Today I want to share a story from someone on reddit. It is a story about not following your dreams, and the regret that comes later in life.
Hi, I my name’s John. I’ve been lurking for a while, but I’ve finally made an account to post this. I need to get my life off my chest. About me. I’m a 46 year old banker and I have been living my whole life the opposite of how I wanted. All my dreams, my passion, gone. In a steady 9-7 job. 6 days a week. For 26 years. I repeatedly chose the safe path for everything, which eventually changed who I was.
Today I found out my wife has been cheating on me for the last 10 years. My son feels nothing for me. I realised I missed my father’s funeral FOR NOTHING. I didn’t complete my novel, travelling the world, helping the homeless. All these things I thought I knew to be a certainty about myself when i was in my late teens and early twenties. If my younger self had met me today, I would have punched myself in the face. I’ll get to how those dreams were crushed soon.
Let’s start with a description of me when I was 20. It seemed only yesterday when I was sure I was going to change the world. People loved me, and I loved people. I was innovative, creative, spontaneous, risk-taking and great with people. I had two dreams. The first, was writing a utopic/dystopic book. The second, was travelling the world and helping the poor and homeless. I had been dating my wife for four years by then. Young love. She loved my spontaneity, my energy, my ability to make people laugh and feel loved. I knew my book was going to change the world. I would show the perspective of the ‘bad’ and the ‘twisted’, showing my viewers that everybody thinks differently, that people never think what the do is wrong. I was 70 pages through when i was 20. I am still 70 pages in, at 46. By 20, I had backpacking around New Zealand and the Phillipines. I planned to do all of Asia, then Europe, then America (I live in Australia by the way). To date, I have only been to New Zealand and the Phillipines.
Now, we get to where it all went wrong. My biggest regrets. I was 20. I was the only child. I needed to be stable. I needed to take that graduate job, which would dictate my whole life. To devote my entire life in a 9-7 job. What was I thinking? How could I live, when the job was my life? After coming home, I would eat dinner, prepare my work for the following day, and sleep at 10pm, to wake up at 6am the following day. God, I can’t remember the last time I’ve made love to my wife.
Yesterday, my wife admitted to cheating on me for the last 10 years. 10 years. That seems like a long time, but i can’t comprehend it. It doesn’t even hurt. She says it’s because I’ve changed. I’m not the person I was. What have I been doing in the last 10 years? Outside of work, I really can’t say anything. Not being a proper husband. Not being ME. Who am I? What happened to me? I didn’t even ask for a divorce, or yell at her, or cry. I felt NOTHING. Now I can feel a tear as I write this. But not because my wife has been cheating on me, but because I am now realising I have been dying inside. What happened to that fun-loving, risk-taking, energetic person that was me, hungering to change the world? I remember being asked on a date by the most popular girl in the school, but declining her for my now-wife. God, I was really popular with the girls in high school. In university/college too. But i stayed loyal. I didn’t explore. I studied everyday.
Remember all that backpacking and book-writing I told you about? That was all in the first few years of college. I worked part-time and splurged all that I had earned. Now, I save every penny. I don’t remember a time I spend anything on anything fun. On anything for myself. What do I even want now?
My father passed ten years ago. I remember getting calls from mom, telling me he was getting sicker and sicker. I was getting busier and busier, on the verge of a big promotion. I kept putting my visit off, hoping in my mind he would hold on. He died, and I got my promotion. I haven’t seen him in 15 years. When he died, I told myself it didn’t matter what I didn’t see him. Being an atheist, I rationalized that being dead, it wouldn’t matter anyway. WHAT WAS I THINKING? Rationalizing everything, making excuses to put things off. Excuses. Procrastination. It all leads to one thing, nothing. I rationalized that financial security was the most important thing. I now know, that it definitely is not. I regret doing nothing with my energy, when I had it. My passions. My youth. I regret letting my job take over my life. I regret being an awful husband, a money-making machine. I regret not finishing my novel, not travelling the world. Not being emotionally there for my son. Being a damn emotionless wallet.
If you’re reading this, and you have a whole life ahead of you, please. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t leave your dreams for later. Relish in your energy, your passions. Don’t stay on the internet with all your spare time (unless your passion needs it). Please, do something with your life while your young. DO NOT settle down at 20. DO NOT forget your friends, your family. Yourself. Do NOT waste your life. Your ambitions. Like I did mine. Do not be like me.
Sorry for the long post, just had to get it out there.
This message tells me that no matter how tough it gets, or how much work that has to be done to achieve my dream, the alternative is always worse. No dreams, no passion, just dead and secure mediocrity. How you define mediocrity is up to you, it’s different for everyone, but this guy knew what his was and realised it in himself.
Some people need realisations like these to get their life going. It may seem like it’s too late for him now but it isn’t. Doesn’t matter what your age is, it’s never too late.
Colonel Sanders started KFC at 65. Gandhi’s political career started at 61. Dr Seuss was 52 when he wrote “The Cat In the Hat”
If you are unhappy with your life, and have had similar realisations – theres a way out. Whether you’re in the wrong degree at Uni, or you’re in the wrong career path, there’s always time for you to start following your dreams.
Following your dream just means doing what you enjoy. For most of my life I was conditioned to think that I can’t enjoy what I do and still make a living out of it. After meeting tonnes of people who live of their passion and figuring out how they did it, I realised how wrong I was.
There are tonnes of ways to profit from what you enjoy doing. I can give you examples but they’ll only work for me, as everyone has a different dream and passion and each passion comes with different ways of earning a living from it.
For me, I wanted to travel the world and explore it as much as I can. I used to love watching every travel show I could get my hands on.
So I had to figure out how I can go about making money and still be able to travel the world. That’s when I met people on an online forum who were doing just this. They were making money through the internet, and they all had different passions. Some guy had a dating website, someone else had a fly fishing store , and someone had a fashion blog. The part that got me really interested was realising that these all provided full time incomes with just a part time job. More money and less time spent making it.
I realised the potential of the internet. I could travel the world and work from anywhere I want. The internet is the best thing to happen to humanity since the wheel. It’s even better than the wheel. And it”s growing all the time – 2.6 billion and counting.
It sounds cliche but my other passion is helping people. I only realised this when I started helping out close friends and relatives make some extra income through the internet. By simply sharing my knowledge, I was changing people’s lives. It feels really nice and tingly and like a thousand angels are throwing flowers and rainbows at me.
Maybe I just enjoy their approval. I’ll never know.
I then thought that it would absolutely awesome if I could teach other people how to do this. Use the internet as a platform for your business. It’s genius. Rather than having to go into an office, a store or a shop everyday, your business is in your laptop. That’s all you need to go to work, a laptop.
It doesn’t even have to be your own business. You could be a fantastic writer and freelance writing for people from all over the world. You could do fashion reviews and be sent free stuff. You could blog about the best fly fishing spots then sell fly fishing products to your audience, which are ready to be shipped for you from a warehouse in China. Or you could write an ebook on how to have the perfect date and sell it for $10. These are just examples off the top of my head. There’s literally hundreds of ways to go about it, and this blog is all about exploring that.
Stay tuned as I have plenty of success stories, methods, tricks and tips on how to help you turn that passion of yours into a full time income, whilst working half the time you did.