People who regret not living out their childhood dreams often display these 8 behaviors later in life

Unfortunately, not everyone gets to live out their childhood dreams.

Some have to pivot and choose a different path due to practical reasons.

Others don’t get the big break they were hoping for.

When that happens, the disappointment can manifest in various ways further down the line.

People who regret not living out their childhood dreams often display these 8 behaviors later in life.

Some are healthier than others.

1) They get nostalgic

If you know someone who likes to reminisce about the past a little too much, it might be because they have a deep longing for how things might have been.

Or maybe you’re a little too prone to nostalgia?

People who regret not living out their childhood dreams often look back with rose-colored glasses, glorifying their young years when the future seemed bright and open.

At my high school reunion, several ex-classmates spoke fondly about our time together and even said they would do anything to be able to go back in time.

And while I enjoyed high school just fine, I’ve never felt the desire to turn back the clock and relive those awkward and confusing years.

I’m much happier and self-assured now, thank you very much.

But then I inquired about how things were going for them, and they didn’t seem particularly happy with their life paths.

That’s when it clicked.

They were extra-nostalgic because the past felt more comfortable than the present.

2) They daydream (a lot)

Another common behavior among people who regret not living out their childhood dreams is daydreaming.

For them, daydreaming becomes a coping mechanism.

It allows them to momentarily escape from the realities of their present lives and retreat into a world where their aspirations are still attainable.

In these fantasies, they imagine themselves living out their passions, excelling in their chosen fields, and basking in the glory of their long-held aspirations.

There’s no wonder they prefer their fake scenarios over day-to-day life.

But while a little daydreaming doesn’t hurt anyone, a lot can be a symptom of mental health issues like anxiety or depression.

Something to keep in mind.

3) They appear dissatisfied with their career

Regret over unfulfilled childhood dreams can also manifest as dissatisfaction with your career later in life.

The dissatisfaction stems from the misalignment between what you’re doing now and what you wanted to do back then.

Even if you have a good job, you might still question your career choices or wonder what could have been if you had pursued your youthful aspirations.

As a result, you can’t be 100% immersed in your current occupation:

  • You’re not invested in your job and find it hard to stay motivated
  • You feel stuck with your current career, leading to endless frustration
  • The thought of returning to work after the weekend evokes feelings of dread
  • You’re perpetually tired, regardless of how much rest you get

It’s vital to pay your bills, sure, but maybe you can find employment that doesn’t make you want to die inside?

4) They envy others’ successes

Failing to become what you dreamt of as a kid might leave you jealous of others’ success later in life.

Seeing others achieve the goals you once aspired to can evoke feelings of inadequacy, serving as a stark reminder of your unfulfilled aspirations.

Worse, you may find yourself constantly comparing your achievements to those of others and falling short.

I hope to write a fiction book one day.

While I still have time to reach my goal, I sometimes feel a pang of jealousy when I see a much younger author score an incredible publishing deal.

I frown, I look up their credentials, I scold myself for not working harder or putting myself out there more.

Eventually, I remember that someone else’s success doesn’t diminish my own.

Even if there’s no possibility to still live out your childhood dreams, envying those who manage to live out their own will only fuel your resentment.

Focus on the things you can control.

Regardless of how old you are, there’s always room to grow.

5) They are passionate about their hobbies

non obvious signs someone is really intelligent People who regret not living out their childhood dreams often display these 8 behaviors later in life

A much healthier behavior or people who regret not living out their childhood dreams?

They pour their passion into their hobbies and side projects later in life.

Let’s say you wanted to become a famous singer, but your career never took off.  You can still enjoy karaoke nights with friends or join a community choir.

Or, maybe you’ve dreamt of becoming a professional athlete. You can still find fulfillment in recreational sports leagues or fitness activities.

You get the idea.

Just because you didn’t get to live out your dream doesn’t mean that you have to give up on your passion forever.

6) They live through their children

Living vicariously through children is a common phenomenon among individuals who regret not seeing their own childhood dreams come true.

They may see their children as an opportunity to fulfill the aspirations they were unable to achieve themselves, projecting their desires onto their offspring:

  • They become helicopter parents and are way too involved in their children’s lives
  • They overtly encourage their children to pursue the same dreams they once envisioned for themselves
  • They pressure kids to excel in areas where they fell short
  • They experience intense emotions related to their kids’ performance

Tying your self-worth to your children’s success is a recipe for failure.

First off, it places undue pressure on the child and strains the parent-child relationship.

Kids will likely feel burdened by unrealistic expectations or resentful of being used as a vessel for their parents’ unfulfilled dreams.

Moreover, it keeps the parents stuck in the past, obsessing over their children’s path and forgetting to live their own lives.

In short, it’s not a constructive way to deal with disappointment.

7) They mentor others

Mentoring others, on the other hand, allows people who regret not living out their childhood dreams to channel their passion into a meaningful pursuit.

Mentoring lets them share their expertise and make a positive impact on others, while also putting their knowledge to good use.

It’s a chance to reflect on the past and glean wisdom from it.

By imparting these lessons to others, you can find validation and closure.

Plus, it enables you to leave a lasting legacy by passing down your skills to future generations.

It might not be ideal, but it’s the next best thing.

8) They have low self-esteem

Finally, people who harbor regrets about not living up to their potential might have low self-esteem later in life.

Unfulfilled dreams can internalize a sense of failure.

If you keep blaming yourself for not taking the necessary steps to pursue your aspirations in a timely manner, all you do is chip away at your confidence.

Before long, it becomes increasingly more difficult to envision a bright future for yourself.

Furthermore, abandoned aspirations can lead to confusion regarding your identity and purpose.

You struggle to reconcile reality with the dreams you once held dear, leading to feelings of disconnection.

Cue the rumination and existential angst.

It’s essential to address these negative thought patterns and cultivate a more compassionate relationship with yourself.

Rather than putting yourself down, look for renewed purpose.

There are countless examples of people who found their true calling later in life.

Age is nothing but a number.

Bottom line

Many people have regrets, but not everyone dwells on them.

While missing out on your childhood dreams may leave a hole in your heart, it’s important to make peace with the past and focus on the present.

What can you do right now to enrich your life?

Just because one dream has expired doesn’t mean you can’t come up with a new one.

Who knows?

History doesn’t have to repeat itself, and the universe might work in your favor. 

Picture of Alexandra Plesa

Alexandra Plesa

Alexandra Pleșa is a freelance writer obsessed with television, self-development, and thriller books. Former journalist, current pop culture junkie. Follow her on Twitter: @alexandraplesa

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