My Next Chapter
Minutes after losing a nail biter in this past Octobers municipal election, friends were asking if I am going to run again in 4 years. While it was a tough election night, I actually handled the loss better than I thought I would in the proceeding days. I will say though, winning elections is a tad more fun than losing them. A week hasn’t gone by since that night that someone hasn’t asked my plans politically, or encouraged me to run again. While humbling, it can also be exhausting to think about moving into permanent campaign mode.
The reality is that since I was first elected at 23, I’ve only been able to plan and think about life in four-year horizons. It does become wearing. I am not the kind of person who anoint myself ‘official opposition’ hurling critiques at my former opponent for the next four years either. Elections have consequences and victors have earned their opportunity to implement their vision.
An election loss also affords one the opportunity to self-reflect. I have come to realize that for too long I have put secondary my physical and mental health as well as other aspects of my life. I can’t afford to put those things on the backburner any more. I must focus on my health and continued personal growth. I can only do that if I remove the burden of the decision of running in 4 years. Therefore, at this juncture in my life, I have decided that I will be taking some time away from running in politics. I love this community that I grew up in and though politics was my passion, I have decided that, for the foreseeable future, I can add more value and receive fulfillment outside of politics, with the realization that there is a ‘life after politics’.
This decision provides a great sense of relief. I’m sure some will be disappointed, and some will be happy — that is the nature of politics. The reality is that the job is much harder today than it was when I first was elected in 2003, at that time neither Twitter nor Facebook existed. Both have brought great value to political discourse and political accountability, but they have also added vitriolic tone at times to debate. Sometimes the criticism well founded, other times not. I’m not complaining, progress always has pros and cons; it is just a reality.
I share this decision and thought process not out of an assumption that the masses are waiting on baited breathe to know about my political future (I may have an ego, but it’s not that big), rather, sharing this with all is cathartic for me.
I want my friends and supporters to know of my decision and the reasoning behind it; to unshackle myself from the constant game of ‘will they or won’t they’ when it comes to speculation at the next election. I also want people to know that every tweet or post on social media isn’t about a subtle plan to mark my return and discredit an opponent. I plan to write more about issues that are important to me, both of a global and local nature. When I served I always tried to share my thoughts and opinions and I will continue to do so, but there is no secret agenda, rather, just someone that is passionate about social, civic and economic issues.
This is an opportunity to re-set my life, my priorities and see where it takes me, to not be beholden to some artificial four-year timeline. I am excited for this next chapter in my life. I’m excited to still contribute to the community I love, to volunteer for amazing charities, and do whatever I can to work with great organizations. There are so many ways one can participate in community building; I plan to explore a few of them.