Interim December 2023 update

The full December update will include my progress (or lack of!) over 2023, how I did versus my goals and if the Santa Rally continued until the end of the year. I’ll then be setting some new goals for 2024.

Thought I’d get this interim post off in the meantime to get some things off my chest (so to speak) before the festive shenanigans get underway and I don’t find the time to post.

Not Nice Stuff Alert!

This month tried its best to be a “Mensis Horribilis” but fortunately, didn’t quite succeed.

I’ve mentioned that I’ve been run ragged with work this past month or so, but what’s probably made things worse is that I’ve been worried about my health at the same time.

It appears that I’ve lost nearly half a stone through stress and that’s not good as I didn’t have half a stone excess weight to lose!

Anyway, I feel somewhat less stressed now that I know what’s going on and what’s going to happen.

In the new year, I will be having surgery to have a lump removed from my breast.

As far as they are currently aware, it’s benign and not immediately life threatening but surgery is nonetheless required, in case this changes. My Mum had breast cancer so you could say I have been somewhat distracted to say the least.

[Ladies, I can’t stress how important it is to check yourselves regularly and visit your GP if you have any worries or concerns whatsoever].

At most, I’ll be out of action post-surgery (for physical exertions, including driving) for two weeks but hopefully it won’t take that long to recover properly. I can’t see me taking the full two weeks off work for sick/medical leave but I will see how I feel.

I can’t fault the NHS at all – it took just a matter of weeks from initially seeing my GP with my concerns, through to hospital scans, biopsy and surgery diagnosis, although it did feel like the longest weeks ever to me at the time.

Perhaps I should be kind of grateful that work was so busy that I was focusing more on that, than anything else.

Anyway, now that I know what’s going on, I can just get on with the festivities and whatnot!

Right, got that out of the way, let’s get on to less gloomy stuff! 🙂

Glad Tidings

People at work have acknowledged the long hours I’ve been putting in, and this was shown via another Employee of the Month award I received, so that was nice. Although really, there’s probably something not right about awarding people for working outside of their normal hours!

Ironically, I had too much to do and decided not to attend the Christmas drinks party after the awards ceremony, haha!

I was in the office the following day and witnessed lots of sore heads, which was good as it meant I was left in peace to get on with my work with very little disturbance and distraction!

Fractional Fun Update

After my call for stock suggestions for my ‘One Share Portfolio’, I narrowed it down to two in the end, Hershey and Berkshire Hathaway. Then, with the death of Warren Buffett’s right hand man, Charlie Munger, I was guided by my heart and went for the latter, buying a bit of BRKB.

With the share price at around $362, it will take many fractional purchases using spare quids in my account to build up to one share to complete my portfolio! Currently, I own just  0.07th of a share!

Social and Relaxation Stuff

Aside from the above works do which I bailed out on, I made sure to attend all other social events I was invited to, including a leaving do, several Christmas meals already (gotta put some weight back on!) and a couple of weekend lunches to catch up with friends.

I didn’t think about buying Christmas presents until last week but I took a couple of days off work to do the shopping (needed to use my hols or lose them), and fortunately was done pretty quickly. I did buy some gifts online but I’m finding these days that it’s not always cheaper online and with some things, for quality purposes, it’s better to see/feel the actual item before buying.

With the social outings and present buying, my credit card has taken a hammering but it’s just once a year and I can handle that.

Been enjoying catching up on some TV programmes (now that my head’s clearer, I can concentrate on plots and storylines again!) – some enjoyable escapism shows I’ve just finished watching include S1 of ‘The Lazarus Project’ (sci-fi) and S1 of ‘Slow Horses’ (spy/thriller), both with a great British cast. Looking forward to watching S2 of both.

I can’t wait to binge-watch some other shows from my growing To-Watch list and also binge-read during my time off, but mostly, I really can’t wait to just empty my brain of everything for a while and lounge in my pyjamas, drinking mulled wine! 🙂

And on that note,  I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year – eat, drink and be merry!


36 thoughts on “Interim December 2023 update

  1. I hope things work out Weenie.
    I’d keep an eye on the weight loss as it might not be stress related.
    And unless you plan to be buried with your employee of the month awards – put yourself first! Job thrid, (blogging 2nd)

    Enjoy Xmas, the New Year and (healthy or entertaining) binges!

    • Cheers GFF and yes, I had considered that about my weight loss so will be keeping an eye on it and expect to put some pounds back on over the festive period.

      Cheers and hope you and your family have a good one!

  2. As the Counting Crows said, “it’s been a long December and there’s reason to believe Maybe this year will be better than the last”… hope all goes well with the surgery and good on you for staying on top of things before it’s too late!

    Cheers and happy holidays to you!

  3. Sorry to hear your trials weenie

    Brings it home that wealth is only one part of the equation

    Having been diagnosed with cholesterol to go with my high blood oressure I’ve lost a stone in 3 weeks (though currently sat with a pint in a pub it is xmas after all ! ) but definitely made me more mindful with a 4 year old I need to look after myself better

    Seasons greetings

    • Thanks FBA and absolutely, wealth is nothing without health.

      Sorry to read about your diagnosis and hope things improve for you.

      I’m the other way, my cholesterol’s pretty good but my blood pressure is on the low side, which I need to be aware of to avoid spells of dizziness as I get older.

      Season’s greetings to you and your family!

  4. I can’t see me taking the full two weeks off work for sick/medical leave

    No, no, no. Seriously, you take the full two weeks…firstly, it’s mental as much as physical, maybe more so – even if (big if) your body feels fine after two weeks, you need to mentally adjust, and that takes longer; secondly, work can wait (if that’s a driver, and frankly it sounds like it is) – don’t wish to dent your ego, but they will learn to get on just fine without you, the world won’t collapse; thirdly, if you think you’ll be bored then perhaps you’d be better off not retiring long term (hey, you can ease up with the investing/saving at least).

    Right, with that off my chest, sorry to hear about your medical travails. Wish you all the best and a Happy New Year. 🙂

    • Thanks Curlew.

      You are right, I should take the full 2 weeks off. I guess it’s hard for me to consider it as over my career, I’ve been fortunate to have never taken more than 2 days off sick in a row (even with Covid), with most years not clocking any sick days at all, so 2 weeks just seems like such a long time. But I’m older now and yes, I should be resting. I look forward to not having to worry about my work when I retire!

      I won’t be bored over 2 weeks, I will always find something to do/read/watch!

      Thanks for this, probably what I needed! Wish you all the best and hope you have a happy new year!

  5. Weenie,

    Congratulations on your work award. However, please put your health first and take the advice of the medical profession. The advantages of FIRE is knowing when work is to the detriment of your health and provides you with alternative choices.

    Merry Christmas and here’s to health and wealth(ier) in 2024.


  6. Weenie,

    Long time reader here but never commented before. Just wanted to say that I hope the surgery goes well and you have a quick recovery.

    As others have said, take the full 2 weeks to recover, mentally as well as physically. It will do you no good to go back too early into a stressful environment. Use the time to recharge the batteries – work will still be there when you are ready to go back.

    All the best and have a great Christmas and New Year.

  7. Sorry to hear about your health but good that you’ve caught it early and it’s getting sorted. As ever the phrase ‘your health is your wealth’ seems very apt.

    Try and cut down on the overworking too, nobody ever wishes they’d spent more of their life at work!

  8. It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again (in a Mum tone!) TAKE YOUR TWO WEEKS OFF! I’ll also add, that I’ve been there with a breast lump, which fortunately after the biopsy was benign, but it’s a worrying time for you nonetheless. While you are clearly a conscientious, and hard working person (as work realise with your awards), not taking time off sick (when you need it) isn’t a badge of honour, it can mean you’re not taking care of yourself and store up problems down the line. Please take time off.

    Enjoy your binge watching, read-a-thon and general relaxing time over Christmas. Virtual hug.

    • Thanks Starla (and the mum-tone!)

      Yes, I know I’m not doing anyone any favours and working myself into the ground is definitely not a badge of honour so I will take that time off.

      Virtual hug returned 🙂 Hope you have a great Christmas and happy New year!

      PS – I dropped you an email (to your hotmail address) about books – that might be in your spam folder!

      • Time off = good to hear.

        Thank you, I’ve just found you in my junk folder (that sounds so awful!) You’re safely in my inbox now, and I’ll be in touch after Christmas. Have a great one!

  9. Hi Weenie, I went through the same process with a lump, it was very worrying but the surgery was not difficult and I went home the same day. It didn’t take long to recover, but I took a full 10 days off as I needed the headspace. Work can always wait, health is more important. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

    • Hi Donna, thanks for sharing and comforting to know that it will all be straight forward. I hadn’t accounted for headspace, but will take heed of advice, thanks.

  10. Sorry to hear the news but also glad you got it picked up and dealt with.

    I really hope you take the full two weeks off. Gotta look after your health otherwise what’s the point?

    Get well soon and have a great Christmas!

  11. Good luck with the surgery and recovery weenie, hope it all goes smoothly.

    Congratulations on the successive worker of the month awards. Be a little mindful that “above and beyond” swiftly becomes the “new normal”, survival in the corporate jungle is as much about doing the job as it is conditioning bosses/co-workers as to what they can reasonably expect from you.

    Your enforced break sounds like a good excuse to re-evaluate priorities, make sure the things you want to be doing and the things you are actually doing overlap more than they differ.

    • Cheers indeedably.

      And yes, need to be mindful of the ‘new normals’ – I will make the most of this festive break and my enforced break to concentrate on me and my needs.

  12. Echo others here in suggesting you take the recommended time off, and go further in speaking to GP and occupational health about a phased return after that.

    I had major surgery about 4 years ago, and went back to work far too quickly. I’m pretty sure recovery both physical and mental was slowed as a result. Being present is not the same as fully functioning, productive and just feeling good about being back.

    Take the time to properly recover, you’ve earned it.

    • Thanks G – I will take heed of advice here, guess I forget that I’m not as young as I used to be and I should be taking things easier and ensure I fully recover before doing anything.

  13. Weenie, wishing you all the best for a full and speedy recovery. Your core fitness levels that you’ve dilligently built up over the years will see you power through this minor setback, but as others have urged….don’t push yourself too soon afterwards. Listen to your body and be guided solely by how you feel. Two weeks is a timeframe that i’d consider at best a rough guideline and I’m sure your company would prefer to see you back fully fit at some point in the future, as opposed to being logged in from your hospital bed while the anaesthetic is still wearing off! (Don’t you dare!). Appreciating that office camaraderie can be a great healer, conducting a few zoom calls from home could be beneficial to you, but only once you are ready. WFH initially and avoiding the commute seems like the obvious thing to do.
    I’ve been FIRE’d now for most of 2023 and the single biggest difference i think i’ve noticed is the reduction in stress level. A little bit of pressure at work can be productive and enjoyable, but it needs to be controlled and managed within an acceptable range Time for you to put yourself first and focus on relaxation and recuperation.
    I’m assuming your investment rocket has shot up into the next atmospheric level during December, so the year end review should be something to look forward to. The trajectory it’s on i wouldn’t be surprised to see you putting in a sole bid shortly to take Mr B’s entire company private!
    Merry Christmas and enjoy the festivities.

    • Hi KC

      Thanks and I’m not logging in at all over the festive period and don’t intend to while on ‘sick/medical leave’. I will listen to my body and base it on how I feel and will be giving the office a miss until I’m physically better.

      I don’t mind a bit of pressure but look forward to a day when it’s more in my control. Some of the work stress I know is due to me putting pressures on myself to perform at a certain level so I need to be easier on myself.

      Just had a look and the investment rocket is still riding high so it should be a good end of month update!

      Wishing you a merry Christmas and all the best for the new year.

  14. Pingback: Month-End: December 2023 – Gentleman's Family Finances

  15. Sorry to hear about your health issues – to repeat the sound advice “take the time to recover”.
    All the best for 2024 – yours is one of my favourite UK blogs.

  16. Just read this – Good luck Weenie.

    Remember no job is worth damaging your health for, particularly with a strong financial position like yours. I’ve been in the same position with weight loss and stress and I’m concerned you feel under pressure to rush back to the office – this is an indicator of a toxic workplace.

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