Oh, you’re so smart, you should be a lawyer! You’re such a great artist, you should do like that Thomas Kinkaid and paint with light! You’re such a good writer, you should write novels like James Patterson! Those things are great, if you want to practice law, paint schmaltzy landscapes, or bang out thrillers. It sucks if you have absolutely no desire to do those things.
People are well-intentioned when they give you advice on your creative life. They’re usually trying to drive you toward what they define as success, which translates to making a lot of money. Or making enough money. Or making any money. The world is filled with starving artists and actors waiting tables, and they want to help you avoid that sort of fate. They think it’s helpful to point out that you can have your cake and eat it, too.
Well, except it really doesn’t work that way, does it? If you drew a big Venn diagram with “my creative calling” on one circle and “how I pay my bills” in the other, the overlap may not be very large. It may be painfully slim. There may not be any overlap at all. Not all passionate cooks open restaurants, not all writers turn out bestsellers, not all painters fill galleries. But that’s not why we do it, is it? The reason the starving artists aren’t well-fed stockbrokers is because they’re called to be artists, and they need to follow that call. The reason actors wait tables rather than become successful tax accountants is because their passion is to act.
The politics of regret are such that other people will regret that you didn’t follow the path they envisioned for you, whereas if you took that path you will regret not following the path you envisioned for yourself. It can be a battle, and lead to arguments and difficulties, but you will always lose if you don’t follow your passion and your calling to the extent that you are able.