my 6-month hiatus from salaryman life has confirmed a lot of my suspicions about myself
1. not having a job makes it a LOT easier to exercise, and prep your own food, and spend long hours reading books...

...aaaand I still don't really do very much of any of those things. I do them maybe about 5-10% as much as I kinda-vaguely fantasized that I might maybe do
2. not having a job means I don't have to go to bed... ever. basically the only thing that makes me go to sleep is the worry that my wife will be annoyed with me if she's up w/o me too many days in a row. otherwise I'd be quite comfortable idling online till 8-9am (4am now)
3. I suspected that if I had more free time, large expanses of free time, I would finally dig into my photos and files and sort them out. This is correct! I have spent quite a bit of time doing this. And I have discovered that it takes a lot more time than I thought it would
the reason, it seems to me, that i have to spend a lot of time going through my photos, is because a lot of my photos are memory triggers with vague micro-intents. sorting my photos required me to figure out projects and goals. 100s of photos can be a "shadow project" in waiting
4. I suspected that if I didn't have a job, I would be writing sprawling essays + refactoring my blog. This... is half-true? I've obviously been spending most of my "writing time" on twitter. The full extent of the utility of this remains to be seen. I now blog like I tweet, too
I think that was a hope rather than a suspicion – and I feel reassured. I've had friends who, upon leaving their jobs, found themselves shifty and uncomfortable after sitting around for two months. Me, I'm pretty confident I could do this for *years*, just following my curiosity
I think I was in a bit of a hurry to get around to writing essays out of fear of being an unproductive bum – but I don't feel bad about it because I can tell that my mind has been happily chewing and ruminating on all sorts of stuff. The essays are in there, being dreamed
5. I suspected that my mind was being "weighed down" by work. This is true. I was astounded by just how many files & folders I had accumulated in 5+ years of work. Here's *one* map I made to make sense of some of the territory I was working with. I was carrying this in my head
to be clear, that's not a bad thing. Having a job means having responsibilities – that's what you're being paid to do. It's just staggering how much of your headspace it takes up, & how much more headspace you have when it's gone. I'd say it took me 2+ months to "recover"
there are many layers to this

I was working at an ambitious company where everyone was working hard (I loved this)

I was bad at managing my time and boundaries (this is bad)

my workday involved writing, my personal passion involves writing (there are pros and cons)
OK so here's a nuanced-ish thing I want to say

In November 2017, I wrote the entire draft of a novel. I wrote every morning before I went to work, and/or every night before I went to bed. It was tiring & tedious, but I did it. It was tough. but it was doable. I got it out of me
That said, it was basically fictionalized-memoir-ish type of book, so I didn't have to think too much. But I didn't have the energy to think much about *structure*, about how everything was put together. That's for Editor Visa to worry about down the road. Now...
Having the freedom and clear-headedness and vast expanse of open time that I have (to edit the novel if I choose, or to do whatever else I feel like doing)...

I absolutely *cannot* imagine suffering the hideous project of editing a novel while working a demanding full time job
I used to feel so guilty about feeling that. About thinking the thought "oh, I'm so tired, it would be easier if I had free time." And then thinking "you fucker, you're just making up excuses. soldiers wrote poems in trenches with their legs blown off. what's your excuse"
quick segue – here's a picture of me before I left my job (for a passport shot, lol), and one of me a couple of weeks after

I loved my job!! I loved my colleagues!!

but I am clearly so much happier and healthier and fresher without it

regardless of diet and sleep
I did NOT start sleeping well or eating healthy, lol. I spent the 1st month giving absolutely no fucks and eating mcdonalds almost every day. I just wanted to not give a fuck about anything at all. my wife, bless her soul, tolerated this. I just played video games it was glorious
Now. it's very plausible that a person more skilled than me might've been able to handle my commute, my workload and all the other stresses of my life in a much healthier, net-positive way. I had colleagues who were super fit & fresh & happy; they seemed to be doing it!
I also learned so much at work about being better at managing myself. I think the analogy I'd use is... "psychological debt?". Getting married, buying a house, having a job... all added more responsibilities, more "debt". This needs to be "discharged" healthily
2013–2018.5 was the most stressful period of my life. It was also the most productive. I learned and grew more than ever before. But I think I made some critical mistakes that I didn't know how to correct "on the fly" *with the skillset that I had*. I could probably do it *now*
If Visa-28 with present levels of freshness & clarity could be transported back, I would be more effective, focused, proactive. I would be much more ruthless about my priorities and boundaries, &be clearer about what I can and cannot deliver. Make fewer promises but get them done
But there is *no way* that Visa-23-thru-27 could have done better than what they did. I'm so proud of + grateful to all those clowns because they did their damned best with what they had. and they were clueless idiots 😂 often blindly trusting I would make their sacrifices count
Back to the trenches thing – I think there's an important distinction to be made between acute stress and chronic stress. And I think chronic stress is a lot harder to deal with. (I think Taleb has a quote that's like, "much of modern life is preventable chronic stress injury"?)
the crazy thing about chronic stress type problems (of all kinds – physical, psychological, they all seem connected anyway) is that they become your new baseline. you adjust to them. you get used to it. it becomes your new way of being, a little bit at a time. then it gets worse
I feel like I’m digressing, lol. I have a LOT to say about all of this... I think I’ll expand this thread into a blogpost tomorrow. All in all this has been a really positive and formative experience for me and I have absolutely *no* idea if it would be the same for you
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