I have meetup guilt, but it isn't about AVEN. I've been a member of another group (let's call it the Popcorn Society) for about a year now, and I don't want to go to their meetups. I'm not even Catholic, but I thought I could absolve myself by figuring out what was keeping me away, and using that information for my AVEN purposes. To start out, I greatly admire the Popcorn Society, its founder/leader and its (loyal) members. Since I first discovered it, I've viewed it as a role model for AVEN meetups. It's been around for at least 7 years, is on a steady schedule, and usually attracts about 10 people to its meetups. The leader of the Popcorn Society is extremely consciencious. Before the meetups, he calls every member on the phone to remind them (Although lately, he hasn't sounded very happy with my lack of attendance). However, if I don't have plans, I'm usually very easily pursuaded, and this is a strategy I've thought about using for our AVEN meetups.
What I don't like about the Popcorn Society is that it's pretty much just sitting around and talking in a boring environment. It's been said that men prefer to talk over activities, but I think that's just a personality style, as I much prefer talking during activities as well. The Popcorn Society members tend to talk about the same issues over and over, and a few people dominate the discussion. I'm also the only member in my 20's; the youngest person aside from me is in his late 30's. I know we're adults, and can associate with each other regardless of age. But, I start feeling like some sort of mascot. I'm not sure why this bothers me; at sixteen, I was in a choir in which all the other members were in their 60's or older, and I loved that choir. The location is also not convenient to anyone (If it was convenient to some people but not everyone, I would understand that better).
I wrote some of this post and then came back to it later. Apparently, lentil soup is a brain enhancer, because halfway through the bowl, I realized why I'm not thrilled with the Popcorn Society's meetups. It actually doesn't have to do with being youngest, being bored or being in a lame location. It's because the meetings seem to exist in a gray area between fun and productive. While I usually find the meetings interesting, they're not exactly "fun" and while they might expand our conciousness, that's not enough to keep me coming back. Apparently, I want to either have a lot of social fun, or achieve something tangible from our meetings. And it seems easier for me to plan something productive than something fun, since people's ideas of fun seem to vary more. Maybe just one of those easy, cheap visibility ideas I'm always talking about. Late night graffiti! (Just kidding...but only because I don't think people would come to a meetup involving illegal activities.)