I’m feeling really quite stuck at the moment. It seems that I am doing everything a bit, but nothing really to my satisfaction. I’m trying to carry on doing a full time job, go to weekly Swedish and Italian lessons, keep things moving in the Labour Movement for Europe, start to play a role in my constituency Labour Party, run a website for Harriet Harman, keep the EBD Euroserver running, manage to design websites for other people in the Labour Party, write this blog (which has suffered in recent months), and find time for a social life as well.

I seem to be helping people out all over the place, but I am starting to ask myself whether this way of living my life can carry on. I’m doing all these things not for what they bring now, but for some intangible benefits that they might bring in the future. I’m trying to keep as many people happy as possible, keep in touch with as many contacts as I can, but I am completely lacking a strategy for the here and now. I’m devoid of some kind of plan for what sorts of things I should be prioritising. Am I making the best use of my time, the best use of my skills, each and every day? The combination of all these things I’m doing is generally not making me happy (in fact, often it’s the contrary), and something has to give. But what? How? Where will I be in 12 months? I really wonder.


  1. Thanks for these comments… 🙂

    I would love to spend some time contemplating what to do, and spend a week away somewhere. That will have to wait until March when I have some leave from work booked.

    As for the party political issue that Mary has raised. Yes, there is some merit to that, but it would require a long term plan. If I worked at it in London I could perhaps be a candidate somewhere relatively un-winnable in 2009.

    But then there’s the wider problem of party politics – it’s like some kind of a drug addiction. It’s great sometimes (and with the Harriet campaign it’s good at the moment) but then it comes back to bite you and I wish I could beat the habit.

  2. Dear Jon,
    Well, Martin’s suggestion is one – although it is of course a question of temuperament and you might find inactivity as insufferable as overwork. It sounds to me like what you feel you lack is a plan. It’s hard to know how to prioritise and to feel like you’re making good use of your time if you can’t see where you’re going, either in the short or medium-to-long term future. You talk about the here and now being the problem, but it sounds like it’s the intangible future that’s really the tricky bit.
    Part of this seems to me to be – and I don’t know because I haven’t talked to you for a while – that you don’t find your job that fulfilling, especially in terms of giving you a sense of direction. Yet frustratingly it takes up so much time! So for what it’s worth, and since you seem to be solliciting advice, I’ve often wondered why you don’t consider working towards a full-time political career? I’m sure I’m not the only regular reader of this blog who wishes there were more people like you to vote for, or more to the point, more people with your values, skills and energy in government. There are a whole raft of reasons why one might be reluctant, of course. And I have very little real idea of what it takes to get selected in a winnable seat as a candidate for anything, be it the local council (not a full-time job, obviously, but one place to start I guess) or the European parliament or whatever. The post-Blair labour party will need some fresh blood, it seems to me, but whatever state it gets itself into it there might also be opportunities for people keen to set a new (more socially and environmentally responsible) agenda.
    There you go – my 2-pence worth…

  3. Martin

    Hi Jon,

    I go to your blog quite irregularly, and tonight I see this article, which goes quite deep into “the sense of it all”. We’ve once been on a JEF weekend in Northern Bavaria together, which was really in the middle of nowhere, and this leads me to suppose that some sort of retreat might do you good for sorting out things, defining priorities etc.

    The word retreat has a religious connotation for many people (here in Brussels, we say retraite (in French of course)), but it simply means to draw back, to get off the usual every day hurry and stress, to take time for oneself (and, for religious people, for God). There is a thousand ways to do a retreat, in terms of places and especially methods (can be alone, can be in a small group, can be guided, can be completely free of input…).
    I did a retreat (actually thanks to a London-based friend of mine) in the Belgian Ardennes (Rochefort) between Christmas and New Year 2006, 3 days of silence, it really did me well. So, maybe instead of your frequent weekend trips around the continent, look for a place a bit off XXI. century’s pulse of civilisation, and – ideally for at least 4 days – take this time.

    I hope other people will have other advices 🙂 After all, this is really subjective and personal!


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