As the years pass I find myself magnetically drawn toward the idealistic hippy lifestyle. Like many other forty-somethings, I look on, increasingly envious of those ex CEOs we often read about in Lifestyle magazines. You know the ones: a bank load of cash with which to retire early and buy that brand new retro VW camper van before taking a gap year or two. They traipse off to Saint Tropez or Portugal to drink sangria, run naked on the beach and get a Bobby Dazzler of a tan that Sir David of Dickinson could only dream about.

The older I get, the more I am drawn into increasingly dull and monotonous conversation surrounding pensions, security and retirement age. As such an overlooked hot potato, I found myself last week on the blower to a dull bloke called ‘Timothy’ from the pension company who fired random, inane questions at me about variable compound PQ62’s and the like.

So how did it come to this? Staring down the barrel of another 25 years working before settling down on a meagre income, becoming more obsessed with turning the heating down, waiting around for a bus pass before dying of boredom and old age? Maybe sedentary pursuits such as bowls await, as I whiten my clothing through the week and polish my brass buttons, so I can look dapper on a Sunday for the my new-found highlight of the retirement calendar.

I don’t want to seem negative about old age, and I know many who embrace it, I just don’t know if it’s tailored for me. I am not looking forward to geriatric fashion, endless hours in the doctor’s surgery and numerous trips to the local Iceland as a time filler.

So how to obtain the hippy lifestyle we all secretly hanker after? I’m sure that, when reality bites, the novelty of standing on a French hard shoulder as you attempt to smack the alternator with a blunt rock in the hammering rain while the locals bid you a one fingered salute will wear off. Life as an elder should be worth living: sand underfoot, endless days of munching prawns and sipping on cocktails before a wander back to the yacht to watch the Liverpool game should be what we aspire to. We are instead force fed a diet, the formula for living a life: work, earn enough to get by, pay the mortgage, eat a little and maybe enjoy that week in Cornwall once a year. Work to pay off that week in Cornwall, pay the council tax, get tired and stressed. Repeat for 40 years, then retreat into the place you’ve spent your life paying for before you wilt and tune out.

So, what is the answer? Have a brainwave, take a risk and back it come what may, maybe even get lucky on the lottery or become an expert in a field where experts are few and far between. The long sunny days could be paid for by inheritance or maybe that house you bought for peanuts all those years ago will blossom into a huge payday with which to fund those wanton, carefree dreams.

Come what may in the years that come, many have it a lot worse. Homelessness is on the rise and good honest folk who have worked hard yet been poorly remunerated for a score and ten years count the pension pennies and turn the heating down as they cheerfully crack on with it as their parents did before them. As for me, I’ve got my eye on an eBay VW ‘restoration project’, i.e. wreck, which is what I am afraid I will be, come the time to use it.