It probably isn't great that I feel the need to define my life as a character in a role-playing game, but I like to look on the bright side and say at least I'm not avoiding my life by pretending to be a character in a game.
I never said as a child "I want to be a paladin when I grow up". I was a practical child not prone to ridiculous statements. But now that I am grown up I have to say. "I have grown-up, and I am a paladin." Its a calling, and I finally understand what that means.
It occurs to me today that in D&D paladins (I'm talking mostly 2nd/3rd edition here) have one thing rather easy. They feel the calling to take up arms and channel all of that righteous energy in the defense of a deity (or, occasionally, in defense of righteousness in general). So what do they do? They go down to the local temple of said deity or the local order of paladins and they sign up. Sure, at that point the real work begins but at least they have structure and purpose.
What do I have? Only the feeling of being lost and confused. I am so done with that. I wish a had a local order of paladins to join. I wish our culture needed that the way the D&D worlds always seem to.
I have decided that even if the world doesn't think it needs paladins there is still a place in the world for those of us who feel called in this way. Maybe some of us go into law enforcement or the military, some probably join churches and non-profits. We find our way. I have swapped my trusty steed for a car and weapons of steel and magic for weapons of words and technology.
I'm still working on what exactly it is I defend as a contemporary paladin (see Mission Statement entry) but I have embraced the paladin calling. It feels right.