Wednesday, 6 August 2014

A week of positive thinking!

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.

Day One
1. 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!

Day Two
1. I 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.

Day Three
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,

Day Four
1. I 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.

Day Five

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 Associations.

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. ( 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. 

Day Six
1. I 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 integration.

Day Seven
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 goodnight. xxx

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