The aftermath of the election leaves half the participants joyful and half the participants depressed. I don't use the word depressed lightly. From personal experience and talking with others who interrupted their life after losing an election one is down, not for the count, but down.
You put your life on hold, you walk up and down streets and knock on doors and have to sell yourself to strangers behind those doors. It's scary, yet exciting. Your energized by ideals and deflated by unkind words and closed doors.
The day after the election you drive around and pick up yard signs, wondering what could have been and if you'll ever need those signs again. You return to work as a social worker, a retail salesperson, a lawyer, a union rep with your head held high, but your heart sunken.
Is it worth it. You bet it is. There is no shame in running and losing, the shame comes from those not willing to be involved. Those who don't care and don't vote.
And there's always next time. In fact for us here in Wisconsin, in 12 days perspective politicians for State seats can start getting signatures to be put on the fall ballots. The circle of politics is really a spiral as the process continues yet remains the same.