This is part of what has been behind my intention to retire as a governor, but I’m thinking again. We’ve had a few straightforward talks recently, and I have been thinking things through.
What I’m good at, you see, is problem-solving, putting together what I know from various places and coming up with ideas. Give me something to work with and I can see it from different angles and sometimes the comments I make are surprisingly helpful. Not having enough to stimulate me will bore me silly. I’ve no particular skill or overriding hobby, and taking up something for the sake of filling my time is a pretty dreadful thought. I’m practical and I love to have a go, but I’m not artistic, I’m not a writer or a musician (much as I love art, books and music), nor am I especially skilled with my hands, though I’m pretty practical. Looking after the house and garden, eating out and social small talk, taking up a hobby, are fine for when I’m much older than I am now, but that sort of retirement will just not do for now.
Natural inclinations that are better overriden are introspection, an inclination to melancholy (not depression) and solitude, a readiness to be lazy. What I’d rather encourage in myself are enthusiasm, readiness to pitch in and work hard, a real love of people. I’m very patient but I’m also easily bored. I’m good at involving myself in a range of activities because I’m able to compartmentalise, dismiss one thing entirely from my mind temporarily to concentrate wholly on the matter in hand.
There’s not going to be any great changes in the Sage’s life, just a lifting of some of the work that he and I both do and which is becoming a burden. He has plenty to occupy his time and if he wants us to do anything together we will. But it’ll be his choice of activity for the most part, he’s either very interested in something or he isn’t, there is no middle way. I’ll take an interest in pretty well anything, but not necessarily in any great depth. He had been very reluctant to say he’d give up auctioneering, but once the decision was made (and Weeza and I both pushed for it) he realised it was the right one and he’s looking forward to the freedom. He’s already become rather less active at home, it’s me who has taken on much of the heavier work in house and garden that we used to do together or he did.
In short, I’m still going to work on finding someone to take over from me as chairman of governors, but I’m going to relax about the timescale. There’s a lot of work to do and there will be an even greater spread to come, so I need to relinquish a couple of the things I do now, to give me scope. It’ll be stimulating, whether or not it’s always enjoyable. I think I’ll know the time to give up, and it’ll be when I’ve got a successor and everything’s going well. Because when there are problems to solve, that’s not the time to quit, not if I can be useful.