When I was a kid, video games were pretty much my favorite thing. The idea that I'd be able to make my own one day, and generally be able to write software professionally, was a sort of wild fantasy that I hoped would be true but didn't expect too much from. As things went, however, I did happen to figure out how to make games and program proficiently—and I did lots of it while still a teenager, and ended up messing up my wrists in the process (i.e. obtaining an RSI).
I took a long break from programming because of this, which had good and bad aspects to it—mostly good though. It happened when I was nineteen, nearly twenty, and I figured I needed to hedge my bets some and make sure I could do something else well too, in case the injury didn't clear up sufficiently. I dabbled in a bunch of different things, though mathematics was what I focused on more than anything else. Actually, the day after I finished my CS degree (at 25 years old), I started what was supposed to be a serious study of mathematics—and to some extent was—while I worked part time stocking groceries.
Eventually, while still at the grocery store, I was talking with a friend when an idea for a new kind of text editor occurred to me. This new way of editing text would be much better suited for low-precision/low-unique-symbol count input devices, e.g. motion sensors—so I would be able to use it to efficiently write code again, without mouse and keyboard. Well, I spent a year and a half painfully writing that (RSI was still present), and though I never finished it, it got far enough along that other people could appreciate the concept. A video of it got ~15,000 hits on youtube, and brought me to San Francisco for work (I'm in Boston now though).
I learned a lot from that project. Much of it was specific to computer languages (which I hadn't studied especially previously), and much of it related to human computer interaction. Interestingly, my dad's background is in HCI, and I had some awareness of the field's aims—but having so many of the difficulties in developing my text editor reside in that realm, causing me to actively solve problems there on a regular basis, brought me a new level of interest. Deep user interaction problems continue to interest me to this day. I'm very curious what sort of new 'widget' set will stabilize for use in VR/AR... —and wonder a little if I could come up with something good :)
Anyway, I did a lot more studying and moving around (and working on this), and most recently ended up in Cambridge, MA to work for Voxel8—a multi-material 3D printer startup that had just moved out of a materials science lab at Harvard. I worked there for a little over a year, then they pivoted and my department was let go, and I'm looking for work again! More info. on that here.