Almost three years ago I made a major life decision which, to an outside observer, might appear quite foolish. I was on an extremely promising career path, quickly moving up in a multinational and highly reputable company that had not only relocated me to Japan per my request, but also graciously provided a real sweetheart deal to boot. My minimalist lifestyle allowed me to save more money than I knew what to do with, and staying on that career path essentially meant being set for life. I wasn't even working much overtime, which is nigh unfathomable in Japan's workaholic society, and which garnered extreme envy from many a flabbergasted Japanese cohort.
My position came with a lot of responsibility, and an equal amount of stress, which eventually manifested in a multitude of minor maladies such as mild vertigo, a semi-regular twitching beneath my right eye, chronic fatigue, disturbed sleep including nightmares about work, and what felt like early onset carpal tunnel syndrome. But a bigger problem soon eclipsed all of those maladies combined, and it terrified me: the cancerous emptiness inside of me, slowly hollowed out over the years by the corrosive and insidious monotony of work that I wasn't passionate about.