That process, the act of programming, is something that I need to do. Whether to make a living or to be fooling around with some idea, the bug is in my system and I highly doubt that it will ever leave me permanently. I can see myself taking a break, but I can't see myself ever stopping. All I'll end up doing then is to change my mode from work to play and eventually that will lead back to some form of work.
I didn't ever stop programming when I transitioned to doing more IT management. I just don't do it as much. The occasional departmental web project had kept the itch suitably scratched. But recently the itch is beginning to bug me. Software development is now fully outsourced.