“Did not qualify” — overcoming disappointment in a pandemic

ByAndrea Toledano

It’s disheartening when you’re working toward an ambitious goal and, suddenly, you lose control of the one part of your life you were steadily gripping onto. I spent the last year introducing myself as the 22-year-old (now 23) “running for Broward County Commission.”

I didn’t make it to the ballot because Coronavirus pandemic closures made it impossible to collect 1,500 signatures from voters in my district. I spent many days coming to terms with the inevitable “DID NOT QUALIFY” that would appear in red next to my name on the county candidates page. It was hard to share the news with all the people who have been supporting my candidacy.

My goal is to become involved with something bigger than myself, and that’s still within reach. Luckily, my own experiences with ADHD symptoms have often made it easier to bounce back from tough situations. I’m already asking myself, “OK, well, what’s next?” I then go into problem-solving mode, evaluating other paths that will lead me to the same (or better) destination.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has interfered with virtually every aspect of our lives. We’ve had to take unprecedented measures to navigate these disruptions. Despite the many uncertainties, we can be sure of one thing: Time is fleeting, and we should go easy on ourselves sometimes. If we all tried to embrace the qualities that frustrate us, we might realize they are our strengths. If my mind wasn’t constantly in overdrive, I would probably still be stuck, unable to move past the race that will no longer take place in 2020.

Ultimately, make sure the path you’re on is not merely a means to an end. If you’re enjoying the views and the company along the way, a detour — or a change of destination altogether — shouldn’t be devastating in the long term.

I could have spent months in an unmotivated state of mind. But I don’t believe that the work I’ve put into my campaign has been in vain. I know that the organizations I’ve become involved with over the last year are made up of people I value, and I have made sure that my days are full of new experiences. I am learning to embrace the unknown, and I will continue making a difference.

Oh, and I should mention that I become eligible for a congressional run in 2022….

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About the author

About the author

Andrea Toledano “I have all this energy to burn — and I don’t know where it comes from. Imagine 80 open tabs on Chrome: That’s how my mind has always worked.”