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Between Hollywood movies, the encouragement of some early teachers, and real-life sports heroes, it's tough to grow up without an internalized belief that you're supposed to "follow your dreams."


You push on into the teenage years and then into young adulthood during college or the first years of work. For many, those years bring a confusing tension.

On one hand, you feel a bit weary of dream-chasing. Being poor sucks, healthcare is a thing, a lack of stability can bring an intangible but miserable amount of stress and anxiety.

And yet, another voice in your ear is telling you not to sell out, to keep pushing for the dream.

But many people make the move towards stability. They get themselves a job that brings stability and at least a little enjoyment.

If you hold those early narratives near and dear, their stories may surprise you.

GeneReddit123 asked, "Redditors who gave up pursuing their 'dream' to settle for a more secure or comfortable life, how did it turn out and do you regret your decision?"

Dream Jobs: Not the Only Route to Fulfillment 

"I went to school for and worked as a video game developer. I saw the crunch times, the frequent layoffs, and general instability of the industry and decided it wasn't for me after all."

"Been doing work in various industries trying to find something I want to do for a living. Came to the conclusion that I will never like working."

"So I am settled in at an aerospace manufacturing plant that has been in operation since WWII and I can and probably will spend the rest of my working days here."

"I've decided that it's better for me to get my life's fulfillment from my hobbies and relationships instead of my work."

-- Krynn71

A Dream Made Ugly by Reality 

"No. I was on the path to becoming a professor, and I don't regret leaving academia AT ALL. The pay is terrible, the requirements to achieve your dream can crush the soul out of you if you're not careful, and the chances of achieving actual job security grow dimmer by the day."

"There are some things I miss about it, but I really can't regret choosing a good paying, if somewhat more boring, office job that gives me security and disposable income to pursue my own hobbies and travel (before the pandemic, of course)."

-- loreandsuch

All Those Bassoon Haters 

"It was fine, but no one gives a sh** if you're a professional bassoonist and there really isn't enough paying work."

"I did it professionally for eight years before quitting to raise kids. Now I work in IT. If I had to do it over again I'd have just gotten a real job and not put so much time into an instrument that I don't like playing."

-- RPBN

The Exact Right Amount of Time to Chase It 

"Honestly turned out great. I realised my band wasn't going to get a record deal after a few years and then after playing for other peoples bands for a while it started to become less fun."

"I got a 'proper' job, started working on my career and used my new spare time to start playing rugby again. Now I've got a really good job in a sector I enjoy working in, married, kids, nice house all that stuff and I still play rugby on Saturdays (pre pandemic) to keep things a little different as well as keeping in shape."

"I don't really see it as giving up on my dream. It was just recognising that it wasn't going to happen. I'm very fond of that period of my life and having spent quite a few years chasing that particular dream I don't have any regrets or what-if's about being in a band."

-- jprimus

Enjoying More Than One Thing 

"I was an actor. I was doing ok at it, had a few tasty parts on tv. I'm a software engineer now."

"I don't regret making the decision to do something else more secure, I like writing software (probably more than I enjoyed acting in fairness). I regret seriously sucking at auditions for the last year or so of my acting career, I likely could've gone much further had I committed properly to it."

-- HereComesCu**y

Allow Yourself to Grow 

"Chased my dream, took decades, and did better than I thought I could. Stayed focused throughout. Thing is, I should have re-evaluated long ago. Turns out I was chasing the wrong dream."

"I regret not recognizing that the dream can and should change. If you blindly chase one dream, the finish line isn't necessarily fulfilling."

-- toomanyschnauzers

A Great Setup

"Came from a very traditional patriarch indian family. Pushed into finance made lots of money was utterly depressed. Found love, got married quickly, had 3 kids quickly."

"Became a stay at home dad as wife kicked a** in her field of work. Best career trade off ive made in my life. As i whip up the meanest batch of strawberry banana pancakes this AM :)"

-- iam1whoknocks

Do Not Underestimate the Power of Lacking Worries

"18 months ago I left my mediocre career as a stuntman for more secure work as a DoD contractor. I'm now living life in Japan with a loaded bank account and my wife can focus on her writing."

"Although I miss performing stunts I now enjoy my day to day life without worrying about finances or health insurance."

-- PantherAZ

A Tough Balance 

"About 18 months ago I left my tertiary education in a creative field to take a job opportunity which I applied for, but never thought I would get. It was a paid traineeship with a guaranteed transition into six figure salary, which I will reach in March."

"My annual salary is about to be more than twice as much as I ever thought it would be for the rest of my life."

"But every day I go to work I fantasise about leaving and returning to my creative career. I'm still reckoning with how to balance my life and hopefully have the best of both worlds, but my attempts so far have been really challenging."

"Whether or not I'm capable of doing both is yet to be determined since my secure job absorbs so much of my energy."

"Wish me luck!"

-- verysoggycelery

Listen When the Second Thoughts Come 

"It turned out just fine. I regret nothing."

"When I was an arrogant young man, convinced that I was smarter than everyone else and that intelligence alone would translate to professional success, I dreamt of becoming a CEO and making oodles of money."

"After a few years in corporate America, though, I realized that (1) being successful actually requires a lot more than just raw intelligence and (2) making lots of money in corporate America requires lots of shi**y personal and ethical sacrifices."

"I quit my job, traveled the world, and ended up moving (permanently?) to a foreign country. Five stars—highly recommended."

-- DeLosGatos

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