I have been working in web development for about 14 years and change. They say that the 24x7 nature of the Internet makes events on the Internet run at three times speed. Quick math says that my 14 yrs mean 42 years of wear-and-tear.
The last eight years have been divided amongst three full-time employers and a smattering of side gigs. The day jobs have swallowed up my free-time. The Internet is a sickly baby worthy of kidnapping. It's always in jeopardy or near jeopardy. The only way a website is safe from hacking, heavy traffic, logic holes is when it's not visited. Weekdays go into the work at hand. Nights go into the emergencies; and so do the weekends. I have had people email me on Christmas Eve that they need their site looked at.
I know more about the web and my array of languages (PHP, HTML, MySQL, Ajax, JQuery, etc.) than a lot of people. I've outlasted others in the field. My performance in the marathon may not be stellar, but I did all 26 miles.
I am heading back into the world of self-employed consulting. The IT and consulting landscape has changed from the 2003 era when I last had both feet in the self-employment domain, but I am cautious optimistic. This time I had a new plan for how to pull it off. Stay tuned.