I know why people get wrapped up in their careers. It’s because everyone starts out by the time they’re old enough to think like an adult building a hundred things from scratch, knowing that you have to keep a lot of logs on the fire, a lot of plates spinning in the air, because most of them will turn to shit, painfully, no matter what you do. If you get lucky, one or two things won’t. For some people, the thing that doesn’t is the career.
Once you reach a certain age and you’ve started a lot of fires and thrown on a lot of logs and put yourself out there a lot of times and nearly everything has failed to bloom and you can see that half of your life is gone and starting all over again yet again will take half as long again, you decide quickly to stick to what you’ve got — to the things that seem to have worked. You lament the rest of it — a lot — and drink some, but then you go back to what you still have and work on it.
Once you pass that point where you say “there’s a good chance that this is halfway,” you don’t waste your time anymore. You try to maximize your winnings and minimize your failures.