That's what it's all about, fulfillment by your own standards, not what you think is expected of you. It's a shame that everything revolves around money now even more than it ever has because many folks seem to think that's the only yardstrick to measure success. I'm still underemployed and underpaid myself (but am continuing to make progress in both departments) but have many friends who make 6 figures and have solid careers and are thoroughly dissatisfied and don't know why because society tells them they should be happy. One such friend figured it out and walked away from his career to resume dancing professionally while being a personal trainer. He has less money but way more happiness. And what he did is ridiculously rare in an especially money hungry city like SF. I'm proud of him.
It's not just money- constantly being busy has become a badge of honor to the extent that people won't text others back immediately because that exposes them as not being "busy enough". So if you're not particularly ambitious and you're happy with a modest career and income and a small circle of friends, you're constantly being bombarded with messages telling you you're wasting your life. Well, #### that. Happiness and growth take many forms depending on the individual.
And on a personal note, because of your history, I'll reiterate what I said in my original response to Billdude by quoting "Pulp Fiction"- we should be ####ing dead, my friend. So the mere fact that we're alive, healthy, sober (except for weed in my case) and have circles of good friends who we didn't drive off while struggling w/ addiction is ####ing huge. Try not to forget that.