Voting Like a Real Adult

November 2nd, 2018. Day 2 of my month-long personal writing challenge.

Today I stepped my adult game up and voted in the midterm elections for my first time. I took time away from other things to look into what would be on the ballot. I read some things, made some decisions,  and showed up to cast my vote. It was a small but satisfying level-up in terms of general maturity for me.

There was a line way out the door when I got there. I liked that, because I was able to stand there for a while and take it all in… the people coming and going, the buzzing energy of the voting event. There was something relaxing about being around a random group of Just Durham People. Who knows who they are? They were probably fresh off work, like me. I like watching people congregate, and being amongst a group with a shared purpose. This is one of the few larger community events that nearly everybody takes part in, and there really is something nice about participating; it makes you feel like part of the community.

As I waited, listening to clips of strangers’ conversations, enjoying the breeze and the feeling of autumn, the line grew longer behind me. How amazing and heartwarming that this process is worth the wait to all these people! It can be so easy to believe your vote doesn’t matter, to think your voice doesn’t have any impact. Ultimately it’s a decision, what you believe, and it’s either positive and empowering for you, or not. For me, it feels like real sunshine to decide that my voice matters, and to believe in my own participation.

I used to think you were supposed to be an expert on politics to vote. I was scared of making the ‘wrong’ choice and willing to leave it to the people who ‘knew more’. Now I think that we need everyone’s voice, no matter what informs it – and I know that’s a tough pill to swallow sometimes! Does everyone’s opinion matter when people get their ideas from sources I don’t trust? When people are so easily persuaded and misled? Then again, couldn’t that be me just as easily as you? I too am human, with my own vulnerabilities and weak spots. We walk different paths, see different parts of life, do our best in different ways. It’s my job to own my own truth, as well as to respect yours, whatever it is. Maybe that’s the point of Democracy; we recognize our imperfect natures and our different ways of living, and we say that the best way forward involves hearing from all sides. So you and I both get to show up today to cast our votes, and the rest is in the hands of life itself. I can only be curious and in awe of the process; where will this wave take us next? What a thrill, and a relief, to let it go and trust, knowing I’ve done my part.

It seems silly that it took me this long to prioritize voting. Honestly, I think I just sometimes buy too much into the busy-ness of my life. I thought it would be hard, and I didn’t think it mattered that much. Oh well, I’m here now, and I’m happy to say it feels satisfyingly normal and healthy to take a bit more responsibility for my place in the world. And if you haven’t voted yet… get out there and do it! We need you!

As always, thank you for reading! If anything in my writing strikes a chord with you I love to hear about it.

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