This morning my husband shuffled out of our bedroom puffy-eyed and beaten. His shoulders were slumped, his eyes were sullen and his posture said ‘I’m defeated’.
It has been a horrible five days.
At the end of last week, the market crashed and we lost pretty much all of our investment in the stock market. Nobody seemed to foresee it. The so-called experts certainly didn’t. It just happened. In the space of five minutes, we spiralled from happy to horrified – before settling at numb.
It is not so much the money, as the loss of a dream, an expectation, a hope. This was our ‘Plan A’. We always said there was no ‘Plan B’. Chris gave it everything he had – waking at midnight and working through the early hours to take advantage of international trading hours. He spent months upon months, hours upon hours reading and researching to prepare for this. He studied the news, listened to the experts, bought the books, watched the markets, and still, bad luck came calling.
The problem is that bad luck always seems to call at my husband’s doorstep. It breaks my heart to see such a good man take another knock. There’s only so many times you can give the ‘brush yourself off, everything will be okay’ sermon before you finally want to scream ‘just give this guy a f**king break!’
Few people know that before we left the UK, Chris lost his beloved Dad, his best friend and his most avid supporter. Joe was a wonderful man who never, ever, lost faith in his youngest son. During his last few weeks of life, Chris became his dad’s primary carer. I have never seen someone care for another with such love and tenderness. He washed and bathed him, dressed him, cooked and fed him, talked to him, sat in silence with him and kissed his forehead goodnight. Joe was so convinced that trading foreign exchange was Chris’s destiny. He passed away certain that his son had finally found his calling.
The loss of our investment (temporarily, I hope) is insignificant in relation to how Chris feels about that today. If you have ever seen someone who feels like they have failed the very person they adore the most, you will know what distraught looks like. It doesn’t matter what I say. His heart is broken. We are certainly not out of the game, but today we lost our brightest player.
Perhaps next week I can convince him of his own abilities, breathe new life into his tattered confidence, assure him that he can still do this – but for now, I shall just give him the space and time to do what he needs to do; which is easier said than done when you know how self-critical he can be.
I know what will torture Chris the most. He will worry about what others think of him. It’s a fanciful notion, I believe, to live a life not caring about what others think of you. For someone who has been constantly misjudged and falsely represented, it is much harder to accept failure and disappointment. The ‘I told you so’ brigade is never far behind. Over the past two years, I have noticed that Chris has struggled to separate the view of others with the view he holds of himself – which saddens me because I want to scream from the rooftops ‘You got it so bloody wrong!’.
You see, I married an incredible man. And I know that today, he is beating himself up, not because bad luck came calling at his doorstep once again, but because he wanted this to work out for me – so that I could write without the pressure of worrying about money. He is crucifying himself today because he wanted success for me, more than he ever wanted it for himself. The very fact that he is allowing me to post this blog, as honest as it is, in support of my writing, when he fears how people will perceive him, is a testament to his love.
And it is, for this reason, I wish I was a better wife. Because, rather than rally to his side this weekend, when he needed my support the most, I decided, in true style, to try and find a solution – bringing on my own mini-meltdown! I spent all day urgently uploading my profile to a number of websites for freelance professionals, only to find that they were nothing more than virtual sweathouses for cheats looking to take advantage of semi-desperate individuals. It was totally demoralising.
Over the next day or two, we both had a massive panic attack – not literally, but in as much as we succumbed to doubt. To fear. To worry and the dreaded prospect of returning home penniless and broke. I jumped into the dark hole with him.
For the first time, we saw stupidity rather than bravery. Foolishness instead of courage. We berated ourselves over and over…
What the hell were we thinking, moving halfway across the world without a Plan B?
Did we blindly hope everything would work out for us because somehow we deserve to be rewarded for such spontaneous stupidity?
Why? Why would luck favour us? Why do we even deserve it?
Who are we kidding? Dragging two kids to Nicaragua – leaving our precious dog behind – without any preparation for when our nemesis ‘bad luck’ comes calling.
Will it still be worth it when our kids are eating baked beans out of a can in some shady B&B at the back of Molesworth Road?
Any idiot can squander money on a couple of years of amazing experiences – but to what end?
I started to wonder if all my previous blogs were just whimsical nonsense. Throw-away motivational quips that are easier to write than actually live by. Uncertainty is a bitch. Forget anything I have ever said contrary to that fact. Anticipating your fate sucks. ‘Flying by the seat of your pants’ is more terrifying than it is electrifying. Life is short but waiting for retirement may be the safer, more sensible option. Perhaps the tortoise and the hare principle does apply.
Patience is a virtue I do not possess. We may only be three weeks into this adventure, but I am already chomping at the bit to make something happen. Sitting here, in this tropical paradise, hoping for a miracle is not fun. I cannot simply wait for an opportunity to arise that will save us from a humiliating return to the UK in 10 months’ time. I need to do something! Action has to be better than sitting idly, hoping for good karma.
In a desperate state this morning, I asked a friend if she believed in good karma. I asked if she thought Chris’s efforts to save a dying sheep in 2012 should be rewarded. Or the time he changed the tyre for a distraught single mum…or when he waded into a river to push a trapped girl’s car from a perilous end…
‘Of course,’ she replied ‘I believe you get back what you send out. Don’t panic, a lot can happen in 10 months. Just keep throwing spaghetti against the wall and hope something sticks’.
Well, we threw our first batch of spaghetti against the wall – and the bloody lot fell off. We are now a heap of wet, twisted spaghetti lying on the floor wondering WTF happened!
But before we sell our soul and agree to list items on eBay for some jerk scammer at $1 an hour, I shall allow us to wallow for today. We are allowed to lick our wounds.
But tomorrow I am going to encourage us to get up, and go into town to watch the independence parade. Heads held high, we will wave our flags and cheer at the passing floats. We will smile and laugh with lovely people. We will embrace this amazing experience, and be grateful for life – and whatever it throws at us.
We are human. We are allowed to have a wobble – but as a good friend said ‘Just don’t unpack and stay there’.
Everything will be better in the morning. I shall cook another batch of spaghetti.
We WILL get back on that horse!