Grand Plans for a Badge-Free Year

This has not been the greatest year in the history of mankind. Or, to put it a bit more bluntly, 2020 has sucked, according to just about anyone with a keyboard and access to the internet.

In many ways, I couldn’t agree more. Yes, I was able to undergo a serious transition, but I also had to (and still have to) deal with the lingering after-effects of one shock to the system after another. It hasn’t been easy.

What’s funny is the way I keep hearing person after person declare how much they can’t wait for the new year, so we can get some kind of a fresh start. And while I understand the sentiment, I still want to scold them just a little bit.

As I’m sure most of us are aware, 2021 is not a switch or some kind of “reset” button. The clock doesn’t strike midnight, and then we party like it’s 2019. No, we’ll be in the exact same boat, only during the next year.

There will still be a pandemic raging, we will still be (mostly) separated from those we love, racial strife will still be an issue, Americans will still be divided in big ways, and chances are I won’t get to go to a concert or a baseball game before summer.

But it’s not all doom and gloom from inside my humble abode, located some 285 miles north of where I was this time last year. There is something approaching resembling, dare I say, hope. At the minimum, 2021 is a year full of ambition that could cement the change I’ve made and solidify plans for my world beyond next year.

This will be my first calendar year without a badge since 1995. Since last July, I have been adjusting to living in a world where cries for help will be handled by someone other than me and my cohorts. Now it’s just my former cohorts and the next generation of young officers who replaced me.

I have no regrets. I’m happy to see a police car go by with lights on and sirens wailing and say, “Not my table” before going on with my day. Still, there are struggles.

One of the things you’re not really warned about is the complete absence of formalized structure in your new world. I spent 25 years living a life based on what time I had to be at roll call. You get used to that.

Before that was the military, where I knew I had to be at work at 07:30 every weekday morning. It was routine, and I was accustomed to it. If retirement leads directly to another job within a company or other business, this isn’t a big deal. You still have to come to work every day at a certain time, even if roll call isn’t involved.

But I didn’t choose that path. Yes, I may eventually have to get some kind of part-time job, but there’s no real hurry at the moment. For now I’m in business for myself, even if that business does not (to date) entail any real sense of income. That I can deal with.

What’s tough has been establishing my own daily routine steeped in consistency. I was told it would be a process. That information was correct. Being a self-starter is great, but having someone lay down the law about when you show up for work can be very helpful.

But I must face the simple fact that I’m on my own, and deal with it.

Fortunately, the coming year has offered me the opportunity to make the most of structure and its benefits. The motivator is simple: do what must be done, and I won’t have to worry about seeking a part-time job, because the jobs just might start coming to me!

It will be an incredibly busy year full of interviews, essays, album reviews, and an increased presence on social media via at least four different sources. There is a short-term writing project in place, with the potential for at least one or two others waiting in the wings.

And NOTHING takes higher priority than my work on Bernie Worrell’s biography, which has begun to move forward again.

I’m still making a lot of plans and formulating a strategy that will make these ambitions possible. I’d also like to enjoy being retired now and then. It can be done. It’s all a question of structure and the willingness to adhere to it.

2021 is not a switch. It’s a doorway. What lies on the other side is a whole new world of unlimited potential. It’s an exciting world, something I’ve wanted to be a part of for a long, long time. Now the time is at hand.

Time to step through.


You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (cirdecsongs) My book, I Can’t Be the Only One Hearing This: A Lifetime of Music Through Eclectic Ears, is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine book dealers. I’m currently working on my next book, The Wizard of WOO: The Life and Music of Bernie Worrell

Would you like to have your album reviewed? Contact me at

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