I have the same sympathy as the (thread!) parent. I feel in some ways we live in an age where traditional societal pressures about who one "should" be as an adult are deteriorating, and I'm personally glad for it.
Yes, but in this age of self-realization many people feel they're not accomplished enough, many of us chose to or are forced to be cogs in the machinery rather than chasing our dreams. It's not cool to be a burger flipper at McD and I don't think the social pressure is any easier than before, in the eyes of our peers it's fairly easy to fail at life and if you take that at face value you'd be pretty depressed. Choosing to avoid things to ignore how badly you suck at them is common, for example not exercising since that'd reveal just how poorly your shape is. In that sense I can in certain ways understand people who choose to recluse from life rather than deal with it, if you don't try nobody will see how badly you fail.