In my case it was 10 years. I just came back yesterday, and I cannot begin to tell you (because I fear some would misunderstand it as sarcasm, too), how much I loved it. I took PTO (paid time off) to follow the Olympics and the Mars Science Lab missions, and when I started to write a little script to download raw images by sol number yesterday, googling after some long-forgotten syntax stuff real quick, I came across a link to PM.
And that's when "real quick" was over. The script took second place to me being on here for a couple of hours straight, just loving to go through some of my old writeups, reading those old replies, and remembering some stuff I've done back then, and what I worked on.
Of course it was a shock finding out that I am not Friar anymore! How dare you guys degrade me in my absence!? ;) I was pretty proud when I became friar -- good thing is I am only 3 XP down of becoming .oO(what's it called now?) Pilgrim, so, oh well, my votes for today should do.
I was amazed that my account still existed, though, to begin with, and that it was unaltered, otherwise. The interface looked like in the olden days, when Perl was my business still. And I am 100% honest, when I say, oh my Larry, I love that it is! In a way... all those years I trusted that it was. It was minimalistic, and practical and "Home" then, and it still is today. It's like coming back from a long pilgrimage and finding out your brothers kept everying in working order and the same for you. Thank you very much for that, brothers and sisters.
That said, although I know it's probably off-topic here: Sometimes I really miss Perl, and especially using it professionally (read: being allowed to use it, nowadays). I've been off to Java for a decade now, and while I did get to like it, and things have much improved since then, and I know it as well as I used to know Perl, it's just ... something else. Java, in a way, is the most boring language out there.
So it's not surprizing, maybe, that I never came across anything even getting close to PerlMonks, which, if I had to name three things where Perl rocks in comparison with Java, it always was: regular expressions as an integral element of the language (as opposed to a library/API), nothing like CPAN existing for it, and nothing like PerlMonks existing for it.
So thank you for still being here, and I have a feeling that the next time I come here will be in less than 10 years. At least until I am back to work in a couple of weeks -- even if it's only due to another rover mission being on Mars, which always has me write some Perl, it seems ;) (Go NASA JPL & Partners, BTW!).