I think you are headed in the right direction. And I'm somewhat jealous of you doing it at 26, I wish I had made the decision to do this earlier, but life is what it is.
I'm a govt. contractor in the IT world and while the salary is cushy, it isnt a given over the long haul. Plus there is very little emotional payback for what you on a daily basis. Many of us seem to have the same motivations to want to get into Nursing, so in my book, its all good.
In my situation, there was really only one school that made sense because I wanted to continue working as long as I could to help build up retirement since I am not that far off. I did put all my eggs in one basket so to speak and lucky for me, I was accepted into the only nights and weekends program left in the area. If I hadnt made it in, I probably would have given up, even after going back to the local CC to pick up on the A&P and Micro pre-reqs. I was a little bit worried about the TEAS test that many schools
give applicants to screen them, but it turned out not to be much of an issue at all. I think to a certain extent, what is meant to be, will be so if you feel so strongly about your decision, then you will make it happen one way or another.
Does being a guy help? I think it does, schools want to have some diversity and we are it. I am the only guy in class and I also happen to be the oldest too. Being reasonably secure in your own skin is a requirement, especially with all the girl talk that goes around. Guys can tend to float above it, so we don't tend to be involved in the female drama that comes with the hormones. Some situations like the L&D/Mother baby class are tough, but I got through it ok, as do most other guys.
Good Luck with your decision. Hang in there and be as proactive and positive as you can. If it is meant to be, then you will succeed.