It’s my life, my future, and this year, I’m driving it in a straighter line!

Looking back over my life and career, I realise that I was too quick to allow myself to be led off course by things that looked interesting, but were probably best left alone. It’s also true to say that my choice of direction has been informed by my wish to escape from a troubled past, rather than seek a satisfying, rewarding and impactful future.

That said, I have achieved more than most over the past 40 years, and had the pleasure of helping others find their way. I’ve sometimes found it too easy to provide objective support to others, while failing to firmly grasp the tiller and steer my own life towards goals of my own.

The dawning of a new year, together with my new found status as a pensioner, has given both the freedom and impetus to finally take control. I am making 2022 a turning point in my life. No longer will I look back wistfully and what could have, but did not happen.

No longer am I going to patiently wait in the hope that others take the hint and do the right thing. And most importantly of all, I am no longer leaving my future to be thought about only when I have a spare moment.

I’ve started with some small things. My wife and I have had a car each for most of our 40 years together. We’ve not needed two cars for a while now, so last week mine was sold and we now share her small car.

The money my car raised is being spent on overdue repairs to the roof of our home, which we hope to sell next year. Downsizing is our second big change, as with our children now settled in their own homes, we no longer need the space we have.

It would be simple to sell our home and buy a smaller one, but that would be to miss the opportunity to build exactly what we need as we grow older. I’m a Quaker, and motivated to reduce my environmental impact, so our new home (if our planning application succeeds) will be highly insulated, storing warmth from the sun in thick walls and floor, that gently release the heat back into our new home each night.

Our planned new home, which with an array of photovoltaic panels will generate more power than it uses, will be exceptional and form a credible platform from which I can become a voice in the global net-zero debate. It would be wrong not to use our experience to encourage others and I will be writing a book, hosting open days and accepting invitations to speak at conferences.

I am no longer allowing myself to be distracted by the challenges others try to share with me. I am 100% focused on my own goals and already the future is becoming clearer and new opportunities present themselves, that align perfectly with my goals.

It’s strange, but reassuring that as I have decluttered my mind, my real opportunity has become easier to discern. We only have one life so it is important to use our time wisely. In 15 years’ time, I will be an old man and can no longer afford to waste time. 2022 will be exciting as finally, I have taken control of my future.

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