Congratulations on recovering your life. I walked away from my PhD in Asian and European Intellectual History some forty years ago. While I very much enjoyed teaching and writing on my research it had become obvious that it was going to take another ten years to get an actual job in academe. Things have only gotten worse since then with thousands more scrambling for tenure track positions. And now the enrollments are dropping and, I think, will not recover. We are in a full conversion to a very different world with information as the new basis of value but with no zero sum game involved.
I was able to create a pretty good life working in broadband data technology and teaching history as an adjunct. After a few years I could make my own teaching schedule. The absence of reasonable pay and benefits were then irrelevant to me. Needless to say I quickly discovered that quitting was not a negative but lucky as I was already too formally educated for many of my corporate peers.
Of course I would like to say this was all planned but it wasn’t. I accidentally stumbled into the future I was trying to study history to understand. I worked at it rather than observing from the ivory tower. And I still write about it so what more could you ask?