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A Trending Life, September 3rd, 2000 :: Ben Turner's Soapbox

 

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archived soapbox: September 3rd, 2000
"A Trending Life" [permalink]
    keywords: stock market, chart patterns, life, career, choices, decisions, ambition, rally, slump
    soapbox #: 257
    written: September 3rd, 2000
    words: 3205

"A Trending Life", an Essay

So it has come and passed, the first day of fall semester 2000 at the University of Texas, and for the first time in four years, I was not there to attend it. A reminder of the new stage of life I have graduated into, it makes me think about my life and where it is going in the future. Again. Surely I have written about this at length, but self-examination is a gradual process, no doubt tedious to spectators, but everything to myself.

Venture Capital, Accumulation

At some point and for some reason, my parents made the decision to give birth to me. They decided they would undergo the commitment of love, finances, and time to help me grow and to help me become a successful human being. They sacrificed much and knew it going into it. They would be very proud and happy to do this for me, and they saw it as a blessing. At least, I presume so. You never know with parents. Just kidding.

They really had no clue what I'd turn out to be in a long thirty or forty years, if all this effort they expended into my development would ever pay off. I would be completely dependent, dormant, even entirely negative in added benefit for much time, But for whatever reason they did it all anyway. They gave birth to something and were going to make it thrive.

Explosive Growth

Eventually I would reach a critical mass and then I would begin to grow quickly both physically and mentally, absorbing information that was given to me and learning about my world and environment. Although what I now know as me was not yet so, as it was basically just a sponge with no conscious thought until later years of grade school, a lot of connections were being built. The groundwork was being invested in. The venture capital poured into me was spent on complex biological and biochemical reactions which seemed to do nothing impressive at the time but would later catalyze into something larger.

This all happened rather fast and without much effort on my part. As a child, we are lucky enough to not have to energize everything ourselves, otherwise it would never happen -- a lot of what we need happens automatically, thanks to millennia of human evolution.

Hitting on All Cylinders, Fundamental Execution

It is at this point where things finally get interesting, where I as a child become less of a pet and more of my own person.

Later in high school I began to be aware of who I was and what I wanted and where I needed to go and what I needed to do to get there. Naturally I was learning to fly and was clumsy in my attempts to get started, but I found that I had been given talents and training while I was younger that made the transition, the flipping on of a switch, easier on me. I began to think for once, to have opinions, and more informed ones at that, rather than ones of general consensus. I began to realize the limits in the world could be bent or broken, and many which used to apply to me no longer did, and I was no longer expected to follow all of them now that I could do a lot of things on my own.

But let's skip ahead even more -- I've written about this far too much to waste any more wordspace on it.

Breakthrough

I consider what she and I had to be the most influential thing in my whole life up to this point. At the end of my freshman year I began seriously talking to Anna and starting a budding relationship that would last for another few years. Needless to say, she was the first woman I'd been in a relationship with, and the first woman I kissed. She showed me what it was like to share your life with someone else. She opened up a whole new world I had previously shunned, opinions and emotions that still remain recorded in the Soapbox archives.

She taught and taught and taught me, fool that I was, and grew me up faster than anything else I'd undertook up to that point. Up to that point I had done a few things I was proud of, but it took her to say that she was proud of me for it all to stick that I had turned into my own unique person and that there was value and appeal in my personality and life. While I may have written that I thought I was unique, I do not think I really understood that to be the case. That is, I had no fucking clue what I was talking about until I met her and saw that she really was interested in me.

I look back now and read some of the private letters and journals I wrote to her and laugh at just how crazily in love I was with her. I would repeat like a mental patient how much I loved her, how beautiful and smart I thought she was. I literally mean I wrote it over and over. It is ridiculous now. I cannot even comprehend how I wrote it now. It's just the same thing over and over. Still, she had my full attention, and she used it well to get me to learn about things I had previously been ignorant of.

Now, of course, this relationship also validated to me that I was a young man. I can't really imagine what I would be like now if I had not met Anna. Psychologically I would have probably been a wreck. Women do not come easily to me and I guarantee I would have still remained without any relationship all the way through college. I know people that are like that even after graduation.

So in other words, I do not question myself now that I have had all the experiences and memories I made with Anna. As an individual her respect for me meant the world, and as a young man, her attention and love built a foundation of self-respect that is not to be taken lightly.

Eventually we broke up, and like the beginning of it all, it was initiated by her. God knows her reasons for it all, but of course it has led me to question what I had formerly been proud of. Had she realized that I was not enough, lacking in some aspect, not good enough for her love? Or was it just she had her own problems? Or did she just get bored? I may never know, and the doubt, although small, still lingers.

I can safely say that Anna is the only person I have ever known who truly understood me. Not my parents, not any of my friends, no one has had the insight into who I am that Anna had. We had some intense conversations where she just blew my mind explaining to me what she thought I was thinking, and why I do what I do. Not a single other soul has ever told me so perfectly what makes me tick. No one else has echoed my own thoughts without me telling them first. She understood me with crystal clarity. And I'm not talking about the sort of shit that you only think is true when you're in love. We had a few conversations well after we broke up in which Anna summed me up perfectly, and did not question my judgment on certain decisions. With everyone else, there are those moments where you just know they don't quite get it with you, and you sit there thinking, "ugh, no one understands me." It is natural. With Anna, I never thought that to myself. [I cannot say the same about my understanding of her though]

So how do you think it feels when I realized this relationship did not work out, and even more so that she initiated it? How do you think it feels when the only person who understood you decides they don't want to be with you anymore?

If you're a young man who believes in the one true love, and in an ideal world, and in soulmates and all that bullshit, what does it do to you when that someone goes away?

Bear Raids

It turns your world completely upside down. It kills a piece of your heart, and every little relationship setback afterwards kills a little bit more, it messes with your head, it fucks you up emotionally and physically. It makes you question your instinct and your heart. But most of all, it changes your philosophy from one which has been shattered into millions of fleshy pieces to one that is more realistic, one that is more tolerant of mistakes, one that accepts begrudgingly that fuckups happen and that perfection does not happen to people like you and me.

These days I have almost an anything goes sort of attitude towards life. If you want to live your life a certain way, fuck it, go ahead. If this is popular or not, fuck it, that's the way the market or culture is heading. As long as it's not interfering with other peoples' happiness and it makes you happy, I'm all for it. I keep to myself and only really care about my own happiness these days but I at heart wish everyone to be happy and content in life. It has to do with the fact that I was dealt such a crushing blow from something that gave me so much happiness. It was not betrayal between her and me, but it sure felt like I was betrayed by Love. It felt like I was made a fool of by Love.

Now I'm not a fool -- I'm not the first person to ever suffer after a relationship. But I can say that it has affected my philosophy. That's fair enough, isn't it? No one deserves to be unhappy when they are born, we only think they deserve to be unhappy later in life when they make someone else feel unhappy. They aren't naturally bad, humans aren't naturally bad. I wish no one had to suffer in their lives, or at least the suffering would be a positive experience, not a completely destructive one. It is not the world we live in, no, but I wish it were like that. Just how I wish there were perfect love.

Consolidation

And I'm also not a fool with regards to underestimating my own ability. I had a strong foundation to fall back to when Anna fell through, and so I was not left for dead. It took some time to realize all was not lost and that I still had plenty to believe in and much of my heart left to keep the passion going for whatever would captivate it in the future. It took some time but eventually I was back to my normal ways, and more honestly, I was stronger than before. Definitely more mature and intelligent, and more experienced. It still hurts, yes.

You get stuck in a trading range every once in a while, where you have high points and low points of optimism and pessimism. There are times when you fully know how special you are, and other points where you doubt all that false talk. You don't really get anywhere, you're just assessing yourself. I had lost my passion for web design somewhere around this time, but it had been replaced with other things. I had lost my idealism for perfect love, but I still wanted to keep the faith for some dumb unknown extremely human reason.

R&D Investment, Future Potential

I do not really know where I'm going from here. I was a little more certain in the past, but I'm at an inflection point right now where there are two million different paths I could take and they'd all lead to different places. I see a lot of different paths joining up later, but only when thinking about very general ideas about my future. That is to say, I feel I will reach old age having lived a fun, interesting life, having visited many places and read and heard many different things. I feel I will have done good as a human being. I feel I will have been truthful to others, and inspiring to their lives. I do not know how much money I will have, or what jobs or skills I will pick up, or where I will end up living, or how comfortable I will be with what I always hoped to be versus what I ended up being. I'm pessimistic about finding someone who will be everything I could ever want. That's just how it is right now. I do not place myself in situations where I would have the opportunity to meet someone. This is not by choice really, more to do with stupidity, preoccupation, and laziness. I have looked at it other ways such as, I have enough shit to do in order to get my life to where it needs to be, and when I am ready, she will come, not before, not later. This seems like a healthy attitude and even more than that, a possibly true attitude, since Anna certainly came to me right when I was ready for her, and when I had accumulated what I would need to be able to love and appreciate her correctly. I still remain open to the possibility of fate and divination.

Right now I'm post-graduation, research and development, picking up steam as a full-time stock trader, etc. etc. As far as actual results go, I guess it's a slow time right now. I'm reading, I'm travelling, I'm writing, I'm learning more long-term character traits of the stock market, I just made it through my second market summer (of course, the first one, I was trapped in an EBAY short and really did not know what to look for when learning about summer trading), having fun, experimenting with new music and philosophies, etc. etc.

This stage of life comes along quite a lot in every person's life. It's a time when one just soaks in what happens, and goes through new things and really has no clue what to do with it and isn't expert enough to excel in it all yet. It's a learning stage.

Eventually, this stage ends and you begin to learn what to do with all this new knowledge.

That is also the point when things can break down, causing a loss in momentum and a general bear market in personal performance. The reason for this is a lot of pressure builds up in all that learnings for good things to happen afterwards. But maybe something bad will happen, or several bad things will happen, which kill the positive experiences and release the pressure to the downside, which spirals down while you search desperately for something to anchor on. I hope to resolve all this to the upside and right now I have no reason to think that I won't. But it is always possible.

Double Top, Blow-Off Top, What?

I realize eventually I will peak. I will not be able to push things higher. At least, physically speaking. But I wonder just how loss in physical improvement will affect me psychologically. I cannot say for sure since it has not happened to me yet. I feel that I rely on confidence that I derive from always being able to push myself and never having it fail on me. If I were not able to trust my body to perform the way I think it should, then would this not make me second guess my judgments and opinions on things? They say you can go on learning until the day you die, and I have seen this to be true, but what if your confidence begins to wane?

I fear my peak. Who doesn't? You hit that peak, fall off a bit in the rush of the excitement, try once more, but can't clear that peak. After that, you begin to decline, the opposite of the whole rest of your life. Everything gets harder to push, things don't come so easily, you forget things, etc. The momentum is down. It runs contrary to everything you've ever known in life. I do not know how I will react.

Analysis

I said earlier that I didn't know how everything in my life would be in the future anymore. While that is true, I do know how I WANT things to be for myself. I think everyone does, or at least should know what they WANT from their future. I am unsure of how I will get the complex, limitless world I dream of, and I see now as the crow flies path to getting there. It is nothing more than a dream that I am slowly trying to make a reality by doing the things I think will help me get there. But nothing will come easy, and I will have setbacks. I demand that I attain my dreams, and will be utterly disappointed if I never do. I will think it horribly unfair of Life, and it will make much of my life seem trivial. But then I will have to reassess my philosophy like after I did when Anna left. Or, perhaps everything that's happened to me is for the best and I will indeed reach the place that I find only when I sleep and when I daydream, or wildly imagine.

Life is a cruel game for us simple humans, and it's a game we are horribly unprepared for from the start. It is almost like the odds are stacked against us, and you can have the people who think that all of it is pointless and has no happy ending, or the people who think that dreams do come true. You also have the people who are in the middle. But the truth is that none of us know for sure, and there are many different ways to approach it all. Who's to say what's right?

Sometimes, you just want to skip to the end of the book to find out what happens. Sometimes, you want to rewrite what happened earlier. Sometimes, you want to think you have the power to write what WILL happen in the future. ALL the time, you spend your time thinking about how uncertain your whole life is. And it can be a real bitch.


 
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