Are you into anniversaries?
Do you remember your own?
When you first met someone or got married?
Hopefully, those are good anniversaries, filled with good memories.
But not always. And not all anniversaries.
I remember 30 years ago this past February, my mom died, and my dad had a very tough time some months later that year when it was his wedding anniversary, the first one in nearly 40 years he was without her.
He was lost. He was so alone. And his only comfort that anniversary day was a treasured wedding album and some old home movies.
Happier times. Better times. Times long gone. But not forgotten. Still raw. For him, very tough.
That's the thing about anniversaries.
They can jar us back to moments we wish we could have again.
And maybe moments we'd just as soon forget.
Like today's, remembering the great stock market crash 30 years ago.
Recalling all the money lost that day, and the real estate crash that would follow that day, and all the lives and careers up-ended that day. Many of us would rather forget that day.
We remember what we lived, if we were old enough to live it.
What was going through our own heads, our own minds, in our own lives?
I see those images of myself covering that crash 30 years ago. I seemed so young. So in the moment. But I also remember so well, being so sick.
You see, not that this should matter to any of you, but you know another thing I remember about that day?
At the time, I was going through chemotherapy, trying to work through an advanced stage of Hodgkin's disease, because I was so panicked I would lose my job if I didn't show up.
Believe me, I'm not trying to make you feel sorry for me, but if it does halt you from writing a nasty email, so be it.
But these images bring it all back for me.
Just like they bring my dad back, even though he's gone.
Or a world on the financial brink back, even though that talk's gone too.
That's the thing about anniversaries, good or bad, they force us to go back in time whether we like what we see or not.
Even the painful ones, the ones that remind us of a time we lost a lot of money, like 30 years ago.
Or something far more precious, like 9/11, now more than 16 years ago.
My dad used to say the bad thing about getting older is realizing you ain't getting any younger.
Anniversaries are meant to sort that stuff out.
The stuff that matters and you really miss.
And the stuff that matters and you don't really miss.
And you don't really want to look back, but you have to.
The date compels you to.
I like to think there is some comfort in that.
In looking back at a time from which we thought we'd never recover.
But we did.
And some loved ones we took for granted would always be there.
But they're not.
Such is time and such is life.
Such is the magic of an anniversary that reminds us all of the fragility of both.
Whether we're looking back at stocks then.
Or just trying to take stock now.