I have always been one to be particularly bothered by the passing of time, although I can’t quite pinpoint why. Throughout my life, I have always had something that reminded me how quickly another week had passed. Strangely, these reminders have often been on Wednesdays. In college, a bell rang every Wednesday afternoon. I never figured out why, but it always made me gasp, “it’s already Wednesday again!?” When I graduated, I took part in a fellowship that held a weekly Wednesday night dinner. I loved the free catered food and excellent speakers, but I could have done without the reminder that another week had passed. And now in my current job, guess what day the mail report gets sent around? Yup. Wednesday.
Lately I think that part of my sentiment can be explained by the feeling that time is passing by, yet I’m not moving along with it. Time keeps passing, yet I feel no closer to achieving (hell, identifying) my long-term goals. Try as I might, it’s impossible not to compare myself to those around me who have gotten where I think I should be, be it in their jobs, hobbies, education, motivation, innovation or personal pursuits. Even in their blogs. I think we all do this, we just use different lenses to determine success.
Another factor, I think, is my tendency to get sentimental about the past. The good times it holds that can never be more than memories. Sure, I know that there will be plenty more good times ahead; times that will be even better, in their own unique ways. But still I tend to dwell on the fact that they will never be quite the same as the ones that have passed.
I think that the ongoing presidential campaign is bringing out both of these sentiments in me. I can’t believe that four years have passed since my days in Petersburg, working with an amazing team of volunteers and organizers, knocking on doors, making phone calls and putting my all into getting then-candidate Barack Obama into the position we are now fighting to help him hold. Where did those four years go? I ask the same questions of myself that you may ask of the president. What have I achieved? Am I where I said I’d be four years ago?
Albeit short, the time I spent on the campaign was one of the most influential experiences of my life and remains one of my fondest memories. I can see how this might sound silly to those who weren’t involved, but the campaign completely sucked you in and milked you for all you’re worth in a way that leaves you forever reminiscing about working fifteen hour days, sleeping on a blowup mattress on the top floor of your office and constantly craving a great.big.salad. You are part of something so much bigger, and forever feel a bond to others who share those memories, even if you didn’t know them at the time. It leaves you with a campaign family, a lasting desire to be involved in the political process and perhaps some body ink.
Well here we are in 2012. We are back at it, because the candidate who filled us with hope four years ago has since proven to us that our hard work was well worth it. He’s signed into law a historic healthcare reform bill that ensures that our insurance company can’t drop us just because we got sick. He put his money where his mouth was, showing that he truly believes that women deserve equal pay for equal work and that a higher education should be accessible to all that qualify to attend and should not come hand-in-hand with crippling debt. And most importantly, he’s continued to gain our trust and admiration as a man who makes wise decisions in the face of great adversity and who looks out for all of the American people.
Yet it is not the same as it was in 2008, and it never can be. 2008 marked the historic election of a candidate who fought long odds and rose quickly to the presidency by filling the American people with hope and by inspiring a generation. 2012 marks the reelect of a remarkable president who is deserving of another four years.
Our role too has changed. While we are still fired up to be involved however we can, (for most of us) this time around it’s not a full-time job that encompasses our every waking moment (and for those to who it is, I commend you). We have passed the baton to a new cohort of organizers, although we can’t help but smile as they explain that ‘NH means not home’ and the valuable role of ‘cleaning the list.’ Yet we’re still inspired in exactly the same way as we were back then by a passionate campaign speech or a good debate performance. And on November 6, 2012, we want to feel exactly how we did on November 4, 2008.
Which means only one thing. It’s time to move forward, not look back. Happy Wednesday.