Through choice I spent yesterday evening at a committee meeting.
I spent much of my working life avoiding them and now that I’m retired I’ve started going to them when I don’t have to. Judging by the others in the room it’s what retired people do. In fact, aged 59, I was welcomed as new blood and elected unopposed, only because no one else wanted to do it, as vice-chairman.
About a year ago I joined a political party – for confidentiality reasons I feel that I shouldn’t say which one – though previous posts certainly hint at my leanings.
I was surprised how little communication I received from the local branch, I was half expecting to be bombarded with invitations to meetings, social events and other activities.
Partly through chance I eventually met a couple of fellow members and the opportunity, with a few older committee members standing down, for me to become vice chair was mooted.
I’ve been interested in politics for as long as I can remember. My mum was very politically minded and was certainly a big influence on me. I also grew up in the late seventies and experienced the three-day week, miners’ strike and saw how nationalised industries worked in reality.
I also did a bit of travelling during my university summer holidays and visited the then divided Berlin which included a day in the East. The stark contrast between the freedom and vibrancy of the West compared with the East’s grim drabness has never left me.
Though I always had the inclination I’ve never had the time to get properly involved until now and here I am as vice-chairman, one step away from being the local branch big cheese.
I’m hoping it works out ok and gives me an interest, a purpose that fulfils. Last night’s meeting was ok, held in a pub I was able to enjoy a cheeky mid-week pint and one or two of the people sounded like they’d be good to get to know.
There’s also a bit of clarity to my role on the committee, last thing I’d want is to be just part of a committee of people talking for the sake of talking and achieving next to nothing. Those were the sort of committees I had to make presentations to in my working life.
It’s a big step though which will impact on my spare time and involve monthly meetings and no doubt few hours a week outside of them.
I want to do the job properly but I’m determined it doesn’t affect my other goals particularly travel. If I can’t make meetings because I’m away then that’s tough, there’ll be no compromise there.
This committee role will be an interesting journey, one I have decidedly mixed feelings about, but one I’m happy to embark on and see where takes me.