For decades, I have looked at SLR cameras with envy, but satisfied my needs with point-and-shoots.
I used 126 and 110 instamatics, a 35mm point and shoot, and many 35mm disposables. In 2000, I bought a case of expired Polaroid film on Ebay and had great fun snapping shots with instant gratification and occasional goofy malfunctions.
In 2002, I moved into the digital age with a point and shoot Canon Powershot S200. For ten years, I used the daylights out of that 2MP camera. With enough light, it took superb pictures, but it was pretty slow indoors.
In 2012, I moved to a Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 point and shoot, with a CMOS sensor that had a much better working range.
Since then, everyone's cell phone got a decent camera. The best camera is the one in your hand, so cell phones seemed like winners, even if they didn't have quite the same capabilities.
Last summer, the point and shoot made a final attempt at underwater photography when it fell out of my pocket into a creek. From that point on, it was cell phone only.
Last weekend, I downloaded pictures from all of our phones and it was as if the past year didn't exist. There were a few good pictures, but most took the place of fax or photocopier. We carry these cameras everywhere, but forget to use them. It brought the long-standing desire for a "real" camera to a head.
A few days ago, I ordered a nice refurbished DSLR from the Canon website. Canon refurbs are fantastic and affordable. It arrived today and I ran around taking 300 shots while experimenting with the settings. Some of my better experiments are shown on this page.
I can already tell that I should have done this years ago!