A friend of mine, an artist by night, desire, and in spirit, is making ends meet working in an office job by day. In an effort to maintain her private life and to prevent leaking the secret – her greatest desire in life is in fact not to die in her cubicle – she typically does not tell her colleagues about her creative aspirations.

A colleague of hers (that we will call Alice), however, recently found out.

“I heard you were an artist.”

“Yes, I’m an artist,” my friend confided.

Straight to the point, “You’re an artist? This must be awful for you working here. What does it feel like?”

Sensing empathy, “Like the slow suffocation of my soul,” my friend conceded in a bold, confessional moment.

And then, Alice started to cry and made a confession of her own. She had attended cooking school to be a chef. All she thought about was opening her own bistro, yet she has been in her office job, stuck, for years.

When I hear this, I want to meet Alice. Hug Alice. Shake Alice and ask her why. Do you stay for the health insurance? Do you stay for your family? Do you have a family? What do they think? Have you ever pursued being a chef? Been a chef, but it didn’t work out? Worked in a restaurant to learn the ropes? Are you pursuing your passion on the side? Is pursuing your passion something you believe you can do? Believe you can be successful at? What is your plan?

I know there are a lot of the reasons and many answers, but I don’t want to give up on asking the question, “Why are there so many Alices?”