Fifty Four – the annual audit

I knew it was coming but, here we are, I am now fifty four. This is not earth shattering or newsworthy in itself but, given the title of this blog, fairly significant for me. After a week of unbroken sunshine at our rented holiday home in Florida, the clouds have gathered so a good time to sit and do some navel gazing, a kind of audit of where I am and where I am going.

The most obvious thing at the start of my fifty fifth year is that I have no job. A couple of weeks ago, after one too many sleepless nights, I finally took my wife’s advice and quit. While I am still officially on the payroll until the end of the year, the long-planned holiday means that my last day in the office was last week. This situation unlocks a couple of powerful emotions. Firstly, quite frankly it scares the shit out of me. Secondly, and the one I want to embrace, it is quite liberating. I could put into practice any of those “one glass too many” ideas that we all get. Over thirty years ago, I decided to move to Spain and start a rental business for those new fangled VHS video things. Nobody else was doing it. Instead, we had another pint and the rest is history. Actually Blockbusters – the laugh is on you cos it didn’t last forever did it!

Coloured chairs
A good place to sit and think

I think it is fitting that I am using this time in the land of the free (unless you were born somewhere else) to do a kind of mental detox. I am opening up to new possibilities and ways of looking at things. Just today I tried a new tooth brush. I have been a committed electric brush user for a number of years but, since it switched itself on inside a suitcase once (airport security not known for a sense of humour) it has stayed at home, replaced by a good old manual. However, this time, I accidentally chose a completely new animal – the vibrating brush! The cynical Yorkshireman doubted that I would work but, having parted with a couple of quid, I wasn’t going to throw it away. In the spirit of openness, I have to report it worked well. Teeth feel zingy but now a bit worried I will develop vibrating white finger.

The new experiences are coming thick and fast. Just an hour ago I was despatched to the basement to put the wet washing into the tumble drier. This is something I can do quite confidently at home – simple. The thing in the basement was a whole different beast. It has more knobs and dials than were used in the Apollo mission control room. Feel the fear and do it anyway. What could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot apparently. We had a hasty refresher course on the instructions and I found myself back in the basement.

I digress. The biggest plus of the job situation i.e. not having one, should be that I have more time to do all of those things that I have always wanted to do. I am a world class procrastinator (thank heavens for spell checkers).  I have just spent the last five minutes stopping myself going to make a second cup of tea since I started this. Now, if I went onto App Store, I am sure there would be a dictation app. That way I could make a cup of tea and continue writing. Damn, just looked at App Store and there are eight updates waiting for me to install them. Resist, resist.

Actually, this cup of tea is probably better than the first one.

So, next year is a blank sheet of paper with so many possibilities. Most people seem to be expecting me to go straight back into IT but I would rather keep this as a longer term option (unless a prospective employer is reading this in a few months time, in which case, I have always dreamed of being a project / software development manager with Asda / Morrisons / Yorkshire Building Society *delete as applicable). I already have a number of options starting to formulate, a couple of them are even quite grown up and responsible. I would start the business cases now but it is  getting dark and the Beach Bistro awaits. Well, it is my birthday (assuming the tumble drier hasn’t shrunk all of my clothes).


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