It doesn't particularly make sense to me as to why our options are so limited in life.
That sounds absurd. You can be a doctor or a hobo or a police chief or a lion tamer or.... well, you get the idea. Yes. This is true, you can BE whatever you want (if you BELIEVE!) but that's a tiny particle amidst the bigger picture!
Still, in order to survive and not disappoint those you love, you have to "grow up", to some extent. You have to LIVE and be independent and let go of people you care about. You have to lose people you enjoy having in your life. You have to be born and you have to thrive and you have to die. You and I don't have a choice in the matter.
I may want to go through life without stressing about taxes and work and grades, but in order to live a full life, I am expected to do this. Even if I live on my own terms, not caring about what anyone thinks, then I am just living a selfish life, and what's the joy in that? Majority of people allow themselves to be stressed and anxious and sad because we care about other people. Which would be fine; if we got to determine WHAT mattered.
What matters to those around us matters to us because of pre-determined expectations. What's "average" and "right" is what's "best".
If someone doesn't like the rules, they have no say in how it will affect others. If someone decides to live with their parents, not have a traditional job, and just work on their paintings or their inventions or their book their entire lives; sure, they could do that. But who does that benefit throughout? Not many people. Success and moving "forward" is what people want to see. Otherwise, you're not doing a whole lot. Even if in the end your invention helps millions of people, what good were those years between? Even if you were helping people and being a good person; chances are, no one will be impressed. Except, maybe other people who didn't bother doing much else with their life. This especially applies if one comes from a history of "successful" people.
**** Yes, I am putting a lot of words in quotes. This is because they note which terms are subjective. What one considers successful will differ greatly from what another does. But there is an objective view of what is success and selflessness and respectable. Myself included, I have my own bigoted views and snobby attitude from time-to-time. We all have standards. Some people just cut it off at "Well, if you have no desire to murder me, you aren't bad!", and others expect a lot more. Also, what I stated above is not necessarily my opinion (obviously!)
If your entire life, you've been surrounded by blue-collar influences, then you may view that as being the hardest working type of people. The most decent sort, and the kind of person you aim to be.
If your entire life you've been surrounded by white-collar folks, your standards will differ. You may hate that world, you may resent it, but that may still be the kind of person you aim to be. You may not become an accountant or CEO, but that is probably still what you view as the height of achievement. This won't immediately be obvious to you, or you may be in denial, but if there is an ingrained sense of degradation towards the blue-collar (or alternative lifestyle) variety, there is little chance one setting their goals at that point. Education and knowledge will always be a higher form of success and intelligence in your book.
There is certainly a high-anxiety-level in people of this type. Being an artist is difficult in its own right, due to the fact that making money and earning respect will be more of a difficult task. However, being that humans are social creatures, if expectations upon you are higher and more difficult to attain, stress will be higher.
This is another of those unfair aspects of life. Being thrown into the world, being labeled and boxed, and then told, "Maintain this or live knowing you've let us down." This is the opposite of what some professionals would call 'unconditional positive reinforcement'. A rare find these days. Everyone has felt that pressure. "If you are not like me (or what I want you to be like), I won't love you, or like you, or be proud of you, or support you.... etc."
Above all else, without UPR, life is more challenging. Bills may not get paid, assignments may not be in on time, but if at the end of the day someone still can appreciate you, I imagine you will still find joy and a purpose for living.
The thing is, most of us never leave the adolescent stage. We seek approval from others and we're spiteful. We're spiteful because we seek approval. Odd, isn't it? Like teenagers, people are so terrified of being rejected that we sometimes intentionally ruin a good thing before we can unintentionally ruin it. We also will stubbornly give up if we do not receive the feedback we seek.
Where one's priorities lie will nearly entirely determine their potential for contentedness throughout life. I can't say what will improve one's standing and pleasure. I cannot say how one resolves and rebirths. I suppose the most important thing is remembering that, one day, you'll be on your death bed. You may be surrounded by people who love you, you may be all alone when it happens. But, at that point, you have to face your choices and your life. What you've accomplished and seen and tried, that will be what's left with you. Sure, your time alive and suffering will be much longer than those weeks, days, or hours before death, when you can really contemplate everything, but what sums it all up are those last 20 minutes. No matter how senile or poorly you are, what you have experienced through life will be there with you in that moment. Maybe what matters the very most is what you find once you're at that point.
After all, we've all experienced what's prior to life, we'll all experience what's post-life; the time in-between the two is quite long and arduous, but maybe it's worth making it a good time.