Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Political Life

Recently I had the opportunity to run in a municipal election, and though I handily lost, I had one of the greatest experiences of my life. The joy did not come from a forum, it did not come from money raised, or from supporters gathered; my satisfaction came from a lesson, from a point of view that I hope to never forget.

At the start of my campaign for Kelowna city councillor I took every detail into consideration and perfection was not just a priority, it was a necessity. In just a manner of days I was sleep deprived and overcome with anxiety.

I found myself focused on planning to the minute, but all was put into context when I looked at my full calender and saw the day after the election blank. At that moment I saw the election not as my life but as only a small part of it.

I sunk back into my chair outpaced by the idea that win or lose, this election, my first election, would be something I would remember for the rest of my life and instead of worrying about every detail I should enjoy it.

Events, forums, and meetings followed, they did not exist as individual competitions of potential gains and losses but instead as accumulating sensations of unforgettable memories. In viewing the experience, not as a singular episode, but as a small segment in my life, the few negative moments were seen as constructive and the positive ones were seen as wells of motivation and fulfillment.

Though I had been to 7,000 doors, raised more money than planned, and received more support than anticipated, election night brought a resounding defeat. From the start of my campaign I had known I had little chance, but I never gave up. I always saw hard work as my way to victory.

Even with my altered perspective, I worried that the small part of me would be crushed with an election loss, that even with conscious recognition of just enjoying the experience, that part of me that hoped to win would be irreconcilable with defeat.

As the numbers came in, from the first poll it was clear I was out of the running, but as my eyes looked inward, I was stunned, it was not sadness or depression that I felt welling up inside me, it was happiness. It was a feeling of contentness from the experience. Yes defeat was felt, but only in terms of the election, in terms of my life, the defeat was nothing but a difference in numbers.

At the start of the election I saw it as everything, as my life, but just like every thing, it wasn't. My life, your life, is more than any one thing; it is more than any of them combined.

Life is not measured by the outcome of events, life is measured by how you live them. Treating the election as something that I would never forget altered my view of it immensely and I enjoyed every minute of it.

It's an attitude that I hope to adopt every day.

1 comment:

CuJoYYC said...

An excellent and well-balanced view of your electoral experience. This approach will hold you in good stead moving forward.

Well done.