It had always been my plan that once I retired as a councillor I would get this blog up and running again. Well here I am trying to make it happen and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it lasts.
I always enjoyed blogging, but after a steady decline in the frequency of posts through 2009 and first half of 2010, it just ground to a halt completely with only intermittent posts up to a final one in August 2012. It isn’t a coincidence that it ground to a halt when I became a councillor. I tried to keep up a MyCouncillor site instead about what I was doing as a councillor, but I found that difficult to keep going as well. Perhaps I was too busy and too tired. Perhaps I just lost the enthusiasm for constant writing. Perhaps I was too wary of writing stuff when everything I said would be scrutinised by the opposition. Whatever the reason, I had stopped doing something that I had previously really enjoyed and which I know some other people quite enjoyed reading too. After all, there were nearly 27,000 views in 2009 and so I must have been doing something right.
Over the last 18 months to two years it’s become increasingly clear to me how much my life has become pretty one-dimensional. My day job is in politics. In my spare time I do politics. Plus I was a councillor, which is of course politics. I’m still passionate about politics but it’s not all there is to my life. In fact for ages I’ve been moaning that I don’t have time for my other hobbies and interests. If you combine this with the thought that I’ll soon be 40 and a growing sense that I am spending most of my non-work time fulfilling other people’s expectations and demands on my time rather than doing what I want, I decided it was time for a change. It’s one reason I decided not to restand for council, it’s why I’m beginning (slowly) to rediscover some of my old interests and it’s also why I’m sort of trying to do something about the interests that I’ve always had but never done much about.
There’s a saying “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear” and in my case it was stumbling on the inspirational book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It’s not overstating things to say that I’ve become slightly obsessed with this book, and I decided that I needed to start to change things. A part of that change is to try and live a more wholehearted life and do more of the many things that I enjoy. It’s time to try and rediscover me. Hopefully restarting this blog will be one small part of that.
Refreshing the blog
One of the things I’ve always enjoyed is writing, in fact unusually the first job I ever said I wanted as a child was to be a writer, (actually, I said I wanted to be a bookmaker but fortunately my parents knew what I meant). Well blogging isn’t quite the same as being a writer, but it’s a start.
So now I’m writing again, it’s felt like a good time for a refresh of the look of the blog, especially as I have some new ideas for things I want to write about. I’ve picked a new ‘theme’ – this one’s called Suits – which replaces Vigilance. I’ve also created new categories and tags for my new posts, and deleted some old ones to make this a clear break from what’s come before but without deleting the old posts that I’ve written as some of it I thought was quite good and I’m someone who likes to keep things for history’s sake. I want to spend more time writing about the whole range of stuff I’m interested in rather than just concentrating on a small set of things, usually politics, and so it should feel quite different.
Now I just need to stick with it and make sure this blog works. I’m going to start off slowly and gradually with some regular and perhaps more low key posts and hope it then becomes a habit. One of which will be a (hopefully) weekly summing up of things I’ve liked and been in to, rather than struggling to write a whole post for every thing that I find interesting. I’ll also start to publish some things I wrote ages ago but then never actually posted. Fingers crossed it works.