I know a lot of people have answered already, but I'm 30 with 5 years, all ICU experience, and I just got into CRNA school.
You will soon learn if you are an "action junkie" and like the fast paced world on nursing should everything pan out. But if you do take this route, you may stumble upon something that interests you more than you know right now.
Like other people have said, it depends on the market. If you need a job, get a CNA certificate or try and get a job in the medical field somehow. I was a clerk for 7 years before I graduated and started nursing. Managers were aware of my work ethic and I was offered a spot in either the MICU or SICU, my choice.
If you have no prior medical experience, it'll be more difficult to get a job as a graduate nurse.
No 26 is not too old to start. I previously worked in NY and there were a lot of city workers that had done their 20 years and then switched to nursing to work part time in addition to their pension.
It depends on the reason you're going into the field. If it's for money, then you're gonna get burnt out. If you're going in for the reasons that you explained in your most recent post then it is extremely beneficial.
Catching crap from females? Probably not, if you're lazy with poor work ethic, they'll talk behind your back.
Benefits? Depends. In a female dominated profession, a male usually gets the physically heavy patients, or the males acting out. I am like you but two inches shorter and I can grow a mean beard. The patients that act out, I usually get because I have an authoritative appearance. Presently, I have a patient who had a brain bleed, but has been inappropriate towards women, so I have him and I'll put him in his place if he gets out of line.
Also, I tend to think of my female coworkers as my family and I will protect them from any patient that show aggression towards them.
Stress plays into anything and any situation. How you handle it will make you as a nurse. Our ICU doc can be blunt when you screw up and some people take it to heart, I on the other hand let it roll of my shoulders and think nothing of it.
Depends on the hospital system. I made 67k starting out on nights in NY, and that dropped to 50k after a move to CO on days. I then moved to weekend option and my pay was significantly higher.
It's a realistic goal if that's what you want. CRNA school is fairly difficult to get into with class sizes being small. It's a difficult program without a doubt.
Just beware, there are a ton of intelligent people that make poor nurses. Being able to think fast, look at the whole picture, and use common sense will make you a better nurse.
If CRNA is what you truly want, don't just look good on paper because the interview is what gets you into school