It was never really about the beer.
Life took many turns in the last 3 years as I took on the mantle of the Drunk Polkaroo and began sharing what I was putting in my glass with the world. It started as a lark and now I find myself on the precipice of a life I'm not sure I understand with the direction unknown.
Almost from the beginning I started to share what I was doing or thinking as I drank my latest find. Little stories, props and asides made for a better time for me as I began to slow down and explore my past and my own demons that remained with me all these years. The beer was a way to communicate my emotions and thoughts, whether anyone read them or not. To put down and shine a light on some of my darkest moments as well as celebrating some of my triumphs was exhilarating, still is to be honest, and on I went. Videos came next and finally Twitter, which despite many peoples warnings, has been where I have truly found my voice. The blog has slowed down a little in the last couple of months, but I probably still write somewhere around a couple of thousand words a day between all the other places I express myself. Not to take away from what I do here, it has a place and a time and that will be a little more frequent as I move on with the next steps of this walk about the world.
I recently started to ponder why I bothered to do any of this at all. So many of my social media friends move in and out of regular posting, time constraints, kids and jobs get in the way and I think to a large extent, the sheer number of people doing the same thing has taken the shine of being one of a few away from the whole enterprise. It's not easy to cut through the noise and feel like you are actually connecting with people when the voices start to blend together and you feel like you've lost your way. Perhaps I read too much, but I have noticed things and paused to wonder why I have continued to do exactly what I do, without respite for almost 1000 days in a row.
I like to think I make a difference for some people but I am not naive enough to think I move the meter on beer sales one iota with a pretty picture on Instagram or a funny (to me) video on YouTube. (Follow along here if that's your kind of thing : Pints with Polk )
What I hope is that I have been able to affect is opening up the conversation on depression, anxiety, alcohol abuse and a host of other subjects I am constantly talking about in any post when the fire strikes me.
It was never really about the beer at the end of it all, the beer was merely the vehicle I drive to find out where I'm headed next. I don't have a plan or even a clear agenda when I buy beer and talk about it. Coming home, I just grab something out of the fridge and have at it while I let the day ruminate in my mind. I talk of flavours and give my rating but in between all that, I leave a little of my soul online and with it, my only legacy. No children means when I'm gone and those few who knew me in this time, I am no more. But with my digital footprint, I will at least exist a little longer, maybe even helping someone long after I am gone.
The videos give me a little glimpse into where I was when I made each one, some quick and simple, others drawn out with a message I wasn't sure I had when I started. I see myself and know that I exist, right here and now. Putting myself in my photos recently just because I was feeling the need to be there, to see that I had that moment and outside of the inevitable slog of trying to keep the 50 hour workweek from dragging me down that I was still and truly Polk.
I don't think I will ever stop writing now, it has become too integral to my everyday routine. Not everything sees the light of day and I will lean a little hard on the poetry because it has given me new light in my work. I enjoy thinking about every beer and where it fits on the style guide I have created from well over 3000 beers in a little under 3 years. My rating system is mine alone and I love it for what it gives me, despite the many misgivings I have about it. I will continue to make videos almost every day when I can, I rather enjoy the camera and watching them back, it means I'm never drinking alone.
Instagram (link) will always hold a special place in my heart and as the streak nears 1000 days, I look forward to continuing to appreciate the wonderful art being created by beer lovers everywhere on this app. There is a more communal feel to the beers and I like to see the friendships online blossom as people seek out new beers and travel around having meetups and trades. It's a beautiful thing.
Twitter (link) is where I spend most of my online creativity now, it is a rocket ship that I love to ride and see where it takes me. It has become a stream of conscious for me as I engage myself with mental health, workplace and life problems and of course, the ever present beer in hand. Poetry has become a huge part of my everyday life and rarely do I go more than a few hours without some kind of randomly worded rhyme coming from my fingers. Not all of them are what I would call winners, but I'll stand by them as genuine and truly from my heart.
The whole enterprise is driven by my love of great beer, the people who drink it and those who work in the industry. You have all played some part in making me who I am now and I thank you for sticking around this long, as I do tend to go on a bit when inspired. I am not going anywhere, changing anything except that I will always follow my muse wherever it takes me and that will be perhaps the best thing to come.
Stay tuned, as long as I'm here, I'll be out there!