I've been thinking about investments quite a bit lately.
The current state of the stock market is akin to a big Fire Sale - an opportunity to pick up a great deal. Being that I'm in my early 30s, I'm in a position to take some risks and invest long term - knowing my investment will offer a significant profit when I'm ready to cash it in.
Right now I'm eying GM. The company is the nation's largest automaker and I'm fairly confident the federal government won't let it collapse. A couple weeks ago a share of GM was trading at nine dollars and change. Today it closed at 13 and change. Despite the small improvement, GM's value is significantly lower than it was in months and years past. In February, the automaker was trading at almost 29 dollars - and it was trading at more than 54 dollars a share in January of 2004.
It would likely be worth my time and investment to sink some cash into GM - knowing I can ride the wave up and watch the returns come in down the road.
Relationships are a bit like investments.
You make a commitment to spend time getting to know someone. Along the way, you create memories and you open yourself up, sharing your personal dreams, challenges, weaknesses and beliefs.
In some relationships, the return on your investment is evident at the start. You discover a connection almost immediately - and you form a bond that supports your investment of time, energy and emotion.
Other relationships - whether they be with friends, significant others or co-workers - are slow to take off. In hindsight, though, they are worth far more than you anticipated at the beginning. Much like a stock that climbs slow and steady, the bond that develops over many years has the potential to result in one of the most trusted and revered relationships for a person.
Remember the dot.com craze? A ton of mythical, internet-related corporations experienced a boom. Their value shot through the roof, and then many crashed and were worth pennies on the dollar. The same is true for some friendships. They are all flash, no substance. Sometimes it's a short term connection or association that brings two people together, other times it's a bond of circumstance. Either way, the two people involved are unable to form a deeper, enduring bond. Instead, their connection kicks off with a frenzy and then fizzles out after its swift ascent.
I know I've had my fair share of those relationships.
These days, I'm looking for something with reliable returns, whether they be in my romantic endeavors or my potential friendships. I don't have time to foster a swift and disappointing relationship - but I certainly have the time to commit to something that will withstand the challenges of time.
Much like your financial investments, it's important to be able to rely on your relationships when you need them.