In surfing there's this thing called professional free surfer. It's someone who's paid to surf but doesn't have the obligation to participate in contests. I'm not sure how many sports offers this possibility. You can dedicate your time to your sport without being a world champion or even trying to be one. You can think of them as influencers. They produce content. Get a lot of eyeballs on what they create and brands want to be involved.
A friend of mine opted to become a professional surfer. A free surfer. He's job is to create surfing content. This year during pandemic he couldn't travel and during lock-down couldn't even go to the beach. His reality was no travel, no surfing, no content, no sponsors. This meant he had to find (normal) work to get some stable income.
A few months ago he told me, "I'm getting old, don't have a degree, don't have any skills. My future (career wise) is very limited". He's 28. I remember being 27 and thinking the same. He's wrong. I was also wrong.
At 27 after 6 years in finance I moved to tech. Started from the bottom. Built a successful career in software sales. I'm very happy for staying the course. Even if it's not my long term goal it opened many doors.
Whatever it is, 5 years from now I'll say I wish I'd stayed the course. That's a big reason for writing this blog and documenting how I'm building products.
Started programming more than a decade ago. I'm far from a professional developer but I'm capable of creating applications. I'm grateful to my past self for pushing through.