Knackered. Shagged. Ball-bagged. Chin-strapped. Hanging. Fucked. They all mean the same thing…tired.
There have been many times I’ve been all those things. The first 24 hour guard shift I did. The time in Saudi I worked the night shift starting the First Gulf War. The day in Afghan Op Omid Haft kicked off, patrolling for 9 hours and then sandbagging for another 7 hours to prepare the defences of our new Check Point.
But these service and work reasons for being so tired have nothing on how deep down shagged-out, chin-strap, hanging out tired I am. A soul-deep fatigue where the very mention of the word ‘Daddy’ makes my shoulders drop. A sort of tired that has been off to University, worked at its tiredness and come back home full of the knowledge that it has a First in Tiredness and it knows just how to put all that theoretical knowledge into practise.
A sort of tired where not even sleep will replenish the system and recharge the batteries. The sort of tiredness that hasn’t just drained you, but drained the whole grid and Powergen are now phoning up the French to see if we can have some of their lecky.
But why? Why so tired?
Everything. Leaving the RAF, redundancy, moving house, looking for work, unpacking boxes, being Daddy-day-care, shopping, running the house, painting, failing to complete paperwork for jobs, stressing about money and mortgages, father-in-law dying, wife being very sick in hospital, more daddy day care, not being at home, walking into the glass door of a chemist (because of being so tired and thinking it was an automatic door) and cutting my nose open…and the bloody dog…
And yes I know that it’s just what everyone else has to cope with, that others have it equally bad and that there is always someone who is worse off than you and who has to contain with and put up with just as much…but it is seriously getting too much for me.
A break. That’s be nice. But I don’t really want one. I just want us all to be home. In one house, under one roof. In our place doing normal things, whatever normal is anyway.
But why can’t I cope? Why am I finding this all so tiring. Why am I so ball-bagged and why can’t I just chin it all off.
And here’s why. My support network is gone. Along with moving house and leaving my old job behind…I’ve left my old life behind. I’m tired because the support network of the banter with the chaps in the office isn’t there. The laughs with the guys in the mess have gone. The instant common ground that you had with people around you has disappeared and you are alone.
And despite having family around (thanks all!), despite offers from people over on Twitter to ‘talk if you want’ (thank you, very kind but, no), despite being around people, it’s not the same.
I don’t miss the RAF. I felt nothing handing my kit back and a similar feeling of ‘meh-ness’ handing my ID card over. The job I could take or leave. But just the people. People who share an outlook like you. Who share a way of thinking, and who share the same strange, stupid, macabre, self-depreciating, downright sick sense of humour as you do. People who don’t get offended when you are sarcastic towards them, and who give back the same amount of abuse as you are giving.
I miss that. I miss the ability that they have to recharge those batteries – faster than a French Nuke power station flicking a switch to double charge ‘Le rost-biefs’ for the electricity to boil a kettle for a ‘cupper teia’. (Yeah, I think that metaphor has run it’s course now.)
I miss the fact that just half an hours banter is better at powering you through life than a set of dilithium crystals.
I don’t miss the life, I love my life, well I will once it properly kicks in and I have a job and a home and my family around me, but I miss the people. I miss the sense of humour. I knew I would, everyone leaving the service before me said they did the same and that I would too. They were right. I don’t miss the bullshit, the Squadron Leaders, the crap postings, the deployments away for months at a time to god knows where, the lack of control or anything else…I don’t even miss the free healthcare, cheap accommodation, safety of living behind the wire, the variety of the work or the places I have been and things I have done.
I don’t miss any of that. I just miss the laughs and the people who made the laughs happen.