Emotional re-set

I’ve been talking for quite some time about the need for a financial re-set, a significant realignment of the fiat currency system, due to the massive build up of debt and essentially empty promises.

Instead I got a total emotional renaissance.

When 2018 turned into 2019 I was in a stable relationship with my two concubines, an 11 year old German shepherd-doberman mix and my girlfriend since 2.5 years.

I and Anna had been talking about getting married and having kids with increasing intent over the last year. Initially I was hesitant, reluctant even, but by my 47th birthday in January 2019, I was warming significantly to the idea.

Actually, secretely, by then, I was perfectly sure I wanted to build a family for the long term, and I was just as ready to commit to that sentiment. I just didn’t know exactly when to declare my insight and decision, mostly since I wanted to be able to deliver on my promises right out the gate.

My new and positive attitude to settling down marked quite the change from my previous three decades as a “grown up”. One piece of the apparent puzzle was that I finally felt fully self actualized, accomplished, and happy.

To emphasize my emotional and intellectual position, I went as far as to say out loud that “the last five years since I quit work have been so magical, and my days have in general been so blessed, that life could throw exactly anything at me right now and I would still be thankful and grateful, be it cancer, poverty or death“.

Well, I more or less got what I asked for. I had a “challenging” year back in 1980 which in some respects came back to bite me in the ass again in 2019.

True growth

But let me lead with the conclusion: I am still grateful for life before 2019, and thankful for what I’ve experienced and learned in 2019. I’m not looking for pity. Rather I’m trying to convey how true growth often demands real pain, and that real pain can almost always be focused and directed to growth if you’ll let it.

Dealing with experiences like mine is difficult of course, and at times it felt as if I would never be able to make it through to the other side. Without the right help it is hard to strike the right balance between dealing with the hurt in a constructive manner, and revelling, dwelling and drowning in self-pity and destructively recursive loops of depressionary thought patterns. But it can and should be done.

Life is a journey

where every step counts;

every experience is an experience,

whereas death is just emptiness.

I detailed some of the curve balls I was thrown 2019 in the previous post, but here is a short re-cap.

In June, on Midsummer’s day, my dog, my beautiful Ronja, passed away. Around the same time my girlfriend met her new boyfriend, and eventually moved out in August. So, just as I became ready for truly building a family and start growing the deep roots I keep advocating as prerequisites for a meaningful life, my prospects for a family with kids were vanquished.

Other people’s love stories are lame, I know, but when it happens to you it’s the most important thing that ever happened to you, so bare with me:

Anna was the one. The one that fit me perfectly. We fit each other perfectly. Everything matched. We had fun. We got crazy. We were serious. We made great work together, laughed so much my sister complained “nobody can be that happy when doing laundry“, travelled the world together, or just held hands over coffee and christmas carols.

We shared the same interests, ranging from quantum mechanics, central banking, meditation, eastern and western philosophy alike, to science fiction, modern classical composers, and exercising or drinking champagne on roof top bars (OK, I admit that last one’s hardly unique).

Anna was the one I finally wanted to commit to for the rest of my life, have kids with, integrate our family trees, making one out of the two, fully experiencing deep-rooted and eternal love with. I was ready and I was convinced she was too. We were in it together for the long haul. Apparently I was mistaken, at least regarding the romantic part.

She was the one.


But as stated above, by the summer and fall of 2019 Anna moved on and left the ruin of a man that was me behind. I was lonely and heart-broken, crashing from an epic life climax, including the hard choice of wanting to commit, down to utter failure. The equally painful and ironic reason she left me was that I hadn’t been emotionally whole and grounded (due to my own scars), and thus often proved unable to accept and comfort her in her most vulnerable moments.

Thus, she often felt alone and misunderstood, living side by side with an empty shell, rather than melded together with a soulmate. I finally came to understand this, and to truly change from the bottom up, but it was too late. She, however, had already moved on. Quite understandably. But none the less tragic.

While dealing with the emotional aftermath of my two immense losses, old emotional scars from the year I turned 8 surfaced. I was feeling such acute emotional pain that I hadn’t felt in 40 years that I realized there must be more behind. Hence, I started looking carefully and deliberately.

Seek and you shall find

In the summer of 1980, my older brother (2 years my senior) drowned before my and my entire family’s eyes. In addition, we moved to a new neighborhood that same summer, where I became bullied due to being poor, my northern accent, introverted personality, sadness and my family situation. To top it off, my parents went through a toxic divorce – and being just 8 I predictably went into emotional lock-down. Also, I never talked to a psychologist. This was 1980, remember.

Starting in September 2019, I dealt with these old scars and other related issues which made me discover a whole new world of emotions. I imagine, it felt akin to a color blind seeing colors for the first time. The entire fall of 2019 I’ve endured an as deep as cleansing depression-like state. Eventually I came out on top, armed with a new integrated self, fully capable of experiencing and dealing with a full range of emotions.

Sure, I was still sad and lonely, but I had all the tools and capacity for experiencing even more of life, ups as well as downs, than I already had during my exceptionally full and lucky life.

I promptly used my new-found empathetic powers to re-connect with my brother and sister, as well as my father and not least my mother Christina. I shed tons of tears between June and December.

Here is a short background on why I needed to re-connect with my own mother, Christina:

I and Christina had a falling out some 15 years ago and we hadn’t been on good terms since then. To be honest we hardly did more than send an annual post card over the entire last decade. However, my waking up emotionally during fall 2019 made me contact her again, starting with a sincere apology for heartlessly ghosting her.

I should have known how much cutting her off must hurt a mother – not least one that had already lost a son. In actuality I didn’t know; I was too closed off emotionally from my own experiences to know. In any case I now finally felt truly bad for the unintentional extra pain I had inflicted, and thus proceeded with clearly communicating my as surprising as heart-felt apology.

Christina answered (to my siblings’ surprise), and suddenly we were on good terms and free to start talking more earnestly and frequently. Things looked up just a few days ago, when I received a New Year’s card, where she said she was moving back into town after cutting her self off from social life by staying in the countryside for 5 years. Cool, I thought. Time to meet. Time to make use of my new emotional and empathetic capabilities. That was early this week.

Today my mother died.

More to deal with, more to grow from. I asked for it, and I got it. Thank you 2019.

But, hey, I’m an adult. Now I can take it, unlike when I was 8.

I’ve learned so much over the course of the last 12 months, and I’m so thankful I got to re-connect with my mother and explain what happened and apologize before she was gone forever. It could have been much worse.

Now I am emotionally re-set and ready and capable to get serious. 2019 seems to have been the best thing that’s ever happened to me after all.

The best thing that’s ever happened to me

-Vi Reser Alltid

When I was 8 years old my family moved to a fancy part of a mid-sized Swedish city, Västerås, not very far from the capital, Stockholm. There I became bullied for my northern accent, cheap clothes and mental state (my big brother drowned before my eyes the same summer we moved, my parents got divorced [toxically], and I had a slight autism spectrum issue).

It took some time, but being bullied was the best thing that ever happened to me. It didn’t kill me, it made me stronger. With time I became impervious to just about everything, extremely resilient and calm, which helped forge a successful career in finance.

As the 40 ensuing years passed by, I often reflected over my luck in life. Everything seemed to go my way. Sure, I had a few minor setbacks, but I always quickly bounced back up a lot higher than before. Every single year was better than the year before – and they were pretty good from the start.

For example, when I was 18, I dated an incredibly pretty girl, and I received something akin to a small Nobel Prize in mathematics and physics for being the best performing student in middle Sweden over three years, and I was admitted to Sweden’s most prestigious University. From there, everything improved each year in an accelerated fashion: materially, relationship-wise, my subjective experience and so on.

I have very good reasons to assume my particular life configuration, including physical health, brain chemistry, cultural and socio-economic starting point etc., makes me perceive every year as better than the preceding years.

So, whenever I encounter a setback of any kind, I kind of expect a reward in due time. Everything that happens to me is simply regarded as a harbinger of bliss. Which brings us up to date.

Retiring in 2014 definitely was a genius move, the best thing that ever happened to me up till then. Now that retirement is drawing to a close. As fed up as I was with finance in 2014, just as excited I am today about both sharing my knowledge (through the Swedish course in fundamental equity valuation: Finanskursen) and practicing it again as a professional hedge fund manager. You’ll get the details about my getting back to work during the first quarter of 2020.

Per Ardua Ad Astra

However, that wasn’t what I set out to share today, but the following. By midsummer of 2019 by life kept setting new all time highs at a frantic pace. I almost expected to be diagnosed with a brain tumour, like John Travolta in “Phenomenon” (1996). In June I went as far as to say, the last five years, and in particular the last 5 months, have been so good to me, life could throw anything my way, including death, and I still would consider the total package a great deal.

And, boy, did I get what I asked for! Considering my gruelling experiences the last 5 months after that, i.e., since the day after midsummer, which started with my dog passing away, I’m expecting some major breakthroughs coming my way in due course.

Everything I’ve gone through in my life has ultimately proven to be the best thing that’s ever happened to me – perhaps not causally, but with uncanny synchronicity. So, why should my experiences with pain, loneliness and hearthache this fall be any different? Given what I know to be true about my history and my constitution, these experiences are bound to morph from hellish torture into the best things that’s ever happened to me. 

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and I’m still kicking.

Here’s to looking forward immensely to getting to know in which way the twists and turns of summer and fall of 2019 were the best things that ever happened to me, objectively, materially, relationship-wise, perceptionally etc.

Remember, we’re always travelling (Vi Reser Alltid — my motto in Swedish), and that’s a good thing. Being static is being dead.

Everything is awesome

Theme: Peak everything. Stop living in denial and enjoy it.

The best music is yet to come.

Executive summary: I’m not talking about an imminent stock market crash*. This article deals with the constant advances of human culture, arts and science. We are at all time highs, but have really only started.


*or am I? Check the summary

Personal peak

I don’t want to “look good for 45″*

I just want to be healthy

Well that and a few other things:

We have to end apartheid for one. And slow down the nuclear arms race, stop terrorism and world hunger. We have to provide food and shelter for the homeless, and oppose racial discrimination and promote civil rights, while also promoting equal rights for women. We have to encourage a return to traditional moral values. Most importantly, we have to promote general social concern and less materialism in young people.

Joking aside, apart from being healthy; looking healthy as well doesn’t hurt. In addition it can inspire others, which is what most of my current life is about regarding health, wealth, happiness, purpose and productivity, among other things.

*Actually, I’m not 45, I’m just 44 (and a half)

Looking good

-That’s not me. It’s Christian Bale in American Psycho.

The Retarded Hedge Fund manager Karl-Mikael Syding at Skandia 1994

-That’s me (in 1994)

Health and keystone habits

Anyway, over let’s say the last five to seven years, I’ve almost lost all interest in building my body for show, and have become almost completely focused on health and strength instead.

It’s working.

Not only do I feel great, today was probably my best weight lifting session ever and the trajectory I’ve been tracing this summer promises much more to come. I’ll soon write a post on how a few simple keystone habits can transform your life by creating a framework that makes everything else easily click into place.


Everything is awesome

July 2016

Other things are awesome too

Never before have humans produced higher quality and value within the realms of, e.g., math, physics, athletes, art and music.

Several factors account for that: There are more of us, a higher proportion exposed (incl. over the Internet) to relevant information and stimulus, we are standing on the shoulders of the giants that came before us (building progress upon progress).

I recently learned that* the second quartile of admitted applicants for Juilliard in the 1980s wouldn’t even have gotten in today, i.e., they would have slipped below the fourth quartile, due to a lack of technical skills (and possibly artistic as well).

*something like that. I think I got it from Freakonomics or TED Radio Hour.

I too like listening to old masterpieces, to look at masterly paintings, statues and buildings. I too sometimes get stuck enjoying the same old songs and artists. However, I make it a point to sometimes deliberately discover new favorites. Just this weekend, e.g., I went to see an opera.

Can’t get no satisfaction?

I actually pity those who cling to the movies, songs and artists of yore (or of their youth); or only deem music and art by long since dead masters worthy of their attention.

They miss out on so much.

I mean, as if Elvis, Beatles or the Stones produced the best pop/rock music of all time. As if Mozart or Bach produced the best classical music ever, or Sergei Rachmaninov was the best piano player ever.

One thing is personal taste and childhood memories, another is actual technical skill. Regarding the latter, there is no contest. Deliberate practice and building on past findings make sure the best today outshine the best of yesterday. You just have to open your mind to it.


A Vermeer

Did you know that Hermann Göring, nazi extraordinaire nr 2, reacted as if he discovered evil for the first time, when he learned that his favorite painting (Supper at Emmaus), his treasured and exquisite Vermeer, the painter’s best work of all, was a forgery (Telegraph story here) made by the art broker himself?


That story in itself puts into perspective what we like, enjoy or love. Apparently it wasn’t the painting Göring liked, but its narrative. That’s a story for a different post on feelings, bonding, oxytocin, ownership, the human super ego narrative and much more.


Everything is awesome. So, be awesome. Don’t leave your supposed peak behind you. Summit another one.

Urban Deli Awesome

Break out of homeostasis. Discover. Listen to new music, enjoy new things. You can be certain you haven’t experienced the best, because the best is constantly being reinvented. Try painting, or (Big Wave) Stand Up Paddleboarding. I made my first two oil paintings over the course of the last two weeks.

Admittedly, my paintings were joint projects

Admittedly, my paintings were joint projects

The market is crashing. It’s just that it might be upward.

Everybody knows money printing can’t kick start the economy, given the state with too much debt already. It’s been proven now.

The central bankers, however, can’t admit defeat so they’ll just print ever larger amounts and distribute it in new and clever ways. More money and more or less the same assets (probably slightly less due to malinvestment) mean higher asset prices. I’m sticking to gold in that scenario, but stocks could very well work too.

Be positiveEverything is awesome anyway, so any other approach would just be ridiculous