Image by Malachi Witt from Pixabay

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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Image by tookapic from Pixabay

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They say one man's trash is another man's treasure - and sometimes that saying is pretty literal.

Lots of people build entire businesses picking up cool stuff on bulk-pickup trash day, and upcycling it into something even better that people are willing to pay for.

Sometimes, you might even end up with something pristine and usable right away.

Reddit user JampackedAlborn1976 asked:

What is the most valuable item that you have seen somebody throw away or have found in the garbage?

And for real ... some of these people scored BIG TIME. Like big time. Like really big.

Like Refrigerator Big

just ask leslie jones GIF by Saturday Night Live Giphy

"Our current refrigerator is a double-door one with exterior ice and water dispensers. We got it for free, with absolutely no problems whatsoever. It's just a few years old."

"How we got it? My dad (civil engineer) was doing some work on someone's apartment when they said they had bought a new modern French door refrigerator and that they were just going to discard their current refrigerator."

"My dad simply asked if he could have it.. and they said yes." - SauloJr

Immigrants In Action

Dog Brazil GIF Giphy

"I immigrated to the US from Brazil when I was 12. And every Saturday, my mom, stepdad, sister and I would go out at night to upper middle class neighborhoods the day before trash pickup to rummage through the garbage they were putting out."

"We found perfectly good TVs, VCRs, microwaves, couches, lazy boys, tables, books and comics, etc."

"I couldn't believe these Americans were throwing out like that. We furnished our entire house with that stuff. The entire Brazilian immigrant community in my town did it. We were flabbergasted." - PhillipLlerenas

With A Note

Television Bunny GIF Giphy

"My wife yelled at me that someone put a big TV outside with a note on it. Walked across the street and it was a brand new Samsung 37 inch HDTV."

"They were actually renovating the apartment building and got an upgraded TV. Even had the remote taped to it with batteries, I guess I have really nice neighbors here in NYC." - MadLintElf

Life Hack!

studying busy philipps GIF by Drunk History Giphy

"If you want high end stuff out of the garbage for free, follow these steps:"

"Pick a city with a large university in it. If it's a school well known for its law programs, or medical, or engineering, all the better."

"Search for luxury apartment complexes that market themselves towards students. Look for things like included shuttle service, pools, fitness centers, etc. The more expensive and swanky the better."

"Figure out when finals week is at the end of Spring semester."

"Dumpster dive at those luxury apartment complexes during that week and the following weekend."

"Very wealthy international students will arrive in the US, fully outfit an apartment with nice furniture, big TVs, audio systems, gaming consoles, you name it, and when the semester ends they just junk it all because they aren't going to fly it back to wherever, and it's too much effort to spend the time selling when they do not care about the money."

"It's a smaller scale phenomenon a little like all the luxury cars abandoned at the airport in Dubai." - whattothewhonow

Literal Gold Treasure

valley of the boom david kim stanley GIF by National Geographic Channel Giphy

"I found a gold coin at goodwill for 5 bucks. It was in a case with someone's name and company name."

"It was their gift from the company for retiring. I assume the family threw it out when he died not knowing it was solid gold. It was in a in a thick solid plastic case that had to be cracked opened."

"It literally said 1 oz fine gold on it. I figured 5 bucks was worth the risk it not being real."

"It was a South African KRUGERRAND 1 oz coin. Everyone was just too busy to read it lol."

"Bought it and took it too a pawn shop and sold it for a couple grand." - streetmitch

The Best Day Of My Life

Will Smith Wow GIF by 1LIVE Giphy

"When I was a kid, I grew up right outside the Los Angeles area in the suburbs. My stepdad was a garbage truck driver for the city of Beverly Hills."

"I swear in the late 80s and early 90s we'd have so much basically brand new stuff (still in boxes) brought home on a regular basis."

"I'll never forget one day in particular. My stepdad came home and was like 'get ready, come to the car, I'll need your help.' So I go down there and in back seat of his car he had a few large black garbage bags."

"We haul them up to our apartment and he's like 'go ahead, open them.' Inside was what I could only describe as an 80s kids trove of treasures."

"One bag contained just about every Ghostbusters and GI joe toy you can imagine, they were played with but had every little accessory, there was a bunch the playsets and everything."

"In the other bag was pretty much every LEGO of the early 80s sets, still in their original boxes. I was a big LEGO nerd but was totally thrown off by the old school space ones because they looked nothing like the 90s space sets. I think they even said "NASA" the minifig's chests."

"That was like a random day in July, it felt like Christmas. I was 9 years old and it was basically like the best day of my life up to that point." - Zombgief

Who Throws Away Money?

spongebob squarepants money GIF Giphy

"A jar full of quarters."

"Annual spring cleaning projects happen in a lot of towns where anyone can put almost anything on the curb and it's taken away for free. It's to stop open dumping or stuff being dumped in ditches."

"Sometimes people deal with estates from winter by just dumping all their grandfather's stuff on the curb for the cleanup to get the house empty immediately. Most often they don't even bother to look at what they are throwing away."

"In 2012 on north road in Akwesasne I found an estate pile that I shuttled back and forth with my bike trailer getting lots of older tools like a scythe, hammers, saws, screwdrivers and wrenches, a 22 rifle with 100 round of ammo, a bunch of ar15 magazines, cast iron cookware, oil lamps, a hand crank food mill with all kinds of accessories, a black raven axe head (worth $100 easily since they are a collectable), and a quart size mason jar full of change mostly quarters."

"That was spring and the sheriffs office did a gun buyback in the fall where I took the mags and got $20 each for them (30 round mags suddenly illegal under the safe act of fall 2012. The buyback was a local political move). I still got the 22 and picked off a lot of woodchuck with it in my gardens." - Bogtrotterso1980

Filing Fever

Files Workload GIF Giphy

"I own a small company which is located directly in front of a state funded program facility. The state decided to have this office shred all of their files as they were going to switch to electronic data (exclusively)."

"We found two of these old rotary filing cabinets outside of their office. They're worth almost $3k each!"

"They just placed them there and we saw them and asked what they planned on doing with them. They said, 'Hmmm.....either donate them or trash them.' The state told them simply to get rid of them."

"We jumped at this and took the two into our already tiny office because there was no way in hell that we were going to let these gems go. (We do use paper files, unfortunately)."

"They wanted to give us two smaller ones but seriously, our office is very small. I made some phone calls and they were picked up immediately by other office workers/friends." - GlitzBlitz

This Sucks - In A Good Way!

mrs doubtfire vacuum GIF Giphy

"In the 1990s my moms work had a really nice high end Hoover that stopped working. They threw it out."

"My mom took it home because my dad tinkers and repairs things easily. Turns out since it was a bagged vacuum all the dummies had to do is REPLACE THE BAG."

"Like it never occurred to them to do the most easy and basic step. My parents were excited to have a really upgraded vacuum. Maybe like $500ish." - schweddyboobs

Tiffany's Trash

Audrey Hepburn Movie GIF by The Good Films Giphy

"My dad found an old stained glass window laying out by someone's trash. He thought it would look cool hanging in our cabin, so he stopped and grabbed it."

"It sat in our garage for a few years before he looked at it more closely and found "Tiffany and Co." branding on it. He got in touch with some stained glass window dude who figured it was worth about $40k fully restored, so my dad sold it to him for somewhere around $30k." - throwaway_stopdrink

Have you had any awesomely trashtastic treasures? Let us know!