I made the mistake of looking at my retirement accounts. The bottom line was predictably grim: in a whole year of investment and contribution and ups and downs I actually ended up with less money than I started with at this time last year. By quite a lot. Like, almost a third of my yearly salary a lot.

I’m not terribly distressed about it, all things considered. For one thing, it’s not like it’s money I actually get to use for another thirty years, so gains and losses are fairly abstract, and for another thing I know the market will rebound eventually and I’ll make up the lost ground. Besides: I might be able to claim a tax deduction- so that could be a silver lining.

And, hell, it means it’s a good time to buy, if I can rustle up some change out of the couch cushions.

Anyway, I couldn’t help but think that the zig-zagging graph of my year-to-date account performance, with it’s ups and downs and ultimate plunge into the red, was actually a pretty good parable for what the past year has been like. There were certainly ups and downs. I made significant gains personally and philosophically, but struggled professionally and emotionally. For all the work I put in and contributions that I made, I feel like I should have at least broken even, but instead I’m somehow neck deep in a hole going: “wait- what just happened?”.

Lately, I haven’t been sleeping very well. My nights are filled with complicated dreams full of Byzantine plotlines and elaborate logistics. Cast of thousands. Full orchestra. Opulent wardrobe. By the time I wake up, I’m exhausted from trying to manage so many details, and I emerge into the waking world feeling like I’ve just worked through the night and I Can’t Handle One More Project Right Now.

Needless to say, I’ve not been my best self lately. Any other time of the year I’d chalk all this up to a bad mood, but with it happening on tv’s first few days of a new year I have to fight the worry that this is a portent of things to come.

But I’m hopeful that things will rebound. I’m hopeful that more is a good time to invest in myself. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to make up the lost ground.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on January 3, 2019.

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