I am going to use this blog to discuss the time I’m taking out from my normal career. These posts don’t really cover game and will read more like journal entries.
Sabbatical Day 18
I am now on day 18 of my (possibly ephemeral) early retirement from the corporate rat race. So far I’ve been back in my hometown to see my family, then spent a long weekend with friends in the middle east and have now been in Singapore a week.
I had an unsatisfying day today. I pontificated grotsequely all morning and didn’t leave the house till 2pm. I couldn’t settle in Starbucks and couldn’t concentrate: the mall was too noisy and cold (they turn the air con up to hypothermia-inducing levels in Asian malls). I decided to just go home and then walking home felt an awful feeling of claustrophobia and anxiety. Claustrophobia as I was heading back to the same apartment. Dread that I was losing control of my schedule and structure and not going to enjoy my sabbatical. I kept asking myself..”Am I having FUN? Why am I not having fun? Am I happy? Happier than in the office at least?”. I didn’t feel like I was having fun. I didn’t feel miserable, but I didn’t feel full of joy. I felt…normal, but with a slight feeling of anxiety, which is sadly, for me, pretty normal. I started to wonder, would I every be happy? Can men really ever be content and happy?
First off I’m reframing these worries as a good sign. I’m really only on the first productive ‘day’ of my sabbatical as I had always planned to take the first 2 weeks as pure chilling and jetlag recovery. Even then I actually achieved quite a lot last week:
- Got 20 new game leads
- Did daygame and got 3 solid leads
- Researched Muay Thai gyms and visited 4
- Did first gruelling session at gym of choice
- Went on a few day trips
I’m pretty pleased that I’m already concerned about woppery on day one; it means I’m likely to address and counter it. By writing this post, plus my personal journal (which I don’t publish) I take measures to examine my mindset and self improve.
I’m not so much as a fool to think that the purpose of stopping the career job was to simply laze about. I’d be miserable very quickly doing that. I’ve already talked about the embarrasingly named concept of ‘self carroting’ but I do believe that you need to have a few projects and passions to work on to give yourself structure and goals. I also believe that relaxation is relative and comes as a contrast to the work you do. Sometimes happiness is a chemical by-product of the satisfaction that achievement brings. Has anyone ever seen a movie called “The Pursuit of Happyness” (sic)? It’s the best thing I’ve ever seen Will Smith in: an actual serious movie, and it’s superb. It’s the life of a guy that struggles, and at one point he achieves a goal before having to plunge back into struggle and he says “there! right there! that. THAT was happiness. that moment”. I urge you to watch this film. Shout-out to whomsoever first recommended it to me in the distant past… I forget.
Thus the irony is that in some ways career jobs are a very effective mechanism for some people in achieving relaxation and happiness. My problem with career jobs is that the negatives outweigh the positives:
- I hate working with gammas and betas and women
- I cannot get enough sleep and am permanently exhausted
- I cannot get enough time to exercise and counteract the physically detremental effects of an office job and my body deteriorates terribly
- My career was in something I had no interest in and every day became a kind of mental torture
- The effect on my vibe became so great that I struggled to enjoy my time outside of work
On the other hand, as a previous commentor noted, you have to be careful to not get too goal addicted and become too hard on yourself.. but I will worry about that when I get there.
It’s funny but as I write this I feel all worry and stress draining from my body. Writing a journal is incredibly therapeutic. It’s a blissful, meditative feeling. The joy of putting one’s thoughts in order?
Let me stop rambling here, sum up and make a few action points:
Sabbatical is a skill
I think learning to live without the structure of a career job is a skill as in itself and more so, it is a muscle that if it has not been worked out recently needs a while to get back into condition. It personally took me years and years to learn to work in a 9 to 5 job so one cannot expect to conversely learn to live the sabbatical lifestyle immediately. It will be a learning process. As I have said before I have done this before but in some ways I just made the most obvious mistakes and identified them, I now need to learn to put the solutions into practice.
This has plagued humanity for thousands of years so I don’t intend to find the answers in this blog post. My current thoughts are that certain types of men are not really wired to be happy and content and that is why they achieve so much for themselves and their cultures. Perhaps the normal state is discontent. Everything is relative. I think there’s a certain calm which can be achieved by stop trying to be ‘happy’ and instead just aiming to be the least unhappy. Perhaps trying to be ‘happy’ is too big a goal and one should just focus on maximizing second tier attributes, such as:
- Being healthy
- Being social
- Eating well
- Sleeping well
- Learning things
- Deep connection with other people
- Social interaction
- Achieving things
- Having structure
- Having sex
I have also accepted something as well: I’m one of life’s worriers. It seems to be my default state. Recognizing this makes it so much easier to tame.
In true journal style I’ve knocked up a quick list of action points which I think can radically reduce my sense of anxiety within days:
- Go to bed early
- Get up early
- Religiously adhere to the ‘no internet’ after 10pm rule
- Prepare a weekly timetable with training days, project work, ‘time off’ etc
- Have a hard timeline to leave the apartment x time after rising
- Make sure to leave the apartment more often: pack a bag and go find new areas to work in or explore
- Make sure to have little bits of time off to chill, look at shops, meditate, whatever..