Friday, May 13, 2005

Where do I find the energy?

Danielle wondered how I find the energy to try and do so much of the stuff that occupies my days . . . Well, that’s pretty easy to explain.

For the first, say, 23 years of my life, I didn’t do very much. My parents weren’t the sort of people who took their kids on little outings every weekend and my sisters and I didn’t get to roam around the neighborhood at will. We spent a lot of time at home – me especially doing lots and lots of reading and TV watching. Despite the fact that I was growing up in Philadelphia which has a gazillion things available to those who are interested in them, exploring was not in our makeup. When I started to go to school in Center City and took the subway and bus all by myself, I got a little taste of freedom, but I still had to come pretty much straight home. I was a pretty sheltered kid.

When my family moved to Virginia in my junior year in high school, I was pretty much stranded, since I didn’t have a car, didn’t know how to drive, was really shy and was reeling from the culture shock in being in the deep suburbs. This continued in college where I want to school at a place in the middle of a tourist trap that is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. I ultimately felt pretty out of place and miserable there, despite the pastoral setting. When school was over, I want back to live with my parents, which with an overbearing father, kind of dampened any desire to go out partying at night or actually date anyone. I finally gathered up the gumption to move out and into a group house right outside of DC, right before my 23rd birthday.

After a few months of adjustment, I started to spend my weekends just looking at the newspaper and seeing what cool cheap or free things were going on, and just going. I had no one to report to, no time I had to be back, I could just go. If I wanted to hang out at the National Gallery of Art all day, I could. If I wanted to sit in a coffee shop and read all day, I could. I joined a local Dem group and started working on campaigns doing visibility, which meant I got to go to a lot of fairs and festivals and just hang out and pass out literature, and after my shift was over, just go around and explore. I started meeting many cool people that I started to hang out with and we’d all go and do stuff together. A friend of ours ran for County Board at the age of 28 and we all ran her campaign. I found that I liked being active and meeting new people and learning new things.

Eventually, everyone in our little group paired off and married each other (my husband and I were the first of our group to take the plunge, followed over the years by 5 more couples!) I started to branch out and take classes of stuff I’d always been interested in – just for the heck of it.

However, when I had my miscarriage, all that stopped. I just sort of sat around the house and watched TV. I didn’t feel like going out anymore or doing stuff. I gained, like 20 pounds. DH knew that I was miserable and was really patient with me. But after I while, I hated just sitting at home in the evenings. Everything on TV was stupid. I felt like a clueless slug. And, as if orchestrated, another long-shot candidate came into view whose local campaign I just HAD to work on. His team was a bunch of folks who never worked on a political campaign before and I‘d been on enough campaigns that I could actually be really helpful in shaping strategy. So I was off and running again, and our candidate came in a heartbreakingly close second in the primary.

Oh, where was I? . . . So I say this to say what?

Since I spent so many early years cooped up at home, I now know that there is so much out there to be learned and experienced and I want to do as much of it as possible. I don’t want to look back and regret that I never tried something that I wanted to do. My husband loves when I do stuff, because then he can learn vicariously through me with out having to sit through it himself. He’s no slouch either – he plays soccer, runs and is quite a history/political buff – so we always have plenty to talk about.

And I do take breathers often. Sometimes it turns out that a lot of stuff happens around the same time, and I’ll be really busy for a few weeks, but then things will die down and nothing will be going on for another few weeks. It also helps A LOT that my husband and I work at the same place . . . so when 6 o’clock rolls around, I’m pretty much tired of seeing him for the day. (Ha, Ha!) We drive in together, have lunch together, end up in random meetings together, and he pops by my office several times a day when he’s bored. It also helps that we live 5 minutes from work . . .

So that’s how I can be so busy . . . I love being busy and I make learning new stuff a priority, but I also make sure there’s a little down time for me and DH. It’s probably a longer answer than you wanted, but that’s me in a nutshell. :-)


Anonymous said...

Speaking of long-shot candidates, are you working on any of the Democratic lt. Governor campaigns? I'm torn, but leaning towards voting for Leslie Byrne.
- Virigina Gal

Random Kath said...

Virginia Gal: I'm not sure yet . . . I've been out of the loop for a while so I haven't been as bombarded with politico spam as I normally am. Moving does throw off their scent for a while! :-)

Either one seems like they would be great, although Leslie does have a rep that may work agaist her in the general election in a big way.

All I know is that I wouldn't vote for Chap Petersen if my life depended on it . . . I have been very disappointed in several of his votes . . .