Transitions

Falling out of touch with all
My friends are somewhere, getting wasted
Hope they’re staying glued together
I have arms for them

You know how sometimes you record your voice on a tape recorder, and then when you play it back, your voice sounds different from what you think it sounds like? I feel similarly surprised when I go back and read this blog. I hardly recognize some of the situations and thoughts I’m describing. I also don’t recognize my writing style – my writer’s voice.

Part of the reason is I rarely write about recognizable events in my life like going on a fun backpacking trip with friends or a ski trip to Aspen or hurting my shoulder. I rarely write about people I like or don’t like in my everyday life. Sometimes I write about books and music. But mostly I try to figure out what it is I’m feeling and why – rationalizing emotions. I guess the reason I don’t recognize that in retrospect is that the emotion passes and I wonder what the big fuss was about in the first place.

Anyway, I’m writing today not because I have anything specific to say but because I have time this Easter weekend and because I recognize this as an opportune time for some reflection. Like going from high school to college, from college to Chicago and from Chicago to here, I am again facing a transition in my life.

There are a couple factors surrounding this transition. First, my job is transitioning into a career. This May will mark the start of my fourth year at my current job. I’ve started to feel a little like I know what I’m doing. Not that I have all the answers, but just that I know how I’ll get to answers. Some of that stems from comfort and confidence while some of that marks a real growth in knowhow. The downside is that I have a feeling akin to “okay now you know how to make shoes, go make 200 pairs a year for the rest of your life and that’s your career. Your life’s work.

I hope for more growth and learning than that. I worry sometimes about the prospects for growth at my firm. They’ve given me expanded roles over time but there’s a limit to how quickly they can do so even if I demonstrate capacity for more. I understand paying your dues, but I worry that it’s a “pay your dues and eventually you’ll be the one reaping the rewards” system, but any given hedge fund’s existence can end in a heartbeat, so my dues could be for naught. I worry that when my investment strategy becomes less hot in the market, that my firm won’t allow me to do other things and I’ll basically be sitting useless “on the bench.”

I’m not really sure what the answer is. Another fund might have pretty similar problems. I’d love to run money in a unfettered way, both in terms of decision making and what I’m able to look at (which is currently quite limited), but I don’t know that the world really needs another fund and what my pitch would be in raising capital. I do love working with a great set of people and I believe in my immediate group.

A second piece to the transition is that as my job pushes into career territory, I’m becoming more established in San Francisco. Hard to say what “established” means when you don’t have a family but to me the markers are that 1) I’m now a semi-member of the Olympic Club and 2) I’m probably going to buy some real estate this year. Not in San Francisco, mind you, but if that doesn’t mark a transition of some kind (into having a mortgage), I don’t know what does.

Third, a couple of my close friends including my roommate are moving out of the city/out of my immediate life. The precise impact of these moves is as to yet unknown. But clearly my living situation will change as I will likely start to live by myself and my weekend activities will change as I had typically spent most of my time with close friends. I am not amazing at making new friends so there will be a void to fill.

Overall, life promises to be interesting. I segment things into work, social, creativity/learning, physical and hygiene (both physical and financial). Work continues to be interesting, existential whining aside. My creativity continues to be stimulated by reading and listening and writing. And physically, while I’m currently at a low point with a bad shoulder, I’m learning a lot about my body and recovery. Hygienically, as mentioned, I’m going to purchase some real estate, which should be interesting.

I have more work to do socially – both in planning things to do for friends (I’d always obeyed the maxim “make no small plans”), doing community service and potentially dating. I continue to see a lot of value in having community as a system of checks and balances – if you spend too much time by yourself, there’s less to prevent your worldview from going awry. But I’m not doing a great job of fomenting it. I have a decent amount of things to say about community service and dating actually but maybe I’ll reserve those thoughts for next time. This post has been a rambler already. Space out.

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