A week ago Sally Roberts invited me via Facebook to participate in the "Seven Day Positive Challenge"; one of those Social Media Round Robins. I normally ignore such things, but I like Sally and I was also enjoying other "positive posts" from friends and colleagues - so agreed to participate.
I was conscious that I used Social Media to vent, post negative and at times sarcastic posts and generally moan about my lot. Spending ten minutes each day to think of three positive things could do no harm at all - although in typical style it usually took much longer as deciding what to write and form the sentences often sent me on a journey of thought and introspection.
Each morning I wake up with a partner I love. So many people have lonely
lives and I am lucky to have found my soul mate and to have had 12
wonderful years so far.
2. I think of all my
friends commuting in crowded trains to London each day. My commute is a
bicycle ride along the river then the Medway Valley Line train through
the Weald countryside.
3. After all this time I still wake up
each day looking forward to work and believing that in my own little
sphere I can really make a difference. I am very fortunate indeed to be
one of the few people who get paid for their hobby!
am actually pleased that I have the balls to say what I think and
believe, rather than what I think others want to hear. I appreciate my
bluntness can sometimes cause hurt but I would rather that than be
considered two-faced or a hypocrite.
2. I am enjoying being 48 and I look forward with confidence. I don’t feel and older than I did 20 years ago. There
are things I would not repeat given the chance, but there are very few
things I have wanted to do and haven’t had the opportunity to
accomplish. In that I am very fortunate.
3. Circumstances have
recently brought old and long lost friends back into my life and I have
been truly delighted to discover how little they have changed over too
many lost years.
1. I work with two great guys, Jon and Matt, who not only rise to every challenge, but also make work enjoyable.
2. On the whole we have the most fantastic bunch of activists who go
"above and beyond the call of duty" on behalf of the Party. Their
commitment and dedication to our shared goals is inspirational and cannot be faulted.
3. The three senior people I deal with and report
to on a regular basis are three of the most honourable and decent people
imaginable, whose judgements I trust and value: West Kent Chair
William Rutherford, Party Vice President Steve Bell and Voluntary Party
Manager Julian Walden,
love living on a boat for so many reasons; the sense of community, the
movement of the water, the reflected light, waking up to swans, geese,
ducks pecking the boat in the hope of food and the inner peace broughtt from opting out of the high rent / mortgage lifestyle and turning back the clock.
2. Another delight of living on the river is the peace and quiet at
night; almost total darkness and despite living within close proximity
of the M2 road bridge and the CTRL, the silence – all of which ensure I
sleep better at night than I have ever done.
3. The experience
of living in a space only half the size of a typical studio flat has
brought Steve and I even closer and demonstrated the strength of our relationship.
1. Two years later I am still enjoying writing
my blog and sharing ideas. The blog is not only turning into a
significant resource but also a back-reference for what we have done.
2. I am still hugely thrilled when complete strangers come to me at
party events and say they enjoy reading my thoughts, and the greatest
delight is when I receive emails and messages thanking me for posting
best practice, which others have replicated and used to grow their own
3. The best thing I have ever done via the blog,
however, is not party political. It was my blogpost on my own battles
with anxiety 6 years ago. (http://votingandboating.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/keeping-my-own-black-dog-on-lead.html).
This led to the most amazing letters and emails (literally hundreds)
from strangers and friends alike, thanking me for having the courage to
go public and tell my own story.
never fail to remember and appreciate how fortunate I am to have been
born when I was. Two generations earlier and I would have fought in WW2.
Three generations earlier it would have been WW1. I think this almost
every day as I walk past the local war memorial, but this week's commemorations makes it all the more poignant.
2. I am also grateful that I grew up in an increasingly enlightened
society, where my sexuality was not an issue. Strangely, I have never
been "proud" to be gay - but nor have I ever felt the need to hide it or
be someone I wasn't. It's just part of who I am, along with having blue
eyes and being 6 ft 2!
3. I am a social libertarian and have
been so long before it was fashionable. I am a libertarian first and a
Conservative second. I adore living in a open, multi-cultural society
and I believe we have nothing to fear from economic, cultural and social
1. I seldom participate in these Facebook "round robins" but did this as Sally Roberts
asked me to; and I have to say I have enjoyed doing it. I am conscious
that perhaps I use social media too often to moan, be sarcastic or
highlight life's buggerances. To actually put time aside and post the
positives has been quite cathartic, as each day I have focused on some
of the many things which make my life so good. So thank you, Sally.
2. It also made me realise how grateful I am for social media. Yes, it
can be abused and it's a dreadful waste of time - but it also brings me
into daily contact with hundreds of people whose friendships I enjoy and
value, and whose presence in my life would be so much less frequent
without Facebook and Twitter.
3. And my final (21st) positive
thought. My beloved partner Steve (who was my first positive thought when
I began this series last week) has just called to say he's five minutes
from home - and he's got pizza! And on that note - thank you and