2019

I don’t like to make predictions any more. Life is becoming scary. It’s too short anyway, but now I look into the future and think I genuinely have no idea whether I will still be alive in 12 months time.

That is a daft thing to say, I am hoping, but it is true. This last year has seen quite a bit of loss, many of it tragic. I have no reason to believe I’m ill or feel in any way like I am so. But it could happen. I have heard too many scary stories this past year, and suddenly entering into a new year, where my older sister will be 40 this year, is terrifying.

There’s nothing any of us can do about it, of course. We have to carry on, and cling onto what we have.

I have to try and enjoy life more this year. I say this every year. I say I have to find new work, new hobbies, new diversions. They don’t happen. Some years I even say things like, I really mean it this time.

The trouble is there is hardly any way to make it happen. Being coupled makes it tougher, as J can’t cope without me for more than 5 minutes. If I want to do some reading, I feel guilty that he doesn’t have any, or is just sitting playing Pokemon Go. There have to be more fun things we can do together than sit and watch TV.

I read a lot of stories about achieving financial independence. One recently someone by age 39. Not far off for me. He talked about reaching that magical crossover point when income from investments exceeded actual income needed to live.

I think about that all the time. It has always been my dream. It was shattered when I bought a house, but maybe that will eventually work itself out. I hope it’s a case of sending money into the future to be retrieved later. Somehow though, I doubt it.

Anyway – I looked at my own finances (well our joint finances, which are partially covered by the fact that J is secretive about his) – and realised that typically we earn about £1200 a year in interest. Then I worked out that we need about £28000 a year to live, survive and be reasonably comfortable in maintaining our current perks of life.

To get from £1200 to £28000 on current returns would need something of the order of £2m saved. That’s never happening. Well, certainly not this year anyway.

So 2019 will not be the year I achieve financial independence. But it might be the year that I try on the path. I’ve talked to J about us trying to invest our money in stuff. Not that we have money to spare, but we could spare a few hundred pounds of month. You got to start somewhere. Apparently, it’s “really that simple”. I know it isn’t, but the internet likes to make out it is.

What they don’t tell you is that people who achieved it were probably saving £4000 a month, not £400… because they were in jobs paying £90k a year or more. One article I read actually did say that, and casually tossed around the numbers like “well yeah, isn’t everyone earning at least that?”

2019 will be a year of utter disappointment, then. I will not get anywhere. I will not change what I’m doing. I will not earn a great deal of money. I will just carry on existing, and you can possibly call it living if you like.

This year will also be a year of sadness. Things will go wrong. People close to me will be ill, and possibly even die. I sit and worry about my younger but not youngest brother. He has lost his job again, and now has nothing and might even lose his flat if he doesn’t find some new income soon. It must be depressing for him. My parents aren’t getting any younger, and my mum definitely is not the person she was. She sits glued to Facebook, craving adulation, sharing nonsense and engaging endlessly in crap interactions. She is forgetful and distant. She thinks it’s the “change” – but we all worry it’s something worse.

My gran is frail now. My mum and dad’s dog, who I’ve struggled to like for years, is now quite old and slow, and looking at her fills me with sadness. I have even grown to like her, and once she’s dead I’ll be mortified. Is that a tear in my eye? Who’d’ve thought it…

My nephew is still a lost fool, and tries to impress his mates. I heard him on the phone yesterday. You’d think he was talking to his gang mates, brought together as blood brothers, bonded for life and will do anything for them as they would do for him. It’s an odd form of togetherness. He doesn’t know that they are totally unimportant. If he found himself a proper job, doing proper work, somewhere away from here, he’d never speak to them again. But they’re all chavs together, and it’s the best feeling in the world. Odd really, because he didn’t behave anything like that when out with us the other day.

My youngest brother I have no idea any more. My youngest sister – she will be OK, as she seems to have found someone who will look after her, even though he’s a bit of an idiot. But I guess you’ll never get the approval of in-laws. Twas ever thus.

So 2019 will not change anything. Probably neither will 2020. I’ll just get older, more bitter, more cynical, while being less engaged with life, and definitely less healthy.

So that’s a lot to look forward to.

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