I recently watched a very well-done program on PBS called "The Buddha." It traced the life of the Buddha and the development of Buddhism, including its spread to the West. I was so taken by the scholars, poets, and practitioners the filmmaker chose to interview for the film - W.S. Merwin, Robert Thurman (perhaps best known as Uma Thurman's dad, although I have always thought of Uma as Robert Thurman's daughter), Mark Epstein, Jane Hirschfield, and the Dali Lama, to name a few. I would highly recommend that you watch the program if you can.
I first became drawn to Buddhism in my early 20s, when I began to practice mindfulness and meditation. I was struck by the simple (well, simple in concept, more difficult in practice) way that Buddhism talked about suffering. Suffering was familiar, of course. But the idea that my suffering was caused by either aversion or craving was eye-opening. It made so much sense. The more I pulled things toward me, or the harder I pushed them away, the more problems I encountered. I think that this basic awareness has allowed me to live a more balanced life. Meditation is the place that I have been able to see my own inner workings more clearly. It is the place where I can have all kinds of thoughts, but not attach to them. There is great freedom in not believing everything you think.