Normal Citizen

I had a big realization this morning that I really enjoy being a normal citizen.  Back when I was a politician, there was a constant pressure to be places, attend events, and be hyper engaged on social media.  It was a similar pressure when I had a strong arts promotion mandate.  Now, I go to the things that call to me, promote the things that catch my attention and interest, and feel as little pressure as possible.

It's not that I've become a curmudgeon or a recluse; I'm anything but.  However, I appreciate my personal time, my time in the studio, and the health benefits of a balanced life.  A prominent community leader asked me point blank if I was running for mayor next fall.  He had heard the rumour several times and had the class to ask me directly.


I snickered and respectively replied that I had no intention to run for office any time soon.  Don't get me wrong, there was a time when I would have jumped at the chance, and I really did love my three years serving as a municipal councillor.  Through my painting and my work at the United Way and with the community I've discovered other ways of contributing and making a difference.


In my middle years - I am 48, turning 49 this June - I am more interested in helping and serving.  I'm also keenly interested in learning, creating, collaborating and innovating.  Those are the things that get my blood flowing.  I'm enjoying being able to do those things from the vantage point of being an average citizen of the community.


I really appreciate elected officials and those who lead organizations and companies.  They embrace a lot of responsibility and all the requisite stresses that come with it.  Generally, they do so willingly and with enthusiasm and heart.  The fact is though, when you are in those kind of roles, you're always under a microscope.  If you're ever pondering making the leap from average citizen to a more public and prominent role, reflect on the translucent life you'll be walking into.

A couple of years ago I made a life-changing decision to choose things that felt light as opposed to heavy.  That decision emerged from a panic attack episode. It was the startling wake-up call that I needed to shift gears  What followed have been two of the happiest, healthiest and most productive years of my life.

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