This is a departure from the types of post I normally do so please bear with me.
Early in my career I followed some bad advice that steered me away from the great development community that Nashville has to offer. Following that advice is the thing I regret most in my career. That advice is what lead me down the path of the dark matter developer that I mention in the about page for this site.
I spent a lot of years working very hard at my job with my only interaction with other developers being my co-workers. It was comfortable and the easy thing to do. I did not realize how much I was limiting myself. Limiting my growth as a developer, but more so limiting my personal development.
Thankfully this is not where the story ends. A lot of life happened and I ended up being exposed to a group of people who loved being involved with the Nashville development community. They were excited by what they do and involved at levels I had never seen. It was a breath of fresh air and a turning point for me. I am a shy and introverted person but exposure to the community helped me to start getting passed my shyness.
To start I began attending the local .Net User Group. For me this user group was a great place to start. I could listen to the speaker and slip out after the talk was over without too much interaction with others. Over time interactions got easier and I met a ton of great people. User groups are a great for learning new things, but I have come to realize that the connections made with other people are by far the most valuable benefit. I have even expanded to some social only events like the Geek Social.
If you are not involved with the community in your area I encourage you to start. Get to know your fellow developers. They are the greatest resource to be found.