In a mere 100 days, I will be leaving Dal and the IT computing world after 25 years. I am taking early pension. I will still have to work for a living, but then, who doesn't? I could stay at Dal another 10 years, and then fade off into the sunset with enough $$ to keep myself off the streets. Realistically, I have to leave because I am seriously burnt out.
I am taking a reduced version of my pension. Basically, I am trading personal options for financial security. I have to work 10 more years in my life, but it doesn't have to be here, and with the pension coming in, it doesn't have to be anything more than food&spending money. Yes, this will make me poorer as time goes on, as I'm pretty sure I won't end up in another pensionable job.
When I was in my early 20's, I used every cent I could find to travel overseas for 6 months. In Israel, I met the woman who would become my wife. After a few years together, we used up every cent we had to again travel overseas for 6 months. I have always thought that the trade-off was worth it then, and I'm damn sure the trade-off will still be the right decision.
My opinion on decisions. Make 'em to the best of your ability, and then live with them. No going back.