I’ve been spending a lot of time lately looking towards the future. Whether it’s my exercise regime, my personal life or any of the million things I have planned at the moment I’m not looking back.

I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not, as someone who used to glance forward occasionally while being all sad and horrible to myself it’s a refreshing change. Maybe it was about time that I stopped living in the past, looking at things in the past and wondering “what if?” I find it really exciting to go head-first into all of these awesome challenges instead of procrastinating, getting anxious or just getting in my own head too much and bailing on a good opportunity out of fear.

2013 is long behind me now, it really was a great one, probably my best so far. I built new friendships, strengthened old ones, got a lot closer to my family and started this incredible journey. I started taking control of my life financially and become a much happier and healthier person in the process.

I guess by changing something as simple as focus, I find things less scarey now, meeting challenges head-on with excitement and courage that a 21 year old version of myself could only dream of. I want to do more things now that I have this new sense of empowerment in my life, I want to podcast again, I want to learn an instrument and learn it well.

We’re planning to travel in 2015-16, Europe, ITALY. I’ve always wanted to go there but I’d never put any real thought into it. I was reading through travel plans for a week in Italy and read things like Capitoline Hill and started tearing up. I will actually stand on ground that I have only ever dreamt or heard about. I warned my fiancee that I could just spend the entire time crying while over there due to being overwhelmed by history. I think that trip will cap off what at the time would be a 3 year work in progress, and what a way to do it!

It still blows my mind that only a few years ago my life had fallen apart at the seams. I had nothing, no job, no belief, no sense of pride or ambition. I was horrible to the people I loved and lost a few of them along the way, unfortunately for good in a few cases. I can’t repair the damage I’ve done, it’s beyond that. Maybe that’s for the best anyway, not to sound selfish but I don’t want people from my “old life” hanging around as a reminded of who I once was. I’m open to reconciliation but I’m not the same person anymore and that might be something that they aren’t ready to deal with.

But enough about things out of my control.

I think where this sense of power comes from is because I’ve changed focus. I don’t think you can be terrified of the future when that’s all you’re looking at. It’s easy to lament on what has happened, what can’t be helped and what could have been and that fed the depression and the anxiety. I still sometimes have one of those nights where I just lay in bed, looking at the ceiling and worry about things that I said years ago. Those feelings of anger, sadness and regret creep back in and sit quietly in the corner like a shadow of doubt, I look over to him, hunched on a rocking chair and acknowledge him. He silent nods back as a reminder that he’s waiting for me to slip up.

I have found that this new sense of excitement towards things coming at me overpowers that shadow now. You can’t be apprehensive and scared of something you haven’t seen yet. A trip to Italy isn’t the aliens out of Signs, where you’re teased with that “idea” that something is out there for so long to build tension. I think this has been my shield in the last year, that sense of wonder that comes with the picture of me and Rach in a gondola in Venice, or climbing the Tower of London. That sort of thing quickly starts driving you forward, you begin to feel limitless.

I ran my first ever 6km race on Sunday and Wednesday I began working towards 10km runs. The old me wouldn’t do that, the old me wouldn’t have gotten out of bed on Sunday because he hurt himself once when he was in a race 20 years ago. I don’t think the world can stop me now.