Linux has been my preferred personal operating system since the turn of the millenium, with Gentoo being my standard distribution for roughly as long. I don't know if I'd opt for Gentoo from scratch (and may lean towards Guix or one of the container-oriented options) but it's flexible enough that it's hard to justify moving away from. Similarly I'm also drawn to some smaller or more cutting edge kernels but given Linux's role in containerization I'd only be likely to use alternatives for fairly small, contained uses.

I used to fairly religiously keep my kernel updated but now I do so fairly infrequently given that the kernel changes seem to be more incremental and therefore I tend to tinker with the kernel when I need to change settings or notice that the running version is particularly crusty. I'm likely to work on streamlining the process a bit; In particular I'll also likely start working out more of a programmatic means to perform kernel configuration (ideally finding one) given that the standard make targets aren't particularly conducive to defining configuration in source control (I think there is a similar sentiment in the Linux Kernel in a Nutshell book).

In Gentoo in particular I tend to emerge several new kernel sources before building and installing any of them where I may think about wiring up a hook to more automatically update, but at the moment that's fairly low priority for me.