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Think I am giving up on my dream and feeling lost and like a failure

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This topic contains 15 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  jeena 3 years, 10 months ago.

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  • #82364

    Ben
    Participant

    Hi guys. I wrote this 3 times and it came out ranty every time so I apologize in advance. Basically I have apparently outgrown my dream and now am completely lost and have no direction. The world isn’t ending and I am not suicidal, just that until now I had drive but recently lost my passion and with it a big part of my identity.I would really appreciate some advice from impartial judges.

    Before I begin a bit of back story would be good for context. I am soon to be 28, since I was 14 I wanted to be a digital artist in the video games industry. I worked towards this for years and went to college and university to further my goals. Neither of which taught me much as I had usually already taught myself the information before they got to it…but you need the piece of paper at the end so whatever. This ambition always took its toll from my personal life, I never had a wild teen phase as I was too busy working both at a part time job, education and my own studies. Basically I wasted opportunities to do other fun stuff so I could sit indoors and learn.

    I got an industry job but was made redundant 2 years in when we shut down (ten months ago) and since then I have been up and down mentally. My dream was to be in the games industry but when I was in it I was stressed and all in all it felt like any other job albeit more fun sometimes.

    I got a job in the mean time while I worked on portfolio but after 80 hours of work my computer broke and I lost both my hard drive and the back up. 10 months work gone in an instant. So now when I look at my life and how much I have put into the games industry I feel like I have been short changed. Not only that although I have the compulsion to keep working to keep trying I feel like I am more desiring this post because I have no idea what else to dream about.

    I feel stupid that I put in so much effort for so many years to get nothing from it. To sum up my feelings right now I kind of wish I had never had that dream and I feel like I want to give up on it but don’t know how to begin as what should I aim for instead? I have never thought about anything else and to do anything else takes training which costs money and time which I don’t have and there is no guarantee of ever being in any better situation afterwards than I am in now.

    It feels like I have no passion anymore and it feels terrible to admit to people who know how determined I was that I am giving up. It also doesn’t help that in my area now there are only 2 companies and neither are hiring (and they rarely hire artists as they get so many applications every day).

    It makes it a bit worse that the job im in (an artworker for a successful NPO) has no prospects and inspite of paying more than the games industry did for my experience level doesn’t and wont ever pay me enough to be comfortable (as in to buy a car and cover insurance and stuff).

    Until now I always had drive and a direction, it didn’t matter that I can’t drive and dont have a car or so many other things like guys my age as I was going places and had sights on a career many would die for but now I am just another failed dream or rather a quitter.

    It would be easier to decide what to do if I know I wanted to give up the dream but of course its not that simple. I love video games still but other than saying I work in video games there doesn’t seem to be an awful lot of reasons to do it any more, especially when you look at the work and sacrifices involved.

    Its got so bad these past few months I’ve been in and out of depression and even drinking (not big style drinking but maybe a can or bottle of beer at night which for me used to be super rare but now is my only way to unwind)

    I’ve tried explaining to my partner but she has never really had a dream or passion thus doesn’t understand. Right now I am envious as the opportunity cost this path has taken from me is huge and has repaid nothing.

    Sorry for this coming out so crappy. If you made it this far thanks. And if you can offer any advice I would appreciate it. This is a very small overview of my thoughts at the moment, I just seem to be going in loops which is why I decided to come here. I have been on this site for some time now but never went further than reading. You guys do good work.

    Thanks
    Ben

    #82367

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ben:

    14 years of dreaming and at 28 you feel the dream had failed you, didn’t deliver, or should I say reality failed you. That thing called reality, what a bummer it is for the dreamer when faced with the unaccomodating reality. Again, the final scene from The Never Ending Story of 1984 comes to mind. People’s dreams all died at that scene at the end, all of the magical land of Fantasia disappeared, only one grain of sand remained. That is all that remained of the magnificent dreams, dreams vanished by the Nothing, that power that feeds on people’s despair when their dreams die.

    One grain of sand. The hero of the story, is devestated that all his efforts to save the land of Fantasia failed.But the princess tells him that he can dream anew and before he knew it, that grain of sand became again Fantasia. I don’t like this ending. To me that one grain of sand is the LIFE still in me. I wouldn’t want to dream yet another dream, another fantasy. I want to live REALITY. I find reality way more tolerable than fantasy. When I let go of the dream I had (which I didn’t mention here)- I find comfort in reality.

    Lots and lots and lots, probably most people have wasted most of their lives, time, youth, resources in failed endeavors, often endeavors (unlike yours) that didn’t even have a chance to succeed. This is more the human condition than it is an exception. There is much pain in realizing this, wanting to turn the clock backward and do things differently, mourning the lost time, the lost youth, wanting the time back.

    This is life. Lots of what we are told (follow your dream; don’t give up no matter what, and so much more) is BS. I have nothing more.

    anita

    #82422

    Mike
    Participant

    My dream is to be a performing multi instrumental musician,so far though I am just a musician that practices the many instruments I own in my basement. I am able to play them all but I am not a master at any of them, I have yet to find the one instrument that really calls to me to focus solely on it and then giving up on the others is hard to me and I divide my time between them all since practicing them is like exercise you wear out those muscles. Really I can start making music whenever, it just takes time something I am lacking and an audience and to get in front of an audience takes confidence in the skill.

    I tell you this to show you that we all have dreams, but sometimes dreams have to be something you just do behind the scenes until you get to the point where you can stand on your own or you are given an opportunity. Maybe it takes meeting the right people or person. Maybe you need to expand your skills on your own on a solo hobby project, but giving up on a dream is worse than just slowly chipping away at it in a redefined way. Show off your solo work on websites people that follow their dreams rarely did it by chance and it rarely is an easy endeavor, if you Jon Acoff’s book start he has a lot to say on following dreams and living an above average life.

    #82425

    jeena
    Participant

    Anita, what was/is your dream? I’m curious.

    #82432

    anita
    Participant

    * Note to jeena: my dream was to make my mother happy (may dreams as to the HOW). Failed. I had another dream, a less intense dream, at least at first: to be free of her. Gradually, over a long, long time, humbly, Suceeding!
    anita

    #82433

    anita
    Participant

    * Note to jeena: hmm, your question and my answer made me realize something about The Never Ending Story of 1984: the last grain of sand and the building of a whole new Fantasia from that one grain, the new Fantasia can be my second dream coming true, my goodness, how helpful (your) a question can be! Thank you.
    anita

    #82453

    jeena
    Participant

    I’m glad to help Anita! haha Thank you for sharing that.

    #82460

    OHY
    Participant

    Im sorry for the responses you have gotten so far. You are simply going through the normal course of depression/sadness/loss that accompanies unemployment. Dreams only die in the face of reality if you let them and life does not follow a clear upward trend of progression. You have been made redundant because most modern companies are unstable in some way. Poor quality, short-term work is the norm for EVERYONE. Its not you. Its them. My advice is this: it is slightly possible that your data is restorable but you need an expert that knows how to dig in deep into the guts of your hard drive – surely you know someone from your last job with these sort of skills. Otherwise consider it a learning exercise. You cannot trust a computer. EVER. If it was that important more then one backup was called for. Lastly get off google. There are no answers to lifes troubles, especially those of the unemployed on the internet. Hope that helps.

    #82484

    jeena
    Participant

    Blah is right! Aerody11, I’m sorry for the sidetracked comments and not offering any help. I don’t really know what advice I can give you other than, have you thought about maybe starting your own company? Or designing your own game, app? With your skills, I’m sure you could do it. Sometimes we have to “reinvent the wheel” when our current landscape is not conducive to our happiness.

    #82489

    anita
    Participant

    Dear jeena and blah:

    Both of you apologized for the responses so far, for the “sidetracked comments”- are you two kidding me? Apologizing for MY comments? Stick to your comments, take responsiblity to your own, not to mine. I am responsible for my own comments.

    Who are the two of you, separately or together, to determine that my comments are irrelevant? I believe the are very relevant still.

    I am not in the habit of putting down other people’s comments, it is disrespectful. I will appreciate if you treat my comments with respect. Ignoring comments you do not like, or writing something specific about what you disagree with about a comment is okay, doing so respectfully.

    anita

    #82500

    jeena
    Participant

    Anita, I was talking about my own sidetracked comments. Not yours. I felt I sidetracked and I didn’t offer the poster help and I was taking responsibility for myself only.

    #82502

    anita
    Participant

    Dear jeena:

    None of our comments above were sidetracked. The original post is about dreams, not necessarily about the specificity of one particular dream, is it? If it was then the place to post it would be in a website specific to digital artists in the computer games industry. The “sidetracked comments” about replacing one unworkable dream with a workable dream is very relevant. So thank you for your comment. Do not be so quick to accept another’s (blah’s) criticism. Examine first.

    anita

    #82526

    Ben
    Participant

    Hi guys, been struggling to get time to respond so I also should apologize for taking to long to comment.

    Firstly I would like to say all your comments are valid. and they are all appreciated.

    I should also give more info. I am not unemployed, I am currently working as an artworker at a well established NPO for medical science. The pay is ok for now but not enough to have a family on (which at 28 is what creeps into your mind) and there is no room for movement in the company as being from an art not science background this is the only role I am qualified for. The job is also damn boring, I basically redraw graphs and charts with a bit of typesetting. So right now I am OK just that this is the first time in my life where I do not have a goal or plan of action, I do not know what the next step is or any idea what it should be.

    Blah I understand your point and I know too well the cycle of emotions you experience at times like this and when unemployed, I had 2 years of it when I graduated and it was the worst depression I have experienced. I could very easily keep working on portfolio in the background which is my natural reaction and until my machine died was my plan but when I actually sit down and look at pro’s and con’s of my current situation compared with the pro’s and con’s both of what happens if I DON’T get a job in industry again and what happens if I DO I have to question whether it is worth it. If I was single and able to relocate then that would sway me but as I am planted here now and reluctant to relocate my partner for this then it looks like a smart person would just refuse it.

    I mean not only am I frustrated with how little progress I have made in spite of working so hard I know for a fact that the conditions in industry are rubbish and that even if I get the best job going I won’t be working on the kind of things I would like to so it would still feel like ‘work’ if you get me.

    So really everything points to giving it up as a bad job except my inner voice which while understanding this still feels guilty like I am quitting or like I am weak. And I feel like family and friends will be disappointed in me or like I will look stupid for it. I don’t know whether this inner voice is my passion trying to get me to work through this wall or whether that voice is the stubborn part of me that refuses to quit in spite of evidence suggesting the prudent course is to walk away. And isn’t it best to walk away from something when it’s not enriching your life any?

    Anita your entire point reminds me very much of a quote (I think its from a US president but im from UK so dont know much about it) but it went like ‘do what you can with what you got where you are’ which I like. I am open right now to trying new things but have never considered what else I could be capable of and do not have the money or time to invest in education nor really do I have a desire to work for years in the hopes of getting another job in another competitive field.

    I would and have considered freelance but the field is so glutted with others that its damn hard to get a look in not to mention the amount freelancers from asia that work for much much less and are admittedly just as skilled (albeit with a language barrier).

    The way I see it I am more or less ok where I am really, just not satisfied. My limitations are lack of time and lack of money, I need a job I have skills either related to what I now know or close to. I also really want something with a quicker turnaround time as spending 80+ hours on one project really isn’t working for me, especially part time.

    It only occurred to me yesterday but I think I am going to try and set up as a part time freelance graphic designer/typesetter/3D artist. I have skills all over the place so I think if I can polish up my portfolio in other areas and maybe learn some new skills like web design e.t.c. I have no idea how this will work out but its a shot and it will allow me to maintain my current position.

    Im an hour late for work now lol but glad I finally got to reply. (I work on flexi time btw so not ACTUALLY late FYI)

    #82538

    lirik
    Participant

    Hi, I registered to respond because I feel the need to speak on this. I’m 29 and in a similar situation mentally. I hope it might help to lay out some of my thoughts reading your words. (Don’t take this as mean-spirited criticism, honestly trying to help and you already feel like shit anyway so I’m just gonna speak).

    – I got a job in the mean time while I worked on portfolio but after 80 hours of work my computer broke and I lost both my hard drive and the back up. 10 months work gone in an instant.

    Sucks man. 80 hrs of work is… not really a lot of work to get done in 10 months, even in your free time. You also mentioned being stressed out working in industry, I guess from the workload or work culture. My point is if you want to make stuff happen, you have to get comfortable with a high-workload lifestyle. Not trying to criticize you, but it sounds like right now you are doing the day-job-while-working-on-your-passion-on-the-side kind of routine but you maybe spend too much time feeling out your negative emotions to get much work done on your passion projects. During this period you need to be consistently doubling down on the work and looking ahead. You lost your previous portfolio, so think on what could have made it better and see it as an opportunity to start again from the ground up. You said you day job doesn’t pay enough to have a car so unless you are working in a sweatshop in Bangladesh I would assume you aren’t working >40-50 hrs/wk; you should easily be able to consistently spend a 2-3 focused hours a day on your portfolio. Put those hours in and appreciate the opportunity to do so, work is your ally and the source of your energy. If you experience a setback, look at it critically to learn what was done wrong and start on the next thing. Remember Michael Jordan lost over 300 games in his career. You already know that inertia and worrying about your self-worth only feed into each other.

    – And I feel like family and friends will be disappointed in me or like I will look stupid for it. I don’t know whether this inner voice is my passion trying to get me to work through this wall or whether that voice is the stubborn blah blah blah…

    a) Working hard to please family/friends is something you need to leave behind in childhood. Grown folks work for themselves and your pride and confidence in that kind of self-determination is what other people will respect you for anyway. If you are working consistently towards a goal, that’s real work and anyone who doesn’t “get it”, they will come around (or they won’t, but that’s their problem honestly).
    b) Don’t spend too much time dwelling on those kinds of questions. Answer it yes or no, or stick a pin in it, flip a coin if you have to- whatever it takes to snap you out of it so you can get back into the flow of working. Again, just relax and enjoy your own workflow. Getting in that relaxed, high-workload flow is the bedrock of productivity and success.

    -It also doesn’t help that in my area now there are only 2 companies and neither are hiring (and they rarely hire artists as they get so many applications every day). -I would and have considered freelance but the field is so glutted with others that its damn hard to get a look in

    For this and all other work-getting related issues: network, network, network. If you don’t know, ask somebody. Also I recall you are a self-teaching personality so I would advise that a good mentor is possibly the best asset you can ask for. You will know a good mentor when you meet one, don’t let them get away when you do.

    I’ve tried explaining to my partner but she has never really had a dream or passion thus doesn’t understand.

    I know the feeling, it adds to the loneliness/disconnection. The best you will get is support, but like I said the fire needs to come from you, with or without her. That said, it would very likely help to work or be friends with people you share your ambition (not necessarily in the same field). Ambition is contagious. This also overlaps with networking (see above), it’s easier to get into work mode when your social environment is already in tune with it. Probably you envision an ideal situation where your GF is everything you need socially but after college most people end up having to divide up their relational needs among multiple persons. This can be taxing for a severe introvert but it does get the job done.

    Another note: At age 28 you are in the middle of what astrology folks call the “saturn return”, basically a dark period when all your skeletons feel like they’re rolling out the closet and your demons are getting real close. Usually happens age 27-29, when all the famous rock stars died or committed suicide. I think it might have something to do with the emotional switch from young adulthood to mature adulthood but the point is: you are still getting smarter, harder, faster, leaner, and meaner, so make the most of it and keep your swagger up. All my older friends say they were more relaxed and focused after 30 (also notice that relaxation and focus go hand-in-hand).

    Anyway that’s your life, you’re only 28 so use your flexibility and don’t be afraid to prioritize your passions. The people you need in your life will respect and love you for it. Network, be outgoing, and don’t be afraid to speak up for what you need. And don’t EVER be ashamed of having a dream, at any age. Everyone WANTS what you have, everyone WANTS to be us and have that feeling.

    #82542

    anita
    Participant

    Dear aerodyll:

    What you wrote: “It only occurred to me yesterday but I think I am going to try and set up as a part time freelance graphic designer/typesetter/3D artist.’ sounds like a good idea and worth trying…but I have no experience in the field to know.

    What I do have experience with is the issue you mentioned here: “So really everything points to giving it up as a bad job except my inner voice which while understanding this still feels guilty like I am quitting or like I am weak. And I feel like family and friends will be disappointed in me or like I will look stupid for it. I don’t know whether this inner voice is my passion trying to get me to work through this wall or whether that voice is the stubborn part of me that refuses to quit.”

    This is my input: never mind family and friends being disappointed with you. Why, aren’t you disappointed in choices they have made? You are allowed to disappoint them. Talk more with your partner though. Your income and plans as far as income and time spent working should be considered when planning to have children. So, wait until you are clearer with a course of action until you and your partner are more prepared regarding time and money for new responsiblities. So you don’t complicate the situation.

    I vote for that voice in you being a stubborn part of you that refuses to quit because you indicated in so many words that you do care about how you look to others, family and friends… as if it matters in your real life. Unless those people, “family and friends” are paying your bills, why do you care what they think? With all due respect, this is YOUR life, to discuss with your partner, not with any other.

    In real life there is the thing of FLOW and going with the flow is strength. For example, flowing water is very powerful, it shapes hard rocks. But how does water flow? It chooses the path of least resistence. When it comes across a wall, it bounces against it and flows ELSEWHERE. Water reacts and moves away from difficulties and so it maintain its power. We, humans, are part of nature, human animals. The notion that we need to have a dream- and at an early age (“What do you want to do when you grow up?”) and then STICK to that one dream no matter what- well, that makes a nice story for the ONE person out of thousands that does so and succeeds, but it is not in accordance to the rules of nature. Animals react to difficulties and move away from them. They do not keep spending energy on what does not work (exceptions exist and are disasterous to the animal).

    Like water, like animals, like nature…. you bounce against a wall… again and again… move away, flow elsewhere, and you will maximize your own power in your own life.

    anita

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