It’s been just over a year since I quit my nine to five and I wanted to write a rambling update as to how my life has been. I wrote two posts on the subject last year, one on my last day of work and another one month into it (links here and here respectively), plus anything under the “time rich, cash poor” label (link here), which you can read to see what I thought.
Throughout this post I’ll be comparing my experience to Bodi’s; he wrote a lot of blog posts when he took his sabbatical all the way back in 2014/15 and it was really interesting to go back and read them and compare them with my own experience (link here). I’ve found many key points to be the same, which I’ll get onto, though one large point that is different is that I’ve chosen to base myself in London rather than go full nomadic and live in different parts of the world.
Now let’s get into it.
General Life Satisfaction
Every now and then in my old job, I – maybe once a quarter – would have truly awful days where I would need to take a walk just to calm down or to let my frustration at the situation dissipate. That or not being able to go to sleep on a Sunday night because of the sheer feeling of pointlessness which awaited me the next day. As you can imagine, that’s not a healthy situation to be in regardless of how infrequent it was. And I don’t expect many people to have the same feeling – they’re happy to get on with their work and tolerate what comes with it – but I’ve never enjoyed working for someone else especially in doing things which I see as either pointless or simple overkill. That’s one thing that I love about my new life: that everything I do, work-wise, is for me; it means there aren’t any pointless tasks anymore because I’m the beneficiary of the output.
I now sometimes have these “work flashbacks” where I would think about said tasks I used to perform; usually they would occur to me at the same time I would have been doing them while I worked there. That or seeing that it was 5pm and thinking “I would have been at work for a whole more hour one year ago” whereas today I might have already gone to the gym, made a nice lunch, taken care of some chores and be off to do some coaching or some Daygame for myself.
“Instead of having weird existential panick attacks like I occassionally did in Singapore I now have random blissful satisfaction attacks.”
I picked out this quote from one of Bodi’s posts because I can really relate to it. Even though I never had any panic attacks when I quit my job I do get these really nice moments where I think to myself “this is a really nice life I’m living,” similar to what I imagine Bodi’s “satisfaction attacks” were like. I like to go with another Daygamer to a local open-air swimming pool for cold water exposure and sauna (no homo). He doesn’t work a nine to five job either and so our conversation often turns to appreciating our lives. And honestly, what do I have to complain about in life? Sure, it would be nice to have a bit more money, a few more pounds of muscle and a few extra lays each year, but that’s only human nature always driving you towards more. But, when you put it all in perspective, my life is going pretty well and I feel a persistent baseline satisfaction with everything.
It’s funny to think that only 20 minutes away, each day, there are thousands of people working away at jobs I can only guess they tolerate rather than savour. In fact, I’ve had it on my to-do list for a long time just to go back to the area where I used to work and read a book and do some work on my laptop. That should help me maintain my new perspective and continue to validate my decision to leave that world.
The Daygame coaching business is very cyclical – most of it happens between April and October and even then you tend to make most of your money in quick bursts – and so the mental battle comes to how to handle being “time rich.” When you go from working 40 hours a week – or at least being chained to a laptop/in an office for that time – to having complete control of your schedule it can fuck with your head. This is something Bodi talked a lot about in his posts and one I wholeheartedly agree with: you need structure.
If you live the typical life of a westerner you go from school to university to work and someone else is always giving you structure. Someone else is forcing you to wake up, make your breakfast and leave the house. But now you’re the master of your own ship and you can’t be left rudderless, out at sea; you have to give yourself things to do and make a point of doing them. You can’t simply be in “holiday mode” from now on otherwise your life will lead to disaster: becoming progressively lazier and less productive, each week worse than the last, as your shame and guilt grows for fretting away precious years of your life. To be honest, the same could be said for working a regular job as well…
I’ll sound like a broken record but yes, it’s structure, structure, structure. I wrote something similar in my “one month on” post and it was a recurring theme in Bodi’s, so my guess is that it’s something I need to constantly remind myself of if I want this life to continue as it is. That means having a regular wake-up time and morning routine. For me that usually means, these days, getting up around 8am, making breakfast and coffee and then going to the gym.
That morning routine, I think, is vital. In fact, it may be the only thing I think I’d like to do religiously because if I can get that done then I know that for the rest of the day I’ll feel that I’ve accomplished something. I’m trying not to be militant about things though – I’m happy to have a lazy day here and there – because I think that if you are, then you develop complexes around them and can act out if the routine is threatened. Nonetheless, I’d like to make those lazy days infrequent, which was quite hard to do during the winter when it is really really tempting to stay snug in bed rather than get up while it’s still dark. I think I’d be better off always trying to stick to that morning schedule and if I feel like I need a day to treat myself to do that by having something special for dinner.
Then what else do I do with my day? I don’t want to impose any specific structure but I try to keep to a mindset of “don’t take your time for granted, do something worthwhile with it.” That’s the big issue with being time rich: that all play and no work is just as bad as all work and no play. Without the “work” side of things the stuff you used to enjoy so much loses its value. If you love to watch movies and now have all the time in the world to watch movies then you start to run out of good ones to watch; eventually the activity falls into the dull camp.
That’s why it’s important to have a few “work-play activities” that you enjoy doing (yes I know that it’s pretentious to come up with your own term but we’re in the PUA community where it’s a common thing so suck it up; if Bodi can invent “self-carroting” in his posts then I can invent something in mine 🤷🏼♂️). I’d define a work-play activity as one which gives you a mixture of pleasure and happiness: something which you want to do but know it will require some effort. Something which is enjoyable but not a piece of cake (literally and figuratively). Something rewarding. For example: going for a cold swim and sauna means walking three miles there and back plus the time spent talking with friends at the place itself. It’s not a pure pleasure activity like watching YouTube videos, it’s one which I feel that I gain from and improves my general life satisfaction. Other work-play activities might include seeing my family, going to read a book in a nice coffee shop or taking a walk in the sun and listening to a podcast (in these cases I mean “work” in terms of them not being instant gratification activities like watching YouTube videos or sleeping in).
Then there are longer form projects: writing new books and taking on new hobbies. I wrote my texting guide at the end of last year and this year I took on a new hobby in the form of skiing by going to an indoor slope just outside of London. Later this year I’ll start writing a beginner’s guide to Daygame and next year I’d like to get into running.
This carries on from the points above about being time rich. I remember in one of Bodi’s books he warned quite explicitly about not doing too much Daygame, and I couldn’t agree more. Though I think his was based more on avoiding meltdowns and not putting too much pressure on himself, mine is more about the insidious effects of walking too much.
The problem is that you can have too much of a good thing: I have all the time in the world to Daygame and could be out there doing it for four, five or six hours each day if I liked. But then you start to exhaust yourself without realising: even if you’re eating back the calories you burned walking all day you’re still putting a toll on your body and your mind from the emotional intensity; that impacts your sleep and it isn’t as restorative as you’d like; then you wake up at the time you’d like to get up but really want to stay in bed; following from that your gym workouts suffer and your progress stalls (decreasing good feels from progression); finally you go out for another massive Daygame session and repeat the cycle. You might think I’m overegging this but I could easily walk 50 miles from Monday to Friday.
And this is why I called it an “insidious effect:” it is definitely possible to live like this and not feel sore and still show up for all your appointments and keep your life in order… but you lose the spark. It’s what the new age fitness coaches would call “surviving but not thriving.”. And that’s the thing with Daygame: she sees you in that moment as you present yourself to her and if you don’t have the spark then she’ll see the approach as insincere.
I think that you’re better off condensing your sessions into smaller ones knowing that Parkinson’s law is in effect: you’ll probably do the same number of sets in a mega session as you would if you told yourself “I only have one and a half to two hours to approach.” In Bodi’s posts he said that he eventually was doing 30 minute sessions during his lunch break while in Argentina and found it easy to do five sets in that time. I think that because he gave himself a short time-frame to approach he ended up doing more in less time. By condensing my sessions into shorter ones I also give myself more time for work-play activities.
That does introduce another level of Daygame Guilt, but one thing that has stood out to me recently about this lifestyle is that the big battle is to not overindulge and that there can be too much of a good thing. Four hours of Daygame is not simply twice as good as two hours of Daygame. The flipside to this is that I’m trying to live more in what Steve Jabba would call “Code Yellow:” not actively looking for sets but being in constant awareness of what signals the girls around me are sending out and being open to doing sets outside of my sessions.
That’s enough rambling for now. Those are the thoughts that have been going around my head today and I wanted to get them out. I’m now looking forward to re-reading them in six months time and seeing if I stuck to what I promised to do here or if it’s simply a merry-go-round.
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4 thoughts on “Unplugging From The Nine to Five-trix: One Year On”
What do you do for income besides Daygame. How long can you sustain that financially before you need a job again?
I don’t do any other work besides ebooks and coaching and I started out with two years’ savings (three if I lived very frugally)
Work-play and play sounds like good and bad dopamine activities respectively.
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Thank you so much for writing this article, it made me realize that, although still successful, a lot of the issues I’ve had since also quitting a 9-5 environment are due to lack of structure. Wish I had read something like this a few years ago. Bought one of your books as a small thank you. Please continue writing your updates on this topic in the future.
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