I love my job as a software developer; I don't consider it a "grind"
As did I in soft and hardware, most jobs I had I would almost have done for nothing. But all said and done it's better without one
I did a short stint a few years ago, the work itself didn't worry me it was just having to be somewhere and do something at specific times under someone else's time table that got me down.
Any words of wisdom for those still on the grind
Yep, don't believe all the crap the retirement magazines and TV shows say. They all assume that you want to maintain something like your previous lifestyle and need an income of 60% of your last salary. I have never seen an article that said "Well if you want to drop out and live cheaply you can do for $X". We live very well on about $15k a year, I bet there aren't any magazines or financial advisors that will say you can do that.
The only person in the world that has a vested interest in you retiring early is you, every body else needs to keep you working to feed the machine.
If you are willing to make some cuts and have some assets behind you it's easy. I retired at 12 years ago at the age of 45, we sold our house and hit the road. I was worried how things would go and how long it would last. Well after 12 years I guess I can say it works, I started off with bugger all and still have most of it left
My hobbies are photography and electronics/computing, all of which are easily accommodated in a motorhome, but I don't get to save old VT100 terminals and Altair computers. Everything that didn't fit in the truck went to the dump except for a few things we stored with friends.
You have to live cheap though, I haven't bought a cup of coffee in 12 years, but then why would I when most of my time is spent sitting next to a lake in the middle of nowhere watching the wildlife. I still buy the occasional toy, but nothing like I used to.
OTOH if you "need" to hoard equipment, keep the golf club membership, go out to restaurants, or have hobbies that don't travel well that's a different story. It was easy for me because I never indulged in that sort of thing anyway.
Before I retired I estimated that I was working for someone else or stuff I didn't need until about lunch time on Friday every week, the remaining 3-4 hours I earned money for the things I was really interested in. What a waste of time.
Sorry for the ramble, this is a bit of an interest for me as you probably guessed.
(Caveat to the above, we have no kids, they will set you back 20 years, and also if everyone was like us there would be no machine to feed and that wouldn't be good