How to Thrive After the Election

This November, I expect to have one of two experiences.

I will be thrilled and relieved with the election results and excited for the next four years.

Or I will be utterly disappointed and wonder what the country is coming to.

Hard to imagine much middle ground. And I’m pretty sure most Americans feel the same, regardless of who they’re voting for.

But then what?

How long will I celebrate? Or mourn? How long will I revel or wallow in the resulting news cycles? Will my role for the next four to eight years be that of fanboy or hater? Not when I consider this.

If my candidates win, I still have opportunities to improve my community in a way the federal government can’t match:

I can volunteer for an organization I believe in. I can find ways of uplifting others. And I can be an effective champion for local causes that are important to me.

And if my candidates lose…Well, I still have opportunities to do the following:

I can volunteer for an organization I believe in. I can find ways of uplifting others. And I can be an effective champion for local causes that are important to me.

I follow current events and try to form educated opinions. I think it’s a sign of intelligence. But my personal problem each election year is that if I’m not careful, I go down a rabbit hole that dead ends in the myopia of red vs. blue. And I forget that each of us has the chance to affect our own communities — sometimes profoundly — no matter who takes the White House or controls the Senate in 2021.

So if you’re voting (and you should be) because you want to the country to be the best it can be, here’s my challenge for you. Seek out ways to make your own community the best it can be. Volunteer for a food bank. Coach little league. Run for city council. Don’t wait for November 3rd to start making a difference. Start looking into ways that excite you now. Our communities need us. And regardless of this year’s election results, I think we’ll find we need our communities, too.

Don’t know where to begin? Here are a couple nudges.

JustServe.org Consider this craigslist for community service. Plug in your zip code to find opportunities in your area. Samples from my own area include organizing food and inventory at the Salvation Army, writing thank you notes to COVID-19 first responders, and singing, playing board games, and doing arts and crafts at an assisted living center. @just_serve

PowerThePolls.org Volunteer to be a poll worker in your community. When I volunteered in my area, the woman I spoke with expressed such gratitude I said, “Do you want me to try recruiting my friends?” She practically screamed, “Yes!” @powerthepolls

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