2018 was a good year for me, personally.
The main reason I say that is because people I care about are alive and well. In the end it comes down to that.
Work has its ups and downs. Relationships change. There are periods of darkness and light in my outlook.
But as friends go through the agony of loss, it’s important to recognise the gift of relative calm. Being able to focus on the small stuff, because the big stuff is stable. For now.
The current sentiment on New Year’s resolutions seems to be that they are a waste of time. It’s funny how all columnists come to a similar conclusion, yet are supposed to be independent thinkers.
I have hopes for 2019.
I want to get mentally and physically stronger, learn Italian, write, spend time with family and friends and grow my business in 2019. All reasonable goals and I’ll be trying my best without knowing what plot twists the new year will bring.
Perhaps a creative career opportunity in Turin is right around the corner. If so, I’m ready for it. Bring it on!
Yet I have one resolution I can guarantee because I’ve already started:
Spend money where it matters.
In recent years I’ve become more vocal about causes I support (intersectional feminism, social mobility, free education and healthcare, being part of a global community – yes I mean the EU).
This is partly an age thing, as my thirties have been about developing who I am. My teenage opinions were right-on, yet easily undermined by someone with a bigger vocabulary or posher accent. I am not sure what my twenties were about, in all honesty (that’s another blog post). But now I’m standing my ground and I’ve got lived experience under my belt to back it up.
Why haven’t I done this before?
I’m as capable at clicking past screens asking for donations as the next person. I have done it many times. It’s the online equivalent of dodging volunteers fundraising in the street, isn’t it? Except you don’t have to disappoint an actual human as you mutter ‘Sorry’ and scuttle past, so it’s even better. And to be fair, spare cash wasn’t abundant.
I’m also guilty of that classic British trait: being strongly opinionated but unwilling to make a fuss or offend others by taking direct action. I believe in causes but haven’t done much more than vocalising my views down the pub or taking the odd fully paid volunteer day when I had a job that allowed it.
So it’s time to step it up.
I’ve been reflecting on the value society places on how we spend our time. 2018 was the year my writing really took off and it became clear how much freelance writers earn (much less than it should be).
With so much free content, we’re conditioned not to pay for stuff online. But so often where we don’t, we are the product and we pay with our privacy. Every Google search, Instagram scroll or Facebook photo view builds the databases to sell to advertisers about us. It may be hard to opt out of this without opting out of a large proportion of the Internet, but we still have our own individual purchasing power. And I want to make mine count.
Why it matters
If we want something to exist and it isn’t supported by taxes or other public funding, we as individuals need to contribute.
That’s why I am supporting these organisations for starters:
- The Guardian
- Arts Emergency
- Plan International
- Women’s Equality Party
- Help Refugees
I want them to exist for myself and others.
Support whatever is important to you. I don’t believe in taking part in the woke olympics. Some of the causes I support may not resonate with others and there are many deserving non-profits out there. It’s personal choice. Sharing campaigns on social media is another way to draw attention to them and help. It’s equally valid to keep donations private but by vocalising our support, we encourage others.
In addition, I’m buying books written by individuals whose work I’ve enjoyed. The principle is if I’ve heard a good review, read free blog posts or I’m just interested in the topic they write about, I’ll support them with a purchase. I bought many books by female writers around my own age and younger last year. I want more of us to get the opportunity to share our work and to earn money for it.
So there it is.
Spending with intent is my resolution.