72 Hours of Fear

Juan Orozco
Juan Orozco

This evening, I stared a bit longer in the mirror; at my hairline. I think my hair visibly thinned over the weekend. My hairline isn't something I fret over; it is moving, but I can't do anything about it. I'm trying to be more of a Stoicist in my 40s; I'm trying to be more, you know, "WWMAD"? I'm starting to wonder if the last few years would try even Marcus Aurelius' dedication to calm.

Take this weekend, for example. Well, let's rewind a bit.


I'm in a particularly difficult retro as we are discussing some heavy topics. We're making good progress talking about some systemic issues we're facing, which gives me hope.

Slack dings. An "@everyone" ping from the general channel. It's our CEO. SVB just shut down. All our money is in that bank. Our entire runway. Our next paycheck. Suddenly, it becomes challenging to focus on the retro discussion.

I can't do anything about our financial situation, but I can give this retro and my team my complete attention. Besides, our CEO is on it and will keep us updated. I trust him.

I hear a voice in between the retro chatter, a very familiar voice. It sounds like... me. Me, but from 2008. "We're in danger! A bank shutting down is a VERY bad thing! Do something! AVENGE ME!" Me from 2008 is incredibly dramatic, but is he wrong?

Retro is over, and I take to the internet. I start reading up on what has transpired. I start trying to understand the banking system, how they make money from thin air, and how they are and aren't regulated. Me from 2008 was a fool. He thought he was smart but never really understood the crisis back then. Me from 2023 will not make the same mistake. I'm not looking to be an expert; I'm not looking for blame or theories - I need a better understanding of the situation.

I rush to my wife and update her on the news. The next pay cycle might be delayed, but it should come. After that, though... well, it's up to the universe to decide.


Sleep came quickly Friday night but was interrupted in the early morning by kids getting up for a glass of water. Suddenly, my mind decided it was a good time to make sense of our situation to come up with possibilities and responses for each outcome. If this, then that; repeat. After about an hour of deep processing, I come up for air and realize what I'm doing. "I need to sleep," I tell myself. I try. I failed for a bit but finally succeeded.

More news reading. More searching for understanding - hacker news, Reddit, youtube, (I avoid Twitter as much as possible). I find that everyone has an opinion and that they do stink. I do some napkin math and realize that our company will be ok for a month or two just on the insured portion of our deposits. That gives me a very short time to find a new job. Our savings aren't significant after years of inflation and travel, but there's a bit there.

The sun is out today. It is a beautiful day. The first beautiful day in a long time after a barrage of atmospheric rivers. Is it still a phenomenon, or can we call it the weather now? Either way, we pack up the kids and head out to the park to enjoy the sunlight.

I bring my iPad and start looking for jobs. The sun feels excellent reflecting off the iPad screen, though.

I end the day reading more news. The bank closing hit Etsy, Roku, and more. Some Etsy shop owners can't get paid. Smaller companies are going to have to close their doors. I shake my head. How many of these people were close to profitability or some measure of success before the rug was pulled out from under them?


Sleep takes a bit to find me, but it finds me until someone gets up and makes noises at 4 in the morning. Great. Time to reprocess all the possibilities again. Did anything change? No, not really, but let's think about it allll over again, just in case I wasn't stressed out. Again, after about an hour, I convince myself that sleep is more important.

Oh, awesome. We still haven't rid ourselves of daylight savings time. Great, I'm sure this banking thing will get resolved as quickly as removing daylight savings.

I try to keep myself busy throughout the day. I make coffee. I clean the kitchen. I make lunch. I clean the kitchen. I finally decided that I was losing too much sleep over this and convinced my body to stop worrying.

At some point, while pretending not to be worried, I reflexively open NPR on my phone. The government is going to make all deposits whole. I read the article twice.

We watch Wakanda Forever as a family. I cry a couple of times, once for Chadwick Boseman and once for Talokan (what could my ancestors have built if they weren't enslaved and destroyed by colonizers?). Being in the moment with the family for the first time all weekend felt good.

Now (still Sunday)

A numbness takes me as I stare at the mirror. I push my hair around. Monday morning will be busy for many people—time for some sleep.