Six big mistakes (and how I learned from them)

I tend not to have regrets, but I think it’s important to recognise the mistakes we make in this life… to “own” them and learn from them. After all, they’re part of what makes us human. So, submitted for your perusal are six mistakes that I live with, 24/7. They’re not always at the forefront of my mind, but they’re always lurking somewhere in the background...

And no, you won’t find “getting a dog” or “buying a Beetle” on this list.

NOT giving up my car in 2016

In order to save money I planned to give up the lease on my Fiesta (rather than renew for another 3 years). It was costing me over £200 a month and I couldn’t afford to keep the car.

However, following the advice of several people, I signed up for another 3 years. Don’t get me wrong, everyone meant well and just didn’t want to see me without a car – but I didn’t actually NEED a car at this time. I worked from home… the shops and vet were a five minute walk… the train station was a ONE minute walk…  

People can only give you advice based on their own experiences – and how losing something like a car will impact their own life – but every individual has their own needs, so what seems the obvious solution to them doesn't always work for you.

Looking back; keeping that car was complete madness and an expensive luxury. Getting shot of it would have undoubtedly saved me from…

Selling my home in 2017

The problem with co-owning a property is that it’s never really your own. If one of you is buying the place to live in, and the other is primarily buying it as an investment, then it can lead to problems later down the road. And when my salary was unexpectedly slashed by £1000 in November and December 2014 it set the ball rolling for my subsequent downfall. I just needed a breather for a few months and the bank were happy for me to take a mortgage payment holiday, but the co-owner wasn’t comfortable with this route, so, in the end I was left with no options (I’d already explored several options by this point).

This is undoubtedly the most heartbreaking event of my lifetime (so far) as it’s not simply losing a property it’s losing your proximity to family, friends – and your favourite curry house. It actually made my depression worse for many years – but it only really “hit home” the following year.

I certainly don’t regret buying the property, but had I owned 100% then I would undoubtedly still be there today.

Well, I say that… but had I not sold then my life would have followed a completely different pathway. I could be dead now.

However, losing that initial £1000 wouldn’t have caused so many problems had I not done the daft thing of….

Using a credit card to fund my trip to America

This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so it’s certainly not something I regret… but using a credit card to fund the trip was undoubtedly not the best way to go about it. These days I don’t do loans or credit cards unless it’s an absolute emergency, so, bearing in mind my priority now is saving for a house deposit, I very much doubt I’ll make it back to America in my lifetime.

Yet it was an amazing two weeks – with memories that will last a lifetime.

Assuming that ALL my friends would be supportive during a crisis

This may not be true for everybody, but as soon as I started struggling financially and talking openly about mental health problems, it seemed to split my friends into several camps. The 5% who went out of their way to offer support… the 5% who judged and openly criticised me… and the rest, who were eerily silent throughout. I imagine some of those would have helped (if they could)… while some were critics who didn’t have the courage to critique me to my face.

Two went the whole nine yards and blocked me on Facebook. Although, to be fair, one had an anxiety disorder and the other was a people-hating sociopath… so perhaps it was inevitable.

These days if I’m really suffering I tend to only tell Luna. She doesn’t make judgements or assumptions, and having her has probably saved my life.

You certainly learn who your friends are during a crisis and now I know the dozen or so I plan to help when I’m in a position to do so. You reap what you sow in this world...

Printing thousands of comic books without a bulletproof marketing plan

This is the one people like to remind me about occasionally – which I find a bit odd. “Remember when you printed all those comics, lol!”

Ah yes, thanks, it had completely slipped my mind.

It wasn’t the fact the books were too “niche” or “poor quality” as they would have stood alongside anything in a comic shop today. There was just too many of the blighters for me to shift in a reasonable amount of time.

There will be another – one day – but they’ll be printed on-demand, with closer to 30 pages than 84 pages!

Throwing away the boxes from my Star Wars (and other) toys

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Back in the sixties the BBC were WIPING episodes of Doctor Who because they couldn’t have possibly foreseen the invention of Betamax, VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, or Britbox. Why would they keep episodes of Doctor Who in their archives if no-one would ever watch them again? Likewise with merchandise, how could anyone have foreseen cardboard boxes being worth hundreds of pounds?

I would advise people to keep the boxes going forward, but toys are now packaged in such large quantities (with collectors keeping them boxed) that they probably won't be so collectable in future.

Having said that, we never really know what's just around the corner...