I am a member-at-large of SCA - Society for Creative Anachronism. Due to various reasons I was not able to go to any events for nearly two years now.
Today, I had a chance to go to a feast and it reminded me the power of SCA. I did not have any of my garb or feasting gear, but friends were more than happy to lend it to me. Once I got to the event, many of other friends and acquaintances were happy to see me, chat and dance with me. It made me feel happy and less stressed. I was also introduced to more people and may have even made a new friend or two.
I like SCA court, though not everybody does. To me, the court (and minstrels) is a type of storytelling and I see it as glimpses into the art that is increasingly lost. One of my fond memories is sitting around the fire at Rowany Festival and listening to the master bards compete. For some reason, it evoked feelings no commercial performance even did.
The power of SCA is that people in there are happy to see you when you are there, but understand when you have to go away and do your own thing. Most of the people start at SCA when they are at a university/college. Some continue non-stop for many years afterwards, but most drop-off when the real jobs start. But it is so easy to come back - even if just for one event - that many of those lost souls (me included) pop back in periodically and are always welcomed.
I wish I had more opportunities to go to the SCA events. But even as it is, I know it is there and that I will always find somebody happy to see me, whenever I do have time.