Life is like the S&P 500
Sometimes you need the Fed to raise interest rates by 75-basis points.
Success isn’t linear. Life isn’t linear. Sometimes you’re in a recession, sometimes you’re in a bubble. Sometimes you’re in a depression.
Sometimes life is a bull market. Sometimes it’s a bear market. Sometimes you find yourself eating a double cheeseburger at 2am in the parking lot of a Burger King even though you tell everyone you’re a pescatarian.
Some people are blue chip stocks. Blue chip stocks drive nice cars and have healthy 401(k)s and call their moms on Mother’s Day. They have fancy-looking dogs and kids that get into Cornell and they always make sure to get enough potassium. Blue chip people are good people. But they’re not your people.
You’re not a blue chip stock. You have a lot more market volatility. But you’ve realized that market volatility is… normal. You’re normal. And normal is being afraid. Normal is doubting your abilities. Normal is not watching or reading comedies anymore because other people are way funnier than you and you’ll never amount to anything and the joy and delight you once got from Bo Burnham or Regular Car Reviews or Simon Rich or How to with John Wilson has been replaced with jealousy and self-doubt. Normal is spending your Sunday afternoon at the movie theater, watching Tom Cruise grunt in a fighter jet for two and a half hours.
Normal is being sad. Normal is being happy. Normal is being scared. Normal is being glad someone commented on your newsletter but also terrified that your response—or lack thereof—will signal that you think you’re better than people or that you don’t value the time they take opening and reading and commenting on the dumb shit you write. Do you ❤️ their comment? Reply with a discussion-board friendly, “Aw gee thanks, mister!”? Do you send them the code BSF16 for 16 FREE MEALS + free shipping + 3 Surprise Gifts from America’s #1 meal kit, HelloFresh?
Normal is running your life in sprints. Normal is running full speed, wind in your hair, with the Chariots of Fire theme song echoing in the salty air. But sometimes normal is missing a step, pulling a hamstring, or taking a wrong turn and sprinting headfirst into a brick wall. Normal is hitting your deductible trying to pay for arthroscopic knee surgery because you decided you should run a half-marathon to prove something to your father-in-law.
Normal is having a tough day at work because the sales team over-promised and now the client is ticked off. Normal is closing your laptop, sighing, walking to the fridge, and cracking open a frosty lager at noon on a Wednesday. Normal is realizing you haven’t gotten your mail yet this week so you set down your beer, slide on the Adidas sandals you bought from Costco for $12 and walk down the driveway to your mailbox. Your neighbor across the street is pulling weeds in his front yard. You wave and he waves back. You don’t know his name but you know he drives a 1983 Chevy Square Body with a 454. He’s your closest male friend. You’re pretty sure you and your wife are his kid’s godparents.
Normal is watching a Chevy Suburban careen around the corner and come to a screeching halt in front of you. Three heavily-armed men leap out and approach you. You quickly dispatch the first guy with a throat punch, bronco kick to the face combo move. But normal is succumbing to the strength of the other two men. You put up a fight but they drag you to the trunk of the SUV, throw a burlap sack over your head, and knock you out. The last thing you remember is catching a glimpse of your mailbox—surely overflowing with midterm election mailers and coupons for 50% off at Mattress Firm.
Normal is waking up to the overwhelming stench of tzatziki sauce and stale cigarettes while two short, hairy men in mariner's caps stare at you. The hairier of the two puts down his gyro, clears his throat, and walks towards you.
Welcome to Athens, my friend, he says, before taking a long drag on his cigarette, flicking it, and crushing it beneath his heel. I am Yiorgos and this is my brother, Yiannis. Yiorgos pulls two more gyros out of the back pocket of his pants and sets them down. Then he reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out a third gyro, scowls, and throws it across the room. YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD PULL ONE OVER ON OL’ YIORGOS, EH?!
Normal is watching the other guy, Yiannis, gulp down a 16-ounce bottle of olive oil while Yiorgos glares at you. Normal is counting at least ten half-eaten gyros, 25 empty bottles of olive oil, and probably 80 jars of Kalamata olives strewn across the room.
Normal is accepting that success isn’t linear. Life isn’t linear.
Sometimes you’re in a recession, sometimes you’re in a bubble. Sometimes you’re in a depression.
In life, sometimes you’re the villain. And sometimes you’re the gyro.
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