Personal Investments

Want to laugh?
I’m going to be 47 in a few weeks. Some way, somehow, 47 years have gone by. I laugh to myself and say, “Who’d a thunk it?”
47 years . . .

This includes 47 years of living and 47 years of lessons. I’ve lived some. I’ve learned some too.
I’ve lost some and gain some and met some people that have changed the way I see the world.
I have met people that taught me how to live (and how not to.) I loved some and hated some and wept some. I’ve laughed though. I’ve seen things that no one else has ever seen and experienced things that no one else will ever experience.
I suppose we all have our own uniqueness—and me, well, I have been working on my special craft for almost 47 years now. I’ve been learning to pull off my trick and just waiting for the right moment to say, “Tada!”

47 years is still young though. It’s very young as a matter of fact. To some who may read this, 47 is too young to complain about age. To some readers, 47 years might seem like lifetimes away and too old to even consider.

I remember a girl on a train called me “The old guy,” a few years back.
She was standing near the doors and talking to her friends.
She was loud too. She kept telling her friends, “That old guy keeps looking up at me.”
Obviously, I thought she meant someone else because I mean, I may look like a lot of things but in no way shape or form do I look like an old guy.

She was loud though and carrying on to her friends. She complained again. “See? He did it again.” she said.
“That old guy keeps looking up at me.”
One of her friends that were standing in the group suggested that perhaps this might be because “The old guy,” might recognize her from somewhere or maybe it was because she was standing near the doors in the middle of the train.
She mentioned this again and then a light went on in “The old guy’s” brain.
I looked up once more and said, “Wait a minute, am I the old guy?”

The girl was blonde-haired and blue-eyed. She was not overly pretty but she was not ugly. She was mildly attractive, featured well with a body that no one would be ashamed to have. As I saw it though, she appeared to be trying hard for the attention from her friends.
As far as “The old guy” was concerned, namely me, I was just sitting on the train and trying to read my paper because that’s what us old guys do!

“You keep looking at me,” said the girl.
“That’s because you’re loud and standing in the middle of the train.”

Her face changed as if she smelled an awful stench. Her friends (and I assume a guy that she was trying to impress) all laughed at her as she let out an obnoxious “Ucchhh,” sound and replied, “Whatever!”
She twitched of her head with the snide face of a crooked upper lip and slightly raised eyebrow.

I guess I get it though. Maybe I was no different.
The 27 year-old version of me never thought much about what life would be like at 47.
Or, in the crazier moments of my life, the more aggressive version of me might not have believed I would make it to 37, let alone 47.

See, I used to think I had a million tomorrows. I used to take the idea of tomorrow for granted. I never thought I would grow old. I never thought I would ever look back and say, “I wish I did this,” or I wish I did that.”
I never thought I would look back at the lives I encountered and the people I befriended and considered my investment of time with regret or contempt.
I never thought much about any of my investments. I never thought much about my future when I was younger. I only thought about the here and now. I thought about instant gratification. I never realized what it truly means to cultivate a relationship, to nurture its future, or to invest wisely so that my return would be plentiful.

I have friends and a few people in my family that have an understanding of the stock market. They talk about stocks. They talk about investments. They talk about the return on their investments. They invest their money to receive a profitable gain.
I get that,
I have another friend that gives investment advice. He talks about how to invest and receive a better return on your investment.

I’ve never invested much money. I had a garage sale when I was a kid though. We made a little money on it, which was good. I’m sure Mom and The Old Man appreciated my efforts—I’m also sure they were a little pissed though when they learned that I sold some of the things in the house that were theirs. But hey, what can I tell you—I was a little kid, younger than 12 and my friend Walowitz and me wanted to make a little money.

 I know I have an annuity and a pension. I suppose those are investments too, right? But that’s my Union’s investment. My Union  invests and when I retire, which, according to the way things look now isn’t going to be for at least another 20 years, then I get the returns—and I hope the return is good.
Then again, I assume everyone hopes their returns will be good.

We invest a lot more than just money. We invest in time. We invest in people. We invest in words. We invest in instances and accidents and slips of the tongue. We invest in emotion and in anger.
If we’re smart, we invest in us. If we’re smart, we invest our time in people, places, and things as wisely as possible because these are the investments that pay us back most.

The people we have in our life and the places where we live or we stay, the things we do and the way we do them are all part of a long term investment.

I had to learn how to change the way I invest. I had to learn about who to invest in and how. I had to learn about something called the Sunk Cost Fallacy, which means if I am on the losing end of an investment, if I invest more, I stand to lose more. Sometimes investing more will not and cannot help me recover the loss. Sometimes it is best to cut my losses and invest somewhere else.

Sometimes we invest with the heart and we are too afraid to lose, and therefore, we lose more and more and we nearly bankrupt ourselves (both physically and emotionally) when in fact, if we thought clearly for a minute; if we used logic instead of strictly emotion and paid attention to the warning signs, we could have cashed in long ago. Instead, we invested with ego and had to ride the investment to the ground and watched it burn before our eyes.

Take that girl on the train.
You know . . . the one I was telling you about before—remember?
She was the one that called me the old guy.
There was a time when I used to invest on the insults of others. There was a time when I would hold this and let my personal stock drop in value.  
I used to invest on my insecurity and my anxiety. I used to invest in arguments and warfare.

I will be 47 years old this September 20, 2019

Maybe this lesson took a long time. Maybe this lesson took longer to learn than it would for other people. Either way, at least I learned. At least now I can invest wisely instead of finding me in a worse investment, only to invest more so that I don’t lose (or so I can save my face.)

Everything we do, everyone we speak with, and everyone we meet is an opportunity to invest. I just say it’s best to invest wisely. I say I have to do this because of all things, I can tell you that I don’t want to look back during the last days of my life and wish that I invested differently.

As far as I can tell, neither do you . . .

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