16 Most Life-Changing Experiences People Go Through (Examples)

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On our life’s journey, we go through many experiences and moments that could change our lives forever. These life-changing experiences can either be positive or negative, and they could make our existence here better or worse.

A life-changing experience is any event that alters your way of thinking, your feelings, well-being, relationships, and behavior. It is a moment that profoundly changes you and your life by shaping you into the person you become, opening or closing doors for opportunities, affecting your quality of life, and modifying the course of your life, sometimes forever.

In this post, we shall give examples of the common most life-changing events people go through. Read on…

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Examples of the Most Life-Changing Experiences People Go Through

  1. Traveling to a new country or city

Not many things will change you as much as travel does. As such, it is no wonder that traveling to a new country or city is an example of the most life-changing experiences many people have had. 

Whether you travel at a young age or when you are older, visiting new places can affect you in various ways, often positively but sometimes negatively.

For example, traveling to a foreign country is an experience that changes you and your life by exposing you to new places, people, and cultures, helping you gain a new perspective, and promoting your personal growth. 

However, if you get robbed, harassed, fall ill, get stranded or lost, find bad weather, or have some other bad experience while traveling, it can become one of the negative moments that change your life.

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  1. Going to college

Being in college is one of the most life-changing experiences. Since most people go to college straight from high school, this is the in-between stage where you are not just an adolescent but you aren’t fully an adult either.

Many things that could define your path in life can happen during this period. For example, you choose a degree, thus your desired career; you meet new people who may or may not be the wrong kinds of people; you may fall in love, and you also make many good and bad decisions.

Additionally, going to college is an example of the most life-changing experiences people go through because you gain a lot of new skills from your classes, activities, struggles, and by interacting with others. These skills can come in handy in the future.

  1. Moving out of your parent’s house

Leaving home is a common rite of passage and one of the most life-changing experiences for many people. You will never be the same person after moving out of your parent’s house to live on your own, with roommates, or with a romantic partner.

For most people, moving out of their parent’s house is the first step in embracing adulthood. It is a life-changing event because it is only after leaving the nest to be on your own that you will know what the real world is actually like. 

You have to become more responsible and self-sufficient, but you also have more freedom to do the things you couldn’t do under your parent’s roof.

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  1. Falling in love

Everyone wishes they could find love. However, falling in love is an example of the most life-changing experiences many people go through. It can transform you and your life positively or negatively.

For instance, falling in love with someone who loves you back is a life-changing moment because it will make you happy, help you see the world differently, and make you more caring and empathetic.

Falling in love may also make you think of the future more often and boost your motivation to work harder on becoming a better version of yourself.

However, falling in love with the wrong person or someone who doesn’t love you back can also be a life-changing experience. You may feel rejected, tolerate things you shouldn’t, or try to change who you are just because you are in love with someone.

READ ALSO: 10 Signs You Are Blinded by Love, Why, Disadvantages, and How to Stop

  1. Getting married

Falling in love and dating are easy; getting married is a whole other thing, and it is an example of the most life-changing experiences that many people go through.

Marriage changes how you view yourself and your spouse, as well as the situations you go through in life.

Your life may become more fulfilling as you now have someone to share experiences and be completely vulnerable with; you get a new set of relatives and friends; you could reap some financial benefits, and you can start a family.

Marriage is one of the most life-changing experiences for many because no matter how independent or self-reliant you are, you no longer should make decisions without thinking about how they will affect your partner first. You have someone else to consider in your plans.

For some people, marriage could be a negative life-changing experience. For instance, if they discover some hidden negative qualities of their spouse, such as being abusive, having bad money habits, being a glutton, chronic cheating, being lazy, having a tendency to hold grudges, being a bad parent, being envious of your success, etc.

  1. Having a baby

Whether you are married or not, in your teens or older, having a baby is one of the most life-changing experiences. For most people, especially married couples, a baby is a reason to celebrate and it often strengthens the relationship.

Your life may change now that there are more people to love, take care of, and consider when making decisions and plans, but for the most part, having a baby while married is just one of the expected natural progressions of the relationship.

For many teenage moms and other unprepared mothers, having a baby can change your life completely, sometimes negatively. It could result in you having to drop out of school, being disowned by your parents, getting married early, resenting your child for limiting you, having to start working early, having increased stress levels, and missing out on things that other people your age are doing.

Even if one decides not to keep the baby and give it up for adoption, it would still be a life-changing decision for them and the child.

However, having a baby can still be a positive life-changing moment for some teenage parents and other people who get kids while not ready. It could motivate you to get your life together, work harder at school or in the workplace to be better, not be promiscuous, be more responsible, and change the kinds of people you hang out with.

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  1. Achieving success

Becoming successful at a particular thing is an example of the most life-changing experiences people go through. It could be success involving gaining power such as in politics, achieving your goals at work, becoming rich like after winning the lottery, or being famous such as on social media.

Achieving success is a life-changing event because it enables you to change your lifestyle, motivates you to try even harder, introduces you to new kinds of people, raises your status in society, reduces anxiety and stress about finances, and also makes you start to think and act differently.

Success also changes the way other people treat you, from fans and receptionists to bank managers and more. It can open opportunities that were closed before.

For some people, success can be a life-changing experience that transforms them negatively. It may change their personality and behaviors. For instance, they could become arrogant and rude or they may develop bad habits they couldn’t afford to have while they had no money.

Success can also ruin your existing relationships, affect your privacy and anonymity, and expose you to more people with bad intentions, some who may even try to kill you for your money or due to envy.

READ ALSO: 10 Things You Have to Sacrifice to Be Successful (the Cost of Success)

  1. Listening to a motivational speaker

Hearing another person’s life story can be a life-changing experience, for example, listening to motivational speakers on TED and other similar talks.

You can learn from other people’s struggles and how they dealt with the obstacles that could have kept them stuck, relate to these people’s experiences, and get the inspiration and motivation to change your life and outlook from the advice they give.

  1. Death of a loved one

Loss of loved ones through death is an example of the negative life-changing experiences many of us must go through at some point. Besides the grief that may last forever, a lot of things could change about you and your life.

The death of a loved one can make you develop the ability to be self-reliant and more resilient. It can make you love and appreciate your remaining family and friends more.

Additionally, the loss of a loved one can help you know the people who truly care through the support they provide.

Death could also change your perspective as you realize how short and valuable life really is. If you lose too many loved ones, you may become desensitized to death as you begin to accept death and dying as a part of life.

  1. The end of a relationship

Heartbreak is an example of the most life-changing experiences people go through. No matter if it was a breakup with someone you were dating or a divorce, these life-changing events can transform you in positive and negative ways, whether you are the one who initiated the ending of the relationship or not.

For instance, going through the pain of a breakup or divorce can result in a change in your way of thinking about relationships or a particular gender, make you feel lost and hopeless, fill you with regrets, affect your sense of self-worth, and may even alter your entire personality.

However, heartbreak doesn’t only change your life in negative ways. It can be a positive life-changing experience, especially if you were the one to initiate the end of the relationship.

Even while feeling the pain of the breakup, you may realize that you deserve better and feel motivated to reinvent yourself. Later, when you have moved on, you will confirm that time really does heal all wounds, and you may meet the right person for you.

  1. Loss of a job

Most people experience having to cope with a job loss at some point in their lifetime. Getting fired, being laid off, and resigning from a job are examples of the most life-changing experiences people go through.

Losing a job, especially when you have no plans for what to do next, can be a devastating experience. It could affect your sense of self, how you think about the future, as well as your mental, emotional, and physical health.

However, losing a job can be the best thing to ever happen to you sometimes. It could make you discover your strengths and weaknesses, force you out of your comfort zone, and give you an opportunity to change your life.

Many people often discover what they are passionate about, start businesses, and figure out their purpose after becoming unemployed; thus, job loss is not always a negative life-changing experience.

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  1. Becoming ill

Learning you are ill is another example of the most life-changing experiences that many people go through, especially when it comes to terminal illnesses, chronic diseases, conditions that require surgery, and accidents.

You will always classify your life ‘before’ and ‘after’ the diagnosis or the life-changing event differently because nothing will ever be the same, even if you heal.

Falling ill can be a moment that changes your life significantly by inhibiting your ability to go about your everyday tasks, causing financial difficulties, forcing you to make healthy lifestyle choices, changing your body, and shifting your outlook toward life.

  1. Near-death experiences

Besides life-threatening health conditions, there are many other near-death experiences you may have gone through, for example, a suicide attempt, an accident, an attempted murder, or a drug overdose.

Near-death experiences are usually among the most life-changing events for many people who have ever been in such a situation.

Depending on what caused it, almost dying can make you gain a new sense of purpose, appreciate life more, be more careful, adopt healthier habits, stop fearing death, and become more spiritual.

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  1. Unhealthy relationships

Whether it is your relationship with your parents, siblings, friends, and people at work or the one with your romantic partner, toxic relationships are one of the most life-changing experiences.

Unhealthy relationships can change how you view yourself, other people, and the world in general. For instance, they could lower your self-esteem, stress you out, isolate you, reduce your trust in others and yourself, and even affect your physical health.

Being in a toxic relationship may change your personality completely.

Getting out of an unhealthy relationship could be a life-changing event as well. The experience could make you better at recognizing red flags in potential future partners or other people in your life, and you may also start to love and value yourself more, put yourself first, and set boundaries.

However, you may still have some PTSD from the experience that could be easily triggered even long after the toxic relationship ended.

READ ALSO: 11 Types of Toxic Friends: Signs and How to Deal with Them

  1. Failures and mistakes

Things don’t always go the way you hope they will; you will make mistakes and experience failures on your life’s journey. These failures and mistakes can become examples of life-changing experiences that affected you positively or negatively.

For example, failures and mistakes can be positive life-changing events if you use them to learn lessons, gain the motivation to do better next time, and redefine your goals. They could also make you appreciate success a lot more because you know how it feels not to get the desired results.

However, some people may see mistakes and failures as negative life-changing experiences and give up while wallowing in self-pity and blaming themselves instead of finding ways to bounce back.

  1. Adventures

In recent years, extreme tourism is growing in popularity as more people want to try adrenaline-pumping adventures, domestically and internationally. The adventures and misadventures are examples of the most life-changing experiences as they can affect you positively or negatively.

For instance, going on successful adventures can be a positive life-changing experience because they will make your life exciting and interesting, improve your motivation, and boost your confidence. You will feel like you are limitless.

On the other hand, if something goes wrong during your adventures, for example, an equipment malfunction, an injury, a kidnapping, an accident, robbery, getting stranded in the worst places, or some other unfortunate occurrence, the experiences can become negative life-changing events.

You may not look back at your adventures fondly or want to do something like that ever again.

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Final Thoughts

From losing a job, starting a new one, doing things that scare you, and having kids, to loss of loved ones and traveling the world, there are many life-changing moments people experience, some so small you may not realize they had such a profound effect on you and your life.

Although there are many more examples of the most life-changing experiences people go through on their life’s journey, these are some of the common ones.

These moments, events, and experiences can change your life forever for better or worse by altering your perspective, behaviors, feelings, body, and relationships.

Remember that how the above examples of life-changing experiences affect you often depends on the way you choose to view your situation. A life-changing event can be negative but have positive effects on you, or it can be positive but have adverse consequences.

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