Back to Isabela

It’s been a good few weeks here in Puerto Rico.  I finally built enough confidence in my stock trading algorithms; confident that they will run automated and make essentially no mistakes, and confident that they will earn expected value.  The markets have coincidentally been behaving oddly since I got things running, but I made money all five trading days last week which was nice.  I have the next steps mapped out to try and make improvements to the execution (you can be confident that a stock is going to go up, but the details of paying the current asking price or waiting for a better price is a major part of performance), and a longer-term commodities trading project that I’m excited to work on even if it’s not as lucrative as my stock stuff.  

As I age I’m continuously less inclined to have massive swings, even if that means ending up with less money theoretically.  I’ve been working to align my algorithms performance to be inline with the type of stress I’m comfortable taking on (making a trade involves risk, and all risk brings some level of stress), so I’m mostly into things with a high win percentage that trade for short periods or time, or trades that have the chance to make a lot but with limited risk.  I can brainstorm and often find strategies that have huge ups and downs, but it doesn’t fit my style now.  I’m also focused on having strategies that can be automated so I don’t have to take on the cognitive load of watching the markets all day.  This cuts out some good strategies too, but it’s a tradeoff for more freedom of time.  

I went to Isabela, Puerto Rico and again stayed at The Royal Isabela last week.  It’s a very peaceful feeling laying in the sun overlooking the ocean, reading a book, and feeling confident (and later verifying that I was correct) that I’m making money.  This isn’t to brag; I’ve experienced every dark and negative aspect of trading, as well as worked myself to mental burnout recently.  Perhaps this allows me to enjoy the good times that much more though.  Getting sun, listening to the waves breaking, and reading great literature in a different environment was a great way to eject myself from the madness of my normal numerical and financial games.

As I mentioned as a strong possibility in a blog or two ago, I am now officially going to Mexico City April 16 for six weeks.  I bought tickets for Johanna and I this morning to lock things in, and we’re both excited to spend some extended time living somewhere new again.  We’re also looking forward to living with my friend Jeff who is coming too, and another friend Ari might come (possibly then or later) as well.  I’ve never been to Mexico City, but it’s been on my list of places that I want to explore for a while, so we’re excited to all go there for spring.  

I’m looking forward to a change in my environment to break up some of my current habits, routines, and triggers that I’ve unconsciously created in my current apartment in Puerto Rico.  Something that I read a long time ago that stuck with me was about how many Vietnam veterans were taking heroin in Vietnam/Phillipines, but quit the moment they left that environment and returned home.  I had a similar experience with drinking cider (fortunately not quite as scary as heroin) when we stayed in New Zealand for a few months.  I started drinking these awesome local ciders, with increasingly more alcohol content, and by the end of the trip I was getting drunk nightly.  It didn’t feel like dinner without opening some cider, so that became a ritual that I couldn’t escape.  I actually got scared that I had become an alcoholic.  We went to Sweden for the summer, and I didn’t even think about cider or drinking, it just wasn’t part of my life there.  Unfortunately I also lost a tremendous writing habit that I built in New Zealand, so these things can go both ways.  What habits would I like to break up now?  Using sports news and Youtube as my mental vegetation downtime (I’d like to replace it with more reading, but it’s been harder than I realized), making healthy eating more automatic, checking how my trading is going substantially less often, and having a specific time/routine for meditation instead of sporadic.

I’ve been thinking about what I’ve read recently that has really stuck with me.  I’ve read a lot of good stuff, and if something isn’t good, I’ll just stop reading it.  A little book that comes to mind is “The Cafe on the Edge of the World: A Story About the Meaning of Life” by John Strelecky.  It was a book I’d never heard of, but kept popping up on Amazon algorithms as something I would like.  It’s really short and had good reviews, so I gave it a chance.  For me it’s a perfect book to read at moments in life when I’m very unsure and questioning my path.  Slightly vague and general wisdom within a surreal fictional story which some could find cheesy perhaps, but it spoke to me.  It reminded me that in general our life/lifestyle is chosen by us.  It might be unconsciously, and very manipulated by media and other people who want something from us, but you don’t have to be somewhere/in a relationship/materialistic/angry/religious/political if that’s not making you truly happy.  You have one life, and you can change it at any moment to coincide with something that will bring more contentment for the brief time we have.

Have a great week!  Leaving you with some pics from Royal Isabela.

2 Replies to “Back to Isabela”

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