I've learned a lot about my hobby over the years of rolling up characters, poring over rule books, and just sitting down at the table to game. In these last few sessions I've grown as a GM and found that my knowledge of gaming has increased significantly. I don't mean my technical, rules-based knowledge but my ability to understand what my players want, how they want it, and to know that a good game can become great with a few minor tweaks. This has been a priceless period for growing as a GM, and it makes me really appreciate the duties of Game Mastering.
Knowing that you're successful in the moment you apply your skill is probably the most intoxicating period of any endeavor. I found that as I ran my last session my players weren't just sitting around a table, mindlessly calling out character actions and dice roll results, they were looking at me through their character's eyes and talking to me, in NPC mode, like their lives depended on the discussion. When they were trying to bluff the village's dwarven battle commander they weren't just rolling the skill, they were actually trying to lie to me. Their eyes were pleading, hoping that I, not the dwarf, would buy their story. It was truly a magic moment that gave clarity to what it was I actually enjoy about the hobby of tabletop roleplaying. This form of gaming is definitely a way to get lost in another world and to have a hell of a fun time while doing it. That last session proved it for me.
I look forward to tomorrow. As I write this I am thinking of the things and peoples I'll subject my party to when they come to the table. With my new confidence and knowledge I'm pretty sure that I can reel them in again and for a moment give them the fantasy world they wish to inhabit, if for only a small while by playing pretend.
Oh, and I totally put them up against a dragon. It was awesome!