For the last three years, I was dominated by one goal — switching careers from optometry to programming.
Thankfully, I am three weeks into my new career. So, I should be happy right?
I am for that moment. But once you get something that you so much so desire, the mind wants more. It’s like climbing a mountain; there will always be a taller mountain or faster ascent you want to make.
Before we answer that question, let’s look back on what I am leaving behind.
For most, losing sight is the second biggest fear behind getting cancer.
I do miss the external validation I got being an optometrist.
When I would tell people, their eyes would light up.
It’s a legitimate profession, well-respected, in demand, good income, stable, and provides good social value.
I don’t see that much excitement when I tell people I’m a web developer, even though this is the job I enjoy for myself.
The real secret is that I am lucky enough to be able to do both. And my web development skills are still being used inside the optics industry to help people see.
But saying that, I do enjoy the small things. Like being able to work from home in the office we created at my parent’s home. (A question I’m consumed with is: should I leave my parent’s home and live somewhere else?)
Instead of rushing out the door, I can enjoy my morning routine, which I think is vital now that I don’t have to be somewhere at a certain time; I can choose to be at my desk at this time. It’s tempting to roll out of bed and onto the desk and work well into the evening, but you still need to maintain that level of discipline you had before. Freedom and happiness come because you choose to do so, not because you are forced. I do trip up from time to time, but I am learning also.
An update on hobbies
Also, getting a balanced life is important as well. Programming used to be my hobby but not it’s my career so I am trying my hand at drawing and getting back into photography again.
To challenge myself more I recently picked up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at the start of this year and a few weeks ago was awarded, my first band!
Weightlifting is still happening as well albeit the weights are lower and I am going through a bit of a slump. But I keep telling myself that at least I’m still lifting weights rather than not doing it all.
Okay, so what next?
With this new career, I feel like I have been given new life. It’s very fortunate.
I was happy to coast along in optometry, but with web development, I want to excel in this career (not at the cost of relationships and my well-being).
At my current job, we spend a day a week learning. But what to learn? What are the goals that I want to achieve within this new career?
I could keep things simple:
learn a new programming language like Rust or Go,
get an AWS certification,
Or, I could talk about my bigger passions:
do conference talks and be someone who is well-known and respected in the area,
contribute to open-source projects,
help others and mentor them into a programming job,
create something of value to others (examples: Optometry resources, sharing training programmes).
But I think the big elephant is: for all these pursuits and accomplishments, I have no one special to share them with. And in order to find that person, I feel I need to do something to impress that person. It’s already a slippery slope because this feeling that I want for another person may not even be real.
What do you think?
Thanks for reading this far and I hope you gain something out of this.
What a legit post. Ok, so what do I think about the big elephant question.
Which, I like how you even asked it, because that's how I think about it: is it even real?
If you think it's real, it's real! No one can question that, only you. So in a sense, that's a decision you're actively making.
It's generally considered biological imperative to continue the species, at the very basic level. It's natural to be attracted to people, so go find people to be attracted to. Be their friend, and their friend's friends. I think with enough exposure, you can get a sense of how someone feels about you. But yeah, I don't think relationships remain in-tact for the same reasons they did in the past. Being with one person for all of life isn't easy! Need to find a good justification for both parties to put in the work to stay in a relationship.
Happy to hear you are doing well!