showed up on a Monday morning after the ex-husband went to work and helped me get my stuff out. It was the hardest, scariest, most emotionally taxing thing I've ever done...and SO worth it. My house is clean (ex is a hoarder), I control my own money, I bought my own place last year, and I am able to see friends and family without begging for permission."
"I have a cat I adore (ex had said we would never have more animals) and last summer, I reconnected with my high school boyfriend — we are having a blast. Truly living my best life." —absepa
21."When I turned 30, I was reminiscing about all the sports teams at university I never tried and felt like I had missed my chance, especially now that I have some physical injuries and am past my prime — didn't even know I had one until it was definitely gone. Then I decided, why the heck should my age hold me back? So, I looked up to see if there were any cheer teams around me and managed to find a comp squad that is mixed ability, including disabilities. Rocked up one day and haven't looked back ever since. I'm making new friends, trying new things, gaining strength, and learning to do cartwheels, which I thought I'd missed my chance to learn!"
"So if you ever feel like you're too old or too embarrassed to give something a try, try any way! You might just enjoy it." —cuteclcactus91
22."About 10 years ago, I decided to pursue an opportunity with my former employer and moved from Baltimore, Maryland to Houston, Texas. It was my first time in my life living alone with no roommates. I was learning to live in a new city, new state, new job, new everything, without any fallback options. It was terrifying and liberating. All the ups and downs taught me a million great life lessons and formed me into the person I am today. I now own my own company, am engaged to the love of my life, am back in Baltimore, and look forward to all of the amazing surprises life has in store."
"Houston never became home for me, but I would recommend moving far from home to pursue opportunity to any 20-something who is thinking about it. It's a huge leap of faith that can have a massive payout in the end." —willsamplelds
23."I was a former ballet dancer and chemistry student, but had to stop school due to an illness. I began watching was Bollywood movies. I first saw Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, and halfway through, I felt I'd found the perfect genre. I joined some discussion boards to learn more, watched many more movies, joined fan groups, and along the way made some life-long friends. One day, one of my friends told me that she was writing for a Bollywood website that was beginning an e-zine. I thought, 'Oh, I would love to do that. But I am no writer or reviewer. Can I do this. And I am not even Indian. Would they want me to do this?' I took the leap and applied. I got accepted. I have been ecstatically writing for years. I have done written features, movie reviews and soundtrack reviews. What is even more amazing is that I have had the opportunity to interview directors, singers, composers, and many stars of Bollywood, including two of the stars of that first film I saw."
RSVP Movies / Via giphy.com
"It has been an incredible, nerve wracking, moving, fascinating, and so many more adjectives experience. I truly, truly love what I do. So take that shot; you never know what adventure life will take you on." —Anonymous, 47
24."I was insecure and unsure of myself and my future, but I knew the one thing I wanted to do in college was study abroad. I went for a program in Torino, Italy and was there just before the pandemic started. Even though my time was cut massively short, it still changed my life. I left the country for the first time all by myself, which has since inspired many solo traveling experiences that I thought was impossible before. I’ve always been told it was too dangerous for a young woman to travel alone. But dealing with finding my way home from Italy by myself during a pandemic taught me I could do anything."
25."In 2018, I was laid off from my job in San Francisco. Not knowing what to do next, I decided to visit the careers page from a competitor of my former company. Sure enough, they had an opening for the exact position I'd vacated. The only thing was that the company was located in Europe. I thought, what the hell, life is short — why not apply and see? I got an immediate response, and after several Skype interviews, they made me an offer to relocate to Europe. Ordinarily, the idea of selling most of my things (including two cars and an apartment full of stuff) and moving to a foreign country where I didn't know anyone or speak the language would have scared the hell out of me. But I realized I would be missing out on a new experience, and that to me outweighed the potential downsides. It was a risk worth taking, and I'm glad I did. Otherwise, I might have regretted not doing it."
"I've since made friends, found love and traveled extensively throughout Europe and beyond while working for this new company." —Anonymous, 49
26."I used to be the videographer for a tech start-up and they flew me out to Los Angeles to film an interview with one of our clients. While I was there, I took a tour of one of the film studios and absolutely loved it. A few months later, I was laid off from the start-up and my family and I were on vacation in L.A. again. We took a tour at the same studio and my parents made me ask the tour guide how he got his job. He said I just applied online. I laughed — yeah right. A few weeks later, I saw a job posting for the studio online and I applied on a complete whim. Next thing I know, I’m getting a call from HR asking if I could do the interview in L.A....as I was standing in my dining room in New York. I flew out the night before the interview. After a six-hour interview, I got the job the next day, and have been with the company ever since."
"That was four years ago. I went from being on a tour to having a corporate job at the studio. It’s been a wild ride and I have built an entire life for myself in Los Angeles." —Anonymous, 31
27."Back in 2019, I read about €1 Euro homes that were being sold and auctioned off. Then in June 2020, I came across a news article of a town in Italy that was participating in the €1 Euro homes sale. I looked up the town and it was a picturesque location, so I contacted the commune. After submitting all the paperwork, I ended up 'winning' and beat out thousands of people who applied."
28."Ten years ago, I spontaneously joined a family vacation that changed my life. While out and about, I met a mom at a restaurant and saw her out later that night with her older son. I went over to say hi and bought them both a drink. There was an intense spark between me and him. We met for breakfast the next morning. We ended up dating long distance for the summer and fell in love. I quit my corporate job and moved to Chicago to be with him. I got a job in a small store, struggled to make ends meet, and felt isolated from all my friends and family. Over the year we lived together, it turned out that he was talking to his exes, and other women he had met online. Who knows if they were meeting up in person too. After discovering this, I moved back home within 12 hours. Still, I don't regret taking a chance and moving there because I was young. There was no time like the present to take a risk and try something new, and it got me out of my small suburb for a while."
"We ended just as furiously as we began. I do regret the relationship because it has made me more more guarded in other relationships. Live and learn." —Anonymous, 35
29."In June 2020, I was slowly but gradually coming off the throws of a years-long battle with depression. I had no job, no prospects, and was gearing back to move back home with my parents. I got up one morning and felt like I had NOTHING to lose, so I applied for a masters in architecture. I'm now halfway through a three-year program, and have never felt happier and fulfilled."
30."I was 19 when I had just ended an abusive polygamous marriage and was trying to put some distance between me and the cult I was raised in. I moved from Utah to upstate New York to be a nanny. I stayed for six years, became a bartender, and enjoyed the fuck out of life in my 20s, living just outside of New York City. This was the 90s, and it was exactly as awesome as you think the 90s in NYC was. The live music, fashion, swing dancing at the World Trade Center, it was just all so amazing. No regrets!"
31."In my second year of university, I had just switched into a new major and had no friends. Halfway through the semester one day, I overheard some classmates talking, and decided that I would shoot my shot and try to contribute to the conversation. That ended up being the best decision of my life. Through that friend group, I made so many connections and experiences. It even led me to meet my partner who I have now been with for four years! It's wild to think that my entire life as I know it is a result of 15 seconds of courage."
32."I took a big risk and accepted a job that was only a four- month contract when I was 35. It was more pay, and I was hoping the experience would help me land jobs of that caliber in the future. To my dismay, the contract ended and the economy was on the verge of collapse. Instead of panicking, complaining, and caving into the fears swirling inside me, I decided to use that old adage when one door closes another door... yada yada yada. So, I applied for university and received my diploma in education four years later. I currently teach high school English full-time and love it, even through this pandemic. Sometimes a little failure pushes you in the direction you were supposed be going in the first place."
What's an epic risk of your own that you took? Which ones above inspired you? Let me know in the comments!
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.