Well that’s another year done and dusted and here we are at the start of a brand new year again. Has twelve months really passed since we were getting all excited with plans and goals for the year ahead? It’s true what they say, time does pass more quickly as you get older, and for me it seems to be almost sprinting ahead. I do wish that it would slow down a little, preferably to a snail’s pace. I really don’t mind being the age I am, I’m just not ready to get any older!

So how did 2016 fare for you? If I could compare my year to a journey I’d say that mine started off on a journey along a road traversing over mainly gently rolling hills… little ups and little downs…tootling along quite happily. Then suddenly, I hurtled down a short, steep hill that took the wind out of me and it took time to crawl up the hill on the other side, but I got there in the end and carried on, but with a little reticence and less confident than before. By the summer the journey became easier and any bumps flattened out until yet again I was faced with another hill, but this time it took longer to climb up the other side and for a time I wasn’t sure which direction to go and the road was decidedly littered with potholes that made the journey a bit bumpy. But, with a few tweeks to the steering, my journey ended as it began, happily tootling to my destination. I’m sure that for many of you, your year’s journey was similar, and for others it was far more difficult or maybe even a bit of a doddle.

road-ahead

Isn’t every year full of ups and downs, twists and turns?

A couple of years ago Mr R decided to go freelance which meant he had to work away. I wasn’t prepared to spend every evening sat in front of the TV, so when a new WI started up locally I was keen to join and being me, who loves to get wholeheartedly involved with anything I do, I decided to become a committee member. Eight months later I took on the role as president when our then president had to step down. It was a bit nerve-wracking as I’m not a natural when it comes to speaking to a group of people nor at chairing a meeting. There were times initially when I struggled to feel confident, and I was just a bit too sensitive if I felt that others thought that I wasn’t doing a good job, but I was enthusiastic and worked hard at the role. I loved my WI and really wanted it to succeed. Eventually my confidence grew and I even began to enjoy having to talk to the members. I was really looking forward to carrying on in my post for another year. Except it wasn’t to be.The way the WI works is that voting for the president takes place in the middle of the AGM. The long and the short of it was that I wasn’t re-elected. I was absolutely gutted and so embarrassed that I just wanted to crawl under a great big rock, but instead I had to concede graciously like political candidates have to when they lose an election and besides hiding wasn’t an option as I had to run the quiz that I had organised to follow the formal part of the meeting. Boy, was it a struggle. I went home feeling a failure and totally rejected. Was I really that bad a president?

defeat

It’s taken until now to see realise how true this is.

After that it was hard to carry on being on the committee. I felt a bit like a spare part at times. A case of , what do you with a has been president? That was more than likely not the case at all, but it felt like it.  The old lacking in confidence returned as well as being over sensitive. Eventually a friendship nearly came to blows and I was just stressing out too much. Poor Mr R got right cheesed off with me forever moaning about it.  I should have been enjoying the WI and not getting worked up about it. Enough was enough and I took the decision to step down from all aspects of the organisational aspect of our WI and took a few months off from the meetings. I felt so much better for the break and I’m made up now that I have rediscovered my WI mojo. Truth be told I find it a bit weird not being in the thick of  the organisational side and really miss it. Would I stand as president again ? Sure, without hesitation, but only if I was the only one standing. To be rejected once was hard enough but twice would be pretty unbearable. I don’t always agree with the way the WI as a national organisation is run and find some of their rules and regulations frustrating and outdated, but I do agree with the principal that it is an organisation that brings women together to form friendships, to be educated, learn new skills and to campaign. Principals which have certainly made a difference to my life.

womens-institute-2

Image..Mollie Makes

Of course my journey through 2016 wasn’t only determined by the good and rocky times I had as a  member of the WI, but I won’t bore you any longer and besides my  Ocado delivery is due.I’m going to be unpacking lots of  healthy goodies for my  new healthy me regime.Something I’ll no doubt share with you soon. I bet you can’t wait!

Brigitte xx

 

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