"How are you?" takes on new meaning when asked in the aftermath of an election campaign.
I feel surprisingly good. Yes, a little tired, and somewhat frustrated and disappointed with aspects, but overall, it's been a fantastic ride.
Being a candidate for the Greens has been an honour. I've got to hang out with amazing candidates like new MP Chloe Swarbrick, Manawatu neighbours Thomas Nash and Teanau Tuiono, and party leader and friend James Shaw.
We're all volunteers, except for the sitting MPs, so this is truly done out of love. As tweeted by @charaustin, channelling The Exponents, "Why does love (for environmentally friendly and socially compassionate policies) do this to me".
It's not hard to stand up for the Greens' policies - in fact, they seem downright sensible and obvious, to me at least. And maybe not only me. Many of our policy platforms have been picked up by the bigger parties, to a greater or lesser extent.
Would we be discussing swimmable rivers, effective action on climate change, or ending child poverty with as much passion without the Greens? I don't think so. My hope is that stopping seabed mining is the next position others adopt.
Of course, there is concern (maybe even evidence) that the other parties pay just enough lip service to these issues to maintain power until the momentum for real change disintegrates. It can be subtle, particularly in social welfare and equal pay, but seabed mining is not a grey area - we either allow massive underwater destruction for decades or we don't.
So, no, I'm not going to fade away - the issues are too important. I'll be back every fortnight sharing this column with the fantastic Rachel Rose.
I am looking forward to more relaxed time with my children though. Dragging them through the supermarket after school is not the pinnacle of parenting, especially when fitting in election debriefs on the fly.
I ran into a campaigner's dad this week - his advice is if you're trying to change the world through politics, get ready for as many disappointment as wins. Martin Luther King Jr. put another spin on it: "Accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope."
The good news is we don't need to give up on politics to take action in other arenas. I'm attending the Social Enterprise World Forum in Christchurch this week and will be bringing back to Whanganui as much of the amazing and inspirational stuff happening around the globe as I can absorb.
More selfishly, I'm looking forward to a bit more time for me. Life's a balance and I'm planning more exercise and more blobbing out, both being sorely missed of late.
The old saying that it takes a village to raise a child has been truly put to work in these past few months and I want to thank my parents, babysitters, friends and neighbours for being there for me and the boys. I couldn't have done this without you.
Finally, I want to acknowledge where we started, nearly a year ago - sitting around my kitchen table with Chris Cresswell and our core team; Rene, Heather and Jan.
While our numbers weren't as high as we had hoped, we can feel proud. We've campaigned with vision and values, humour and heart.
Historian Howard Zinn can have the last word: "Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. Even when we don't 'win', there is fun and fulfilment in the fact that we have been involved, with other good people, in something worthwhile ... And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory."
*Nicola Patrick is a Horizons regional councillor, works for Te Kaahui o Rauru and is exploring a social enterprise hub for Whanganui. A mother of two boys, she has a science degree and is a Green Party member.