I am currently working as an engineer at Amazon in Minneapolis, TC 230k, 5 yoe. I have a cozy soon-to-be paid-off apartment, and am by most measures set. I could keep on this path for less than ten more years and probably have enough saved to FIRE, in this location at least.
I have a nagging feeling despite this that I will have wasted my life if I stay here. I lived in the bay for a few years and mostly loved the energy, leaving only to try something new and to escape the high COL.
I guess I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with this scenario. Did you follow the FIRE path and feel like it was ultimately an empty pursuit? Is it better to struggle and live financially precariously in a place like the bay but challenge yourself?
Basically you just proved that you can FIRE in short order, so what exactly is a dead end?