Apr 7th, 2021
Today I is my birthday, and this has caused me pause for reflection over the year it has been. The pandemic has disrupted life to a degree no one thought possible, and has provided an opportunity to test for personal resilience and adaptive ability. The K shaped recovery is real, with many people doing very well, and many people suffering. My observations have been that those with the proclivity to learn have quickly acquired the skills needed to thrive, while those unwilling or unable to learn are being left further and further behind. Those able to adapt thrive, those who do not suffer the loss of income and health.
A quick summary of my year:
- On the personal side, my family moved, my sister moved, and my parents moved, all within a few months of each other. In each case welcome changes to better homes, but as you know moving is a lot of work!
- We also buried my grandmother and a day later my uncle. The were not COVID deaths, but losing both so close to each other during lockdowns and in the background of the pandemic made saying goodbye under these circumstances feel increasingly difficult.
- I've found myself caught in the cliche of the tweener generation with young children and aging parents relying on me. It's a joy to be of service to the people you love, but as anyone who's been in this place can attest, also a burden at times. My wife and I also experienced a health scare that turned out to be nothing, but nevertheless that brought the brevity of life into full focus.
- My rental business has grown and expanded into 2 additional markets, both into towns of about 10,000 people, one in BC and one in AB. This has involved hiring more staff and implementing new software.
- I've simplified life by selling some townhomes during this bull run in real estate, and also sold a couple houses with partners, helping them realize gains of 207% in 7 years, 177% in 7 years, and 1000% in 10 years.
Key takeaway - I recently listened to Megan McArdle's interview with Russ Roberts on his show EconTalk. They talked at length how it is impossible to be ready for every disaster scenario that may occur, and actually a bad idea because the insurance for prevention comes with opportunity cost. I'll read Russ' comment because no one says it better than he did:
"I would argue that that is the single biggest lesson of the pandemic: that, it's not, 'What do we do to prevent the next one?' And, I think this is true for all of the examples that you give--the power grid, the Yellowstone volcano--it's not, 'What do we do to prevent the next one?' It's, 'What do we do to adapt to the next one?'
And, the insurance for adaptability I would argue is cheaper than the insurance for prevention. And, one of the reasons is that the insurance for prevention is a really bad idea if that thing never comes back again. But the insurance for adaptability has lots of applications. And the vaccine is a perfect example. We're going to get all kinds of pleasant things, I think, out of the science that went into that. There are all kinds of ways when adaptation is possible for dealing with more than just this crisis. "
So there you have it, the key to surviving and thriving in the year behind us and the years ahead of us is to always ensure we have the capacity to adapt to the world around us.