A respected friend and academic was speaking about something personal. I wish I could recall what it was but the only thing I can remember about the conversation is how incredibly often she used -- clearly without noticing -- the word "like". It was placeholder, punctuation, and security blanket in one. When this person wrote, I knew, it was clear, eloquent and incisive. When she spoke, she undermined every phrase with disqualifiers, fuzzy words and, of course, "like".
The proper way to start a conversation in San Francisco during the past couple of weeks has been to ask "how are you holding up?" A palpable sense of pain, disbelief and fear has captured the city since the recent and historic upset in the presidential election. To those outside the city this may seem like an excessive comparison, but I honestly haven't felt a sense of shared loss and mourning like this in the 15 years since the national tragedy of 9/11.
I knew this outcome was a possibility, especially given the trends of the previous few weeks and the dangers of voting between such deeply unfavorable candidates. On the trading floor, you have to develop a healthy appreciation for clear signals that "the market" is trending away from what you consider to be "the fundamentals". In this election, it felt like sentiment was divorcing aggressively from fact but, until the very end, it still seemed like the results would be forgotten as just a painful close call.
A common saying holds that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. More simply, the people you surround yourself with matter. They are the sounding boards for your ideas and the key forces which shape your growth.
Growth is achieved only when you are challenged. It isn't a single-track process but occurs across four dimensions (which are simply the four dimensions of self):
Most of the challenges you will receive across these dimensions are laid extrinsically by others because it's basically impossible to change a system without some form of external stimulus. People can challenge you via three modalities:
TLDR: I actually expected to get depressed, it still surprised me when it finally happened and I'm rather suspicious of its apparent resolution.
A few weeks ago, I couldn't focus, get stuff done, or even remember simple things. Work felt purposeless. Relationships seemed shallow and fleeting. I couldn't get more than nominally excited about things I'd normally jump to do. I felt like a ship drifting without an anchor, unable to latch onto anything for stability despite the supposed familiarity of the surrounding landmarks. All the usual ways I might find comfort -- leaning on community, taking pleasure in the challenge of work, experiencing the wonder of the outdoors -- were bereft of their power.
I woke up nervous about what would happen during tonight's debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. There were no specific details on which my dread hung but it was instead an undefined sense of foreboding driven by the knowledge that the risk profiles of the two candidates were asymmetric. Specifically, it felt like Clinton had very little to gain and everything to lose from going toe-to-toe with the unpredictable Trump. I left the debate feeling relieved on one level but also tugged by a nagging anxiety.