1. 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 starred 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.
2. 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.
3. 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).
4. Part of me regretted it, part of me knew I had to.
I always wanted to be a doctor. No pushy parents or anything like that. I just wanted to fix problems and medical things seemed like the most interesting problems, things change, get worse/better, add new problems.. My little brother was born and developed seizures and development issues. I decided Pediatrics was for me! The same problems/puzzles but with the added intrigue of the patient being unable to tell me what was wrong.. Sounds a bit sick, but that’s what my brain wanted.
I didn’t get the grades at school, unfortunately my step dad died and it messed me up a bit being needed at home with my siblings and I shifted my focus. I did go to university, did an access course and a biology degree with the aim of then going on to medicine afterwards. Sadly, I got two rejections for med school (on my birthday no less) and I pissed away the rest of my final year, because…what was the point anymore??
I then met a boy (now husband), and needed to get a job. Any job. Please just give me a job. Countless applications were ignored or rejected. I felt worse than useless. I finally landed a job at a call centre. Hated every minute of it. But bills got paid, a wedding and honeymoon have been paid for, and we bought our house..
But. In 2019 I knew I was turning thirty soon and knew this wasn’t what I wanted, even if it was what I needed.
I enrolled at a local college on an access course and last year I passed with distinction. I applied to a few university courses, and I had two successful interviews. I quit my sucky job on new year’s after nearly 6 years of hating it. And in two weeks I start my course to become a nurse.
Plans change, needs must. But I’m hoping its worked out…
5. 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.
I regret nothing. I can say I doubled Gerard Butler and Micheal Madsen but it was time to move on to provide for my new family.
6. As someone who quit academia shortly after my PhD and gave up all my research hopes and dreams, I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I work a relatively “boring” job in marketing now (I worked with wolves during my PhD so pretty much everything is going to be “boring” in comparison). I have no emotional attachment to my job or colleagues which is a refreshing change and affords me a lot of mental space and freedom. I can finally tune out and stop working, something I could never do during my PhD.
The pay is mediocre, but when you’re used to being in academia, the job security itself is a huge boon. Besides, as an international PhD student who had spent almost all his life savings to move and set up abroad, I learned to maintain a 50%+ savings rate very quickly. If you learn how to have a good savings rate (even if it isn’t that high) and can maintain it after quitting academia, that shit adds up fast.
I desperately miss working with those fluffy, lovable, morons, but I can now daydream about buying a car and building a house without mentally kicking myself for it.
7. 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.
8. Turned out great, just not right at the moment as I am still job hunting after having to quit my previous job. Still no regrets though.
I went to college to become a 3D animator. Something I always dreamed about. I was top of the class, constantly won awards for my work. I honestly thought I was going to make it big. Then the final semester started and all the seniors were required to go to a special hiring event where tons of big names would be. I got my portfolio and resume copies ready to go, and spent hours researching the big names and their projects as well as rehearsing lots of practice questions.
It was devastating. No one would look twice at my stuff. Introduced myself, made some awkward small talk as they were so disinterested, then as I walked away they would immediately put it in the stack with hundreds of other portfolios, and not in the special pile.
I switched up my game. I started introducing myself with a quick mention that I had a background in programming (I did). Thinking that maybe that would give me an edge. Oh boy did it work. Suddenly I was getting personal business cards, phone numbers and emails, my resume was put on the special pile.
It was at that moment I realized I went into the wrong field. I was just a tiny insignificant drop in a sea of artists, many of whom were much more talented than I could ever be.
Finished up my degree and went back to college for a BS in Computer Science. Got my first job right out of college from an internship I did over the summer. The job itself was heaven, and I really enjoyed it. It also helped that I made bank when I was there. Paid off all my school loans within 3 years and had plenty to invest and put into savings.
While it sucks not having anything right now, I’m hoping to find something soon.
Side note: The 3D stuff I still do as a hobby. Not nearly as good as I once was, but it is still fun and relaxing.
9. At age 15 I started playing guitar in a band. The dream was to become a Rock Star. At age 22, I was playing Gazzari’s on the Sunset Strip. A set of original tunes in club where so many famous people started. It was the heyday of the metal scene and that was happening in Los Angeles. By 1984 I realized that it was not just a question of being a great band. Or writing great songs. I had seen a lot of great bands in Los Angeles that had great songs, go absolutely nowhere. Then really crappy bands, I won’t mention names to avoid hurting anyone, that did have commercial success. So why was this?
It turns out being a great band that writes great songs, is just not enough. You also have to be incredibly lucky. More people win the lottery than become famous rock stars. It was time to get real. I was 22 and I wanted things. So I gave up my dreams and became an electrical apprentice.
By the time I was 24, I was running jobs. At 27 I was accepted in the IBEW as a journeyman electrician, after passing the Journeyman Block Test, accepted in a lot of states. At age 31 I became a Master Electrician and General Foreman in the IBEW. I then became the Superintendent of a large Union shop . And finally at age 33 I started my own Electrical Contracting business. At age 41 I became 100% disabled and was forced to retire. That was almost 20 years ago. I still have my Bray Amp and my Les Paul in my bedroom, always plugged in, so I can pick it up anytime I want. So, I’d say everything turned out ok for me.
10. I made a solid run at becoming a writer. It was always my dream as I’ve been an avid reader my whole life and have always had an active imagination. I studied English in university, read everything I could and spent my 20s living and travelling overseas. I joined writers groups, did an apprenticeship with an established author and worked my ass off for years, both abroad and when I returned home. I even got a few short stories published. And I was miserable.
Writing fiction has to be the worst paying job in the world when you factor in the time you put in (Stephen King references this at the start of On Writing). Writers like King are extreme outliers, and even he had to work a 9-5 while writing Carrie. It is extremely hard to grind out a job all day, then come home and try to write all evening. Or get up at 5am everyday and write before work. Not only is it difficult to conjure up the juice you need to write when you’re working around a “regular” life schedule, but everything else in your life slips. You don’t have time to workout. You miss out on spending time with friends and family. You’re sitting in you desk or chair every night while your partner is watching TV alone. And if you have kids… good luck.
I became overweight, depressed, and miserable. I developed back issues from spending 12+ hours a day in a chair. I wasn’t getting anywhere in life, and while it was nice to get published the odd time, I didn’t find the joy in my own writing the way I do in others. So I let it go.
Now, I have a great job, nice house, and lots of time to spend with my wife and pursue my hobbies. I fixed my back issues and got in great shape (until COVID) And I have grown so much as a person since then. So no regrets.
I do think about it from time to time though. I still read a lot, and I’m sure that itch will come back sometime. It’s not like being an athlete… nothing to say I can’t pick it back up any other time
11. I was a child actor. I was relatively successful – I was on a popular soap and even had my fifteen minutes of fame – I had TV shows and films and commercials on the go. Of course this meant I was bullied at school – if I answered their incessant questions about what it was like on set, they said I was stuck up for talking about myself. If I didn’t answer their questions, they said I was stuck up for not engaging with them. I was talked down to, ignored, laughed at – the usual high school stuff. But for most people, that stuff ends in high school. For famous people, it never ends (as we see on the internet daily).
Then I met someone on set who told me what it was really like – that if you’re not made for it, the fame part can completely destroy you as a person – if you are private or shy or anxious, as I am, it can tear you apart inside, and it’s constant, and for the really famous people, it never, ever goes away. She helped me recognise that what I loved was the process, the on-set family, the job itself. The recognition, the total lack of privacy, and the inevitable bullying just wasn’t what I wanted my life to be. She showed me that at this early stage of my career, I could make my choice, I didn’t have to just stumble into a lifestyle I wouldn’t easily be able to get out of. She showed me the truth – that for most people, by the time they know they hate the lifestyle, it’s already too late.
When I was 18, I quit my agency, and never looked back. Now, 19 years later, in my office job in finance, I make a fraction of what I could have made, and I don’t enjoy my work nearly as much as I enjoyed tv and film sets. But I’m anonymous, and I am happy. The girl I met, these days she can’t even go to a grocery store or a petrol station without being mobbed (we’re not still in touch, but I follow her career). Me, I can go anywhere and do anything without anyone giving me a second glance. That makes me happy. I hope she is happy too.