Cartoons essentially shaped who I am- as an aspiring cartoonist myself, I hope to emulate the lessons they taught me. Cartoons are a powerful learning tool, and my favorite cartoons were always those with a continuous storyline, in which good was not always victorious. These were the most memorable asnd enjoyable because they were gentle lessons about the realities of life- good and evil, victory and loss, and a never-ending story. No cartoon really depicted the harshness of real life, but that's why anime is such a great jumping point for a kid growing out of his cartoon stage, as it can present more mature stories and themes.
Vibrancy was another thing that stuck out to me, obviously. Variety in characters (their dress and personality) was another thing that affected me deeply, and I enjoyed characters that were goofy but could also have a serious side- surprisingly, there were a lot of these, which is nice to know. Mythos was important to me, too. If a show gradually deepened its mythology and awarded the viewer for catching on to its subtleties... I probably ate it up.
My playtime reflected this, with my stories becoming vast and full of characters and a gradual mythos expanding. This caused me to find friends that shared the same interests- fantasy, science-fiction, and the like, and allowed me to become the person I am today. I felt different when I attempted to explain my love of cartoons to others, but I finally found people who I didn't even need to explain myself to in order to know their opinions on me or the subject, I knew that I was not alone in my thoughts.
I learned so much from cartoons- my sense of humor (which seems to be a staple of the generation), the ability to see people very fairly and evenly (female-centric episodes, while less interesting, did really help with this), the limits of imagination, lessons to remember as I grew up- about fairness, sharing, obtaining happiness and finding the goodness in life... cartoons certainly did a number on me. But it allowed me to see the world in such vivicy that I wouldn't take away one minute of the time I spent watching them.