The reason I was away from politics last year – Antoine P. Borg

After contesting the European Parliament election last year, I announced I was going to take a sabbatical from politics. This was the right thing to do. This article explains why it was necessary, what I learned, and how I’m going to reboot things.

The aftermath of the election

Monday 27 May

For the first time in a long time, I didn’t need to look at newspapers or social media.

It was a liberating feeling.

I’d been in Malta since the beginning of February and life had been a constant 24/7 campaign. I had to be always up to date because I couldn’t afford to go to a meeting unaware of the latest headlines or message on social media.

There are no off-days when you’re a politician.

I’m not complaining, because I loved it and I enjoyed myself.  But that doesn’t mean it’s not tiring. Especially when you’re doing this on your own without a team of people around you.

I took advantage of my sudden glut of free time as best as I could. I had taken unpaid leave from my day job and had to be back in the office on 3 June. Whether I had won the election or not, I knew I had to return to Prague either to resign my job, or to reboot my life and get back into a familiar routine.

For the next month, I regained my former patterns in Prague. This gave me the time to ask myself a simple question:

What do I want to do with my life?

The man to be

I’m someone with many interests.

I’m not the kind of person who has lots of free time because I’m always up to something. It’s how I am; I feel like my life is meaningless if I’m not doing things.

In any typical week, I will try out a new restaurant, go to the cinema, attend some cultural activity and watch a series of something on TV. I also manage a travel website and I publish on a weekly basis too. I travel around the country or Europe every month because I enjoy exploring. I’ve also researched my family tree back to the year 700 AD and I spend time tinkering to flesh out the bits I haven’t researched yet.

It’s a fun life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Exploring the Czech countryside

Between 2018 and the end of the election, I put a lot of this aside because I wanted to focus on this website, and the possibility of a political career.

I’m happy I made that choice.

No regrets.

But I did miss all of that.

June 2019 gave me the space to realise I needed to re-balance things. I couldn’t work on politics to the exclusion of other things. You know what they say about ‘All work and no play.’

By the end of June I concluded I needed to reboot my political work.  The real question is ‘How?’

Metamorphosis

At the beginning of 2018 I started publishing articles on this website. Each article takes time to research. Many people complimented me on the level and quality of research and these comments put a smile on my face. I want research-based articles because I don’t find enough of them myself.

It’s the sort of stuff I want to read.

Writing such articles takes time. With one thing and another, I spend 8-16 hours per article. When you have a full-time job, an additional 16 hours aren’t easy to come by.  I made it work by giving up the things I mentioned above. This worked, and I’m glad it did.

But it is not sustainable in the long-term.

Discussion panel on the campaign trail – Malta 2019

In June 2019 I decided to adapt my life to the things I wanted to do. I figured I could take the summer to see how I could restart my interests. There must be, I reasoned, a balance of sorts I could find. In the end it took longer than the 3 summer months. So what does this newfound equilibrium mean for this site and these articles?

Equilibrium

I cannot afford 16 hours a week on this.

I cannot commit to a weekly article of that calibre anymore.

I can produce 1 or 2 of those a month. I can, however, choose to write more opinion pieces. Those require less research. There will always be some research, because I don’t tend to hold opinions without basing them on something.

This could work. It would be foolish for me to give up everything else because a well-rounded individual with active interests and an awareness of the world makes for a better politician.

At least, that’s what I think.

I don’t have the time to write multiple items per day or per week. This is not a blog and I have no intention of turning it into one.  If you want to hear my comments or opinions on current affairs, I suggest you follow me on Facebook. I will share news articles and comments there when I find something worth sharing.

Will this be enough?

Reboot

That depends on what ‘enough’ means.  I enjoyed the election campaign. All things being equal, I’d contest the next one too.

But I cannot predict the future.

Will I be able to do so in 5 years time?

I don’t have that answer.

What I can say is that I don’t want to start the next election campaign from ground zero. By continuing to write and share my thoughts with you I can make sure the next campaign will start from a higher rung.

I’m hoping this reboot will make a difference.

Time will tell.

Perhaps.

But in the meantime, I’m going to make sure I am the best possible version of myself I can be.

I hope you do too.


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