Man, this is a question that truly, genuinely haunts me. In my case, it’s not that was I afraid of pursuing my passions in life — it’s that I didn’t even discover most of my passions (astronomy, philosophy, politics, Japanese culture/history) until about 10 years ago. I studied English in college because I do sincerely enjoy writing. But the truth is that I don’t love it. I don’t wake up wanting to do it every single day. But if I could, I’d be ridiculously happy studying the stars every day, or discussing philosophy every day. Both of those things could keep me occupied for eternity. I would never get sick of them.
The frustrating thing for me is that it’s all because of mental illness. My OCD commanded so much of my free time in high school and college that I never really had the time to explore all the things that interested me. Writing was the only hobby I had that I enjoyed and was actually good at, hence why I majored in English. And while I definitely don’t regret it, I have to admit that if I could do it all over again, I would’ve studied astronomy and philosophy, and probably learned to speak Japanese (as opposed to studying Spanish, which was what my adviser pushed me into since I had already studied it a little in high school). Of course, the ideal scenario would have been to study all five subjects — astronomy, philosophy, Japanese, political science, and writing. But I don’t think I could’ve handled four or five majors — and I definitely could not have handled the massive student loans I would’ve had to take out to finish them, lol.
That being said, I still consider myself very lucky. I’m starting to make money with my writing now, and there’s real potential for turning this into a full-time gig. The fact that that opportunity is even available to me is something to be grateful for. I have the chance to make a living doing something I actually like. Many people don’t get that chance, and that isn’t lost on me, so I can’t complain too much!