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First thing this morning I was reminded by FB that 8 years ago today I retired from work. It seems like decades ago, another time and another life. I do remember it was not a particularly cold day that Friday in 2012 and there was no snow in Ottawa at that point. I went in to sign off papers and close down accounts at work. The director of Personnel was a dreadful person who was usually quite unpleasant unless she wanted something from people. I had to wait for her despite having an appointment with her. An hour later she showed up, I signed my resignation letter, she signed it too and that was it. No words, nothing not even a goodbye.

I left the Service a year after our return from Rome. This was a period when our department was going through a period of getting rid of anyone over the age of 55 and finding creative ways to be unpleasant so people would leave. Age discrimination a prohibit ground under the Canadian Charter, yes but this is the Government, they do as they please. What I discovered a few weeks later was that a bonus was given to managers who were instrumental in getting rid of people. So much for the ethical behaviour of the Government. A few years later we would all discover that senior managers often got bonuses even when things went badly and even promotions, the Phoenix Pay system is one very good example, hundreds of millions lost and promotions handed out to the main culprits.

It was time for me to go in many ways, I had a long career, many foreign postings, more than average really, I was very tired and suffered from anxiety, etc. The work atmosphere had become poisonous and I was amongst the last of my recruitment year to leave. The next generation were at least 20 years younger and the service had changed to a point it was unrecognizable.

I remember leaving the building and finding myself on the street and feeling like a free man out of jail after a very long sentence, I felt a sort of euphoria. Now looking back all this seems like such a long time ago. But that was not the end, we left Ottawa for PEI, 3 years later for a new chapter in life, a completely different adventure which opened new doors, new friendships and new horizons.

So here we are now in 2020 or the last days of it. It was a year full of anxiety and I may put a brave face on it, I was often not looking forward to going out to shop and seeing how people did not observe the most elementary sanitary rules. We got the hang of it here in PEI but cannot say the same in other provinces in Canada. We were cut off from the mainland for our own safety and no one could come here either. Flights out were cut and so was the ferry service. It really felt at times as if we were on another planet far away. So going to the beach to look at the waves and the sea was a distraction and the fresh saline air is always good.

My blogging continued but I felt it was mundane at times and maybe repetitive, as I was following architectural stories or food shows or other topics like reading. I am a slow reader and I have several books on the go and I have not started reading the Obama biography, A Promised Land, though I am looking forward to it.

So the year is coming to an end and all we can hope for and I have reasons to be optimistic is better days ahead. On the Eve of 2020 I wondered what will it bring, on the Eve of 2021 I can only believe that no matter what happens, it has to be better.