Life decisions change bigtime when you have kids. It's easy to drop out and go all Kerouac when you don't have children to support.
The point being that relationships are a key part of what you get out of life. Relationships can both help and hinder you. Think "It's a Wonderful Life". That's why the sewing of the wild oats tends to happen when you first get out of the nest, when you're the most independent.
It's also why the mid-life-crisis is so tough, because it's when life's obligations to others are the strongest. If you haven't already figured out what you're on this planet for, you're really behind the 8-ball.
A few years ago I was making close to a six figure salary, but I spent over a dozen years in IT and burned out on it. Yet here I am again, forced by circumstance, to give it a shot again. Life is so much more than just the money aspect. You do what you have to do to survive, but it doesn't mean you have to like it. Everyone has a calling in life and few people ever manage to make that their career. Now you've got a recession that just doesn't want to go away making matters worse.