I'm looking for that balanced sweet spot. I'm early retirement eligible in 10 months. Hard to believe. I sometimes wonder if others life circumstances influence their desire and opportunity. While none are absolutely limiters or enablers, I would think having parents that are still alive, or younger children provides a different set of decision points than being single and sailing off. No right or wrong.
I will not be retiring in 10 months, rather another 5 years is more likely. I enjoy what I'm doing and it should provide for more economic security for me and my family. I think the one factor many fail to consider is their quality of life in their final years, which can be extraordinarily expensive. My path will more likely involve a ramping down along the way, allowing more time for what I want to do in retirement, without being fully retired. We're all blessed to have any choice at all, no matter the economic spectrum. My good health allows for options, presently anyway. I have many friends who are nearly a decade older and they hit many more routine land mines with their health.
Here's a funny progression I think is fairly true...
30s... you begin to realize you can hurt your body
40s... you begin to realize you should avoid those thing that hurt your body
50s... you awake with things that hurt and have no idea what you did
60s... you walk a health mine field you laid over the past 50 years and there is little you can do to change it now
70s+... return to adolescence, you won the game.
Youth is wasted on the young though a platitude rings true.
Clearly to get it together to leave and sail away requires consider money and experience. Both usually don't happen until at least mid life for the vast majority of sailors. Mid 30s without too many family strings is optimal for childless couples. But they likely have living and soon to be needy parents and may or may not have siblings to support those parents when you're out on the infinite blue. I left at 38 after both parents had died... unmarried with no children... and a chunk of savings... and was able to close my small practice.... which still took some time.
Older people may have grown children, grand children and more needy parents still hanging in there. This makes it very hard to go for the blue... and frankly a bit selfish... maybe. But time is a wastin' so you need to bite the bullet or you'll be taking risks that a younger and stronger you would not have been faced with.
Obviously most people are forced to delay the "dream" for all manner of reasons... mostly family, funds, and all manner of dirt entanglements.
I decided to do what amounted to a "sabbatical" a kind of active retirement in mid life when I was in way better shape than most retirees are. Heck my dad passed without any retirement and that is not all that uncommon.
My approach worked for me... I suppose some mid lifers haul their young family along because they chose to do the family thing on schedule. I had I 5 year ramp up learning prep curve and then 4 years out there on the blue and returned to do what most sailors do.... weekend use because they have a job and other dirt commitments.... like building a "nest egg" to pass to their children.
Note: give you children an education and let them figure it out for themselves... if they get in trouble you will be the first person they come to for a life line. If you pay for college that is an enormous leg up!
My advice which is not worth the paper its wrtten on.... is rather than quit and close down your dirt "matrix"... would be to find a way to take a decent length "sabbatical" on the order or months up to a year... not years... maybe end of summer to next spring... cruise away... live aboard... experience paradise and then come back to your matrix and pick up where you left off... more or less. This is not easy to do I suspect.... but it is doable. Rent out your digs... to make the dirt carrying expenses an easier burden maybe.
If you sail off after shutting down your dirt matrix... you will have a very tough time to build another one perhaps.
It's way way way more "fun" and easier to cruise off the grid when you are not an old foggie.