NASDAQ, S&P 500, DOW–The stock market. Truth be told, I don’t really get it. The decimals, percentages, red & green, plus & minus signs…it’s all gibberish to me. Seems like a scam to make the Fortune 500 companies become Fortune 600 companies. Obviously, I’m ignorant on the matter. But let’s humor the economist out there and agree there’s probably some productive purpose for the stock market.
And actually… we have recently invested some of our money into the stock market so I have been forced to learn a few things about it. First thing I learned is that it goes up and down, up and down,…daily. There’s no determining if tomorrow is going to be an up day or a down day. The second thing is that since 1930 (aka the Great Depression), there has never been a 15 year span where the stock market didn’t go up overall. The third thing I noted is that the worst thing you can do on a low day, is pull out and sell your stock. The last thing I learned is that you can drive yourself mad by worrying about stock market trends each day.
So why the heck am I ranting about the stock market if I don’t care too much about it? Well, since starting this blog, my mind has been set to look for metaphors, similes, and parallels to life in everything. Here you have it: Life is like the stock market.
When looking at our life a week or even a month at a time it’s easy to think that we are living on a giant roller coaster going nowhere. One day we are able to weasel ourselves out of bed at 6 a.m., de-dust the house (why do we call it “dust the house”? I’m certainly not putting more dust down on my horizontal surfaces), take the kids to Chuck E. Cheese’s, send a get well soon card to grandma, finish a school project, and make a more-than-one-course meal for dinner. Then the very next day we sleep in, watch 9 re-runs of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, feed the kids 4 day old withered up mac & cheese, beat another level of candy crush, and retire to bed realizing we didn’t even put a brassiere on all day.
But as we zoom out to look at our overall trend, it’s clear to see that all our days, whether good or bad are leading us upward. I was perusing through an old journal the other day and couldn’t help but laugh at how pathetic I was. The content consisted of “boys being dumb”, family vacations and “boys sometimes being cute”. The goals I had set back then almost seem like second nature to me now. My maturity status is in the clouds compared to my freshman year of college. And it was apparent that my spirituality is on a much higher level now than when I was 18. My penmanship was perhaps the only thing didn’t improve in 5 years. I was completely unaware of my growth until I looked through a zoomed-out retrospective lens.
I guess what I’m trying to say is… don’t worry. Don’t worry about your life’s day to day trends. Put your time and effort in, and then trust that you will grow exponentially. Don’t worry if you botched your New Years resolutions already…(like everyone else). Don’t worry if you run into a “stock market crash” kind of day, hang in there and keep going. Things will get good again. Don’t worry if you feel like your life has plateaued and you’ve been stuck in the same stage for years. Take comfort in knowing that the things you are experiencing right now are adding up little by little and are shaping you into the person you need to be for the future. Don’t worry if you feel like you weren’t any better today than you were yesterday. Because I promise you that you are better today than you were 5 years ago. And you will be better in 5 years than you are today.