I'm 40 already, apparently with one foot in the grave, lol. My best jobs were ones I took pay cuts for.
The 20% Pay Cut
When I was much younger and wanted to play outside more than work, I made a deal with my boss. "Boss", I said, "I'll give you 20% of my salary back, in exchange for Fridays off."
Boss, probably figuring it would save him time dealing with the hyperactive kid programmer that couldn't sit still, eventually agreed.
To this day I have fond memories of almost two years of Friday's off spent sleeping in, skating for miles and miles, learning tricks on my rollerblades, and whiling away warm sunny days with a book under a tree.
Unemployed for 8 Months
An unusual opportunity presented itself when I learned that my wife's new job came with a 6 month training period and relocation to a new city. We'd be packing up everything we own, and I'd need to find a new job.
"Wife", I said to my beautiful wife, "How about we quit our jobs a few months early, stash all our stuff in a storage unit, and go on a 2 month road trip across the county? Then, while you're off training, I'll go somewhere warm and live out of my car for 6 months on a beach?"
"Are you crazy?", she asked with her hands on her hips.
"Yep, so how 'bout it", I replied with a grin.
I'll never forget the time we spent together on cool mornings cooking breakfast on our camp stove, spreading out all our gear to dry in gas station parking lots, and the audio books we listened to as we drove.
How About $10/Hour?
Turns out after a month or two on a beach, sleeping in a tent and living out of your car, you get antsy to get back to work. So I called up my friend.
"Friend", I said, "how about I do some programming for you? It's been over 6 years since I've written a line of code, and I need something to do."
"I've got some things that need building", he said, "but your skills are a bit rusty and I don't think it would work out."
"What if I only charged you $10/hour?", I replied.
So every morning, I'd eat my cereal, pack my tent in my car, and walk across the highway to the library with their free internet and comfy table and chair, and sling Java code all day for $10/hour.
I still chuckle thinking about the luxurious, cold, coin operated camp showers I'd spring for on occasion, and the night it rained so hard, the floor of my tent was literally floating all around me while I watched an episode of Lost on my laptop before the battery died.
So...what about those Silicon Valley jobs?
A small bump in pay at a new job, in a new city will only make you feel young again for 6 months to a year.
At 40, you've got 30 to 50 more years of productivity and life ahead of you. At $135k a year, you alone make over 2.5x the average American family's salary. If you're any good at programming, you could quit that job today, disappear for a year, and have another job just like it within a few months of getting back.
Don't worry about the money. Find something interesting to do with all that time. The rest will figure itself out.