Combining the thoughts of a few of the wise old greybeards of sailnet.
SAIL - If you havn't done any then get out there and do it. Rent a boat for a day, take a charter holiday, but sail. Funnily enough even the gales at sea when you are dreaming about them don't seem to have the same impact as the real thing. As you say yourself it's not all beer and skittles and while I have no desire to dampen your enthusiasm it's amazing how a few hours in a wet damp cold cockpit can do just that. It's real easy to love sailing when it's sunny, 10-15 knots and calm seas. It's not so easy to love it when you are cold wet and miserable. BTW if you don't feel confident enough to take out a sailing boat on charter then rent a cruiser for a few days. It will still give you a taste of the world aquatic.
OBSERVE - Get yourself down to your local yard and just sit and watch a few of the folk cleaning and painting. Get an idea of what it's like to be covered head to toe in the dust of sanded antifoul. Imagine the fun times you are going to have when it's your turn to slip your own little ship.
THINK - Are you planning on a "do it upper" ? If so try and get on board something and go and spend an hour crouched down under the cockpit or in the lazarette. Got lots of money and thinking of buying something new or almost new ? Even on the newest and the brightest little ship something is going to go wrong when there is no one around but you to crawl up behind the engine to try and fix a leaking stuffing box.
I am not trying to dissuade you merely open your eyes. Amazingly there are those of us who quite enjoy the scrapping and the painting. There are those of us who quite enjoy being wet cold and miserable, cos on occasions it can be quite invigorating, in fact there is little in this world that gets the soul a humming like finally dropping anchor in a nice quiet bay after a dirty run down the coast. Dinner on the BBQ, rum at hand, your favourite person by your side as we sing sing sing "Oh he's a lumberjack...oh sorry wrong sketch.
The sheer unbridled joy of a freezing cold morning when you slide back the hatch and sit watching the mist rise off the water or a slow steady rain falling. (hee hee, then get in the dinghy and row the dog to shore so it can have a crap and you can get nice and soggy.) It's all good. There is nothing so much worth doing as the Water Rat famously mused. But it's not for everyone thank christ and finding out you are one of the "yeah nice but it's not for me crowd" after you have just dumped a hundred grand or so on your dreamboat would be a shame, a shame that has happened to thousands of other before you.
On the other hand yet again, if the first time you take the tiller and feel that living beautiful thing lean into the wind and accelerate away on a nice beam reach, you cannot get the smile of your dial then you my friend are hooked. Hooked into something that is surpassed by very little on this troubled old world we inhabit.