2020 – The Year of Living Dangerously

“When you wake up, it’s not the first thing that you want to know.

Can you still count all of the reasons that you’re not alone?”

Charcoal Baby” – Blood Orange

On 20th April, I turn 55. Now to many, that may not seem like a momentous event. The reality is, that it’s just another year. And it is.

But not if you are a Civil Servant.

You see, under current rules (until Demonic Cummings has his evil way), 55 years old is the earliest that a Civil Servant can “retire”.

I used to love my job. Felt that it/I made “a difference”. But – for the last three years – it has felt like a treadmill. One from which I need to disembark.

I feel quite strange. I’ve never had a plan in life. I’ve merely stumbled from event to event. Birth, school, (via a modicum of intelligence) Grammar School, work, social…..

Since Fionn, there’s been a hole. I have come to terms with the fact that nothing can fill that void. And that that void is now part of who I am. I have almost learned to live with that, it’s what “survivors” do. I’ve talked about “the mask” and “emotional make-up” enough not to feel the need to do so again.

As I said, nothing can fill that void. But some things can “take the edge off”, make that precipice less harsh, less rough. ISBF is part of that for me and – as explained here – has been used as a salve on the wound in the past. But it isn’t a cure. It’s a stimulant, adrenaline, best taken in small doses.

There needs to be something else. Something more substantial.

So we come back to “work”.

A number of things have helped me through the last few years. Friends, family, the beer “community”, but it is the need to be occupied daily that I only understood when I returned to the job in February 2017. The love (and I really DID love my job) had gone. To be replaced by a strange dependancy.

Yes, on the “occupation”, my brain being “occupied”, but also on the people I work with. For all the typical “Cat v Dog” stuff that office relationships can be, I – in the truest of senses – love this duo. But, on returning, I knew that these daily interactions were finite.

One left last July. And looks like a new man. The other is likely to leave this year.

My thoughts started to crystallise at the point that I realised that.

So. The point. The “plan”.

It’s possibly incredibly stupid. But it FEELS sane. And I’ll take that.

If one or two other dominoes fall into place, on 31st October 2020, I will wave goodbye to the Civil Service.

Initially, I’ll be busy enough with #ISBF7, only 12 days away at that point. But – longer term – the aim is to see if there is something I can do in this here beer industry. Something to pour my heart and soul into. Something to believe in.

After years on a treadmill, that would be lovely.

That could be anything. Bar work, admin, sales, publicity, odd-jobs, anything. Hell, if the worst comes to the worst, I’ll look for a job stacking shelves locally.

Work is a diversion. But the sweeter the diversion, the better.

This is a risk. Of that I am in no doubt. But that counting down is such a sweet, sweet sound.

That first session at #ISBF7 will be special. It will be the 7th iteration of my little bit of fun. It will be Caelan’s first birthday. And I’ll be off the treadmill.

And that’s something to look forward to. For me, at any rate!