May 19, 2020
An interesting thing happens when you stop keeping track of time. It quickly gets away from you! Last week was a very busy week on many fronts, but then it dawned on me that Memorial Day is this coming weekend and it stopped me in my tracks. How did that sneak up on us? Is it almost June? Almost halfway through the year? As the world reopens and we can start acclimating back into more socially distant retail services we are going to start seeing Halloween stuff in the stores. In the famous words of Charlie Brown – good grief!
In my determination to no longer count the “days in corona”, as my kids refer to it, another interesting thing happened to me over this past weekend. I actually had the desire to shop. Now understand, I do not like shopping, at all! I find long lines tedious, I’m not a browser (unless it’s in the bookstore), and I take pleasure in using Amazon like many others. I do shop local for gifts, gadgets, and other things to support my small business friends because I think it critical for community vitality. But most days I would rather gouge my eyeballs out before going into any Big Box store and yet this weekend I had the desire to do just that. Knowing how ridiculous this was even to me I realized that I too am feeling cooped up and want the world to reopen.
Discipline can be a challenging thing to achieve depending on the circumstances. As an example, I would like to be disciplined enough to lose the COVID pounds I’ve gained since swimsuit season is upon us, however, I happen to like cookies – apparently more than I thought! I have the discipline conversation with my clients about their investments regularly. It’s important to focus on the longer-term goals and not react in the near-term because you cannot time the markets. We don’t know how things will play out in the short time and there could still be a lot of volatility looking forward. The world is currently not as stable as we would like to see but, thankfully, we are beginning to see improvements globally. It’s hard to not have the desires of running out and rejoining our neighbors and friends as restrictions from the coronavirus start to ease up, but we need to be disciplined and follow the rules so we don’t experience regression.
Last week I got a very cool gift in the mail from a friend. We’ve talked so much about how hard this experience is, but also how important it is to remain hopeful and positive so negativity doesn’t consume us. Certain days are better than others, but I think we are all experiencing that right now. By now you know I am a book lover, and if you didn’t know that, welcome to this blog for the first time! The present I received was artwork with an inspiring literary quotation from Tolkien’s book, The Lord of the Rings. It just so happened to arrive on one of those not so bright days and provided much needed clarity and a reminder that what we are living through now is just a moment in time:
“But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even the darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something. Even if you were to small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances for turning back, only they didn’t. Because they were holding on to something.”
I am very glad I decided to stop counting days in coronavirus confinement because we are now seeing the streaks of sunshine we have been waiting for. I find now that I am counting days looking forward, and although the phases of resuming life are tentative, it gives us something to look forward to. Continue to do the hard work in your personal and financial lives. Maintain discipline even though it’s tempting to falter. Samwise Gamgee said it best above. Remain vigilant and find the clarity in knowing that even if the world looks different going forward, this too shall pass.
Iris Buczkowski is the founder of Birch Wealth Management (birchwealth.com). Original content provided by Iris is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice.