Surrender to retirement

Last night, 51 homeowners did not vote for me to continue as a board member of our homeowner’s association. They voted for a new resident to take my position– and I’m happy they did. I’m relieved that my board member days are over. After only two years as a sitting member, I realized how trivial the job was. I didn’t make a difference in the community. Instead, I took meeting minutes for a group of elderly men who liked to hear their own voices. I yielded to a retired Chicago police officer who thinks he knows what’s best for the community. He’s been the residing association president for many years. And when his introduction was made at last night’s meeting, people in the room proudly applauded him. He must be doing something right. I hope that one day, people applaud me for my efforts.

After a recent quarrel with the president, I realized that I no longer wanted to be on the board. We live in a predominantly elderly community. Many of my neighbors are retired. Many of them are men. They come from a different generation where a liberal youth is more of a threat than a welcome contribution. I felt like my voice was kept quiet, even though theoretically, I had the same value as all the other board members– but I was a woman. It never felt right being at their table. For that reason, I’m happy to be off the board. But it also makes me realize that I didn’t feel good enough to be there.

I was raised by a strong woman. My mother is one of the most opinionated and persuasive people I know. But she still believes that a woman’s place in life is in the household. I don’t share that belief. I’d like to think my generation believes that there’s more to a successful woman than raising children. I have a passion for independence. I want to do whatever I want to do, whenever I want to do it. Nothing can hold me back. I was raised to believe that I can do that. But still, I feel that because I am a woman, I didn’t belong in that leadership role on the board. Why don’t more women push to be leaders? At the age of 26, I have already retired from my first position of authority. I gave it up without a fight. I’m disappointed in myself that I didn’t ask people to vote for me. I keep telling myself that I have better things to do with my time, but I still feel depressed when I think about the events of last night’s board meeting. And that’s because I know I didn’t do the right thing and fight.

I fight for my future every day. I fight to wake up earlier in the morning so I’m on time. I fight to work out every day to be healthy. I fight to get my work done to the best of my ability so I can have a better job in the future. I didn’t fight yesterday. It was easier not to. The saying goes: “the best things in life are worth fighting for,” right? I guess this is one fight I didn’t want to continue. I just hope I get another opportunity to be a leader again.

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