The last few weeks have been hard. The toughest of my career, though I’m now experienced enough to take it in my stride and bounce back. But, Jesus. This week especially was tough. Too many more weeks like that and I’m done.
Thursday I got home exhausted and frustrated. I cancelled my language lesson and skipped the gym. I got straight onto the computer, went over my accounts and did some calculations. My query: can I retire as soon as I finish this contract, in two years time? Fully retire, and never deal with this stress and bullshit for the rest of my life?
I figured, yeah. Just. If everything fell into place (and it might not) I would be able to live indefinitely on about USD$14,000 a year. That would be enough to get by in a place like Cambodia or the Philippines.
The next day I made some good progress on solving some problems and my initial spike in emotion settled down. But I was still thinking, why not?
My original plan was to be able to retire early as a backup plan in case everything went balls up. Later I refined this so that in 3-5 years I would transition to part-time work. But now I’m thinking, fuck it. Just piss off somewhere cheap, make a new life, a new Nikolai, do what I really want to do and stop having to deal with so many people.
My profession does not suit me. I’m a quiet type. I’d be happy enough in a little cubicle doing whatever it is people do in those things. Dealing with humans is draining to a person like me.
I don’t hate the people who cause me trouble. Sometimes they have a good point, and sometimes they’re just troubled because of causes I’m well aware of. The problem is that it just never stops. ‘Relentless’ is the word I’m looking for. There is no peace in my life. There is always someone demanding my attention, someone calling, someone complaining, someone angry, someone indignant. At least my employer is reasonable. If he were horrid then I’d have already disappeared into a cloud of third world dust.
I feel like yelling at them, ‘Be nice to me! Or if you think I’m so awful, I’ll just leave!’ And that would really cause them a problem, and be the end of my career. But now that I think about it soberly – why don’t I just leave?
I won’t break contract, though I could afford to. I don’t do that sort of thing. I know this goes counter to various things I’ve said before and I can’t explain it, but I will see out this posting or die in the attempt. This is my one streak of pig-headedness and I’ve no idea where it comes from.
The trick to getting through, I’ve realized, is that I need to stop searching for happiness. Fuck happiness. What I need to do, for the next two years, is survive. It doesn’t really matter how miserable I am as this is not forever, and a plan for the future will help me cope with present annoyances. I’m going to leave this country in 2019 with increased language skills, money saved, two manuscripts complete, fitness maintained and wisdom gained. And that’s all. Happiness can go fuck itself.
It is terrifying to think that this time next year I will not be seeking my next contract. That I’ll be cruising. That I’ll tell my family I’m going to take a break and try something else. It seems impossible and I keep going over the numbers, and each time it seems to work.
The only way to know for sure is to try. I’ll take a sabbatical year and sample other means of income as a way of subsiding my leisure as it’s a bit tight. I’d only need to make an extra $3,000 – $5,000 a year to go from struggling to steady, and on ten to twenty grand I’d be sweet. The main thing I’d be testing is how cheaply I can live. If I can get by on fourteen grand or so p/a then I may be set for life.
What do you think? Am I a lunatic? Should I give it a go? I’ve recently come to acknowledge that the average IQ of my readers about half a standard deviation higher than my own so I genuinely value your honest and thoughtful feedback.