Thursday, 21 April 2016

Enjoy The Ride

"So no hard feelings, to be honest I'm going to miss the banter" he says, extending his hand and standing up.

I shake hands with my now ex boss. I gave him a mug with a troll-esque face on the side as a parting gift. The words "That's your face in the morning" had caused him to smile. My union rep stands up and I knock back the remnants of the cup of tea I cadged while we waited for my copies of the Voluntary Medical Retirement forms to be printed off (printer is in an office 200 yards away).

I'm now not employed by the company. I have been given a chunk of money and my shares and my pension (frozen in some weird fund thing apparently) and now for the first time in just over four years, I'm jobless. On the market. In the wind. Free to do as I please.

"I'll drop my uniform and other crap in tomorrow if you want, I only live round the corner and it saves you sending some poor sod to pick it up."

"That's fine, thank you. I'll also need you to sign the Official Secrets Act".

We say our goodbyes and I have a few final, private words with the union rep.

I've been given a good deal. Lump sum, nine weeks' pay in lieu, plus other goodies. I say a quick few farewells to the few people left on the shop floor and then make my way out. I have no regrets. I won't miss this place. From January 2012 until now I have been employed here. I only stayed so long because of THIS INCIDENT. But even though I'm no melancholic I'm also not jubilant. This feels natural, normal, like something is flowing the way it should.

I walk home and get changed into some baggy shorts and a T-shirt and take my bike out for a 10 mile spin. For the first time in a long time I can simply enjoy the scenery, see the colours and enjoy the ride. I cycle for miles, stopping very occasionally to take a swig of water from the bottle in my backpack.

I can see shapes, colours. I enjoy simple pleasures on this ride, like seeing the way the road curves as it goes over the hill. Or the way the ploughed fields look. I love the smell of mown grass in Bishops Tachbrook as I pedal past there.

My mind's clear and while I feel nervous about my future I am content and at peace because for once I made my own decision. I didn't stay in a job that I didn't like just for money. I'd rather let go of the trapeze and believe there's another one below me to grab on to.

This week I've reconnected with my mates at Krav Maga. I've published a video that reflects the utter joy of teaching Krav to little kids and teenagers. I've also found that speaking my mind is one of the biggest freedoms I could ever have.

Somebody I have loved for over 10 years has now become closer to me. Dreams of her I never dared think could become true are now nearer to a reality. It turned out she felt the same way. Who knew?!

My rage appears to have finally died. My life is no longer a struggle and a constant twitch of apprehension as I approach strangers. I have an uncertain future but I am facing this with calm and something seriously approaching a thing called joy.

The next day I wake up at 7.30am and actually get out of bed, instead of going back to sleep till 10 or 11. I make a filter coffee and watch the street outside my lounge window as the world comes to life.

Enjoy the ride.

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