I was recently in conversation with a fellow business woman, probably about 60 years old. She is an optometrist (non-physician). Always interested in how and why people choose their career path, I asked her how she came to this profession. She cast her eyes downward and replied with an obvious sense of disappointment that what she had actually wanted to be was an ophthalmologist (physician). She relayed how when she was a young woman pursuing this goal, the field was dominated by men, most of whom discouraged her from the M.D. route and steered her toward the optometry path. She said that even her male mentor, an ophthalmologist, encouraged her to pursue optometry instead. Even though she has a successful business and enjoys her work, she has deep regrets for not following her heart and her instincts to ophthalmology. She confided that she has always considered herself to be a strong independent woman and still can’t believe that she allowed others to talk her out of her dream. All these years later, the regret, disappointment and even bitterness were evident on the surface.
I once heard someone say that when a person tells you can’t (and ‘shouldn’t’) do something it may be because they are afraid you will do it. Everyone on this planet has their own agenda and a vision of how the world should be. In the end, each of us has to follow our heart and instincts and choose the path that is right for us. We have only ourselves to answer to and will have to live with the decisions (and the regrets) we make. Be true to yourself.