Should one seek membership of new clubs and societies? Should one associate with like minds or preserve an independence? How many experiences and associations are enough and how many are too many?
Tough questions, and some treat of philosophy as much as they do of the Associations Act. You may never ask them of yourself, but if you do, you may be able to order your social experience a bit better. Try these ideas on for size:
a. Should you seek new clubs? Well, if you are comfortable seeking new experiences of any sort, the answer is probably yes. If you are replete, or so nervous of other people as to make any contact unbearable – no.
New clubs need not be new to the world – just to you. If you are courageous, select something that is entirely different from any thing you have done before. Nearly all societies have a novice or low-level entry that eases new members into the activity. Don’t despise this – even if it is simplistic, do it. What you’ll learn others have learned before you.
b. Should you seek clubs that do not seek you? Well, this is soggier ground.
Think in terms of an English gentleman’s club in the Victorian era. Many of them shut their doors to outsiders who were not of the upper classes. Many of them had racial, religious, and gender rules to keep out the masses. They wanted no-one who wanted them. Some of them are still going today upon the same basis…and some of them are going in Perth right now.
Apply yourself to joining them at your emotional peril. Whatever good you hope they might do you could be counteracted by the harm of refusal…or the horror of acceptance…
Should you seek clubs that have complicated rules, standards of dress, rites and rituals, and all the paraphernalia of secret societies? I recommend that you watch the ” Simpsons ” episode where Homer tries to join the secret society. Note that many of these societies do not accept applicants – they send out invitations. I’ll let you decide whether it is better to be a chosen person or not – that phrase has been used in a religious context before and you have no idea of some of things that we get chosen for…
c. Is there a club for everything? Unfortunately, yes. That’ll sound odd, but no matter what activity or interest the human mind or body can desire is catered for somewhere as a club. And I mean good and bad.
Use your personal common sense – don’t join a society dedicated to doing good hoping to be badass. Likewise don’t join a nexus of evil hoping to be a reforming angel. No-one will be happy on either side.
d. How much of your life should you devote to club activities? This is a decision that should rest with you…it’s a danger signal if others keep trying to pressure you into doing more or less than you are comfortable with. Look at your life and apportion time to the club or clubs that would otherwise be wasted…but do not give away all your earning, learning, or family time to the organisations. You might expect a return in love and respect, but you’ll rarely get it.
e. How much money should you devote to a club?
Well, if you seem to have joined a club that deals with selling detergents to other franchisees, I suggest that you may have joined a scam. Drop everything that is in your hand, run for the door, and do not look back.
If it is a regular club, and there are annual dues, pay them if you can. If they rise so high as to be onerous, take this a sign from either Heaven or your bank manager that the club is not for you. If other club members seek to obtain money from you on a regular basis you can also take this as a sign.
Your hobby expenditure is your own business. If you can manage your affairs so that you have all you need without necessarily having all you desire, you are on the way to happiness. Recognise this and rein in your purse long before you need to sell your necessaries.
f. When should you leave a club?
When it has given you all it decently can, and you have given it all you decently can…when you’ve had as much innocent fun as is likely…and before ennui sets in…it is time to conclude your membership. Make friends and keep them. Make memories and keep them.