Thursday, July 29, 2010

ROT: Return on Tomatoes

I eat dinner every Sunday with my family, usually my parents, sister, her husband, and my girlfriend. At the beginning of every summer my parents always planted a small garden. Ever since I was a kid, they'd be in the backyard tilling the soil, planting seeds and just getting plain old dirty.

This past Sunday, I walked around the house to check out how the garden was coming along and was surprised by what I saw. Of course, I saw the zucchini, fresh peppers, lettuce, and some other lil' knick knacks in there, but what really caught my eye were the tomatoes. There were tons of them, some riper than others of course, but it was the shear number of them that made me really see them in a different light.

I couldn't help but think of how novel the idea of a garden is. You spend some time doing a little research on how to garden, then spend some time planting, getting dirty and tired in the sun. And once you're done, you're not done. You gotta water...and wait....and water...and wait...until something starts to grow.

But when you finally see the pay off it, you learn something. Something just clicks. About how doing something today and letting it grow for tomorrow really ends up working out. This can apply to your career, relationships, finances, and even your hopes and dreams. Gardening...I mean its a really novel idea, and the pay off is astounding in two ways. First because if you've never tasted a fresh homegrown tomato you haven't lived, and second, because of the pride you must get from knowing that "I...created...this."

How similar to life gardening is, especially investing. We put away money, not knowing how it'll ripen or what it will truly yield. During the interim watering periods nothing seems to happen. During dry spells some stocks shriveling and dying...others coming close, all the while we're sweating, and watering, and sweating, and watering!

Yet there's one thing that a garden can teach you about stocks, and its that all the tomatoes don't ripen at the same time. Some turn red before others, so while you're picking today's salad or sandwich topping there are still others that are there for tomorrow.

Just concentrate on the ones that are turning ripe today, and leave the unripe ones for another day.

So maybe its time to ask you: how's your garden coming along?