Having finished my end of year accounts for 2009 I can finally look back at the year with some objectivity. My lack of posts here over the past 12 months may have given away some essence of the unhappy state of affairs I have had to endure since 1st January 2009, but now I can reveal exactly why.

I’ve been self-employed in France since May 2006, so this Christmas period marks the end of my 3rd full year in business. The first half year was educational, the first full year it all seemed pretty straight forward, the second full year things started to wobble, and this year – it’s been a nightmare. Why?

Well, to cut a long story short, most of my wages have been going straight back out the door to the state, and so while I have earned a wage of similar quantity to the previous year – this years profit before tax (and there won’t be any tax) accounts for 6.5% of turnover.

So in other words, for every Euro I earned in 2009 – I was allowed to keep 6.5 cents.

How have I survived? Well, by the usual means: overdrafts, credit cards, loans and savings, but my physical and mental health has suffered in a big way.

I’m now on the verge of throwing in the sponge (or towel as they say in the UK) and joining the ranks of the employed, or unemployed, as either situation would deliver a lifestyle far less stressful than the one I have had to endure.

Of course, in theory, year four should be plain sailing … if I can just hang on?