A year ago, the entire world went into its first stage of lockdown. One year later, most of the planet is still under various types of lockdowns.
But as the world marks a questionable anniversary, I still cannot quite believe how drastically the world changed almost overnight. If someone had told me a year ago that we would be in lockdown for a year, I would have called them insane.
At the same time, I think the lockdowns have taught us all some valuable lessons, and I would like to share some of those with you.
Health is wealth
I never take my good health for granted. I eat well, exercise regularly, and practice meditation. But my habits needed improvement too. I realized how vulnerable I am, and I adopted some additional changes like reducing sugar and adding more fruits and vegetables to my diet. Self-maintenance means respecting your body. It seems evident that everyone should invest in their health. As the saying goes, “If you cannot find time to nourish your health, you will sooner or later have to find time for illness.
Minimalism embraces a more balanced approach. Within a few days of the lockdown, I realized how much I spent on shopping and restaurants. In other words, the lockdowns have taught me that my basic living expenses are actually not high. I have also learned that cutting down on discretionary expenses doesn’t affect my life in any way. Having just enough to meet my needs, not my wants, is feasible.
Never too late to learn a new skill
I have never been short of hobbies. But some like travel photography became unthinkable during lockdowns. I knew that I did not want to waste my time and decided to find some new hobbies. One of my resolutions was to start this blog, and I did just that. Simultaneously, I adopted many other activities like hiking or even gardening. I doubt that I would have done any of these things if we were not for lockdown.
Lockdowns taught me the importance of routine
During the lockdown, I’ve learned that keeping a routine is vital. Being in lockdown taught me how much living in the present moment is essential. In other words, it’s ok to live one day at a time. Sudden life changes can be very overwhelming. So it is crucial to slow down and to focus on what you have under control now. For example, small things, like waking up early, meditating, exercising, eating regularly, or even going to bed at the same every night, make a huge difference.
Being alone is a good thing
I enjoy being alone. I come from a long line of loners in my family. However, lockdowns have clearly shown me that eliminating social contact can be an antidote to our stressful modern consumption-led world. Constant obsession with other people is not healthy. Of course, family and friends are indispensable, but we must not disregard our own lives. In other words, it’s crucial to help ourselves first before helping others. Self-inquiry and self-examination are the beginning of the actual transformation. There needs to be a balance between our social and private world to live in harmony.
New normal is here to stay
Remember when they told us last March that the lockdown will remain only for two weeks to “flatten the curve?” Well, here we are one year later. So let’s recap the current situation. For example, we’ve finally got the vaccines. But can we stop wearing masks if we get vaccinated? No. Can restaurants, fitness clubs, and hair salons reopen if we get vaccinated? No. In truth, it’s not even clear if the vaccines make us 100% resistant to the coronavirus or stop the transmission to others. As a result, we have to use common sense and see the world as it is. The “new normal” is here to stay, and we better get used to it.
Don’t fight the Fed
Although I’ve been trading stocks for over 20 years, I have often questioned their valuations. And I still do, but I stopped paying too much attention to fundamentals in lockdown. The world has changed.
Here’s how I like to think about it. If Fed decides to boost the markets by keeping the interest rate at zero and print money into oblivion, prices go up. In fact, the prices are not allowed to go down anymore. The bear markets are prohibited and corrections limited. To call it insane would an understatement. But this is the environment we live in right now. Some people are arguing that money printing has no impact on prices. Wrong. It’s has been proven over the last decade and that equities benefit through money printing. We always have to remember one thing: “don’t fight the fed.” When the most powerful institution in the world chooses to inflate the asset prices to the stratosphere, who am I to fight it. It’s much wiser to capitulate and ride the wave of the greatest bull market in history.
Bitcoin is the best chaos insurance
A year ago, the price of Bitcoin was roughly $5,000. Although I knew it would go up long-term, I would have never thought it will rise more than 12-times in a single year. It’s undeniable that Bitcoin is the clear winner of the lockdowns. Moreover, it’s dramatically replacing gold as a store of value, and it may soon displace bonds. Even the haters and the media capitulated. Bitcoin made me appreciate the value of asymmetric risk and exponential growth. And I’ve never been more bullish. In the new normal, Bitcoin, crypto, and DeFi are just getting warmed up.
In conclusion, one point is clear.
The world we’re going into is not the same as the one we’re leaving behind. And the sooner we accept it, the better our lives will become. That is to say, by living in fear and denial, we’re only hurting ourselves. As Taoists like to say, uncertainty is life’s only certainty. And if I had to learn just one thing from all this madness, it would be to stay resilient.