I'll be 46 soon; been (basically) a UNIX sysadmin for the better part of 20 years. I chose not to pursue management as I saw early on the detachment from daily work and increased politics, meetings, etc But I have to wonder, how long my own situation can last. There are changing technologies (cloud, now) but there's a risk of stagnation if you don't push yourself.
The headhunters contact me, too. I'm well aware that a bulk of them are simply looking to stuff you into a position so they can get paid. I reject about 90% of the inquiries I receive, especially when it's very clear they didn't read my resume or statement of experience.
The market feels like it's changing, and with that I wonder about us "older" folks. I remember years ago, there was a hesitance to hire older people due to the perception of obstinance and/or being difficult to re-train, etc. Since then, I believe that perception has been scientifically nullified.
But the larger bottom line for some of us is risk. Many of us suffered from the dot.com deflation, some may not be able to afford to retire; some were smart and banked out just in time and won't have a care in the world. The fact remains the older you get, the more risk you carry with career and job changes. And that risk is even higher if you have a family to care for.
I suppose it's something that requires very careful consideration. But I can't see myself in a management-only position -- I like being involved in some of the gritty work -- though, I admit there are times where I'd like to delegate :-)