I think my passion for beards stems a lot from a similar situation. I'm from a military family. Including my dad and brother, we have a combined 46 years in the military. So growing up, while I couldn't really grow facial hair and I didn't need to shave often, it was a thing. My dad was always clean shaved and even took that into his retirement. Although he does have stubble every now and then simply from not shaving every single day like he had to before.
I also grew up in a few Asian countries, where beards aren't common for obvious reasons, so they were never a part of my life. I never thought about beards whatsoever.
Fast forward to the point I got out of the military, and I'm not even sure what triggered it, but I just really wanted a beard. So I'd be online looking at progression pictures and eventually it just became a huge thing for me. I wouldn't be able to pinpoint how it started, but it did.
So at this point, I consider my beard a lifestyle. I think I will always rock some sort of beard for the rest of my life (because, being realistic, I might not keep a big beard for the rest of my life, there could be times I decide to trim down or even shave and regrow it). I like how beards look, I like how my beard looks, and I especially like the mature look that it gives. Not only for myself who has always had a baby face and looks younger than I am, but I've admired that "wise" feeling it gives me when I see others with a beard.
But yeah, my beard is definitely part of my life at this point and it's something I'm proud to have, despite it not being an actual accomplishment. Well, growing a large one is an accomplishment in my eyes.