That’s the sound a year makes. That’s my best guess anyway. It might go “PING” or “BOOM”, “YEEHAW” or even “FUCK ME SLOW DOWN””. At the north end of 70,000 MPH it can make any noise it likes. But I’m going with whoosh because a entire wobbly planetary rotation, with all that messing about in multiple dimensions, appears to have passed in about the time it takes to down a much needed beer.
A chunk of this chronological discretionary is entirely due to me being on project time* which morphs yours truly into a serial problem solver fixing a million things in a sixteen hour day and spending what’s left wide awake worrying about what I’d missed.
Not too much based on the 700 people failing to understand how fucking close we were to opening the office doors with an apologetic ‘sorry, we did our best it just didn’t work out. There’s your slate, collect chisels from the stationary cupboard’.
I’ve missed many things. Let’s take the summer for a start. Still I hear that you all missed that as well once a perfect March triggered a season full of paired animals and sandbags. I missed my family- arriving home well past the point that the kids had long gone to bed. I missed normal conversations with Carol instead substituting ‘Fuck what a day; you’ve no bloody idea’ before unloading a stream of consciousness without ever wondering aloud how she was.
I missed riding bikes although too much of this was meteorological angst wrapped up in vocational excuses. I missed every ‘not drinking in the week target’ by about 9pm on a Monday night and got so very close to a corporate ‘My bat. My ball. See ya’ flounce before guilt and a deluded opinion that sheer force of personality could overcome endless insanity**
I missed all sort of other stuff as well. Fairly focussed on delivery when Jessie started high school. Missed her first day and I’m not getting that back. Missed Abi getting suddenly properly full sized human with mostly formed views of the world. Missed the house acquiring proper bathrooms, furniture and paint. Nearly missed Jess outgrowing her bike, but pulled that one back and threw enough money at it to make both her day and mine.
In summary, I missed far too much. Said no to the wrong people. Not my finest hour.
A year ago I walked away from a well paid job that I found stupidly easy and equally stupefying. Initially with a self inflated sense of my own worth, and a view of the world the way I wanted it to be rather than the way it was. I regret neither my decision not my naivety. 13 years ago, I quit a fantastically financially rewarding position as a young(ish) technical director for a thriving firm on the rather up-your-own-bum grounds I failed to believe in what we were doing.
This was exactly at the time our first child was born. And Carol quit work. So really chucking it in last year was methadone when compared to the full on cold turkey over a decade ago. And if I learned anything it’s that ‘something always turns up’. It’s not a career strategy as such but it’s a valid alternative to believing in some kind of full time employment security delusion.
So in one week I’m going to stop. And for the first time in approximately ever not start straight away. There is always a clamour to chase the next quid, cash the next cheque, stash loot for a rainy day. I think it’s probably raining.
I’ve a book to finish***, breakfasts to have with the family, people to see about places to go, bikes to fettle, ride and adorn with new shiny bits. And yeah, I’m sure there will be a point fairly soon when making some cash to pay the bills will once again be important.
But it’s not important right now. I’m incredibly proud of what a tiny team of ‘fuck it we won’t be beaten’ people and now friends achieved this summer. That’s gone and until I can remember what it was exactly I loved about doing what I do then I’m not going to do it. Because most of it is fired by a spark that’s gone missing.
It’s not just missing. It’s missing the point. And I’m done with that.
* I wrote a weighty polemic on exactly how fucked my life has been the last six months including a rapier like analysis of the failings of the many. But that’s career suicide. So you’ll have to take my word for it.
** Honestly this is the edited version. The cathartic one reads like a Tourettes diary.
*** Let’s be honest here. Start.