11. It seemed small at the time when I sought help for alcohol abuse in the air force’s drug and alcohol program. At first, the program was structured so that I would have been out in 6-12 weeks without really learning anything. Then a captain took over the program and changed it from time based to goal based so we had to come up with some goals that we could meet and get ourselves out of the program. I finished my Associate’s that I had been putting off for 4 years, aced the physical fitness test twice, won awards at the group level and Numbered Air Force and really set myself up for success when I separated. I also started hiking and summitted around 50 mountains in the last three years.
12. I decided one evening to stop by my parents’ house before going home.
Turns out my mom had been having a series of strokes all evening and my father and sister didn’t recognize the signs.
She’s ok now. A little worse for wear. Some aphasia and balance issues but.
13. November 17, 1980, I was out riding my bicycle. At an intersection, I decided to turn right as I had already ridden the road to the left.
I turned right and about five seconds later an oncoming car forced me off the road. I struck a telephone pole and was instantly paralyzed at the T4 level.
14. When I was an undergrad I asked this professor if they needed any help in a lab. He gave me this small project and that was all but I just kept showing up and hanging out. Another professor took notice and he started giving me work. Eventually, they gave me my own desk, hired me and really started my whole career. What really made this such a big deal though was that I suffer from rather severe depression and this job has helped me pay for health insurance, treatment and given me a purpose that makes all the troubles of life not seem so bad. So yeah, just deciding to hang out there whether working or not made a huge difference in my life trajectory.
15. Opening an email from an old professor. It was mass-sent and not very specific in its title, so I could have just as easily passed on it, but I opened it. It was a link to a scholarship program in America. I applied, won it and was sent to the University of Pennsylvania for a year. I was only 20 and didn’t have any ambitions to leave Bulgaria at all, but being abroad made me want to explore the world. Five years later, I’ve lived in 4 different countries and visited most of Europe. I’m not anywhere near done.
16. At age 7, I decided I wanted to be a musician and asked my parents for piano lessons. They thought I was way too young for something so serious – but I proved them wrong.
That decision began a course of study that lasted beyond college and shaped my life and career into what it has become today.
17. I was a computer science major in college. I got really tired of it really fast and was about to switch to a Biology degree. As I was on my way to Dean’s office to talk about transferring, it started raining so I didn’t go. The next day, the Dean isn’t there so I say f*ck it and go to the Engineering Dean’s office instead. Am now an engineer because it rained one day.
18. My three kids have been pestering me for years to get them a dog, and my wife said it would be good for me to take it for walks. I was in poor shape, smoked and was getting middle aged spread. Eighteen months ago I relented and we got a Golden Retriever puppy. So I started taking her for walks every day and dug out an old pair of running shoes. I began some jogging with the dog and decided to quit smoking for good. Christmas comes, and my wife buys me a new pair of Asics running shoes, and a gym membership. I decided to really get in shape and began a routine of going every day straight after work. I also began eating healthily. Ten months later I’m in fantastic shape, I can run a 10K and have made new friends through the gym. All because of a dog.
19. Quoting Dr. Evil in a job interview.
When I sat down with the two guys interviewing me, I opened with this line:
“Gentlemen, let’s get down to business”
Their eyes lit up, and they were captivated… I ended up getting the job, and later found out from them that they had their “minds made up from early in the interview.”
I was having several interviews around this time, and they were all the same – same questions, the same type of job, all government jobs. I was saying the exact same thing every time, and not getting any job offers. The only difference this time was that opening line.
2 years later, and I’m still working here, got my contract renewed about 6 times, and they are working on hiring me permanently once I graduate this spring.
20. Swiping right on Tinder. Sometimes it really freaks me out how I easily could have missed out on someone who has changed my life in so many ways just because I thought he looked just a bit too serious in his pictures. It’s been a year and we’re still very, very happy.