Well, you're asking a forum full of indie devs, so the recommendations you'll get here will probably be pretty predictable
. With that said, let's do a breakdown of your alternatives:
* Find a job, any job in the industry. Work there a couple of years until I have enough experience to impress the cool indie studios, or enough contacts to start my own studio, or enough money to live off while making something of own.
This is the "safe" option, staying in your comfort zone and delaying the decision for later. Problem is, the "safe" option often isn't.
How do you know this will actually impress anybody, as opposed to making epic stuff on your own? How long would you have to work to build up "enough" starting capital? What is "enough"? Will settling for a few years really bring you any closer to your goal? Or will it just slowly eat away at your soul? Will you learn and grow from this job, or will you just stagnate? And once you've grown to rely on the paycheck, do you really think the decision will be easier down the road, or will you just have gotten more to lose? I've got some personal experience with this one, it wasn't in the game industry but still...
* Find a job at a place that I really want to work at, and don't settle for anything less. This would also include "nice" companies. The kind of company that might not be indie, but still creates games bursting with love.
I don't think this is a bad option per se, but if you're not careful it can easily degrade to the same as option 1. If you 'select' this as your option, you're still going to be at the mercy of what you can find. And you'd be amazed at how fast you'll "settle" once the money runs out and you don't have any other alternatives lined up.
If you want to keep high standards for yourself, you'd better know exactly what you are looking for, and have something else to do while you're looking. Or else you're eventually gonna end up taking whatever you find.
* Enroll to a game design school. As I said, I want to be a designer, so it makes sense. But I'm 25 in a few days, and I'm really growing tired of being a student.
I think you've done a nice job of ruling this one out yourself. Trust your instinct, this is just more life stalling. Besides you will learn a lot faster by doing than you will through more schooling. I think you'll find surprisingly few top successful indie devs who learned their craft in school.
* Just do what I love to do. Try to find a couple of people to join me and make awesome games. This is where I want to get in the long run. I'm just not sure if I'm ready.
You never will be. And you will probably fail, several times over. So you better get started
. The nice thing about this option is that it doesn't preclude going for option 2 later. In fact it's probably the best thing you can put on your resume. I've had several job offers where my time spent working on various failed ventures and open source projects were the thing that interested the hiring reps the most.
This isn't the "easy" option, but then again "easy" won't get you where you want to be. And it won't be any easier in five-ten years when you've got wife, kids and a morgage to support.
Just my $0.02