Hi all, I just registered to reply to a post so I thought I'd drop by and introduce myself. I've read the forums a bit now and then over the past couple of months.
One thing that surprised me when reading the forums is that so few of the participants are living the lifestyle yet- most seem to be in prep mode, which is great though too.
So just to give those folks a bit of hope- I don't know if I fall into ERE (haven't read the book) but I have been semi-retired since the age of 24, and I am almost 45 now. I started out working around half-time once I realized I hated full-time work, and valued time over money (I think I had always known this), and I gradually pared work down to where I probably don't have to work at all, but still work around 3 months a year, on contract. I'm a nurse.
I've been financially mostly-independent (not sure if I'd feel comfortable completely retiring, especially in these volatile times for investment) for around 10 years, and got to that stage working part-time, so you don't even have to kill yourself necessarily to get there. I've always been frugal, but now can ease off a bit and enjoy a few luxuries, such as having a car (one of the ways I became financially mostly-independent was by not having a car for many years... they eat money). I can buy pretty much anything I want, which works as I really don't want very much, I'm inherently not very materialistic. Still, it is nice that if I need or want something for one of my hobbies or activities, I just go get it, no need to agonize, lots of room in the budget of a frugal person.
So, that's the nutshell of my situation... hello to anyone reading, and good luck to those who are hoping to achieve financial independence, it is definitely worth it.