I was a software engineer for a little over 21 years before I decided to call it quits to the corporate world when I was 45 years old (in 2014). I have always dreamed of retiring early, but I didn't plan to retire until I was 50 years old. When I realized my investment portfolio could generate the income I needed to free my life from the shackles of the corporate world, I quit my job and never looked back.I did not win the lottery, inherited large sums of money, nor got lots of stock options from a company that I worked at that IPO'ed. It was all very hard-earned. I lived below my means and saved a substantial percentage of my take-home pay ever since the third year of my professional life.I've been a lurker on SeekingAlpha for years, and finally decided to become a contributor to document my journey as an early retiree.It's hard to categorize me as an investor. Although I'm mostly "dividend growth" minded, I also dabble in growth, deep value, speculation, as well as a little hedging now and then with options.