My dad passed when I was 14. To help mom make ends meet I started working as close to full time as allowed by law on top of going to highschool. I found out that my income being at my mom's residence and being her dependent limited the amount of benefits she could collect. To sidestep that at 15 I moved in with my older brother's best friend while continuing to forward most of what I earned to mom. With the idea in my head that my younger sisters could manage to get through school without subjecting themselves to a similar hell or falling into foster care. I even kept at that after I graduated, working two different jobs. I was pissed when my youngest sister dropped out halfway through her senior year the day after her 18th. By the time I got around to going to college some of the grants I earned expired. I wound up working through my three years there too. Then my hometown was mostly destroyed by a natural disaster and I had to pack up and leave before I had distributed the credits to walk off with even an associates degree.
Living that way for 6 years destroyed any semblance of a social life I had. My only friends were my roommates, and a few stoners I knew years prior who also never socially developed past freshman year. From my parent's divorce until I met my college girlfriend: there was a span of 8 years where I hadn't eaten good meals or slept regularly. Then I moved out to a completely different city where I had all of one human connection in.
It took me 15 years in the workforce but I finally got my Bachelor's, and work at a place I believe gives a shit about their employees. Just this week they've got an internal opening for a position I'm qualified for, that doubles my salary, already did enough on to know I'm good at, and it involves working with the objectively coolest person employed here. I'm hopeful that next Wednesday I'll find out if, as a fiscal reality, I have a shot at becoming a father before I'm 35.