I think about loss from time to time, as you probably know if you’re a regular reader over here. I’ve discussed recovery from loss of a baby and other people’s reactions. But, we don’t only struggle or grieve over the loss of a person – whether they were fully-formed or not. Sometimes loss is part of growing into the person we have become, sometimes it leaves us feeling like something’s fundamentally missing, sometimes we can’t remember what it was like before we lost whatever it was. In this series of posts, I’ve asked some of my favourite blogging colleagues to write about a loss that they’ve experienced and how it affected them. You can find the full list here.
Today’s post is by Steve from The Diary of a Dad. Steve is a dad who blogs about the reality of parenting a two year old, he’s honest and realistic, no pretentiousness or perfection. Drop by his blog and have a browse, I hope you find something to enjoy.
Money Isn’t Everything
Loss affects everyone in different ways. Until recently, I had been lucky enough never to have to deal with any real sense of loss and that I have handled any setbacks pretty well emotionally.
Before we go any further, I have never been a materialistic person. Money has never had too much relevance for me and so long as my family are happy and my little man is smiling, I consider life to be pretty good.
Aside from family, one thing has always dominated my life though. Football. Around five years ago I stumbled across a website that combined football knowledge with stock markets and I was instantly hooked. What began as a little financial plaything became a larger and larger part of my life as I continued to win and make great profit from the site. I had reached a point where the vast majority of our savings were invested in this product and I was happily growing that pot every week.
My free time was regularly spent studying the markets and statistics, watching football matches nobody else would dream of seeing in the search of finding the next star and generally chatting to others in this community. It was fantastic.
To cut a very long and complicated story short, the site went bust last month. Everything was gone. Every penny I had ever made on there as well as my savings literally vanished in a second.
I had no idea how to deal with this. I was petrified to tell my amazing wife at first, though she hardly even seemed to care. Then I found a bottle of rum and spent the night drinking myself to the point of oblivion.
I spent the next few days watching videos and listening to podcasts featuring others in my position. Some were in tears, another with a history of mental illness showing scary pictures of his medicine cabinet, a man sure that this would be the end of his marriage. It was horrific and just led me deeper into a feeling that I could not escape.
I’m not proud of how I handled it, but I got through. The realisation that my wife barely seemed to care, as quite simply the money is not that important, helped me to turn a corner. For her, it was just a minor setback.
This made me finally come to my senses and realise that my loss was not financial. It was the time and passion that I had put into this ‘hobby.’ I spoke to members of this community far more than I did my real friends and loved knowing that every day I would have a match to watch.
On weekends, I would watch up to five games in a day whilst constantly studying stats, making trades and talking through my decisions with other players. This was such a huge part of my life that has been taken away so suddenly.
Now here’s the part where you are free to laugh at me. I do not expect pity and realise just what a fool I have been. Of course I am not stupid enough to put all of my savings in one platform, I had the rest in another football trading app.
This other app had both similarities and vast differences from the other, though I was sure the reasons for such disaster elsewhere could not apply here and felt safe I could play around a little and perhaps make some back.
I decided I would never put any more cash into this but play with what I had and withdraw bits and pieces along the way. I would still keep my love of the beautiful game and a little financial interest to soften the blow.
On Friday, lightning struck twice. Same story as before and the company went bust alongside the rest of my savings but rather strangely, it barely threw me off my stride.
The lessons I had learnt from the first hit had taught me that hitting the bottle and surrounding myself in the misery had not helped at all, so a new approach was only natural.
I took the little man for a long walk, then came home and danced around the house to a crazy playlist ranging from heavy rock classics to baby shark. I turned off my phone and just let it go, my main sources of happiness are still here and well, with little care that Dad is an idiot.
So here is where it leaves me. I am broke. I’ve lost every last bit of our savings and my biggest and most time consuming hobby is gone. You could say I’m in a bit of a black whole but I prefer to think I have a clean slate now.
With lockdown slowly lifting and normality returning, perhaps it’s not healthy to have such an obsession with watching football anyway.
It’s time to get out in the world, find some new hobbies and rekindle some old passions.
Writing was always a joy for me and I simply hadn’t found the time for months, perhaps this is the start of a return? I’ve been furloughed from work for the best part of a year but it’s nearly time to go back, perhaps I could throw myself into my career?
There are endless options from this point. I made big mistakes in the past but now is time to look at the future and claw back all I have lost before.