Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Review of the Year, 2013

So here we are, last day of 2013. This post is inspired by my very good friend Cav Scott, whose own top 10 moments of the year are not only far more interesting than anything I could muster, but proof he's definitely on the right career trajectory!

But to return to my self-indulgent review of the year. For once in my life, I'll try to keep it relatively short:

1. Work: down, then up, then stratospherically up, then down again. Long story short, I end the year much like I began it, with the loss of a client. Sadly, unlike the beginning of the year, this client was my single biggest one, and the bombshell was delivered two weeks after we'd had a hugely productive meeting where it appeared 2014's plans were rubber-stamped.

Still, I enjoyed the brief four-month period of not worrying about where next month's paycheques were likely to come from.

2. Work: the realisation I have to work harder to stand still, and that it's a trend unlikely to get better any time soon. This fact was driven home by this news story here - brought sharply into focus by the events of step 1.

3. New bathroom: long overdue, paid for out of savings and a very generous donation from my wonderful in-laws. The only irony? The old bathroom had literally just been demolished when the fateful phone call regarding the loss of major client came through.

4. Solar panels: a bit of a punt, and for a short time felt like a major mistake. Thankfully, the spectacular last four months of 2013 helped cushion the blow and ease the transition - now it's reassuring to know my bills are coming down and there's a minor injection of cash every three months. Hopefully by this time next year the mortgage will be back to where it was when we got them.

5. Car: is now on borrowed time after running up two separate bills worth £900 over the space of two months. Its borrowed time may, however, be extended if I feel unhappy at wiping out most of the rest of my ISA to pay for it in the current work climate.

6. Family: girls are growing and developing fast, a source of constant joy (and occasional irritation and grief). Harri's latest hip scan indicates possible trouble further down the line, but nothing major for now - the fact she turned six was a major shocker for me (all those years waiting for her to reach the "Now We Are Six" age, and suddenly she's there!). Mimi's starring role as Mary in the nativity was another highlight. Toni's craft business is also snowballing - hopefully she'll be able to start contributing financially again when both girls are at school (next September!).

7. Me: Part of me wonders if I could have followed Cav at least a little way into his exciting world, but a recent Facebook quiz (yes, I'm aware of the irony of trusting anything on Facebook) suggests my brain is actually 69/31 in favour of the technical side rather than the creative one. That revelation took me aback, as I'd always considered myself an imaginative type, but it probably explains my aptitude for writing practical tutorials, fiddling around inside PCs and providing technical support for readers and customers. Strange how it took me to the age of 41 to find that out! Otherwise I have so little time these days I sometimes feel I merely exist. Read some books, watched a lot of TV, played the occasional game of football, fiddled with a media server setup, is my life really so thin?

As for 2014, the usual over-arching dream applies - win a large sum of money to free up time and relieve the stress of worrying about money. At least that bit can be cut and pasted into next year's review... In the meantime, Happy New Year to those few souls who stumble across this!

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