"One day you're being driven, next minute you're the driver."
Greg Brownless posted that on his Facebook in November with a picture of him serving as a chauffeur at a fundraiser, shortly after he lost his bid for a second term as Tauranga's mayor.
He might have lost the race but it was clear his sense of humour remained.
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If anything, he says, his humour - especially the darker humour he's more inclined towards - has been unshackled since he took off the mayoral chains.
"I don't have to hold back any more. I used to have to stop myself: 'Oh no you can't say that, remember you're the mayor'."
Brownless described his term at the helm as a "fairly torrid three years".
"I had three years of countless problems and trying to sort things out and trying to explain.
"It was probably the worst possible time to happen to win an election.
"No matter who was mayor there was still going to be Bella Vista, there was still going to be cost blow-outs, they still had the votes to do that Mount park I voted against [Te Papa O Ngā Manu Porotakataka]."
The Government changed and the council lost its contacts and struggled to strike funding deals with the coalition and its transport talk of modal shift.
He said he was also "the last bulwark" against the gradual transfer of some traditional government responsibilities to councils without additional funding.
Brownless said he believed voters blamed him for the issues, rightly or wrongly.
He was proud to have got a few things over the line: airport upgrade done, a new chief executive, the Farmers redevelopment under way - an "anchor" for the revitalisation of the CBD.
He was pleased to see the new council get the Mount base track over the line, but said its move towards ditching the controversial restrictions his council introduced on begging and rough sleeping was "a big mistake".
"I think it will be open slather again and it wouldn't show any respect for those trying to do business downtown. I would like to see it stay."
Brownless said he had no plans for a political second act.
"I've won one, I've lost one and I think that's a good place to leave it."
He would continue reading local news and taking an interest in the council's decisions, but said he would not be watching livestreamed meetings.
"That would be a bit sad."
He was not too sure what would come next but baulked at the suggestion he was retired.
"I will find something to do."
He planned to sign up with an international emergency management company he has previously worked for, helping with the response to the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 and the 2010 Christmas Island boat disaster.
A former funeral director, Brownless said his mix of "hands-on" and leadership experience was rare and useful in times of disaster.
He did not expect - or hope for - frequent assignments from this endeavour.
The first project Brownless took on after the election result was a play called Noises Off with the Tauranga Repertory Society at the 16th Ave Theatre.
Curiously, it was the same play he starred in 32 years earlier, not long after moving to Tauranga.
Then, aged 30, he played Garry - the leading man, an actor prone to jealousy and falling down stairs.
In his second showing, aged 62, he was cast in the rather more elderly role of Selsdon Mowbray, the half-deaf long-serving actor with a drinking problem.
Brownless said his circular return to the stage prompted some reflection on his time in Tauranga.
Teaching, the funeral business, council and the mayoralty, then back to the play.
"It was sort of like starting again in the same place," he said.