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"I Was Living In A Bubble": 21 Adults Whose Opinions Shifted As They Grew Older Are Sharing What They Believe Now, And It's Unexpected

Some opinions are bound to change over time because, well, that's life — you learn new things, meet new people, and shift beliefs. Recently, the BuzzFeed Community shared which opinions they had that eventually changed with age, and some of the responses were totally unexpected:

1."I grew up thinking I had to get married by 25. It wasn't until I turned 21 that I was like, I'm nowhere near ready for marriage, nor do I want to be! The pressure of marriage and kids is so outdated to me — I don't even care if I'll be married 10 years from now."

A man is proposing to his girlfriend
Tom Werner / Getty Images

2."That college is the only path to a successful life. As someone who graduated in 2001, I heard that sentiment on the daily while in high school. While there are many benefits to going to college, it is not always the gateway to success that it's touted to be. I wouldn't trade my experiences in college for anything (and no, I wasn't a partier at all), but I will absolutely be informing my children of ALL the options they have after graduating from high school, and I'll be there to help guide them on the path that is best fit for them and their goals."

mister_nanda

3."I spent my childhood and teen years hating on all things 'girly' and desperately trying to prove I was 'better than that.' Like, if I could just distance myself enough from being female, maybe guys would treat me equally. As an adult, I recognize that that was internalized misogyny. I am still not very 'girly,' but now I just see that as a fact about myself — neither good nor bad. I use my strengths to support other women instead of seeking approval from men."

A woman is applying lipstick in front of a mirror
Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

4."I grew up in an evangelical Christian household, and 100% believed that only Christian couples could have good marriages. Imagine my confusion when I started noticing how toxic my parents' marriage was and how miserable nearly all of their friends were."

Zara

5."As I've gotten older, I realize more and more every day that things are often more complicated than they seem. People are nuanced and have gone through different experiences, and my own morals and opinions are not the be-all and end-all. That isn't to say I'm an apologist or that I feel like I have to give up my own views — it just means I've given myself the freedom to let things go and, in some cases, feel empathy, patience, and an openness toward people who may not be getting that kind of mercy anywhere else. I work in healthcare, so I owe that much to my patients. For me, it's not about letting people get away with being assholes, but more about inner peace."

A man is standing in thought
Brianna R / Getty Images/500px Prime

6."I was raised to believe that a woman's place was to serve her husband, and I really bought into that bullshit expectation that I couldn't be loved unless I was a size 6. Life has taught me that the rules society has built for itself don't apply to me and shouldn't apply to anyone."

pbbt

7."That to make it big in my career and be successful, I needed to be single so as not to have any distractions. I avoided and turned down well-meaning guys because it had been ingrained in me that I only had two choices: Date them OR be successful in my career. Then I found out you can have both. I'm in a happy, long-distance relationship with a man who wholeheartedly supports my work ambitions and me. He provides a lot of stability and happiness, and neither of us has had to sacrifice anything significant to our goals to be together. You can have both! Balance!"

A happy-looking couple is holding a bouquet of sunflowers
Kyle Kuhlman / Getty Images/500px Prime

8."I used to think that undocumented immigrants could just get papers and they should've just come in the 'right way.' Then I met my wife. Because of her, I learned so much about immigration issues and how hard it is to become a citizen for so many people. That, and how some people don't even have a pathway to citizenship."

flyerboy6

9."I used to think it was okay to spank your kids. I now fully think that it's wrong and a complete violation of a child's trust. I also don't believe in grounding and other methods of punitive parenting. Kids are people too. And usually, they are following their parents' example. I've totally turned into a gentle parent, and it works!"

A woman is holding and kissing her toddler

—Anonymous

Layland Masuda / Getty Images

10."As a young adult, I was pro–death penalty. I thought it was an unambiguous topic — people who kill others deserve to die too. As I grew older and educated myself on the topic, I realized that it's actually ambiguous as hell. There have been many innocent people exonerated of the murder for which they were imprisoned. By my former thinking, they would all have been killed despite having done nothing wrong. Not to mention the problems with the methods of execution. Honestly, I go back and forth, mainly when it comes to serial killers. But as I said, the topic itself is ambiguous as hell."

doofenshmirtzevilinc

11."I used to think I had to basically condense my personality into one single interest — someone who likes to bake a lot, someone who sings well, someone who loves astronomy. Whatever the special interest I was indulging in at the time, I felt like it had to be my whole personality, and if it wasn't, then I wasn't 'authentic' to the craft. As I've gotten older, though, I've learned that people are multifaceted. If you want to be one particular thing, you can. But you can also enjoy lots of different things in varying degrees at different times, and that's totally fine too!"

A man is decorating a cake in a kitchen

mefo

Elizabethsalleebauer / Getty Images/RooM RF

12."I was raised in a really privileged, upper-middle-class home. I thought everyone went to college after high school, had their parents pay for it, and then got a cushy job afterward with no problem. Well, just as I got my bachelor's degree, the parent who was paying for me died. You can't do anything in my field with only a bachelor's degree, and I couldn't afford to continue. I realized then that the reason there's a shortage of professionals in my field is that the only kids who get that far are the ones with rich parents. Between that experience and marrying someone from a family in poverty, I've lost all faith in the college system. I was living in a bubble."

A man looks stressed in the library
Ljubaphoto / Getty Images

13."I was anti-abortion until my dearest friend at the time told me that she'd had one. She told me that she'd been too scared to tell me because I 'wouldn't want to be friends with [her] anymore.' It clicked to me then that being 'pro-life' isn't loving at all."

Hannah

14."The biggest one is probably about hustle culture. I have definitely had a privileged career to even be able to say this, but I used to think it was a badge of honor being loyal to my company and grind, grind, grind. My now-husband would joke that if he made XYZ salary, I wouldn't have to work, and I used to take such offense at that. Turns out, just because you're loyal to your company does not EVER mean they will be loyal to you. Grinding so hard at your job only takes you away from the things that matter most in your life. And lastly, WORK SUCKS. It's literally called work. It's ingrained to place such a high value on one's job when, in reality, it's the thing that funds your life. Unapologetically take your PTO, take sick days, work only the hours you need to, etc. Protect yourself, your mental health, and your family because you are absolutely replaceable at work, but you are not replaceable at home."

A smiling woman is soaking up the sun

—Anonymous

Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

15."I grew up believing that Western nations, although far from perfect, generally took action for the greater good. But the difference in responses to Ukraine and Gaza really opened my eyes to the fact that we are far from humanitarian in our military endeavors. It's always the side of our political interests and nothing more."

Davina The Arena

16."I used to think I wanted kids, but I can hardly take care of myself. Seeing how much energy it takes to take care of a child? Nah."

A kid is taking a bubble bath
Keep It 100 / Getty Images

17."I used to think that there was nothing more evil than cheating on your partner. But I realize now that it's not just black and white. Yes, affairs can happen because someone in the relationship is a big, stupid jerk, but it's often a lot more complicated than that. Because people and relationships themselves are complicated. Don't get me wrong, I don't think cheating is okay at all, but I now realize that it's a lot more nuanced than I used to think it was."

—Anonymous

18."I used to be a staunch Republican. I thought those were my beliefs, but what was actually happening was that I was growing up in an environment where it was unknowingly unsafe for me to have any kind of differing views. Now that I've gone no-contact with my family and have been able to invest in myself and my mental health, I find that my views are pretty much the polar opposite. I used to be so full of unrealized anger and toxicity that I didn't want better for the people around me. But now I'm a huge advocate for all types of people and communities. I'm also the happiest I've ever been."

People voting
Hill Street Studios / Getty Images

19."I've come to realize that trauma does not define you. You go through it, and though it takes a while, you grow through it. Then, one day, you wake up and don't think about what happened. The next day, same thing. And the next time you remember it, it hurts a little less. Time did not heal your pain, but it broke it down into manageable pieces for you to process/heal. Until one day, the worst day of your life just becomes a little part of who you are right now: a living, breathing, and loving human."

—Anonymous, 26, Maryland

20."I'm learning that it's okay to vote for a person, not a party. You're not betraying yourself if you think that a candidate from a party you typically disagree with is the best choice. For example, ahead of the upcoming presidential election, I like a Republican candidate, even though my views on social issues don't typically match that party. But it's okay — the point of having a vote is to use it how you see fit. Vote for who you like or for whoever you think would be the least horrible, I suppose."

—20, Texas

21.Lastly: "When the Black Lives Matter movement started, I had to take part in a white-privilege class that was part of work requirements. The class name alone put me off — I grew up poor and never felt like I had an advantage over others. I struggled to understand what was being taught, but this made me want to understand and learn more. I'd never heard of redlining, nor did I know the extent to which Black oppression was still alive and well in the US. I had friends who were Black, but I'd never had any conversations about race or what challenges they may have faced because of it. I'm just sad that I was so oblivious to what was going on outside of my own circle for SO LONG. It's been a journey, and I'm still growing and learning."

A woman is protesting into a megaphone

—Angie, 53, Indiana

Fg Trade / Getty Images

Have you ever changed your mind about something that you never thought you would? What's an opinion or belief you had that changed over time? Let me know down in the comments, or you can submit anonymously using this Google form!

Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.