Recently I celebrated my 60th birthday. It was a Wednesday, right in the middle of another busy working week. I had not really given it a lot of thought at the beginning of that week. I just thought it would be like any other day. How wrong I was!
Just before my birthday, my partner suggested I take the day off. Unfortunately, my type of courier work is in demand and always starts with me on stand-by, ready for the call to run at a moment’s notice and drive anywhere in the UK on urgent business. There’s little or no gratitude from the company that feed me the work – they just want an urgent logistic delivered for their client. They’ve no interest in whether I’m tired or whether I actually want to undertake a job. They’re not social workers, they’re hard, fast business people and they simply tell me where I’m going and leave the rest to me.
On my birthday morning I awoke and was quite excited knowing that I had a day off. The previous day had been a tough one involving driving over 500 miles in the day and starting with me getting some vocal abuse from someone that should have known better. The incident had left me upset and desperate to make some changes to my working pattern.
Anyway, it’s my birthday and my partner brought me tea in bed. Next, I had the pleasure of opening a pile of presents before I got up. I can’t recall how the conversation came around, but my partner knew I was upset with the events of the previous day. She suggested to me that now I was 60, perhaps I should consider retiring.
Never before in my life had that made more sense than that very moment. The courier work was killing me! I was constantly tired, never home, and not exactly raking in loads of money for all the effort. So her words stuck in my mind and over breakfast they were being replayed in my head – ‘time to retire’.
I have so many interests that demand my time and sadly, I’ve never any spare for them. My life was dominated by the demands of the courier business. My writing was taking a back seat, my spiritual work was suffering, my health was deteriorating and if I wasn’t sat behind a wheel in a van driving in the worst traffic in the country, I was sleeping from exhaustion.
“That’s it,” I said to my partner. “It’s time to take control of my life. Today I’m semi-retiring. The driving is being seriously cut back and I’m going to do more of the things I want to do.” I knew this was a fair compromise on fully retiring which, although appealing, I wasn’t fully ready for yet.
My decision was the correct one. It was like a huge weight being lifted from my shoulders. Suddenly I was filled with positive energy as I thought my plan through in detail in my head. My life was mine again. It was time to start again and bite the bullet, take control and move forward with a new energy. Within hours I had a workable plan and shortly after I started putting the details in place.
Over the coming days, I informed my main client that I was semi-retiring forthwith and that I would not be available certain days of the week in the future. That was the first part of the plan. The second part will come in a few weeks or months when I will fully retire from the courier business altogether.
From ‘decision birthday’ to this one, my personal energy levels increased. I now had a new focus and a new direction. I was excited again, happy and looking forward to the future once more.
I’m in charge of my life again and I will decide what I do with my time and when. I had far more important things to focus on at last. No longer was I going to be at the beck and call of others. No longer was I going to feel abused, exhausted all the time and weary when I awoke in the mornings. My life was back in my control.
I never wanted to be like so many other people that I describe as ‘happy discontent’. I always believed that to change the world you see, you need to change the window you are looking through and not try to change the world. At sixty, I felt life was slipping away from me and if I didn’t do something about it, I would leave this world as ‘The Nearly Man’. I nearly did this, I nearly did that. Nearly – but not quite.
As I now write this paragraph – over a week since I started this post, I have enjoyed a few days at home doing stuff I want to do. I’ve found it strange in many ways, but all positively. I’ve more energy to focus on the important things. I can add more focus to my group of beautiful students that have trusted me with navigating their spiritual journey. I have done a lot of writing, spent more time in my amazing Sanctuary, solved a few challenges that we had at home with neighbours and put in place plans to grow spiritually and positively.
I recognise that there are a lot of people that are ‘stuck in their circumstances’ not seeing a way of changing or getting out of the rut they have created. Changing job, changing house, changing partner perhaps are all decisions that seem insurmountable. But, step away from your view point. Imagine your life from another angle. How different could it be? Visualise a better life, and while you have those visions start considering your route to getting their. Make decisions and write them in concrete. Face the things, the people and the decisions that need to be made and simply just do them while your focus is selfishly on your goal.
What’s the alternative? Go where I was going? A nearly man, a non-achiever, happy discontent. Write down the things that are really important to you in order of importance. Now review the list again and take money off it. Now look at your list and start the action plan for change. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. It’s never too late to change – well actually that was a wrong statement. It is too late to change when your life has gone.
I’m sharing this story with you in the hope that if your life is moving in a direction you’d rather it didn’t, you too can change its course. You are the captain of your own ship. If you’re off course by 1% now, how far off your destination will be you be in 5 years or longer. The plain truth is that you will actually miss your target. So take control of your destination. Steer your own course through life. You owe nothing to anyone, but you do owe it to yourself to live your life to its fullest. ♥