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Catching Big Waves - a trader's journal of surfing the the markets
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Catching Big Waves - a trader's journal of surfing the the markets

  #2871 (permalink)
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Men seem to be more likely to define themselves by their accomplishments. Not only in business, they hunt or fish and have their kills mounted. They keep awards, certificates and trophies on display. It is somewhere in our nature. While I did not accumulate stuff, bought our furniture at Rooms To Go, for example, mine was my home. Not on display for anyone but me and my wife really, hidden, end of a dead end street, very private, gated driveway. But it made me feel like I had accomplished what I wanted.

We moved into our final home, valued at roughly $1.8 million, around 2006. Still had our old home downtown, listed for sale. I am a private person, all the more reason it is a hard stretch for me to do what I am doing here. I just wanted us to have a place that felt casual, low traffic, easy access, and I loved being on the water. I made it ours, and loved it. I was done.

Roughly 2 years later, signs becoming obvious that we needed something to change, we moved back into the old home, and listed what we assumed at the time was our final home. A year later we moved again, this time believing we had sold the downtown house, and rented a small home temporarily.

But, the sale was actually a lease-purchase, his family owned a bank. Seemed rock solid.

One day the bank simply went away, they lost basically everything, they stopped paying rent, and when I drove by I discovered they were gone. House vacant.

Move #3 was back into the abandoned downtown home. We listed that home for short sale, and it finally closed, for about $200k less than what was owed. I was post-bankruptcy, but my wife never filed, and the lender forgave the deficiency for only $5k

The “final” home had also been “sold” on a lease-purchase, but as of this year the value had fallen to around $400k less than the purchase option and $300k less than what was owed to the banks. Then that guy stopped paying rent, I assume to try to recoup some of the $30k he paid to have the option.

He strung us along until his lease term ended, and then the home was vacant again.The home we were in was about to close and we had to move again, #4 in about two years. I called the bank and asked if they cared if we moved back in to the home on the lake. They said, help yourself.

So today we live in that home, most of our belongings still in boxes, no reason to unpack. The stay will be temporary, and we are fully aware of it. I wake up everyday in a home that feels like I am living in the past, unable to truly move on and live without a constant physical reminder of a different time, and with that the volume that had been set to mute has been turned up echoing the things that went wrong to get to where I am today.

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  #2872 (permalink)
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All the time I was dealing with a deflating net worth, and subsequent self-worth, I have studied trading as if it were the path to enlightenment. The pain of having lost in real estate was something that took years, but in the market, it was swift. Having the mindset that I did at the time, before the unstoppable optimism was nearly purged from me, when the market loss came I thought, “Wow, that was powerful!”

Not what a sane person might say, but that had never stopped me before.

I was in awe of it. I had never seen anything so full of potential. Rather than push me away, it drew me in. As my credit deteriorated, my career became non-existent, and my cash evaporated, it became more and more apparent to me that trading may be my only hope to redeem myself.

I would learn how to do it. The odds against it did not scare me. Maybe it was the antidepressants talking, but if it could be done, I believed I could do it.

My wife hated the idea, and one evening in discussion she said, “Gary, I believe in you, and if anyone in this world can do it, it would be you. But, no one ever makes money trading.”

But a spark had been ignited. I had hope again. Something that I thought had died, but somehow just the possibility of success was enough to breathe life back into it.

And down that path I went.


Last edited by GaryD; June 8th, 2012 at 09:07 PM.
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  #2873 (permalink)
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I started taking antidepressants in 2008, way before the point where I threw in the towel, and stayed on them until recently. I told my doctor I did not really want them, but had this state of apathy that I could not shake. After awhile, the feeling went from “I can do this”, to “why even try to do anything”. That was not me, and I felt I needed anything that might help me get back the guy I was. That is not what they do.

Antidepressants turn off some switch that keep me from feeling emotions. They dulled the pain of loss some, but did not come close to charging the spirit. Against my doctor's recommendation, I slowly weaned myself off of them, the last ¼ of a pill taken just several months ago. I was awake again, and emotions started to resurface. The evidence is almost obvious in the posts that came during the transition and after. I have some things that have just backed up and are working their way out.


Last edited by GaryD; June 8th, 2012 at 09:08 PM.
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  #2874 (permalink)
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My life made a turn, finally found the bottom, and has come a very long way from where I was at my lowest of lows. I have a new client base, a new successful business, a familiar workoholic's schedule, a long list of new contacts in my cell phone, more than enough work in progress to take care of us for awhile.

My trading was also going very well, and I started wondering if I could finally start to believe in going for more money. At one contract, it is intriguing, but even at an additional $50k a year, which is about the extreme of what I feel would be possible trading a single contract, if I spent none of it, it would take 80 years of consistency to gain sight of my previous highwater mark. I feel like I am weak, scared, barely a shadow of my former self. I would nearly do as well taking a 2nd job as night manager for a fast food chain.

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  #2875 (permalink)
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As I struggle to comfort in a position size more in line with my trading account, I lose whatever it is that makes it work so well for me. Right or wrong, I discovered success in trading by feel. I watch so many things at once, and find that exact moment, and then monitor it with the same intensity to decide where to exit. With one contract, I am a self-proclaimed a pro at what I do. It is easy on me, emotionally. But more than one, and it brings out all kinds of things that stop me from being in that moment the way I need to be.

I keep pushing and trying, setting new tasks and goals, working all day running a business and also trading nearly all other hours, rarely giving myself a break. Beyond obsession sometimes.

I want to redeem myself. I want to right past wrongs. I want to believe in myself again. I want to feel like there are no limits to what is possible. I want to be the tenacious, happy, resilient, optimistic, hardworking person I was, ready to take on the world and have no doubt in my success. And I cannot seem to get there.

Today, I do doubt. I do have fear of loss, understandable with everything I have gone through, but sometimes unforgivable to myself. Whoever I once was I fear may be gone, and that is so incredibly sad to me. There is a feeling that my time to take risks has come and gone, that I had my chance, and blew it. If that is reality, it would be nearly devastating to me, proof that I have truly stopped believing in myself, finally given in, abandoned dreaming of great things, decided to just play it safe, not take risks, not pursue challenges.

But, life is about struggle. Visceral and Darwinian. I loved that way of life before. It was life , before.

And so, recently, the non-stop hours, the personal pressure to break free of my psychological boundaries, the constant reminder of my past by living in this house... I am tired. Exhausted.

I will not quit. I am determined to get to the other side of this, to resuscitate the believer inside me, at least once more in my life. It is becoming less of a want and more of a need for me, something I feel I must do for myself.

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  #2876 (permalink)
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It is not about money. It is about life, and how I would choose to live it.

And I feel I have come so far, worked so hard, become, in my mind, in my beliefs even, a very fucking good trader.

Until, I up the ante. And that tiny detail is nearly maddening to me.

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  #2877 (permalink)
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Does anyone have a cold wet towel?

Done, I am grabbing a beer.

And tomorrow, I will do what I do every day. Push for just a little further. Trade just a little better. Believe just a little more.

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  #2878 (permalink)
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Gary, I must say ..your posts really resonate with me. I relate with what you are writing...immensely. Thanks for sharing your journey on here. It means a lot to me...and I'm sure to a few others as well.

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  #2879 (permalink)
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As you know, this story mirrors mine so closely its scary. About the only difference is the pills. I never believed in them although maybe I should have.

Its been 5 years since I had a real vacation. Been working almost non stop since then both trying to learn to trade and unravel the past and build a new future. On the ragged edge of burnout for many many months....until lately.

Something has changed for me. I can feel it....almost like the old days....And I think it's shifting for you as well....I sense it in your writing....the shift is almost on you....the demons you face regarding size are fake....they don't exist. You're an excellent trader....you will be an outstanding trader with size....

Some quotes I've heard about size lately...

"Size makes you stupid"....I think it does until it doesn't.

"The market was made for size"....I now agree with this 100%

"No one ever got rich trading one lot, but lots of people go broke trading one lot. Therefore, trade as many as you can but do it smart".

Just some random quotes about size....they occurred to me while reading your posts about the difficulty with size....probably not relevant....

One last thing....maybe a vacation is in order...perhaps a nice long weekend....clear the air, look at the emotions once the head is clear, do something unrelated to work.....I've always found when I hit the wall like you have with this emotional thing, its always great to get away for a while....working to hard for to long invokes the law of diminishing returns. Many times the solution is often realized when the brain is engaged in activities completely unrelated to the problem...breakthroughs come when you least expect them and rarely when you're trying to have one....and most often when you're thoroughly rested.

Anyway, I admire your honestly with yourself and with the journal.....cant wait to see 10 or more lots on your posts.....

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, Leonardo da Vinci


Most people chose unhappiness over uncertainty, Tim Ferris
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  #2880 (permalink)
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Gary,

You are a grown man, true.

If entirely exhausted don't trade more than 1 day in that state (this is my humble opinion).

I am pulling an all nighter (but it was pre-planned) and I have multiple swingtrades on (ES, 6E, GC) that I am adding into on winners and trade management stuff.

I'll be done by 10:30am est at the latest later this a.m. @that point I am on the boat and plan on not looking at the market until Sunday night around 8pm est at the EARLIEST {unless some f*ckery goes on over the weekend--regardless, I will check that out 1X only around 4:45pm est on Sunday}.

Keep purging this shit out! I love it. I wanna see either

a) a true psychotic break
OR
b) a full psychological shift to your 'evil' multiple personality who eats banker's brains
OR
c) you trading full time from a shitty little motel room with a 56K modem connection and bangin' out those 1 lots

I am trying to make you laugh; you need a touch of levity right now and @PandaWarrior made a ridiculously prescient post just before mine.

We support you; remember there is a resolution to all struggles in life.

Keep grindin' brother! I'll see you in September and show you some swingtrading stuff that will make your artistic and geometrical (fib/s&r) look like ROCKET SCIENCE compared to the simplicity of what real swingtrading can provide; and yes, with size.

Again--this is great stuff!!! Wait 'til your cleanse is done; the new and re-invented (yet again) @GaryD will show us how it is to trade like a man!

peace

hedvig


Last edited by researcher247; June 8th, 2012 at 04:35 AM. Reason: more stuff...
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