Can You Really Do What Makes You Happy?

Tragedy and Hope

I watch the video below a lot. Part of it inspires me and part of it scares me to death. Could you imagine actually chasing after your dream with no regard for whether it will actually pay your bills or not? All in the name of happiness? That’s the part that gets my knees wobbling.

I have a young family and a steady job that does a great job of keeping a roof over our heads and providing us with some security. Of course I would love to make fun videos with the Harlem Globetrotters and Disney on Ice all the time. It would be great to get paid to write about fatherhood and share all of the things that inspire me in hopes of inspiring others, but it’s so hard to picture what that life would look like. Part of me thinks this video was intended for people without young families, but maybe I’m just too scared to imagine it.

How about you? Have you followed your dreams? If so, please share your story. If not, what is holding you back? Let me know in the comments and enjoy the video.

13 replies
  1. Erin
    Erin says:

    I am right next to you in that boat Chris. Everyday I am trying to figure out a way to make my side business my full time job. “Work Days” I spend doing photography are amazing. My kids have even noticed the difference – my oldest asked me if I could “work at home” (what I call my off days where i work on my business) everyday because I am more fun.

    Reply
    • Chris Read
      Chris Read says:

      Erin, I think you have the talent and drive to pull it off! You have the number one factor in me wanting to hire someone too, in that you are not a jerk and you understand that kids need to be treated as kids when having their photo taken. You’ll get there!

      Reply
  2. Jason
    Jason says:

    I followed my dream. Only to have to give it up briefly. I have an art degree, and after slugging it out doing non-art related jobs, I got on as a slot machine artist in Las Vegas. It was great when we had two incomes. When we started a family and The Wife stayed home, one artist’s income was not enough and I had to leave for a position in health care. I spent several years feeling like I gave up my dream. However, I now do my art on the side. Some is attached to a new Etsy and CafePress store I’ve started for fun. The rest is done in my garage and sold as commissions, etc. I have some children’s books I’m writing/illustrating too. So though it’s not my 9-5, I’m happy doing what I love on my own time.

    Jason
    The Cheeky Daddy

    Reply
  3. Martina
    Martina says:

    I used to be in the military. I wanted a better job and to make more money so I went to school to learn unix and here I am … following the dream to retirement. Oh and a loto 6/49 ticket because hello 43 million. Now there’s a dream 😉

    Reply
  4. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    I wonder the same thing every.single.day. I’ve seen this video many times, and envy those who have chosen to leap. So far, I haven’t been able to do it.

    My kids are 5 and 2, and I feel the responsibility to keep my stable, flexible, well-paying job with benefits so that I can provide them with certain experiences. But what keeps me up at night, is am I then depriving them of showing them a life of doing something you LOVE?

    Reply
    • Chris Read
      Chris Read says:

      Wow, you just nailed my whole life. I think deep down I know that I am going to turn this hobby into a job someday. I am definitely willing to put in the work but I just need to allot the appropriate time to making it work.

      Reply
  5. Schmutzie
    Schmutzie says:

    I do believe that’s an Alan Watts voice over that video. I love that guy.

    Choosing to do what you love regardless of money means radically altering your life, usually. Only having one car or no cars, living near where you get food, getting rid of high cost property for low cost property, dressing differently, etc. It’s scary, but all of those things are actually signals to greater freedom, not just in what you do for a living, but in being able to consciously choose how you do all that you do without having it dictated by an artificially higher cost of living.

    I’m a big old hippy at heart, though, who doesn’t even own a car or a tv, so there’s that :)`

    Reply
    • Chris Read
      Chris Read says:

      I think what you said is perfect. I am trying to carve out a space for myself on the internet but I am ready to pounce on new opportunities when they arise. We are probably the opposite of what you described in your paragraph (2 cars, lots of useless clothes, etc..) but I think I would be more than happy shedding all of that to be happier with what I do.

      Reply
  6. Candace
    Candace says:

    I “get” this in theory and I’m all for following your dreams but not at the detriment of providing the things my family needs to survive…food, shelter 🙂 Money does matter to an extent, and I hate to be the cold heartless one here but practicality is underrated. As a society we have a very ‘grass is greener’ mentality. I’ll be happier when I’m doing XYZ. I prefer to find joy in what I’m doing now and still working in little bits of the dream here and there 🙂

    Reply
    • Chris Read
      Chris Read says:

      Candace, you are the exact opposite of cold & heartless, lol. That is the exact reason I struggle with this notion that doing what makes me the happiest would then make my family happier. I think if I told my wife that I was quitting my job to pursue writing and marketing, oh, and also, we have to move to a campground, she would flip out and none of us would then be happy. So in the end, I agree with you in saying that you need to work on your dream in bits and pieces, especially with a growing family.

      Reply
  7. Coffee with Julie
    Coffee with Julie says:

    Oh man … story of my life! I have too many convoluted thoughts on this to actually share anything of value here. But I wanted to take the time to comment and let you know how much I’ve been enjoying your blog posts. And also? The line in this video totally cracked me up: “All retch and no vomit!” LOL! What a saying!

    Reply

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