It’s miserable outside. A full-blown storm rages. Howling winds and the sound of rain lashing against the windows.
I turn back to my computer screen.
It’s not only chaos in a meteorological sense. The markets are also in turmoil.
Trump, Brexit, trade wars, interest rates and the economic slowdown are taking its toll and have investors all over the globe running for cover.
Should I run and hide as well?
I can’t escape the thought that my dream of financial independence and early retirement is like a house. I’ve built it big and beautiful, but I now realize it sits on weak, contracting soil and a bad foundation, causing it to constantly crack and sink, pulling it down.
Anything that can jack it up, silence the eerie creaking – even if it is only for a little while – would be so welcome now.
I take a sip of my whiskey. That’s one of my bad habits. To withdraw with a little alcohol occasionally, especially in times of adversity (like temporary Internet connection problems or impending market crashes). Just for the record, I also drink when I want to give myself a treat. Don’t think I only drink to drown my sorrows.
Over the rim of my glass I see a reporter mention a new tweet by Trump.
The only problem our economy has is the Fed. They don’t have a feel for the Market, they don’t understand necessary Trade Wars or Strong Dollars or even Democrat Shutdowns over Borders. The Fed is like a powerful golfer who can’t score because he has no touch – he can’t putt!
And the new record plunge of the Nasdaq Composite.
Whiskey down your windpipe is not a funny sensation, but that’s where some of the whiskey in my mouth suddenly decided to go, causing me to cough like a drowning cat.
The markets are in dire despair. Presidential rants like those are not going to do them any good.
I close my laptop and lean back in my comfy chair. I turn and watch rain drops punish the windows. It’s like they’re saying ‘we’re gonna get you Marc. You can run, but you can’t hide’.
Why am I feeling anxious? Is it because I feel my future is crumbling down around me? Now that the markets are plunging?
I seek financial independence because I want a stress-free future. A future without the pressure of deadlines. But is it worth it if chasing that dream goes hand in hand with anxiety and stress? A burning fear that I won’t make it?
Time-out Marc. Breathe. Step back. Re-calibrate.
Something good will come out of this.
Take Denmark’s golden era in the first half of the nineteenth century for example. It followed a time of great hardship with massive bombardments, huge fires, military defeats, loss of territory and even national bankruptcy. Literature, arts and science took on a new period of creativity after that. Don’t believe me? Hans Christian Andersen (Danish in case you didn’t know) wrote ‘The Ugly Duckling’ in 1843.
Let the markets crash. Spill my whiskey. Burn my house. I will rise from its ashes and do great things! Hell yeah!
Is the whisky getting to my head?
What’s your true north Marc?
If you desire something so desperately that fear of failure makes you curl up in fetal position then you’re not free. Or in other words, if your mood is as volatile as the markets and moves in tandem with the Nasdaq Composite, then you’re chained to your assets. To your own obsessive pursuits. As delicate as a compass needle. Even the slightest disturbance has you swinging.
That’s not freedom.
Fuck this whiskey is good!
So what is freedom then?
Reaching real freedom does not involve overcoming external obstacles. It’s a solo fight. Against inner demons, fears, worries, obsessions and bad habits.
No matter where we turn, we see disaster. Chaos. We slowly kill our planet. Wars are being waged, terrorists strike randomly, millions of people are facing starvation across East Africa, Sudan and Yemen. To name a few places.
At the same time we have our own personal struggles to deal with. Relationship issues, money issues, physical and mental problems, addictions, sorrow.
Life seems pretty hopeless doesn’t it? We’re destined to die. We travel with mind boggling speed through vast amounts of empty space. We’re spinning around a dying sun. What’s the meaning?
Maybe the meaning is to invent meaning. In an inherently meaningless universe. Create little soap bubbles of subjective purpose and value. Float around in them. Seconds before they burst. After they’re gone, no one will ever care, no one will ever remember.
Glenfiddich 15 year old Solera Scotch Whisky is exceptional. It has intriguing complex aromas of sweet heather honey and vanilla fudge combined with rich dark fruits. On my tongue it feels silky smooth and reveals layers of sherry oak, marzipan, cinnamon and ginger. Full-bodied and bursting with flavor. These are not my words. They came directly from the Glenfiddich website.
I really love this whiskey. If I would have to put it into my own words, it is purpose and meaning in a bottle. And that for only $60.
Where was I? Oh yes, the hopelessness of it all.
Actually I’m an optimist. That may be hard to believe after you’ve read my previous words, but I really am. This is not the whiskey talking.
I do not subscribe to existential nihilism.
My mom passed away a few years ago. She was a woman of great faith. Without going into details, during her last moments I witnessed her seeing. Even though she was nearly blind.
My life is not about reaching financial independence. And it is not about beating full pension age.
It is about freeing myself from fears, inner demons, sense of hopelessness, obsessions and worries. Real freedom. Real purpose. Real value. It’s out there somewhere and it’s what I desire.
My true north.
I may be inside my own little soap bubble, but it works. Well, the whiskey does too, a little bit.
The storm had tapered off. No more rain.
A beam of sunlight hits the bottle of Glenfiddich on my desk. That must be a sign. I pour another glass.
Life is not so bad after all. It’s actually quite amazing and beautiful. And there is hope.
Don’t worry about the turmoil in the markets Marc. It’s not that important.