One of the shows I've listened to quite a bit over the past 6 months or so is the wonderful Roleplay Rescue, hosted by Che Webster. There are other shows that discuss 'theory' that I also listen to regularly and love - if you'd like other recommendations, let me know and I'll post some in the comments. Anyway, listening to shows like this just got me thinking more about the game and its place in my life.
It occurred to me at some point that D&D is partly responsible for where I am today, professionally. I'm a teacher right now (high school English, History, Media Arts & Philosophy) but I wasn't always... and I certainly never planned to be. Here's the journey - in brief - that got me here.
I discovered D&D at around age 12. I was a glutton for the cartoon and everything the basic set had to offer. D&D broadened my vocabulary and, by turning me on to fantasy novels, made me a reader. As a high school student, I struggled with math but excelled in music and English. Being good at English made me want to study it at University even though I had no desire to teach it (I was nothing if not naïve). Upon graduating, I found some pretty dead end, low paying jobs in copyright administration, publishing and advertising and they pretty much beat me down with their total lack of a future or challenge.
All through my 20s I slogged through these cubicle jobs, hating them, but seeing no other choices. On the side I was playing in a band and, through a lot of hard work and luck, we managed to get some success. I was able to quit my crappy job and pursue life on the road. It was glorious. But a few years later the music industry began to tank and I lost my golden ticket.
Deciding not to go back to life in a cubicle, I signed up to teach ESL in Japan for a year. It was such a good experience, I resigned for another year. Then another. Then a few more. Pretty soon I realized I was not 'playing teacher'... I was 'teacher'. I came back to Canada (reluctantly) and got my license. Then, by a miracle, I got hired in a terrible hiring drought and then ... well, I have been here ever since.
D&D has not been with me the whole. There were spans of years when I didn't really think about it. But it was instrumental in setting me on the path.
Have you ever stopped to think how you got to where you are? I bet for some people, it's something just as simple: playing school sports, being in the school play, meeting that one person that changed your life...
It's amazing how the things as a kid can shape how you turn out as an adult.