It started March this year when every trader was invincible. The foolish made more money because they were fearless, and Miss Market took form as a coquettish seductress who flirted with all the risk-takers. Like a siren, she called the sailors, underwater towards her embrace.
It was a dream that no one wanted to end. Finally rewarded for the illogical idea of trading hard-earned money, the traders relished at the opportunity. Every day was a chance to make bank half of their treasury. It was a dream that no one wanted to end.
So when it did, so many decided to stay half-asleep in their stupor, hoping they survive the bears.
I was walking the bridge 10 minutes away from the gym. It was a hot tropical morning and I was dazed from the commute. Like every person in the country, I carried with me an umbrella to shield myself from the sweaty, sufferable afternoon I had to face eventually.
Once I was safely under shade, I walked like I always have, half-jogging while folding my umbrella. It was one of those expensive, retractable kind that promised to have strong resistance from winds. A blue, well-used tiny thing I could tuck in my bag.
After a swift motion of pushing it back, a movement so automatic of me I didn’t even pay attention, it bounced back to my face. The hard plastic of the handle. So solid I have previously joked I could use it to fight wrongdoers back.
A split second later, I was dizzy from the hard hit to my chin. I walked slower this time, feeling the blood drip down my neck. A few people reverted their gaze.
I went on to finish my business for that day, the deep cut pathetically covered by band aid but 3 hours from the incident, I sat down on the uncomfortable plastic chair and freezing cold area of the Emergency Room.
I was ready to get it stitched, but I hoped I didn’t have to. It was going to be time-consuming to return for the removal.
Science has a better idea though– Glue. There are glues available for clean straight lacerations like mine. One glue was half the size of my pinky, and it cost me a whopping 3 thousand pesos. There were other things, of course, like the emergency room fee, the doctor’s fee, the gloves, the tape, the gauze piece. I had a tetanus shot too, just in case.
After the commotion was over, I sat in shock at the Billing desk staring at three pieces of paper.
I had to pay almost 7,000 PHP for my chin gash.
On the way home, I couldn’t stop thinking about the number of people whose life I do not fully understand. I hear a summary of their stories, I hear about the overwhelming fear, the cry for help. All dampened with the Filipino jokes. I hear the worries that kept traders like me wide awake at 3 in the morning.
How did I have the guts to tell these people to relax?
Can an ordinary family man, full-time trader, father of two young children be able to pay 7,000 PHP for 3 hours in the E.R. and then feel no fear of being unable to provide?
Of course not.
During the bear market, only the pickiest warrior survives. You will never have enough funds to catch all the falling knives. But still, there are those who mean well. Those who have to hunt for their family, out in the jungle trying to find a killing.
More often than not, at this season, the predator becomes prey.
The realization made me think and made me respect those who carry responsibilities bigger than mine. How much they try to stand with their spine straight against the weight of their world? It’s easy to ask people to be brave when you only had to jump from a cliff a few meters deep.
There are those who have lives tangled on every step they take and their decisions cause very real consequences to those they want to protect the most.
I have so much to learn, and this season may look like a big bang on the surface, but underneath it, I know it’s nothing but a prequel. Preparation for THE preparation. It’s a slow build-up to a climax we never know when. I’m not even sure I want that. A series of boring, steady inclining peaks and plateaus is better than fast, excitable boom and busts.
However, on long lazy Sundays, where time stretched too far for me to consume, I wonder if I’m going anywhere.
Fulltime trading does not make you ‘successful’.
If anyone thought that being fulltime meant you have arrived, then we are up for a rude awakening. We have merely changed the dynamics, but we are still taking the test. The show is not over, but the music has changed.
You do not need to be a fulltime trader to become a successful trader. The truth is, trading income is cyclical. The more specialist you are, the truer this principle. Markets invariably change. Adapting does not happen in a snap of a finger.
As part-time traders, you can still make money from the markets. All you have to do is to master your routine.
I apologize if I made anyone think that fulltime trading was the ultimate Happy Ending.
I am here now, and let me tell you from this side of the fence, in here we have to sleep with one eye open. We have no safety net from the dangers lurking below. There is poison for both the grind (when is enough?), and during rest (complacency can sink in).
I thought the story was over, but it isn’t. So I hope even after the long journey you’ve accompanied me, that you’re still rooting for Celeste.
We’re all still trying to find our place in this world.
A little something. Thanks to Arme Villar for introducing.