Due to the coronavirus pandemic, I've been locking myself down until I think it's safe to go out again. To alleviate fear and stress, my writer's group has put together a daily “morning pages” get-together on Zoom in order to touch base before starting the day. Here's some of my brief thoughts.
I was going to post a video on a mom cat dragging an almost-adult kitten around, but I found this baby deer video and I'll go with this instead.
Today's the first time I've been back to the writer's salon in six months or so. I don't remember the last time I've been here. It's kind of crazy. I saw our organizer when she passed off instructions in order to lock up the place (since I'm only there by myself right now), and it's like somebody coming out from the video screen into real life. Feels weird man.
Here's a short video on what it's like here by myself:
Very nice. Very cozy. Have some coffeeshop music playing on my laptop.
For dinner, I ordered some delivery from a new restaurant I'm trying called SeoulSpice. It was a bibimbap rice bowl, with white rice base, bulgogi + extra bulgogi, bean sprouts, carrots, corn, cucumber, kale, kimchi, korean radish, topped with sesame seeds, scallions, sesame oil, an avocado, a soft-boiled egg, with some creamy sriracha sauce and ginger-carrot sauce. It was really good. Today almost felt like a normal weekend. 2020 felt far away from the room, and this respite was very welcome.
I think there's something about good food that's become exponentially more appealing around this time of year. I think early on in the pandemic, I got some enjoyment by doing some of the little things I deprived myself of in order to get that serotonin boost. Just walking around the school field for a few times provided me that serotonin boost, for instance, and I think my mood was generally pretty upbeat. Now things are a bit colder, and life feels a bit more…2020-ish for lack of a better term. I think here food is something I can keep enjoying. It's nice because it just costs money (vs. effort or time), and now that tradeoff makes more sense. It's nice because if I do catch COVID, I'll be able to notice because I won't be able to taste anything. But mostly, the small voice in the back of my mind, which doesn't really speak up or get noticed, pops up when I eat a nice steak or something and says that everything is going to be okay.
I think one big regret I'm kind of feeling right now is missing out on the financial status of the market. I saved up a whole bunch of money all these years because I wanted to do a sabbatical and because I thought Trump would tank the market, kind of like Bush in ‘08, whereupon I can buy in. I did not expect that $2.3T would just go to wealthy people and circulate in M2 only; so the stock market didn't tank. I'm thinking it's possible hyperinflation already took place for certain goods, like stocks, but not others, like food, and that's what's masking the economic decline of this year. That got me down because I thought I wouldn't be able to buy in (I thought I would wait a bit before the “flash crash” over a few weeks this March). That and the fact that some people got 200,000% returns on TSLA hold options, turning $500 to $1,000,000, and jumping out of their current socioeconomic layer in one year. I keep thinking maybe if I was smart enough, that would be me and that should be me.
But I also get that it's not a matter of intelligence, it's a matter of guts and grit, and that there will be other opportunities (apparently Trump and Mnuchin's trying to pull the rug from under the recovery since he didn't win, which might result in a recession next year, which may mean I can buy in). But I think I don't really care anymore. I don't have much guts around this, so I'd rather go with a dollar cost averaging approach anyways. So I bit the bullet, signed up for WealthSimple, and am now depositing some amount of money into an investment account every week or so. Hope that goes somewhere over the next few years, at least to keep up with inflation. Sigh. One key insight is how because banks don't have capacity for storing assets anymore, the stock market is pretty much the bank for wealthy people (in terms of describing ownership stakes in real assets), and increasing income inequality means that the government cares about stock market stability almost like it cares about bank stability (bailouts are this century's FDIc).
I really wish there was some program where I could invest increasingly large amounts of money into the market given X number of declining days + magnitude of the decline. Like, if the market dropped 500 points one day, put in $500, then if it drops 2000 points, put in $2k in the end of that day. A logistic curve, pretty much; set your min/max and the shape of the curve and make sure you have enough cash to keep shoving in.
Depressing enough thought. I think I might go work on my technical skills instead of talking to myself here. 😄