Back to OP. The key to reality...is to re-evaluate. Re-evaluation ought to happen regularly. We are not the same person as a child, teen, young adult, early career, mid and late career, empty nest, mid-life, mentor, nearing retirement, retired, elder, geriatric...etc. Point is we grow or change or move through different seasons, have different needs and wants for different reasons.
In my late teens and early 20's I worked my ass off then traveled/hitched, going to see different places, following the Dead and etc. My plan B, if nothing exciting seemed to be occurring was to knock out another semester...8.5 years for my undergrad. I've done the career 50+ hours/wk, wife, 3 kids (last one almost out of the house), 2 cars and a cat thing. Currently work part-time and barely covering the minimal bills. However I consider myself semi-retired and could go riding everyday but choose to attend to my family husbandly responsibilities. At 53, I''m not wealthy money wise and will work by my choice till the day I die...(working to help others in the world is a privilege in my opinion)...but feel very fortunate that I have the time and enough resources to do several things that are my passions...riding being one of them.
However, I do fantasize letting go of many "keys"...especially if widowed (...or divorced...which almost happens on a daily occurrence according to my wife
) and would be happy being an old guy, living in the E lodge or a small place nearby and hitching to, working at the hill and hanging some soul lines. I know a few folks that do this and they look forward to doing it every winter.