Text messages connect us to long-lost friends, sliding into someone’s DM’s could lead to a new relationship, and emails have the power to open up doors in our careers. We are now well into the digital age and can probably all agree that technology has changed the way we communicate. It’s bizarre to think about but today, a simple buzzing sound can be the bearer of news that can ultimately change our lives, for better or worse.
For me, it was when my dad went to the hospital for a check-up and texted me later saying, “Stage One.” Those two words were enough for me to know that he had cancer, and they shook me to the core.I’m sure others have experienced something similar, so we asked VICE readers: What’s the one message (Whether through DM, text, or email) that changed your life?
VICE: What’s the one message that changed your life?Remil: It was a message my ex-girlfriend sent me after she gave me a book. It read: “This is for you. One of my first gifts to you was a book, so I believe it would be fitting that my last gift is also one. I’m sorry that I had to end it and I’m very sorry that I did not want to fix it. I really did love you, but things happen, people change, and love fades. Mine did, and I’m sorry it had to be like that. I sincerely hope for the best in your future. May you continue to grow, to feel, to learn, and change. Every fiber of your being reeked potential and success and I hope you reach it.”VICE: How did you feel about it?Remil: I’m not sad about it anymore, but it still makes me feel tender.
VICE: What’s the one message that changed your life?Trinee: “Toffee is missing.”VICE: Who is Toffee?Trinee: Toffee is my dog who I lent to a neighbour so he could mate with her dog. She didn’t know how to care for him, so he ran away. I searched for him for weeks, putting up flyers around villages. I even had people share photos of him online. A lot of them really did their best to help, but to no avail. It was heartbreaking. I just hope he is in a good place now with lots of treats.
VICE: What’s the one message that changed your life?Felix: “Don’t mind me. I can’t sleep! I keep going back to your designs because I love it.”VICE: How did that make you feel?Felix: After getting denied some projects for my freelance designing, I started to doubt my abilities and my taste. But it turned out it was just my previous clients who didn’t have the same taste, and this one client made me feel like my hard work was more than worth it, to the point that she couldn’t sleep.
VICE: What’s that one message that changed your life?Rani: “Fix what’s broken, don’t throw it away.”VICE: What did it mean?Rani: I read it in college. It's about how to value what I have. I became more conscious of how I consume, use, and dispose of things. When it comes to more abstract matters, like relationships with others and myself, I became less destructive and more reflective. I'm not always like that, but I find myself going back to the message every time I feel frustrated.
VICE: What’s the one message that changed your life?Carms: The text that told me to check my email because I had gotten into an exchange program in Poland.VICE: What was that like?Carms: I learned so much about life and independence being away from home for around three months. I wouldn’t travel alone as much as I do today if I didn’t spend time gallivanting around Europe. So if I didn’t see that text or email, I might have missed out on a lot of memories.
VICE: What’s the one message that changed your life?Joaquin: “Your proposal has been accepted.”VICE: How did it change your life?Joaquin: I never really thought I could make it as a freelance web developer. I had been talking about being one since college and when it finally happened, it was sort of surreal.
VICE: What’s the one message that changed your life?Isay: My grandfather texted me to always have a North Star.VICE: What did he mean?Isay: A North Star is a goal which you’ll always strive for. No matter what path you land on or if you get lost, just look for that North Star and you won’t feel so lost anymore. Just go towards it.VICE: How has that helped you?Isay: I’ve always been the type of person who wants to do a lot of things, so my mind would always wander off, trying to pursue other careers.With how tough law school is, there would be days I wished I just pursued a career that’s more fitting for my personality, like PR or marketing. But at the end of the day, you have to be mentally determined to work for the lifelong career you want. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming, but having a North Star always reminded me of a bigger purpose and goal that I set for myself a long time ago.I’m now on my last year in law school and to reach that North Star would be a culmination of the path I went through to get there.
VICE: What’s that one message that changed your life?Marc: “Sorry, I took him back.”VICE: What did it mean?Marc: I can’t spare any details to protect the other party, but I think you get it.Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.Find Lia on Twitter and Instagram.