Today, I is forty-bloody-three. It doesn’t seem like a year ago I was forty-bloody-two, but there we go. Time flies when you’re having fun. (Or dashing around trying to avoid a shower of shit. Either way)

I’ve looked back to what I wrote this time last year, the usual ‘plans’ post and it’s not been too bad for once.

And in general it’s worked out for the most part. Goals in bold, explanations in normal text.

  • Weigh Less  – Successful. I’m now more than two stone lighter than I was a year ago. There’s still a considerable way to go, but it’s been significant progress throughout the year.
  • Write MoreAlso successful, albeit not to the degree I’d have liked.  I’ve got more ideas and more plans of what I want to write in the coming year, I’ve got two projects started and significant progress, and completed some shorter stuff, including submitting three pieces to competitions. None were successful, but it’s still progress.
  • IAMDidn’t do. Mainly because of the fluctuations of the year, the IAM thing just didn’t happen. It will do this coming year, though.
  • Own companySuccessful. Again it’s been knocked a bit by fluctuations and inconsistencies, as well as a couple of let-downs, but generally successful.
  • Business IdeasKinda successful. I know more about the direction, but need to do the work.
  • Rebuilding the finances50/50. It was successful – but then with those fluctuations, and the shower of shit, it’s back to square one at the moment. At the same time, it didn’t descend into “being in the shit”, although it was close. So, you know, little victories.

And for my 43rd year? Much the same, I think…

  • Weigh Less (continued work)
  • Write More
  • IAM Test
  • Own Business Ideas
  • Build the Finances

There may be others, there may not. But if I can have the successes of this year without the downsides and letdowns, it should be pretty positive. That’d be nice.

Death of a Bankrupt

Since declaring myself bankrupt in August 2013, I’ve noticed it a lot more in the news. That’s not to say it’s in the news more (or even less) often, merely that I notice it, having been through that process.

So I found the story yesterday about the suicide of Paul Bhattacharjee to be very sad.  From the evidence, it looks like he had been declared bankrupt, and killed himself as a result.

Of course, that wasn’t the entire cause – his widow said he was a “proud” man who had a “darkness inside him that was irreparable”.

‘The bankruptcy was the final straw after a life of major highs and lows’

From a personal side, I can absolutely understand the perceived ‘shame’ of bankruptcy – and probably more so when someone else has declared you bankrupt rather than it being a decision made by yourself. It’s had a stigma for a very long time – and again, it’s an understandable stigma. It’s about saying ‘I can’t afford to pay my debts’, and should never be treated lightly.

However, from my own experience, I don’t think it is The End. In many ways it’s a new start, as I’ve said before. There is a shame, a pain to go with the process – and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone without knowing their entire situation, or as anything except a last resort. It is emphatically not a quick fix, or a “get out of jail free” card.

But shameful? In these days of debt, loans, finance and borrowing? I don’t know that it’s as bad as it was even fifty years ago. It’s more commonplace certainly – although at the moment it appears that personal insolvencies and bankruptcies are falling (and have been since 2009)


(That graph comes from the Insolvency service, and is copyrighted to them)

I completely understand why someone would feel the stigma and shame of being declared bankrupt and feel the need to kill themselves as a result – and probably even more so when that person also already has a history and core of depression – but in many cases it is not The End. It is  the end of the stress, the pain of being chased from pillar to post by creditors, the hassles of interest, mounting charges, and juggling finances, knowing that it’ll only take one tiny change or event to push you off the edge of the cliff.

It’s not an easy process – I know I’ve no intention of ever going through it again, and (as I’ve said already) I wouldn’t recommend it to people except as a final option. It is the death of many things, of the life you know, and sometimes of the things you have. It’s a loss, and as such perhaps is a thing to grieve, to regret, to learn from.

But what it also is, though, is a relief. A new start. An ability to rebuild your life from a stable foundation, to build everything back in a better, more stable – and a debt-free – manner. It’s a struggle, but it’s also a new life, if you allow it to be.

The Coming Year

As is tradition chez D4D™, this is where I list out some of the things I want to do in the coming year. I’ve kind-of nicknamed it “Project 42” this year, for no particularly good reason (other than that it’s the year of being 42 – which, as everyone knows, is also the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything) but it’ll do.

The top two stay the same as last year, but there’s some extras that I want to get done or work on, as well as a bundle of other stuff that’ll come up along the way. Anyway, these are the main bullet points…

  1. Weigh less
  2. Write more
  3. Take the IAM  advanced driving test
  4. Sort out my own company again – although there’s a lot that goes into that
  5. From there, develop a couple of business ideas
  6. Keep on rebuilding finances throughout the year.

That’ll do, I think