14 April 2016

Living out Loud

When I look back over the last few months I am struck by the rapidity of how the community of craft beer drinkers has both expanded and become closer through the simple act of sharing our pictures of what we're drinking on Instagram. I started doing it to keep track of what I was consuming and slowly it has morphed into my go to spot to see new beers, hang out (virtually) with new friends and make plans for future trips.
What's weird is how much I was separated from most forms of social media only a year ago. I had deleted my Facebook, didn't use Twitter and posted sporadically on Instagram. My only real outlet was Untappd and that was strictly to count beers and get badges. So what changed and made me into the Internet marauding Polkaroo I am today? Why as I approach my mid 40's do I feel the need to write blogs, beer reviews and other stories about my life? Is there a reason I make videos and talk about personal stuff while drinking a new beer? It's not an easy thing to expose all you are to a world that's increasingly fractured, hard and inward looking. But I couldn't live in darkness anymore and if I wanted to change, I needed to be loud about it.
I didn't sit down and map out a plan of how I would become the Drunk Polkaroo. It has been an organic journey that takes weird and wonderful turns that even I couldn't possibly have predicted. I have seen the very darkest parts of my soul take root and almost drag me down to the bottom of the well and sometimes I felt I deserved it. That kind of bleak outlook was an everyday part of my life for so many years and I don't think I can adequately explain what my depression and anxiety feels like to anyone because it feels so personal and sad. But when I started to see the light with the help of great beer, something just clicked.
I understand that some people think this is a joke, or that I am screwing around, but I assure you I am not. I legitimately have used Craft Beer to change my life and how I want to live it. By slowing down and trying to think about what I am drinking I have created a way of life that forces me to consider everything I do. It isn't about getting drunk anymore, it has become a gateway to a world I didn't know existed. While I do have at least one a night, it is in that moment that I explore my past, present and future. The beer has become the focal point only in that I savour every minute and allow the flavours to inspire my words. I am not the only one that this has happened to. I am joined in my quest by many people even if they don't realise it. Our love of well made, balanced brews has become a common thread that binds us together and it is when we meet online or in real life that we discover good people drink good beer.
I choose to Live out Loud and shun the darkness. I know my story is long and my past is littered mistakes, but I am compelled to confront them in order to make the future brighter. My life may be half over, but I truly believe the best part is yet to come. I refuse to quietly go away and hide from the dark things that chased me for so many years. We all have personal demons, I am no longer afraid of mine. Confronting my fears gives me power over them and that alone makes every day beautiful.
So what is the purpose and goal of all my digital and real life galavanting? I don't think I will ever truly know. There is a purpose in every word I write now and for someone who once had a promising future he threw away, that is a good start. I am constantly writing, whether it sees the light of day or not. Often times it is only to clear space in my head for the bright things I wish to do in the future and to address some doubt or sadness that creeps into my thoughts as I amble about. I am glad you come with me as I explore Craft Beer and the Polkaroo's own mind. I came so close to shutting myself off from the world not so long ago that I know what it feels like to be alone. I won't let that happen again. I can see the stars in my future are shining down on amazing beer from all over the world and it is in the quest for the next great brew that I can shout my love of life to the universe.
Raise your glass and your standards!

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