(I suppose this was all a counter-reaction to my early life when I was deeply focused on "success"; not financially, but in the intellectual world; I wanted to do physics and discover a new law, or something like that that was a real achievement, to do something concrete and measurable with my intellect that the world could see and praise me for. Once I gave up on that and became disillusioned with that whole ambition I started prioritizing "life" instead.)
Pursuant to QOL, I specifically chose not to take higher paying jobs at places that I thought were kind of soul crushing, like wall street or google; I chose not to pursue the executive path when that was an option to me; I chose not to do various startups that I knew would consume my life.
Those would have been fine choices if I had actually pursued QOL. But I didn't. I just worked. Doing jobs that were supposedly less stressful or more rewarding and would allow me more time and energy to focus on the things that mattered - I still just worked.
I've wound up not doing any work that is either very exciting, very significant, or very lucrative. I've also wound up not really making my life better, putting the time in to working on myself and establishing new better patterns of living.
I still have absolutely no clue how I fit into this horrible world, what I should be doing with myself, or what I'm going to do for the rest of my life. I still wake up every morning feeling like I'm about to spend my day in a way that is not what I really should be doing with myself. I suppose I'm somewhat less desperate and depressed about that fact than when I was younger, but I think that's just the sweet apathy and surrender of old age. I am more at peace, which is good, but it's the peace of giving up.
Of course, that said, like most of these issues where I'm being hard on myself, I'm still better than 99% of you. I see all these people around me living pathetic unfulfilled lives, not doing anything positive with themselves at all, just basically ticking off the days until they die, and they can't even admit to themselves that they want something more.
ADD : I don't mean that I haven't chosen jobs that were interesting; but it's on a level of being mildly pleasant. It's not deeply satisfying. And of course I do put life first in little small ways on a regular basis, but not in the big way that I really need.
It would have been so much better if I would have just gone all out and done crazy hard work at something I really believed in, and not even tried to have a life during that time. (because work and life has never really worked out for me). And then at another time I should have just stopped working and really focused on making my life better. Instead I half-assed both all the time and didn't really do either.
ADD : All my life I've looked around and seen these pathetic men living generic suburban lives; go to work, dress like a shlub, don't speak up, don't do much, don't stand out, don't pursue any big pleasures or do anything interesting. I thought, god how awful, how boring, how cowardly. And here I am.