In keeping with my promise to myself, now approaching the one year mark, if I think somebody will benefit from my being in shul on shabbos morning, I go. Mostly that has been as a bimah participant with the main exceptions being to honor somebody who has a milestone, usually a kiddush sponsor. Both events took place this past shabbos.
As a spectator, the shabbos morning experience can vary a lot from place to place, often tiresome, irritating with sufficient frequency to account for gradual attrition in some places mine among them, sometimes elevating when portions are executed especially well or an insight is acquired from having been there, and sometimes reconnecting with friends or exchanging thoughts with people at kiddush. As a participant I tend to be more focused upon me than on what is around me, awaiting my turn with some laudable wariness, sensing some relief when mission accomplished and largely leaving the rest of the morning subordinate to my personal task that morning. The weekly pageant of shabbos morning of which I am part that week maintains its expected course as it always does, but my attention goes to me, in the process leaving me relatively neutral to the other components to which I would have a favorable or unfavorable opinion if I were there only because my attendance is expected on every shabbos morning.
The Aliyah Sound Bites annoyed me less, though to be fair they have gotten more brief, the skills of the other participants just blending it with my skills, handshakes were fulfilled largely as an offshoot of the assignment, and I rewarded myself at the end with some Scotch at the kiddush table and a generous piece of cake from the weekly sponsors. Had I attended with no personal contribution to the proceedings, I probably would have been more of an analyst of the experience. This may be why I made the decision last fall to attend selectively this calendar year.