Wow! 2022 is already Half over. I typically get excited about a midyear review. It can be fun to see how I’m progressing on my annual 2022 goals as well as my longer term goals. I review, assess and reevaluate the steps I’m taking on moving toward the completion of my goals. This year has been a rather sad state of affairs.
The spirit of this post is not to have a pity party, or to have people feel sorry for me or the sad state our world is in, but rather to share that the struggle can be real. We all deal with pressure, stress, and sadness in different ways. While we can do our best to keep a positive attitude, isn’t always sunshine, rainbows and unicorns.
This year has been different. For me, this year has been a struggle. It has been somewhat challenging to continuing and stay positive, since I’m normally a ‘Glass-half-full’ kind of guy. This challenge has been because of a combination of things. Believe it or not, still dealing with the impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic, some disappointments with regard of my day job, my love life, and my health has led to this sad state.
Finding the Spark
I’m approaching five years in my current ‘day job’ and I’ve somewhat lost my passion. The excitement, the drive, and ambition to do what I do best. I still like many aspects of my gig, and am fortunate I get to do what I do. I’m grateful for this. This is why it’s such a struggle for me. I should be happy, right? I should just stop whining and do my job, right? I’ve read a few books, blog posts, and talked with a couple confidants with hopes to find some strategy and tactics to reignite my spark. I’ve even attended some internal training offered for just this type of situation.
This did help, and had led me to an open opportunity with another Engineering team within the company. It was almost like this role was created for my sweet spot. Right where my strengths, passion, challenge, and impact intersect. I had applied for this internal role, that had led to a 6-week, 7 interview process. While receiving all positive feedback, and encouraging conversations I was not selected for the role. I know I’m fortunate to have the opportunity while I’m currently employed in a position, but this hit me very hard.
I had progressed through the interview process, and I had already was envisioning strategies to be successful in this new role. My spirits were high, and to have this not happen was a disappointment. Morale had dipped, and I had then fell back into the unmotivated daily ‘grind’ wondering what difference I’m making in the world.
Pain and Stress of the Pandemic Continues
I do understand that sometimes the causes of stress, or conflict can be self-induced. For example, I choose to invest in real estate and be a property owner. If there are problems and issues with tenants or properties, I have chosen to put myself in this situation. I had put myself into this rather sad state of affairs. Therefore, I typically don’t like to complain about these issues. However, as a real estate investor with rental properties, I’m still feeling the effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic. While collecting rent for the months of April, May and June, I have four tenants that had NOT paid their rent.
These tenants are still receiving up to 18 months of RentHelp offered my the State of Minnesota. This program offered people with Covid-19 Emergency Rental Assistance. The State of Minnesota then states they cannot guarantee a timeframe for application review and processing, however the program is no longer accepting applications for the program. I had one tenant that was four months past due while the eviction moratorium was in place, and then finally received a lump payment, and paid for only a portion of the past due months at once. The eviction moratorium is no longer in effect.
It would be a rather sad state to begin the process eviction for four tenants at once would be so cost prohibitive. It can be challenging in that once the process starts, they can pay to be up to date by court order, and then squat and start the process all over again. If you are evicting one tenant here or there within the entire portfolio of up-to-date rents, an investor would have the reserved funds to pursue an eviction. I understand, I put myself in this situation by owning rental properties. However, it does continue to cause pain and stress with my lenders continue have my debt service due. In receiving partial rents for an extended period of time, It’s the month-to-month stress that the loan payments will be made.
Divided We Stand
I know political leanings have always, and continue to divide people. In the past we could still look past some of these disagreements and still get along with people as humans. What ever happened to still being friends or cool with people even though you may not agree with them all the time? We now live in such a crazy time. Now, it seams very black or white. You are either this or that, there is no gray area. It includes straight political elections to more specific issues such a Gun Control to the recent overturn of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court Ruling.
This is now spilling over into almost every aspect of our daily life. Everything from the workplace banter, to dinner with friends and family. I’ve had people express to me strong opinions on what streaming services to subscribe to and what companies to buy services or products from. Based on where they land on politically, what company policies are in place and what company culture is like. It’s like, the idea of “healthy debate” and the acceptance of someone for who they are is long gone.
To me it makes me anxious in just day to day conversation. I used to believe that allowing your self to stay silent, would be accepting of the wrongs or injustices of the world. I used to believe to stand tall and express those values and beliefs you believe in. Ya know, like the words of the great Alice Cooper, “Freedom to rock, freedom to talk, Freedom, raise your fist and yell…”
However, in this fragmented society today, I tend to just remain silent. I used to believe that America, the USA, was the greatest country and was a patriot standing proud of my country. Having freedoms to become and achieve anything you believe. Now, there are aspects that I’m somewhat embarrassed about.
I was recently reading the book ‘Success Habits’ by Napoleon Hill and I read the line, “We have a great amount of freedom in the United States, more than they have in any other nation on earth. That’s one of our motives for doing some of the things we do now, in order to protect that freedom” and I felt sadness. I feel for all the progress we make as a country, we continue to take steps backward. I quote the Megadeth Album, “The System Has Failed.”
This is truly a focus in finding a partner as well. In dating profiles it’s very clear you have to fit into one group or another. There has been several times there is a potential match, and because I don’t list a political view, or state that I’m apolitical, the woman asked me straight up, “Are You liberal or conservative?” Can’t there be some place in the middle? I have considered myself somewhat conservative, but definitely have some liberal views on a variety of topics and issues. There isn’t even a discussion, or intelligent conversation. You are shut down immediately either way. This adds to the ongoing frustration and loneliness of a single, dating guy in his late 40s.
Lions, and Tigers, and Bear Markets
I have been an advocate of staying strong in down markets and continue to invest in retirement accounts and brokerage accounts with a well diversified portfolio. Remember, time in the market will beat timing the market over time. Those that remain consistent in this investment strategy will weather this downturn and any recession that may follow. We’ll see overall growth over time. I do strongly believe this.
I know I’m old enough to know better, and have lived through market volatility in the past. This is the first Bear Market, or market downturn, I’m experiencing while being much more conscious and focused on my finances. It’s while we know what’s right and true it doesn’t make the value of my portfolio dropping over $100k any easier. The key is to recognize this is value of the portfolio and not losses. You only lose if you sell. Adding this downturn and the looming recession just adds to the uneasiness I’ve been feeling in 2022.
Health is Mental
Mental Health. We need to take care of our brain, as we take care of our bodies. Or… sadly my lack of care. I’m gonna be a bit vulnerable, and totally transparent. Since my divorce in 2015, I’ve been off and on in CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). In short, talking to a Psychologist. At first, this was to help manage the adjustment of life after being married for 15 years, then moved on to co-parenting children as a divorced dad, and most recently dating as well as helping develop healthy coping practices when feeling depressed, and stressed. We continued to work with the success of therapy, I had began taking an antidepressant to aid in stabilizing my moods.
This treatment has been successful the last couple years, however the beginning of 2022 something changed. I had began feeling down. This was more than just feeling sad. This more of a total lack of motivation for work and life. It was strange. It was a combination of lack of drive and complete overwhelm and not knowing what I should do next. There was even a day that I took a sick day because I was too depressed to even get up and face the day. I guess mental health days are a thing now right?! It’s okay to not be okay. It wasn’t like there were any suicidal ideations, it was just lack of drive. It was the feeling of “blah.”
I had then been referred to psychiatric care for an evaluation. In my opinion, this was a ridiculous attempt at Mental Health care as a virtual appointment. A doctor continues asking, “How are you feeling, do you feel like harming yourself, or you’d be better dead?” “Do you have any friends?” “Do you have a spouse or partner?” These questions may be appropriate even though I’ve answered these questions multiple times in the surveys, and that they clearly didn’t read.
It was the follow up questions that really got to me. “Why don’t you have close friends?” What the Hell, Doc? Because I’m a divorced, 48 year old dude. Making friends as an adult is difficult! Ugh… Anyway. After this visit they did decide to add another med to my treatment plan. I did some of my own research, and it does appear that this combo does work well together. For the last several weeks I have been talking to my therapist every other week, taking my medication, and trying to get some outdoor activity, like walking. Gotta try and get that Vitamin D therapy.
What does continue to put me in a sad state is time and time again, I read that loneliness as well as not having meaningful relationships can shorten life span. It can also cause cognitive and neurological decline.
I’d like to thank you for reading, and following along in this journey. I think being able to journal this out on the page is theraputic in a way.