Grand Sentimentality, Closing Doors, and Opening New Ones

When I was just starting out in the business, I had an image in mind about what I wanted my life to be when it came time to look back on my journey of sheer entrepreneurism. The spring that I started was an unusually warm one in New York City, warm enough that people were going out without coats in the early part of March. I sat on the steps of the George Washington statue adjacent to the New York Stock Exchange and thought to myself “I want to have such a career where I would give myself a long vacation every summer and maybe take 3-4 weeks off during the Christmas holidays”. I assumed that, by then, I’d have taken care of my family & friends. I would also be riding around in a Ferrari and that I would have a penthouse in Manhattan and Chicago with a small waterfront property in my hometown of Baton Rouge; wife & kids…the whole package.

Things, obviously, turned out a little different.

I originally wanted this final post to be something that I put a lot of effort into in terms of coming up with the right thing to say. I’ve been so negative on the whole business of trading that it’s almost comical. So I wondered if the business deserved something special on this final farewell for my blogging.

But the answer that I came up with was a resounding “NO”.

There are many things that I have learned to forgive myself about with my life, many things that I have come to accept not only about myself, but the frailty of human nature in general. How certain situations had me think a certain way about money and thus brought me to the decisions that I ultimately made. That being said, I cannot forgive myself for taking on this career. When I die and I go to wherever I need to go, whoever meets me at that place will look at me and say “You know where your life went wrong, don’t you? I don’t even have to tell you.”

And I would tell that person; “Fuck you.”

But I do know and I have said it time and time again. My life was already a jumbled mess of depression and self-loathing. But when I took on trading as a career, boy it just kicked it all up hundreds of notches above what I had currently thought was a miserable existence. Trading really showed me what it was to be miserable and negative. Yes, it led me to my money but after what? After failed friendships, years of not paying attention to family members who were genuinely good to me and other social mishaps that my quest for money ultimately brought on.

But I can’t say that it was a total loss. This road led me to meeting my wife and now I don’t travel the road alone like I used to. She is there with me to face the trials and tribulations of this stupid business even though I do my best every single day not to bring that business back to the house. It’s funny how I used to chase this “success”, but now it’s an entity that I wouldn’t even want in my front yard. It’s a reminder every day of my failures in the grand scheme of things that doesn’t have to do with my wife. She often tells me that she is not my first wife and when she said that the first time, I laughed because I instantly got it.

Trading is my first wife, and like everyone’s first spouse who they endured a bitter divorce from the specter of their presence still looms in whatever present is being experienced. My wife can see the pain in my eyes every Sunday night when I know I have to wrestle in pig shit just to get money to keep the lifestyle we have. This is why she works and I love her for that. Now, after the cumulative negative effects that the “money” has had;

my family being mad at me for not giving them money

old friends, family and coworkers who stole money via business deals

I can only think back to a simpler time when…well, there was no simpler time for me.

I am aware that even if I became a doctor or a lawyer, I would possibly still have had these types of problems, but it doesn’t make me feel better, especially given how much stress I have to endure just to make the kind of money they do. It’s not fair and I will forever hate myself for choosing this path. If I didn’t have my wife, I would probably kill myself. I’ve been getting close to it over the years but it stopped when I met her. I know I’ll never do it but the thought of just ending my life and just being somewhere else where I didn’t have to do this as a means to live was just too tempting.

I hate trading.

But there was good that came out of it.

Yesterday, I had a great PnL after trading the British Pound. So great, in fact, that I thought I should just skip the cash open and just let the weekend usher itself in. But I traded the cash open because that’s what my portfolio management dictates and you know what happened? I ended up doing so shitty on the cash open – and with size – that it eroded the PnL for the British Pound. I found it fitting that my last day of trading and keeping up this blog would be a day where I made money and proceeded to lose half of it. Why?

Well, because that’s what trading as a whole was for me.

After all these years of employing my mind and my risk appetite to make a better life for myself, I ended up simply….breaking even money-wise. And that’s the part that hurts me so much. I could have done simpler things and would have gotten something in the neighborhood of similar results. That’s why I shut down on trading and why I curse it everyday – for all its promises, it got me nothing.

Just more of the same road going into the horizon…

T Minus 1

The New York Stock Exchange traded slowly in aggregate but surprisingly enough, my PnL negatively correlated with this in stunning fashion as I was able to scoop up a bunch of ticks on relatively large size for a much needed cash open performance worthy of the “productive day” label.

And to couple with this surprise was that in British Pound, there was nothing to be had. I would have thought, in tight markets like this, it would be the opposite. It really goes to show you that you never know in this stupid game.

I wanted to get this post in before midnight given its relative importance in the linear meaning of things. Hopefully, I will go into the weekend positive in tomorrow’s trading.

T Minus 2

The New York Stock Exchange traded slowly this morning and rightly so. It is the 18th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. I decided to trade lightly in anticipation for this and my hunch proved correct – at least for the cash open.

I wish I would have traded a little heavier when it came to the Cocoa contracts but there was enough ticks where I could consider today a productive day so that was nice.

I can imagine this time of year being rough on certain traders. I was still not out of college when 9/11 happened but I was close enough to it to understand the weight of what was happening. It’s crazy how that entire day went down. I think that precisely because I was young, I saw it through a different lens than say if I was in my late 20’s or early 30’s seeing it all unfold. For those of you that never saw the original twin towers, they were amazing – absolutely gorgeous, stunning and sophisticated. Besides the New York Stock Exchange and the Park Avenue/Grand Central Station business district, those buildings were the romantic symbol of an era forever changed by that morning.

T Minus 3

The New York Stock Exchange didn’t do all that much today but there was a little bit of action in the morning albeit for a whole 5 minutes or so.

I didn’t really get all that much trading in as I was at near full capacity and whatever opportunities I did catch I needed to get out of quickly. I traded Wheat again but this time around there were opportunities to be had so that is where 90% of today’s PnL came out of.

The season is starting to turn little by little. I got in the pool this afternoon to discover that it was a tad chillier than normal. This is the sum of days where morning temperatures hadn’t crossed the 70 mark significantly which makes for colder waters no matter what time the sun begins to shine. As sad as it is to know I’ll be closing the pool soon, it makes me glad that I had time to enjoy it even when it was opened at the midpoint of summer.

My wife made dinner tonight. It’s a good life.

T Minus 4

The New York Stock Exchange traded like crap this morning. I entered in 3 limit orders, waited and waited and said “forget it”.

Wheat didn’t do much for me today. The entire session was pretty much dead.

I did think of taking another week off after coming back from vacation, but I’m not like these rich traders that can throw time to the wind. I have to sniff the ground for pennies and quarters like the pig that I am. On the other hand though, I really enjoyed my vacation. I literally, and I mean literally, did nothing but play Metal Gear Solid V. There was college football and that was cool. But overall, I got to spend time with my wife and while we didn’t do a whole lot of vacation-y things, we did sleep in almost every single day.