I don’t know what to make of 2023, if I am being honest.
The year started with busy work and ended with busy work before I went on a 15-day leave break in December.
15-day doesn’t feel like it is enough because it passes by just like that.
Work got busy because… I got a sneaky feeling Dad was going to pass away soon and if work didn’t get cleared, I don’t know how they are going to handle without me being around for a week. Turn out the hunch was right. Dad did pass away.
I always wondered how well I would adjust to not having people to depend upon, and no one depending on me. I adjusted to both much better than I expected. The latter was a 180-degree difference from the first few months as a caregiver.
I try to keep it simple for the first one. Meal prep for breakfast and eat cai png (mixed vegetable rice for lunch). Try to clear as much of the food that we couldn’t cook for the past 6-8 months.
That has been the story for the whole year.
My mind is made up of:
- Work projects.
- Markets and my portfolio.
- What to Write on Investment Moats
- Kopi-si siew dai, or kopi peng?
- Which or what part of the house should be cleared up?
I used to have a reader whose parents died and when we met up she keeps telling me about clearing up the stuff in her landed property. That was 2023 for me.
Much of the 15-day break if I am at home was clearing don’t-know-what-up. As I write this, there are still things not cleared up yet.
I attended the most funerals in my life this year. I went to Joel’s dad funeral like days before my dad passed. Then I realized my ex-colleague died. Then was colleague’s grandfather. Then colleague’s dad. Then my ex-colleague’s dad (I helped out for a night since it was tough finding someone to watch the night).
Fxxk man, seems like people are dropping like flies. My colleague Mike told me Mandai crematorium’s business was so good they couldn’t get a slot for a relative. That was what our funeral co-ordinator told us back in March as well.
We moved grandma to a nursing home. Her caregiver’s contract was going to end and she wanted to go back to Myanmar. Grandma has dementia now. Was it some sort of trauma? I don’t know really. Mom passed away 5-6 years ago. Last year, her oldest son past away. This year, dad passed away.
Yet she is still here.
Would I have an existential crisis if I were in the same situation? Don’t know man. I don’t think I want to find out too soon.
Then, there is that project.
Much of my work this year was BAU kind of work except for that as the main project. It feels like I spend the whole year just doing one project. That makes things in-efficient. The whole process was the most frustrating experience I ever had, if I recalled all the frustrating things that I had to do in my working career.
I was frustrated enough that one night, I could literally feel my chest tighten as if I was about to have a panic attack or a heart attack. Someone told me that my colleagues thought I morphed into a monster during one pivotal period.
Despite the private conversations about my attire, what I want to do with my life after my dad passed, I should be taking things easier, all I can think about: We didn’t advance anywhere to answer any of the technical challenges that have mind-fxxk me for the past three months.
The fuel to push through things eventually was enough Kopi-peng, those couple of colleagues who managed to “talked me off the ledge” and that completing the project means getting my life back.
There is enough people asking about my change of employment to Havend. I am still with Providend. Havend is a subsidiary of Providend. I don’t know really how to explain what I do to people on the outside so unless we have private conversation, I would rather not explain too much.
Havend deals mainly with insurance. What it does, I will let the people doing the work explain. Just not now.
Providend hit $1 billion AUA/AUM late this year, when the options expired in October, together with the dovish response from the FED. When I joined Providend, I can’t remember well but the AUA/AUM was like… $350 million? Maybe it doesn’t feel that way because we have been pounding at the rock, doing the work daily. I am really happy for the qián bèi in our company because of what they had to endure to get here. We must also thank the clients who believe we have the integrity and sophistication to help them fulfil their most important life goals.
I have finally configured my portfolio more strategically and made the portfolio more systematic by fully implementing very broad-based Global UCITS equity and bond ETFs. Basically, I threw caution to the wind and embraced taking on a diversified set of independent risks with the hope that I would be rewarded with returns in the future.
One of the upsides of fully implementing a strategic portfolio is that it frees my mental resources from having to think about whether buying now is the right moment in the face of very visible market uncertainty. I basically accept the risks and let the empirical research, diversification, the quarterly portfolio reconstitution/rebalancing work its magic.
To earn returns, we have to take on risks and hope the portfolio doesn’t die so that we can see the return. Those three are the magic I depend to make it happen. Hope I am right on this lol.
I also pulled the plug on numerous chat groups so that I am less distracted during that project. Feels like I am getting used to less participation.
That is probably the theme for 2023. Getting used to things. But what is the theme for 2024?
I don’t know.
Frieren probably knows though.
Hope you all had a great 2023 and hope you all have a great 2024.
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