I have often wondered the same type of thing myself, thinking about when or what would get me in the retirement circle. I always worked full time or more, since I was 16 and in high school. I had never wanted to be a nurse, that was a given.
When I graduated nursing school
almost 19 years ago, it was just a different ball game. It just seemed like people were nicer, so to speak. I know that sounds kind of naive, or stupid. It's not like I was raised to be a "Mary Poppins" character or anything, I knew some people could be jerks.
So, I've been a nurse for 19 years and about 7 years ago started having a lot of cardiac and BP problems. During this time I also went through a divorce. I got remarried almost 5 yrs ago and my dh is a nursing sup. He knew how much I had started to really dislike the direction that nsg administration and that kind of thing was going, and we decided to make the decision to retire me and become a full time stay at home step mom to my now 11 yr old.
I don't regret it for a second. I mean, I miss my patients, I miss being an ER nurse at a busy hospital, but the administrative BS and the ...
I don't mean to get on a soapbox - I know life is like that, and all that, but it just simply wasn't worth it to me, or the dh either, so we talked about it and we decided it was worth it to cut back on some of the "extras".
I don't regret it for a minute, not at all. I'm the happiest I've been in a long time. As far as the coworkers from the ER I miss, I bake a lot, so I take things to them, and I am a patient in the same ER where I had been working at times, so we stay caught up.