Life is very different for former Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell.
Life is very different for former Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell. Marc Stapelberg

What life is really like for Jenny Dowell after council

SHE is not sure why, but it still surprises Jenny Dowell when she's recognised in public.

"In some ways I am as anonymous as I expected to feel. I just wanted to melt into the background, but it is nice when someone I don't know says 'hello Jenny'," she says.

"I just feel like an ordinary person, so I am touched but still a bit surprised."

But life is also just as she wanted, she says. Still busy, but without the crazy 70 to 80 hour a day weeks - "it feels very relaxed".

"I have time to go to movies and read books and garden. I am very much enjoying myself."

She feels "very lucky to be able to be a volunteer".

Of Caroona, where she helps out as a Red Hot Mumma each week, she says: "It is a joyous place to be, it energises me and I feel very at home."

Other organisations she is involved with include NORPA, Rail Trail Inc, Friends of Lismore Rainforest Botanic Gardens and the Northern Rivers Suicide Prevention Awareness Program.

She is also excited to announce her foray into amateur dramatics with the premiere of The Cagebirds at the Rochdale Theatre on June 1.

But when it comes to council affairs, Jenny is firm.

"I still have close friends and contacts at council, but I believe once you step down you stay silent."

She is, however, a mentor to a number of other mayors in the state, which is a "great privilege".