Doesn't sound like much, does it. But going back less than a couple of years, I would have reacted far differently. Neck muscles would have pulled, furniture dented, doors smashed, cakes thrown at walls (once), obscenities rained down and screams pierced the air. I couldn't handle anything that went against me and the valuable time required to get back those accumulated losses. It got me thinking about what else has changed about me since I began trading (and blogging). I'm definitely stronger. I care less about what others think. My self belief is higher. I probably have a harder exterior. I worry less (though it won't seem like that from my recent posts!). I look at the challenges and obstacles of life in a much calmer and resilient manner. Overall, I'm a more relaxed, confident individual.
I don't trade as much as I did in those early years. It was a 7 day a week obsession for me but I now try not to trade on weekends - though I do occasionally get suckered into a big final or a"sure thing" on a Sunday! I take more days off during the week too. I have two holidays planned for this year and one of them is during the tennis season - this is unheard of for me! I'm still acutely aware that I should make hay whilst the sun shines and so still treat it as an +8 hour a day job but I'm just a lot more relaxed about my time off now. It used to play on my mind and I'd worry about whether I was doing the right thing by socialising instead of trading but these days, it doesn't register. If I feel like going out, I go out. I could just as easily stay in and end up losing money, which only makes the whole situation even worse - a double whammy of cash down the plughole and a missed date with a fully-loaded chick (and yes, I have actually cancelled dates just to stay in and trade before!).
I'd say this year has been the first when I've been truly content with my trading life and the work-life balance. There's no coincidence that I also am more profitable and financially stable for the first time. Once those worries about how much you have to survive on for the foreseeable future dissipate, it makes it very easy to relax and just go with the flow. Then all of a sudden, lesser worries (such as which ISA should I put my savings into?, am I talking to myself too much?, am I eating too much Ben and Jerry's? and what the hell is an ISA anyway?) start taking the place of the older, serious ones (like can I pay the rent this month?, have I dislocated my shoulder from punching the door too hard? and is this really worth me staying up till 5am after another 16 hour day hunched over a laptop sweating on some 17 year old Serbian girl as she pumps yet another forehand into the net costing me a month's worth of groceries in the process?). I believe the former worries are known as "First world problems" (with a hashtag stuck to the front of course). If those are the only worries you've got, then life must be pretty sweet. But I'm just not sure if I'm being totally fulfilled by the actual work anymore.
The challenge of cracking trading has gone and I never really figured how that would affect me. I guess you don't know until it happens but I didn't really think it would be an issue if the money was rolling in. I thought I wouldn't care as long as I was comfortable financially and able to facilitate an active social life. But now, I'm wondering if I need more than that. My outlook is starting to change. Don't get me wrong, trading for a living is a wonderful opportunity and has changed my life in ways I never thought were possible. I thank my lucky stars every day that I can do what I do but I also know that there's more to life than money. I have realised that I'm not a money-driven person and I think you really need to be in order to be a pro trader because you aren't really getting any satisfaction from helping others, contributing to society or creating anything interesting. Whilst I was learning how to trade, all of this didn't bother me but now, it really is causing me to re-evaluate my work.
I know I have a lot to offer the world in some capacity but at the same time, I'd be stupid to throw away the incredible income stream I have fought so hard to generate. It's a real conundrum................just like wondering whether I should eat a full tub of Ben and Jerry's in one day (I should).