It’s been about 3 years since I said, “Screw this shit, no mas” to the corporate workplace. Yup, there’s been plenty of ups and downs from that point up to now, but all things considered, I can say quite confidently to you all now:
I’ve got absolutely zero regrets.
Sure, I wish I had a “do over” button a lot of the times; along the journey of Life After the Rat Race, I’ve made my fair share of lousy decisions:
- Investing/speculating on garbage: stocks, cryptos, etc.
- Wasting way too much time/energy/money going on bad date after bad date.
- Not spending near enough quality time with some very important people.
Anyway, given everything that’s happened up to now, all thing considered, if I could do it all over again…
I would do exactly the same thing.
A lot of you long-time readers already know this, but man, for awhile towards the end of my working career, I became a really unbalanced person…
All work and no play make Jay an even duller (lamer) person than he already was/is.
Doesn’t that sound like a film you sure (don’t) wanna watch?
For those of you who are so damn entrenched with your work, you can probably relate to what I’m saying and what I went through myself — You think back to what you’ve accomplished in the last week, month, year, few years, etc. outside of work, and like your mind draws a total blank because you can’t fucking think of anything really noteworthy that happened…
And on the regular, you feel something sorta like the following:
- Too tired to go to the gym.
- Just wanna watch TV or go to sleep after work.
- Need weekends to recharge the batteries for another grueling week ahead.
- When watching the movie Office Space (for the nth time) you don’t know whether to laugh or cry (because you relate to it so damn much).
Anyway, because of all that stuff, for me personally, there came a point in time when I reached this fork in the road and had to decide if chasing MOAR and MOAR $$$ was worth all the other unhappiness that it was bringing (stockpiling) into my life.
I mean, like I’ve said countless times before, when it comes to human greed towards money, there’s no limit to it; this ain’t a buffet where you simply eat until you can’t stand anymore and have extreme difficulty even breathing normally (so you therefore must finally concede defeat, give up, and stop eating)…
Nah, when it comes to human greed towards money, MOAR is ALWAYS better!
But as I found out for myself, if you insist on chasing $$$ for perpetuity, you’re still never gonna unlock the gates to happiness, which will always feel like they’re nowhere to be found because you ain’t got any free time for yourself to even remotely remember what inspires/excites/motivates you.
So, I drew a line in the sand and ultimately decided to walk away.
Really, the straw that finally broke the camel’s back for me was the stark realization that tomorrow is NOT guaranteed to any of us.
Sure, I greatly understand when you’re young, hungry, and full of vigor, you wanna maximize your earnings power as much as possible and work you ass off endlessly to build up a sizable war chest (i.e. net worth).
But as my good buddy often likes to remind me, once you’ve won the game, what’s the point in continuing to play (so aggressively)?
I mean, if stuff like your most important relationships and personal health are at risk and being compromised, doesn’t there eventually come a point in time where you ought to at least think about scaling back? Going on a prolonged vacation? Changing things up? Trying something new (i.e. less soul-sucking and life-destroying)?
For myself, point blank — I was already experiencing chronic pains and stuff like heart palpitations… I even had panic attacks when I was vacationing out in Florida… My body was breaking down right before my eyes and I knew deep down to my core that if I didn’t make some rather drastic changes, I might not even live to see tomorrow.
Again, tomorrow is never guaranteed to any of us…
So, I feel like I did what I had to do, when I did what I did…
I really truly madly deeply did NOT want to end up on my death bed thinking, “WTFFFFFF was I thinking sacrificing my one and only life for $$$ alone!?!?!”
Being the richest man in the graveyard is NOT something I aspire to be!
At that particular juncture in my life, I felt like I had NOT lived in a really, really, really, really loooooooong time… I had no real-world experiences, I had barely travelled the world, and I knew if I went lights out (fare thee well, world), I would have MASSIVE regrets.
- All the stuff I didn’t do.
- All the plans that got cancelled.
- All the things I kept putting off until “tomorrow”, a day that never comes.
In essence, I was only living for a paycheck… That’s where all my blood, sweat, tears were assigned to. Perhaps, to the delight of my employer(s), but for myself and my own personal happiness… wait, what happiness?
Happiness was non-existent for me.
Some pretty crazy, sad, fucked up shit, right?
That’s the truth, man, I don’t know how else to put it…
But these last 3 years?
Really, I believe wholeheartedly I’ve experienced more these last 3 years than the previous 30 years before that… For sure, I feel like a much more well-rounded individual, and I’ve got so much to be thankful/grateful for now.
Yes, to a certain degree money does help us “buy” happiness…
But, again, it’s all about balance…
Even if, say, you’ve got $100 million in the bank account, but you’re sick and tired all the time, you’ve neglected your friends and family, you haven’t done shit outside of work at the office, I mean, damn, is that type of sacrifice really worth it? To me, it just doesn’t seem like a healthy way to go about things, especially NOT a “formula” for happiness…
So yeah, really, I think for each one of us, we gotta figure out a way to “self regulate” and know when “enough is enough”. Because, again, when we out chasing that $$$, there’s no indicator we can turn to that will tell us when to stop… In the quest for MOAR, there’s ALWAYS a whole hell of a lot MOAR, for eternity…
Throughout the course of human history, greed has (and can) live on for eternity… Unfortunately, for each one of us mere mortals, we cannot…
Therefore, once you’ve won the game and can finally check out of Hotel California, you owe it yourself, in my own humble opinion, to at least contemplate the idea of taking a break/pausing/stopping/etc.
You know, stop and remember to smell the roses, again…
Life experiences >>> $$$
Especially, if you feel like Jay did, and had thoughts like, “Man, so it was actually possible for this year to be even lamer than last year… when I did nothing at all but work.”
I gotta say, these last 3 years have been AMAZING and absolutely PRICELESS.
It’s really an incredible feeling to be able to feel like you’re living life again.