DJ, from one genealogy nut to another, this is awesome. Thank you!
In addition to the connection to the past and one's ancestors, genealogy can also help develop a sense of connection to the present and just how closely related we are to one another. After researching "back" on any of my lines, I love to move "forward" from a common ancestor and see how many lines I can trace into the present.
My family tree is published online and I've lost track of how many fifth cousins (for some reason they really tend to be fifth cousins) I've made contact with. And I love being able to help distant cousins fill in the blanks in their family history as I've been helped so many times by others.
I would echo some of the other advice presented here for those just beginning their genealogical research. Be prepared to face the truth about your ancestors even if it's unpleasant or if the facts you uncover contradict treasured family stories. For instance, your ethnic origins may not be what you were told they were, the war hero may turn out to have been a deserter, or you could discover that one of your 3rd great-grandfathers may have been the result of a "non-paternal event." Be prepared to face resistance to uncomfortable facts from members of your family, especially the older ones.
And don't fall into the common trap of focusing all your efforts on the line from which you inherit your surname. Remember that you are every bit as related to your mother's father's mother's mother's father's mother as you are to your direct patrilineal ancestor even though you may bear his name. Embrace the whole web of connections. And have fun!