Tomorrow, like millions of other people across the country, I will walk into a building in my local voting precinct, and I will cast my vote.
But tomorrow will be different.
Tomorrow, I will cast a vote for my husband.
A little over a year ago, my (then soon-to-be) husband, Chris, came to me and told me he was thinking about running for public office, and he wanted to run against a man who has been in office for 18 years (It’s always extremely difficult to beat an incumbent).
Now, at this point in our lives, we were planning a wedding, had just bought a house, and had discussed the possibility of starting a family in the relatively near future. I had also just undergone some major changes at my job, and we both had pretty full schedules at work and in our social lives.
In spite of everything we had going on, I looked at my then-fiancé, and with complete enthusiasm, I said, “Absolutely! As long as I can be your campaign manager.”
Then, we sat down and had a long talk, which included a lot of questions.
- Which office are we running for? (Yes, we. And PA State Representative)
- What would the timeline look like? (Long.)
- How would we run this campaign? (I’d be the campaign manager, treasurer, and social media director, and we’d run a grass-roots campaign on a pretty small budget. Simple, right?)
- What were the chances of winning? (Better than if Chris had run in previous years, but still not great. See: small budget.)
- What kinds of sacrifices would we have to make? (Time, money, weekends, week nights…)
- How would this affect our wedding? (Small wedding, no honeymoon. See: Time, money.)
- How would this affect our marriage? (It could be fun…? Right? RIGHT? Teamwork makes the dream work!)
Once we had a relatively clear game-plan, we got to work. During three (blessedly, relatively warm) weeks in January and February, we knocked on over 1,200 doors, and gathered the 300+ signatures required to get Chris on the ballot. The next ten months that led us to tomorrow, when I get to cast a vote for my husband, taught me quite a few life lessons.
1. No matter how nice you are, not everyone is going to like you, and that’s okay.
I know, it’s cliché. But it’s a truth that’s hard to swallow sometimes.
I just told you that we knocked on over 1,200 doors in order to get 300 signatures. That’s over 900 doors unanswered at best, and slammed in our faces, at worst. My husband and I have both been attacked on social media by people we’ve never met. I thought that I had a pretty thick skin going into this process. Now, it’s thicker.
I know that Chris is in this “for the right reasons,” to borrow a phrase from one of our favorite bad reality TV shows. It breaks my heart to watch him get flack on a policy that he has researched at length, thought about at depth, and has concluded does the most for the largest amount of people. But, the beauty of this country is our ability to freely disagree on matters of policy.
2. Hard work and sacrifice don’t always guarantee success, and that’s okay, too.
Chris has spent the first five months of our marriage attending township supervisor and school board meetings two, three, and even sometimes four nights a week. He is out knocking on doors for at least two or three hours on most weekend days. He has poured his time, money, and most importantly, his heart and soul into this campaign. And yet, there’s still a chance he’ll lose. A decent chance, honestly.
But even if he loses this election, he’s gained much more. He’s gained name recognition, respect, and experience. He’s gained connections, valuable relationships, and even friendships. He’s gained confidence in finding people who are in his corner. Whether he wins or loses, he does not lose what he’s gained over the last year. Sacrifice can be rewarding, even without traditional success.
3. It’s really cool to see someone you love pursue a passion.
There’s nothing quite like supporting a spouse, friend, sister, brother, child, etc., when they’re chasing down a dream. I highly recommend it.
4. Balance work and play with a “can’t miss” weekly date, either with your significant other, a friend, or yourself.
Chris and I have been operating on Multitasking Level: Expert for the last several months. We are both working full-time jobs, pursing our own personal passions (I picked a helluva time to start a blog, eh?), and making time for our friends and family, because they’re a priority to both of us.
But, no matter how busy we are, we have a few “can’t miss” hours of our week. We always make time to watch a couple of our favorite shows together (right now, John Oliver, Westworld, and This is Us are our must-sees.). As unromantic as it sounds, we always spend an hour or so grocery shopping on Sundays. I’ve come to look forward to a chore that I used to dread, because it’s guaranteed time that we get to spend together.
5. Mental, emotional, and physical health should always take priority.
This is probably the busiest my life has ever been, but I still make sure to take time to work out at least four days a week. Working out has always been something that’s kept me sane and feeling my best, both mentally and physically. I try to either find workouts I love or work out with people I love; either option makes taking that time out of my day to work out worthwhile.
Chris and I both have also been really watching what we eat, and we have fallen into a pretty simple, healthy routine with our meal planning. Both of us feel pretty terrible when we don’t eat well, and there’s not really a lot of room for feeling terrible in our lives right now.
Finally, as easy as it is to get overwhelmed and as hard as it is to shut our brains off sometimes, it’s become imperative for Chris and me to get plenty of sleep every night. We both have a minimum number of hours we need to function at our best (his is six, mine is seven and a half), and we’ve both come to realize that if we don’t hit that number most nights, we’re so much less productive the following day, and sometimes for days afterwards.
So, even though I GET TO CAST A VOTE FOR MY HUSBAND TOMORROW!, tonight, I plan on working out, grabbing a healthy dinner, and hitting the hay early.
To those friends and family who are reading, thank you. Thank you for supporting us during this crazy first few months of marriage and crazy last year of our lives. Thank you for understanding if we’ve been a little MIA lately. Thank you for being a positive influence in our lives.