Originally Posted by Canadian Grunt
Here is the question;
Are you drawn to money and benefits over stimulating work, a better lifestyle, or work you would prefer to do? Would you sacrifice some retirement time to gain more enjoyment out of life now? For you older retired folks, If you could go back would you have lived more and saved less even though you would have delayed retirement?
This may be especially relevant now, since even the best plan may not achieve the outcome in the end, which would make earlier sacrifices futile.
I came to the discussion late. Lots of folks have answered your questions, but, of course, it's THEIR answers - for them. You need to answer your own questions - for yourself. There are tools to help you do this. One tool I found especially helpful was given to me free (by my company) before I was FI and before I had seriously considered RE. The particular tool was called (IIRC) "Career Anchors Workshop". Part of the process was to take a "test" (sort of like those high school guidance office tests.) The tests helped you discover what it was that drew you to your career. There were categories such as "Pure Challenge", "Entrepreneurial", and others. My two highest scores were for "Lifestyle" and "Competence". So, for me, I worked to make money to live the way I want to - e.g., "Lifestyle" and I worked to be recognized for my skills, accomplishments, etc. - e.g., "Competence". Sounds almost like the questions you asked, eh
You might also try the Myers-Briggs evaluation (Lots of INTJ's here, IIRC - I'm not one of them, heh, heh.
My point is that you need to explore what keeps you at work and what would draw you away. If that equation gets out of balance, and if you have become financially independent, you have the option to bail out. It's good to get other's thoughts on this, but you have to decide what is important for you at some point.
Good luck. Sounds like you've already started the process by asking the questions.