Leaving the flight club today I was finally able to pinpoint a change in my relationship with one of my favorite haunts, the flight club. Since I started flying in 2010 the "pilots lounge" in the club has been my informal hang out. Where I would go because I wanted to get away and spend time with other like minded pilots - or at least if they weren't like minded, at least they were usually pilots so we had something in common. I'd hang out in the club or park myself at one of the tables on the patio so I could watch planes take off over the hangar next to ours and observe the sights and sounds of an airport. The club was an escape to my happy, flying place.
Over a year ago now, the club's owner approached me to help with the club. He saw my passion for flying and love of the club and thought it would be good to leverage that to keep the club going and maybe even growing. The club was stagnant for a long time because he had little time or desire to do more than keep the lights on. So, I agreed to start helping out in a more formal fashion after I finished my commercial rating last year. I've been doing that and, I believe, making a small difference in the club.
A couple months ago a series of events got me to the point where I decided a more major change needed to be made for the good of the club and its members. We needed to get the CFI's at the club talking to each other, leveraging each other's skills for the benefits of their students (our club members) and following basic operating procedures (procedures many of them don't know because no one told them). So I lobbied the club owner and finally got permission to hold a mandatory CFI meeting.
I sent out the word last week about these meetings, the CFIs have to come, and now I'm formally a "club manager". Not that it means I get paid, but it gives me a certain level of power I suppose, and because I am who I am, a lot more responsibility. I noticed in the month that I've been working on the contents for the mandatory meeting, running it past all of the appropriate people, etc. that I'm not so happy to be at the club any more. It is no longer my escape. When I'm tired, which I have been a lot of the time recently, I want to leave there quickly rather than hang out, like I used to.
So it is sad for me... to have lost my happy place in exchange for the responsibility of making it a happier place for the club members. Maybe it doesn't have to be that way. Maybe I can eventually make real improvements that can make being there a joy for all. That's what I'm trying to do anyway.
This realization made me determined to spend a bit more deliberate "me" time running with my close friends. That will re-charge me for the time I spend at the club doing "club stuff". Not to mention I have found I need to do some non-training flights once in a while to remind myself what I'm doing all of the training I'm doing for.... to have a chance to introduce others to the magic of flight.
So much to do... so little time. But if I ask myself would I rather be doing something else, the answer is No. Yes, I wish it was easier and I wish I wasn't fighting so much inertia, but I am not at the point that I don't want to do it. I believe the effort can be worth it. I'm not 100% the effort will pay off, but I'm willing to keep working at it, and, if it doesn't work out here, it sure is great experience for later!