Quick Post: Take a Break

Over the summer, I got a chance to watch Hamilton in NYC twice with my lovely wife Megan. It was truly a treat, and that is saying a lot because I generally don’t relate well to musicals. These days, when we take a long car ride as a family, I really like listening to the soundtrack in sequential order. There are a ton of themes in Hamilton, written from the perspective of the American Revolution, which I feel like I can personally relate to. To me this is the genius of how the story is told – everyone can find something to relate to. It is also really cool that Lin-Manuel Miranda is from Puerto Rico and I am really looking forward to his special shows in PR in about a year’s time. We will definitely be going to at least a couple of them.

Anyways, the theme that really hit me today was Taking a Break. In the show, it is Alexander Hamilton taking a break from work to spend some time with his wife and kids. This hits me every time I hear it because I am constantly working, usually doing research for new trade ideas for my investment fund, SG3 Capital. It’s quite a conundrum for me, and getting work-family balance is really difficult in our house. I must say, I owe a lot to my wife who “gets it” and is so supportive of me managing my own fund.

In any event, this weekend I managed to spend nearly the whole weekend with the most beautiful woman in the world and the Minions, and while I didn’t get a ton of sleep, it was well worth it. We got to go out to a really nice dinner at The Dutch in Miami, which managed to combine the best of The Dutch in NYC which is an old brunch favorite of ours, and Andrew Carmellini’s best (in my humble opinion) restaurant in New York, Locanda Verde, where my wife generously threw me a lavish 30th birthday party in their private room nearly 4 years ago. While Miami is quite the scene this week with Art Basel in town, The Dutch managed to serve up an awesome meal with service to match.

Saturday and Sunday were all kids all the time. They woke both mornings at the crack of dawn and were NON-STOP! We managed to make the most of a rainy day by going to Just 4 Fun, and it was insane on a Saturday afternoon. While I hate crowds like that, I am glad we found the place because the kids had a blast and there is one in Puerto Rico! On Sunday we went to a mall and managed to find some great deals. We did have a plan to make it to Chuck E. Cheese, but luckily that didn’t happen – can you envision that place on a Sunday afternoon?

Now of course, I am back in the office working… but it was good to TAKE A BREAK. Now if I can just get a full nights sleep…

Note: I plan to get back to the serious topics in my last post on Humanity as soon as possible, but I might not get the time with the holidays right around the corner.

Humanity

This is a subject I have been thinking about deeply for the past few weeks and I finally had time this past weekend to put some of my thoughts into words. The general theme here is humanity, or rather, the lack thereof, that I feel like I see on a day to day basis. It is something that has really been bothering me because I don’t want my kids growing up in a world without hope or optimism. Over the past year or so, I really feel like our country, and this world as a whole, have been going in the wrong direction. From the divisive politics we see on both sides of the aisle, to the lack of a strong humanitarian response to a natural disaster that has affected three million Americans, it saddens me to see the direction we are headed. I will touch on a bunch of different themes where I see a lack of “humanity” and then I plan to explore each theme in a future post. I hope that by getting my thoughts down, I can find pockets of positivity and ways to influence the world and help make it a better place for my kids to grow up in.

The most immediate personal situation which has been upsetting to me has certainly been the slowness and general lack of response to Hurricane Maria which ravaged Puerto Rico in September. It has now been almost two months since the storm, and some of the more populated areas are getting closer to some normalcy, but the island as a whole is still in bad shape. The response from many private citizens was quite uplifting to me: I had random people reach out to make donations and find out how to conduct relief missions. This is typical when the destruction is front and center in the news cycle, but the rebuilding on the island will take many months if not years before things are normal. I sincerely am hopeful that the rebuild actually rebuilds in a way that will make infrastructure stronger so that this doesn’t happen again when the next storm rolls through, but I am also wary of the band-aid approaches which get things closer to normal but don’t actually fix the longer term problems. What is really sad though is the slow and minimal response from a higher level – the federal government. These are US Citizens, Americans, who are suffering, who are leaving their homes to build new lives on the mainland, because they aren’t getting the help they need. I really hope our government can get their act together and show more support for Puerto Rico in terms of federal financial aid.

Another thing that has been really bothering me has been the seemingly ubiquitous harassment and assault that takes place amongst people in positions of authority. I won’t mention names, but in the past few months countless Hollywood heavyweights, politicians, and titans of business have been named as being serial abusers and harassers of people working for them. In most cases, it is older, powerful men who are taking advantage of younger, less powerful women in ways that are downright sickening. One particular story hit me quite close to home, as my family knew the family of one of those in the headlines. The thought that my daughters are being raised in this world where this type of stuff happens is not just worrisome, it angers me. It shakes me to my core. I guess to some degree, I knew this behavior took place in some circles, but I didn’t realize how prevalent it was until it made headlines. It takes a lot of courage for people to tell these stories and stand up to their abusers, so I commend those who have done so, while at the same time, I get how difficult it must be. I just want to try to change this world, so that my daughters are not subjected to these same problems when they are older.

The next theme on my mind is less specific: I have been noticing general fraud and shady behavior more and more recently. I don’t know if this is an actual change in the world that is happening, or if I just happen to notice this behavior more at this point in my life. In some ways, it feels like 2008 all over again, when the fraud was mostly in the financial services and real estate industries, but now it seems like it is in every industry I see. I plan to get into some specific examples of the behavior I’ve found fraudulent or shady in a future post, but the bad behavior I personally have become a target of is really disconcerting, and it makes me sad because I am guessing there is a lot worse stuff going on out there to other people.

The last few themes that have me losing faith in humanity are politics, terrorism, and global warming. Our political climate seems to be one where politicians don’t seem to care about actually helping people. Its sad because I can’t even see why anyone would even want to go into public service anymore with all the personal attacks and crony behavior which is engulfed our government, on both sides of the aisle. Terrorism has recently hit quite close to (a former) home of mine, with the tragic attack on the West Side Highway in New York City, which literally happened a block from where I lived in 2015. While I realize that more people die from car accidents and other tragic events, the threat of terrorism is quite real, and is one of the reasons I pushed for our family to move from New York to Puerto Rico. It is sad that I have this (somewhat irrational) fear, but nevertheless, that is the world we live in, and it’s very unfortunate. Climate change is a touchy subject for some, but having witnessed natural disasters both in New York and in Puerto Rico, I am convinced rising water temperatures are to blame for the increase in storm activity seen around the globe. I think a concerted global effort is needed to begin to switch to cleaner energy and help save this planet for our children and future generations.

This post describes broad and complex subjects which I want to explore in more detail in future blog posts. Generally speaking, my mood is quite sad right now about the state of our world and the lack of humanity and decency I see out there. I hope to expand on each of these themes with more specific examples and my end goal will be to find some green shoots of optimism which maybe can restore my faith in humanity. I want to find ways to help change things for the better so my children grow up to have happier and more meaningful lives. While right now I don’t have a lot of answers or solutions, I hope that by exploring these subjects in greater depth, I will find ways to make the world a better place.

Sunset at Bonnaroo music festival

IMG_1096I took this picture on the third day of the Bonnaroo music festival, on our way to go see the Red Hot Chili peppers on the What stage. This year we were lucky enough to experience some of the best weather Bonnaroo has had in years. Throughout the whole week the temperature stayed in the mid 70s- low 80s without a cloud in the sky. Each night the sunset seemed more beautiful than the last.

-SG