Money

I’m terrible with money. I have used this excuse for as long as I can remember to justify being, well, terrible with money. But that has to stop. I’m 37 now and it’s about time I grew up and realised that this excuse is actually no excuse. I posted a few days ago about taking a year to “Stand still. Take stock. Make no sudden moves. Think things through.” I said that 2015 would be the year that I “look back and say, I’m further forward than I was 365 days ago.”

I make a fair wage doing a decent job. I have enough to get by. But I am frivolous. I spend. It’s the old adage of money burning a hole in one’s pocket. In order to assist me in this I am going to start saving using the 50p 52 week money challenge:

Starting with 50p and adding another 50p to the total each week I will have saved £689 by the end of 2015. That will be £689 more than I have saved before in my life. Additionally I intend to remove my overdraft, payback my debt to my Mum (who, God bless her, is always too happy to help her Son out(!)) and still have a reasonably active social life. A big ask, but if you don’t have goals you’ll never meet goals.

Wish me luck, and if I’m ever struggling, don’t be too tight when I ask you for 50p.

2015 – the obligatory new year post

Goodbye, 2014, you absolute rotter. Hello 2015, a year which promises to be significantly better.

I started 2014 with high hopes. I had a woman who I loved completely, a nice home in the countryside, a week in Sharm el Sheikh to look forward to, and a job I’d been wanting to do for several years and was now doing. All was going well. I was happy. H-A-P-P-Y.

But then things changed.

Egypt came and went and I gathered memories which I have sealed inside my heart. We returned to England and because of external forces, internal forces, my own bloody-minded selfishness, Clare and I went our separate ways. I still loved her. I still wanted her. But I made the mistake of putting my pride before this magnificent woman who had sacrificed so much for me. It’s my one huge regret of 2014. My one huge regret of life. I have made mistakes before. We all have. “To err is human”. I have yet to sit and post-mortem that time in my life. I don’t want to. I fear that what I uncover will be too much for me to handle just yet. Better to bury those times deep inside me – in a locked box somewhere – and forget where I put the key.

I left Clare and I moved to my little flat in Darlington – and for the briefest of times I was happy. I met a new lady. She turned out to be batshit insane, but we had fun. Work continued to teach me things about myself and other people I didn’t previously understand.

Then in August 2014 Clare came back into my life like a breath of fresh-air. How mad had I been to allow her to get away from me? How had I not fought with every fibre of my being and every resource available to me to keep her by my side? How did I let her go? I made a commitment to her then – it was unspoken; I never got the chance to tell her before she passed away. But I still read the words from time to time and I know that for the briefest of moments I was true to myself and true to her.

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In September 2014 Clare Sandford died. And she took with her a part of me. I know I’ll never get it back. I know I will never be the same again. When she died a part of me died too. I feel her loss as keenly now as I did then. It’s a terrible, terrible thing. It gets easier. I knew it would. But not a day goes by when I don’t think of her in some way.

Since then there have been other women in my life but none of them come close to Clare. None of them match her. They stopped me feeling so profoundly alone in the world, but her memory eclipses all.

Onto 2015. A new year, a new start? Perhaps not. This is a year when I have to stand still. I have to take stock. I need to reapply a degree of stability to my life. I make no resolutions. I do not promise to eat healthy or exercise. I only want to make it through to 2016 in a better place than I am right now. Financially, emotionally, personally, I want 2015 to be the year when I can look back and say, I’m further forward than I was 365 days ago.

So I guess I will have to wait another 364 days before I can do that. Stand still. Take stock. Make no sudden moves. Think things through. Do only that which matters and is positive. Leave negativity behind.

It’s important to look after myself and look after Tom. It’s important I work hard and be frugal not frivolous. I’ll leave now with a little mantra I gleaned from the twitter: “Don’t let things which don’t matter much matter much”.

Have a safe and successful 2015. I’ll see you on the otherside.