I saw this thread and had to post my own "how did I get here" story.
I wanted to be a photographer since I was 9, we'd get a roll of 35mm on an old kodak and walk around the neighborhood with my cousin, taking photos of abandoned cars, piles of trash, and whenever we could we'd develop them, and send them into the City, asking that they do a better job.
Later during my senior year of high school, I was working at a very large photo store, and my father helped me get my own SLR, a Pentax P-30, with a 24-70 and a 70-200, and other stuff. I lived to take photos, and used my paychecks almost entirely to pay for my C41 development and prints.
Took back photography in the late 90s, already living in the US, had sent a Nikonos out to my family overseas, and in exchange I received my mentor's well used but pristine Nikon F90x, with a couple of lenses and a flash. I felt alive again. Not a year later (into the 2000s), I found and upgraded to the 10D. Starting to do some work for money, I needed (wanted) a backup, so another 10D was purveyed. Not for long, I believe within a few months I had sold one of them and gotten the new 20D, and within a few months the second body was also a 20D. I was the only guy around town running around press events with two cameras. Yes, I did it because I could, and I did think it would make me a better photographer. This was about the time in my life that for the next 5 years, I would have multiple models of cameras (20Ds became 30Ds, then I got a 1D2n and a 1D3, as well as a 5D1 that seemed slow by then.. Also was on the road one time and the 1Dn shutter died on me, so I ran to Best Buy and purchased a 40D.. Not to count the Videography incursion that got me a Canon XHA1 for a while).
And no, I could not fully justify it on the job. In fact at some point -early on- the whole thing was turning more about the gear, the features, than the actual craft. I would eventually enter a spiral and end up in debt, and a bad divorce leave me bankrupt and closing my photo enterprise. One of those moments that caught me having to choose between a blossoming career and my family life.
It took until 2018 to get the itch again and a solid 7D body, with a kit 18-55. Now I look into my bag and I am feeling worthy and proficient -yet a bit over geared- with two 7D2s, a few zoom lenses and couple of primes. I certainly don't feel like ever returning to crazy gear buying game again.
The moral of the story though, is I smile once more when I look at my camera bag, and realize all the sweat and mistakes and learning that went into getting me to this point.
Stay safe out there, best to you and the fams.