Everyone should get a mid-life year off.
You need at least a year, because it takes a lot of time to re-set. In my case, about five months. Five months to come to a point where I felt like the damage life inflicted on me was no longer hurting me. Five months to come to a new starting point – not a neutral starting point – I guess that’s not possible. Even if you lose your memory, you can never really start over fresh, can you? But, a good starting point. A good place, where all the muck of life has been washed from my head and I can finally – five months into my vacation – start to think clearly again.
Happiness may be rooted in having several hours a day with no obligations.
No drive to be productive. No one asking for anything. No obligations. If you want to watch TV, that’s fine. If you want to stare at the sky, that’s fine. If you want to make art, that’s fine. If you want to sleep, if you want to run, sing, bounce, walk, it doesn’t matter. It’s your time. Maybe the reason people these days are so chronically unhappy is that even in our off time we force ourselves to be “productive”?
I found a happiness baseline.
I wasn’t a happy child. I can’t think back to what I enjoyed as a kid and use that as a guide for my life’s purpose or my career or any of that. I went from being an unhappy child to an unhappy teenager to an adult who struggled with happiness. All along I thought something was wrong with me, but look now – my circumstances have changed, I’ve stayed the same, and I’m happy.