I'm 22. I discovered Buddhism by myself over the past year. Even though I was raised in Sri Lanka by parents who are Buddhist by birth, I was never interested in it because I dismissed it as just another religion. I was an atheist/materialist for most of my life.
I went vegan about one and a half years ago after watching some documentaries and I was obsessed by the questions "why are these animals going through all this suffering?" and "what can I do to fix this?" to the point where I couldn't really focus on anything else in my life. I eventually came to the conclusion that there would be no meaning to an existence in which a being has no control over its own suffering. Therefore these beings must be suffering now because of something they did in a past life. (Before this point I did not believe in rebirth). Also reflecting on my own involvement, I came to the conclusion that intent must be present for any action to have moral significance. Around this time I started reading about Buddhism because I realized that the conclusions I came to on my own more or less equated to the Law of Kamma. I found what I was reading about to be in perfect alignment with what I had discovered on my own. For example, I had also previously come to the conclusion "something that has a beginning must also have an end" which turns out to be more or less "all conditioned phenomena are impermanent". I was shocked by what I was reading and I decided to immediately take a leave of absence from college and went to Sri Lanka to study Buddhism and meditate. I spent several months reading Suttas and meditating at a monastery. I'm going back to college in 2015 to finish my degree but I'm pretty sure I will ordain at some point in my life when I have become the best I could possibly be as a layperson. As to how it affects my life now on a day to day basis, I no longer have many of the questions that used to plague my mind. Even though I'm still suffering I know what causes it and what can be done to fix it. I know that if I keep making progress on the path I will someday transcend all suffering.