And so it is over.
My personal 366-day inner journey to try to discover my true trading potential has finally ended, with the final tally reading +$1,635,103 and +214%. (See earlier post for today's recap.)
Tomorrow, a new day will dawn, a new year will be born, and we'll get to start over. 2009 won't care about 2008 just like today didn't care about yesterday and tomorrow won't care about today. We'll all get a do-over ... a mulligan ... another chance to wipe the slate clean and make fewer mistakes than yesteryear. At this end, I've ended this particular journey and will trade largely for enjoyment as the year begins.
Yet for one night, we'll dance. We'll freeze this ever-so-brief moment as long as we can and dance away tonight like tomorrow will never come. We'll stand in awe of the magic of a fully matured Bamboo, which will forever remain a testament to Man's ongoing battle with patience, fortitude, and endurance.
About this time last year, more than a few people thought my million dollar mission for 2008 was impossible. "Foolish", "Absurd", and "Too old to compete against lightening-fast program traders" come to mind. As the year went on, some even wanted to see me fail ... badly. Then, as the tally began to grow and initial targets surpassed, a few questioned whether the results were real, while a small minority tried to take away my spirit in various creative ways.
Then even the market seemed to get angry as it tried its darnedest to shake all of us to our very foundation in the fall. It bucked and screamed like some monster straight from hell, even trying to kill my personal spirit with a $94K flesh wound that momentarily knocked me below my target. It spit in my face. The market then tempted me to push hard in December when I was physically and emotionally spent while at the same time drastically changing its own rhythm to try to trip me up. It was trying to put me on tilt to give up the hard-earned gains. Another spit. It was getting intensely personal.
Yet I owe all of them my deepest thanks. For they simply strengthened my resolve, which when combined with the tremendous outpouring of blog support over the last six months, simply made losing a non-option. And while the market can't ever truly be defeated, like Rocky in his final movie, I somehow managed to stand toe to toe with the Champ until the final bell. I'm leaving the ring standing, thanks in part to my decision to slow down in mid-December, which in hindsight was 100% correct.
And I had help. Big help. For I've seen and intensely felt God's hand this year ... both during the good times and the struggles. For those turned off by talk of faith or religion, all I can say is that this 2008 story simply wouldn't be complete without the full and accurate picture. I doubt a lot of things in life. I don't doubt this.
Regardless of what happens in 2009 and beyond, no one will ever be able to take 2008 away from me. Ever. Like other far more important life milestones, the year will find its own place in a corner of my heart that I'll be able to tap whenever I question my ability to conquer a challenge in front of me. The funds will be well-protected and socked away, and a new game -- in whatever form it takes -- will begin.
And if you haven't figured it out by now, this blog goes far beyond my trading race. It's about life's race. Trading is a game ... nothing more. It pales in comparison to life's true priorities, and simply provides us with the analogy of all analogies, and parable of all parables. It provides us with a unique practice field on which we can learn and then try to apply the principles to life. The better we trade, the better we live, and the better we live, the better we seem to trade. For me, the $1.6M score will mean nothing unless I can now apply the learned principles going forward, especially to life.
If you're reading this, then you're still breathing and I congratulate you. I don't have to tell you that life is sometimes hard. 2008 has punched many in the gut, and a lot of blood has been spilled in the form of lost jobs, foreclosed homes, and industry corruption at every turn. My punches just happen to come in earlier years, and only infrequently in 2008 as fully chronicled for all to see in this deeply personal diary.
Tonight, we all dance. In part for the joy of personal victory, but for all, the survival of 2008 and the possibilities of 2009. And at midnight tonight, I'll drink a toast to all who have joined me on this year's journey -- even if you're simply a silent onlooker or one of the small minority who may have initially questioned my motives and integrity -- and to all who made it through the year, even if kicking and screaming or temporarily wounded. You made it. And you're a year smarter.
I encourage you to consider printing this and putting it someplace safe that you can reference if you ever get down, or if someone ever tells you "you can't". Because they're dead wrong. If you're breathing, you can and you will. Regardless of what the pundits say or how much the temporary pain may sting, don't ever let anyone take away your spirit and joy for life. Who knows, 2009 may very well be your personal Bamboo year. And if you still need a hand, contact me.
So long 2008. Welcome 2009.
Happy New Year.