How Secure Is Your Income?

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off nicely.

I woke up this morning thinking back to when I was a young boy, probably 12 or 13. Yes, I can remember that far back, thank you. Times were a lot easier then. Not because times have changed that much, but all I had to worry about were pimples and girls. As it turnHow Bied out, there wasn’t much I could do about either of them, so all that worrying was for nothing.

One of our pastimes back then was daredevil stunts on our bicycles. Understand, this was way before the days of bicycle helmets, which probably explains a lot. Yes, I bounced off the ground a few times. And our default response was to figure out what went wrong, then do it again a little faster.

That was in the days when Evel Knievel was a star, and you could instantly spot a home with an adolescent boy by the makeshift ramp in the front yard. It was pretty simple, actually. A narrow sheet of thin plywood propped across a big rock, with a loose gravel approach and a car parked in the landing area. What could possibly go wrong?

Suffice to say we suffered our fair share of scrapes and bruises, and I’m pretty sure Dad knew the source of those scratches on the side of the car. We’d hit the ramp, the plywood would shift, we’d go off sideways, and flip over the handlebars when we landed on the front tire. A little Bactine and some fresh bandages, and we were at it again. “See if you can find a bigger rock!”

If this sounds even remotely familiar, welcome to my world. I wasn’t a daredevil by any stretch. I was just a typical boy having fun. And I guess that mentality hung around long enough to drive some of the decisions I make today. No guts, no glory. I’m pretty sure my car has a spare tire, but I couldn’t begin to say if it has any air in it because I’ve never checked.

Dad used to drill that into me … “Check the air in that spare tire, boy!” Okay, Dad came from an age where tires were a little less reliable and driving around on “may-pops” was a time-honored tradition. He’s told me several times about a short trip where he got a flat, put on the spare, and then the spare tire went flat. Sometimes, you just can’t win.

Driving around without a spare tire isn’t overly intelligent, even though a lot of newer cars don’t have one anyway. But it’s something we never think about until we need it. Then all of a sudden, we find religion. “God, PLEEEEZE let this thing have air!”

We’re in the middle of some very unsettling times, and all indications are that we’re nowhere near the end. In fact, it seems to be ramping up again. Millions of people are unemployed, and those of us who were lucky enough to keep our job the first time may not be so lucky again. A lot of companies are barely surviving and one more blow will finish them off.

The question is, do you have a spare tire? Does it have any air in it? “I’ve got a few bucks in the bank.” That’s great. How long would it last if you had to live on it? For most of us, the answer is “not long.” A month or two? Maybe six? What happens after that? Hopefully that spare tire is capable of breathing in new air, because it’ll go flat long before you’re done using it.

Now, more than ever, we need multiple streams of income. I’ve always been able to add in a little with stand-up comedy and freelance writing, but it’s never quite enough to live on. How about you? If you had to suddenly start paying the bills without a weekly paycheck, what would you do? This isn’t about doom & gloom. It’s about having something to fall back on, just in case.

Dig the well before you get thirsty. I didn’t make that one up, but it’s one of my favorite quotes. Are there things you could do to earn an income if you suddenly lost your job? Sure, there are dozens. But most, if not all, will take a fair amount of time to get started and up to speed. Meanwhile, those bills just keep coming.

The time to start is now, before you need it. Hopefully the need will never arise, but what’s the worst that happens then? You have extra money and have to figure out how to spend it? That’s a problem I could live with. And if the need does arise, you simply shift gears. Challenges are only a problem when we’re not ready for them. When we are, they’re just another path to success.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Just Visualize Your Dreams – Get Pictures!

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

I’m writing to you today from a tropical beach, complete with palm trees, coconuts, a salty breeze, and wooden lounge chairs just beckoning me to come lie in the sun. That’s my view right now. Okay, if my mouse pad was a little larger. You know, like large enough to cover an entire window. Sometimes we have to take what we’ve got and add a little imagination.

I know what you’re thinking. Mouse pad? Do people still use those? Bet he hears screeching tones when he connects to the internet! Yes, I get it. I’m old. Well, old enough. But the fact is, the RV tabletop is too shiny for the mouse to work right, so my wife bought me an old-fashioned mouse pad from the ‘80s to go with my black knee socks and sandals. So there.

If you’ve been reading these messages any time at all, you know I’m a big proponent of using visual images to feed your dreams. And if you know that, you know how much I yearn for a sunny beach. Jimmy Buffett said it best. “Salt air, it ain’t thin … it’ll stick right to your skin, makes you feel fine.” Yes, it does. And I need me some. Next trip.

You probably already know this, but our mind thinks in pictures. Even in conversation, if somebody mentions another person’s name, you immediately see their face. If they mention work, you see your cubicle or toolbox. And if they mention Paris, you see the Eiffel Tower. Well, people don’t talk about the beach often enough, so I carry a picture of my own to keep it fresh.

Keep those pictures where you’ll see them all through the day, and the dream stays fresh as well. I kept a picture of a motorhome on my desk for almost five years. Now I’m looking through the window. Don’t worry, it’s mine. You can get in a lot of trouble looking through somebody else’s window. Don’t ask me how I know that.

But, as I’ve mentioned before, the motorhome isn’t really the dream – it’s the means to achieve the dream, which is to travel across this nation and wake up each morning to a different view. It’s to take the grandkids on vacations they’ll never forget, and to explore places we’ve never been. And it’s to figure out where we want to retire. Or should I say, on which beach?

See, that’s the fun thing about dreams. They don’t have to be realistic. I know how much it costs to live on the beach, and the bank says that’s not happening any time soon. Well, the bank doesn’t care, but the people selling beachfront property might. Still, it’s not like you can’t make a little more money. Or a lot. When there’s a will, there’s a way.

There are campgrounds in this country that cost as much per night as I typically spend for a week. And they’re full of people who probably didn’t bat an eye at the amount. It’s all a matter of perspective. If a hamburger is what you can afford, a steak is astronomical. And if a steak is what you can afford, there are still restaurants whose prices will make you choke.

But that doesn’t, or shouldn’t, stop you from dreaming. As long as money itself isn’t the dream. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a nicer house, a nicer car, a bigger boat, or even a better cut of meat. Granted, all of those things pale in comparison to what matters most in life, but nothing says you can’t live it up along the way. Just keep it in perspective.

Pictures feed dreams. Now, I don’t have a picture of steak and lobster on my wall, but if somebody suggests it I can conjure up an image really quick. What I do have are travel books and RV campground guides to feed those dreams. Besides, no matter where I go, I can get just about any kind of food I want. Getting there is the first priority.

Next time you see a picture of something you’d like to enjoy, cut it out and put it where you can see it every day. The more you look at it, the more real it begins to feel. And when it begins to feel real – even possible – you begin to find ways to make it happen. Ways you may never have imagined. Odds are, nobody else did, either. Which makes the road that much faster for you.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Put A Little Adventure In Your Life!

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is off to a great start.

On my personal page, I wrote a few days ago that it’s been 44 years since I left home for a career in the Navy. Lots of things I’ve forgotten about the 1970s, and for good reason. But I’ll never forget that day. In fact, if I think hard enough, I can probably remember something significant from every hour.

I joined the Navy to see the world and sail the seven seas. In my first four years, I saw Orlando, Memphis, and Key West, and the closest I came to sailing was getting drunk on my friend’s boat. In the second four years, though, I more than made up for it. My last cruise took me all the way around the world. Okay, the first half was in a plane, but it still counts.

At the 12-year mark, I traded in my sea legs for a tractor-trailer rig and spent the next year driving across 22 states. By the end of that first year, every truck stop I pulled into on the eastern half of the country, I remember thinking, “I’ve been here before.” More often than not, I was right.

 We’ve been doing the RV thing, part-time, for just under six months. And already, we’re finding a lot of familiar scenery and a couple of favorite gas stations. On our next trip, we’re actually planning the first day to get us as far as a Cracker Barrel where we spent the night on a previous trip, simply because they have a parking space that fits our coach perfectly. Wow.

Thankfully, most of our trips have been to someplace different. This next trip, after we pass that Cracker Barrel, will be something new. Okay, we’ve been there before, but in a car and we stayed in a hotel, so that doesn’t count. And while we’re there, we’ll spend some time in our campground directory planning out the next trip. This is what it’s all about.

There’s something to be said for stability and knowing what each day will hold, but life should be an adventure. We should try different things, visit different places, make new friends, sample different cuisine. Says the guy who can go into any of ten different restaurants and never has to look at the menu because he always eats the same thing.

But every now and then, I shock my wife by ordering something different. Even the waitress is like, “Really???” Over the years, I’ve sampled all kinds of foods that a lot of people would never consider. Alligator, sushi, bison, frog legs, calamari, Spam … okay, that last one isn’t so exotic, but you’d sure think so the way some people react to it. Fried, of course. I’ll eat raw fish, but not raw Spam. That’s just gross.

The thing is, I enjoy a lot of things today simply because I was willing to give it a try. And there are things I’ll never do again, but at least I can speak from experience. There are places we’ve been that we never thought we’d care to see, and now we can’t wait to go back. Kansas isn’t one of them. Sorry. See one tumbleweed, you’ve seen ‘em all.

It’s that way with most things in life. When was the last time somebody offered you a chance to try something new, and you politely (or not so politely) passed? “No, that’s not something I’d enjoy.” Are you sure? I used to be scared of rollercoasters until I made myself get on one with my daughter. Now I’m the guy in the front seat, hands in the air, yelling, “Rock and roll!”

If you had asked me forty years ago what kind of business I’d like to be in, I’d have never given any thought to the business I’m in today. But in a time when workers are unemployed, stores are closing down, and entire industries are being decimated, I’m lucky to be in something that, so far, has proven resilient. And all because I said, “Sure – let me take a look.”

All through your life, opportunities will come your way. Some will be rather inconsequential, and some could be monumental. That’s not to say you should try everything somebody suggests, but if your default answer is always to shake your head and walk away, you’ll never experience anything beyond what you’re doing right now.

We started the week talking about habits. Recognizing opportunity is a matter of insight. Giving opportunity a fighting chance is a matter of habit. The people enjoying life to its fullest are those who are in the habit of saying, “Tell me more.” Be one of those people. Try new things and be open to new ideas. There’s a whole world out there waiting to be discovered.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Change or Maintain – You Can Only Choose One

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off nicely.

If you’ve ever spent much time around a toddler, you’ve come to learn two valuable truths. First, whatever they’re doing right now, they will keep doing until the cows come home. Hopefully it’s something you don’t mind, like singing the same song for the forty-third time. Second, their mood will turn on a dime, and your little angel will turn into a demon in six seconds flat.

And once that downward spiral begins, it’s not stopping any time soon. The only thing that seems to work is letting them run down completely until they fall asleep from sheer exhaustion. Then, there’s at least a snowball’s chance they’ll wake up in a better mood. Maybe.

I talked about kids and naps the other day, so I won’t go into that again now. But the point I wanted to make is that, whatever wave we seem to be riding at the moment, we tend to ride that wave until it reaches the shore and there’s nothing left to do but go find another wave. Or until it dumps us off midstream. Been there!

Body weight is one of those waves for me. It’s something I’ve struggled with over the years, and the first thing I learned is that none of those fad diets works. It’s like bungee jumping. You go down really fast, then the laws of physics take over and you snap right back to where you started. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Seems I read that somewhere.

The other thing I learned is that my body likes to maintain. Whatever it’s doing today, it wants to keep doing. If I’ve been maintaining a steady weight, I may gain a pound or two, but it comes right back down. Same thing happens if I lose a pound or two. Now, if I maintain a trend, upward or downward, my body seems to say, “Okay, this is what we’re doing. Got it!”

So, the challenge for me is to get the weight going the right direction long enough to convince my body that’s what it’s supposed to do. And just like a dog begging for a treat at the same exact time every night, it somehow finds a way to shed those pounds. Now, if I could just get my body to learn new tricks as quickly as my dog, I’d have it made.

We’re creatures of habit. I’m sure that’s no startling revelation for any of you. Whatever it is we’re used to, we tend to follow that trend until something comes along to change it. That change may be forced on us, like a visit from the boss saying it’s time to find a new job. Or it could be something we decided to change on our own, like exercise and proper diet. Right.

But once we get used to those changes, they become a way of life. If the change moves us in the wrong direction, it should be no surprise when we arrive at the wrong destination. And it’s not like we don’t know it’s happening. On the other hand, if we’re headed in the right direction, we tend to continue that way until we get where we want to be. Just like magic.

The problem is, those changes are usually subtle. You don’t wake up in the morning and think, “Oh no! I’ve gained another pound!” We have bathroom scales to make that announcement. If mine isn’t doing what I want, I blame it on the batteries. But the point is, we have ways to measure our progress, so the long-term outcome should be no real surprise.

As a business analyst, one of the first things I do on any project is define the “as-is” scenario. Where are we today, and how are we maintaining that? The next step is gap analysis – what changes need to be made to reach our desired goal? From there, it’s simply a matter of implementation and feedback. Take action and measure the results.

I’m willing to bet most of you could quickly answer the question, “Where would you like to be in five years?” That’s easy. Somewhere better than here! But unless we do something to move the needle, odds are we’ll still be right where we are. The change doesn’t have to be drastic. It just has to be sustainable, and in the right direction. From there, nature pretty much takes control.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

If You’re Capable of Dreaming It, You’re Qualified to Achieve It

Good morning, and happy Hump Day! I hope your day is off to a great start.

Have you ever picked up a book and, in the first paragraph, you find a typo? By the end of page one, you find several more. Sentences started in lower case, words run together with no spacing, the same word twice in a row, and a few misspellings to round things out. It’s like watching my grandson cut grass when he’s in a hurry. And the end result is just as appealing.

I just started reading a motivational book on a premise I find both intriguing and insightful. It’s 51 pages long, so it should be an easy read. But the text is too large, it’s jammed into small margins, spacing is horrendous, and on the very first page it contains every one of those blunders I described. It’s like listening to Roseanne Barr sing the National Anthem.

I wonder sometimes if I’m just too picky. In all honesty, that theory has been suggested once or twice over the years. And, in all fairness, the writer’s message is sound. Reading the Bible isn’t always so easy either, but there are words in there we all need to hear. Sometimes the message is more important than the presentation. This is probably one of those times.

As a beginning writer, I often struggled with the realization that I had no formal qualifications to be a writer. I remember discussing it with a friend one time at a writing conference. She asked, “Do you ever feel like we’re just faking it?” Every single day. Because writing, like most art forms, comes down to one essential question – does anybody appreciate your work?

If so, you can call yourself a writer, an actor, a singer, a comedian, an artist –whatever passion you’ve chosen to pursue, because it’ all about public perception of your talent. And until public perception matches your own, there’s always a detour around those who would stand in your way. It’s called “Fake it till you make it.”

I’ve often said when I write my first book, it’ll be self-published. I have my reasons. First, it’s nearly impossible for an unknown author to get a publishing contract. If you do, it takes nearly two years to get your book in print. Then, if you want the book to sell, you have to get out there and sell it yourself. Well, if I have to write the book AND sell it, I should make most of the money. Right?

But there’s a downside to that as well. It’s easier to get a publisher for your first book than it is to sell a self-published book to a bookstore. There’s a stigma associated with self-published books, and for good reason. Important steps like editing, interior layout, and cover design are often omitted or amateurish. And the writing quality is often just as bad.

That said, some of the most successful books in existence were originally self-published. And many of today’s top writers earned their reputation the same way – by believing in themselves enough to invest in themselves, and then putting it all on the line. Somewhere along the way, somebody picked up one of those books and said, “Hey! This is really good!”

The same is true with many things in life. Nobody took Harlan Sanders seriously when he set out across the country to convince gas stations to sell his secret recipe fried chicken. In fact, his own family laughed at him. “The old man is nuts! He’s not even remotely qualified for this!” Well, you know the rest of the story. Maybe qualifications aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

Have you ever been presented with an opportunity, one that has the potential to change your life, and talked yourself out of it because you didn’t feel qualified? Or maybe you did, but couldn’t find anybody to give you the backing you need because you lacked experience? For every business, every career, and every job, somebody was the first to give it a try. Every single one.

You should always arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible before starting a new venture, but never let lack of experience or formal qualifications stand in the way. Get what you need the best way you can, and learn the rest as you go. Sure, you’ll make mistakes. We all do. But the greatest mistake you’ll ever make is giving up on your dreams.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Sure, it’s What You Do … But is it Getting You Where You Want to Be?

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

Yesterday, my four-year-old grandson decided he didn’t need a nap. After all, he’s “almost five!” Never mind that his six-year-old sister was on the couch next to him sawing logs. You don’t have to tell that little girl to take a nap. She looks forward to it. And woe be to the person who tries to wake her up. With that little lady, you let her come around in her own sweet time.

Naturally, by early evening the lack of sleep was starting to manifest itself with horns and a forked tail. I even warned him that would happen. “What happens when you don’t sleep? You get tired, and then you start doing things you shouldn’t, and then you get in trouble.” His solution for that is pretty simple – look the other way. Then everybody’s happy.

It’s all about habits, or what we’re used to doing on a regular basis, often without even thinking about it. I touched on habits yesterday. It was easy getting into the habit of getting up a little earlier and writing a morning message. And it was just as easy getting into the habit of sleeping a little later and saying, “maybe tomorrow.” In fact, that one didn’t take any effort at all.

Habits are like that. They don’t even care if you’re doing the right thing or not. They just care about doing the same thing the same way, every single day. And not for any good reason other than, “That’s what I do!” As a business analyst, I constantly challenge that kind of thinking. Do you do it this way because it’s the best way, or because that’s the way you’ve always done it?

When I quit smoking, my first thought was, “What will I do after dinner?” I always had a cigarette. Well, that one was easy. I just never stopped eating. Twenty-two years later, the proof is hanging in my closet. A friend suggested I’d be equally lost for something to do after … you know. Let’s just say that one doesn’t work like eating. Believe me, I tried.

I’ve suggested in the past that habits are easy to form and even easier to break. But I guess that depends on the habit. If it’s something good you need to start doing, those can be the hardest habits to form. Likewise, if it’s something enjoyable you need to stop doing, those are the hardest habits to break. On the other hand, I stopped talking back to Mom in one try. I had help.

You can form (or break) any habit in 21 days. That’s not to say the behavior will become so ingrained in you that you can’t possibly do anything else, and there will be days when you still struggle with it. But in a matter of three weeks, you can repeat a behavior often enough that it becomes the default response to a given situation. After that, it becomes easy.

I’ll be writing more on this in the coming months. In fact, I may write a book on it. Because the one thing that stops us from modifying our habits is fear. How will I ever do this? It’ll take forever! Well, when we put fear aside, great things happen. Unless somebody triple-dog dares you and your response is, “Hold my beer!” I’ve seen those videos. They’re not pretty.

But that aside, if there’s something you want to change, all it takes is 21 days. Or less if my Mom is the motivating force. All you have to do is decide what you want to change, and why. Get that firm in your mind, and the rest is easy. And you can do anything for three weeks. Almost. Once those three weeks are over, it’s a simple matter of lather, rinse, and repeat.

Which habits are keeping you from reaching your dreams? Which habits would bring you closer? If what you’re doing now isn’t getting you where you need to be, then something has to change. Don’t let that change alter your dream. You can accomplish pretty much anything you want, if you want it badly enough. Start with the habits and let’s check back in a few weeks.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

News Is Like Horseradish – A Little Bit Goes A Long Way

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

For those who have been missing these posts, you’re right – it’s been at least a few weeks. I didn’t plan on taking a vacation from my morning musings. It just worked out that way. If you haven’t missed me at all … well, I don’t know how to respond to that. But even with the best of friends, you sometimes wish they’d go home for a while. I get it.

Several things have been going on, and I just didn’t feel that I would be able to give my best. So, I decided to ride it out. The danger in that is that it becomes a habit. Miss one day and it’s easy to jump back in. Do it a few times, and the excuses start to multiply. After a while, it’s like dieting and exercise. The best of intentions take a back seat to whatever excuses may arise.

Another problem is that I’ve been my own worst patient when it comes to positive thinking. I’ve allowed events of the day to consume my mind to the point that all I was seeing was negativity. It’s not hard to do with 24-hour news and social media to fuel the fire. And let’s be honest – we are seeing some of the worst in humanity right now in people’s responses to genuine issues.

Part of the problem is that people are so desperate to cling to their views, everything becomes a matter of choosing sides. There is no middle ground anymore. You’re either one of us or one of them. And I’ve been guilty of that myself. There is a point where you just can’t stretch your own values far enough to accept some of what you see in others.

It’s normal to feel that way. Not healthy, and not constructive. Just normal. It’s also normal to become intoxicated when you drink too much and it’s natural to do things you normally wouldn’t when you’re a little inebriated. That doesn’t make it a good thing – just a natural consequence of intentional behavior. And it’s no surprise when it happens. We expect it.

Well, the natural consequence of ingesting too much negative news is bitterness and depression. It shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did. It hit me right in the face when I started to lose my temper talking with a customer service rep about satellite radio service. I told my dad later, “I never get upset like that!” The look on my wife’s face said it all. Apparently, I do.

So, I had to do a little soul-searching and get back to the basics. Seems we do that a lot, whether it’s in our career, relationships, health, or just about anything. Because the “basics” are the foundation on which everything else is built. If you lose that, it all comes crumbling down. And the basics are pretty simple – surround yourself with positive input and limit the negative.

I’m on the road to recovery, but it’ll take time to get back where I need to be. Time and effort. It doesn’t happen by coincidence, or because God decided to bless you with happiness. You have to seek it out. You have to be more than just a willing recipient – you have to reach for it and embrace it. You have to make it more a part of your life than any amount of unhappiness.

Maybe today is a good day to do a self-assessment. Are you moving in the right direction, or could you use a little course correction? The sooner you make the necessary changes, the less time it’ll take to get back on track. Happiness is not a tangible thing – it’s a frame of mind. And it’s always out there, waiting to be enjoyed. Best of all, it’s free. All you have to do is decide how much you want.

That’s all for now. Feed on the positive and step over the negative. It’s that easy. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You’ll Never Have More Time Than You Do Now

Good morning, and happy Hump Day! I hope your day is off to a great start.

A friend from the Republic of Georgia once asked me what “Hump Day” means. We come across these expressions and think everybody knows what they mean, but that’s not always the case. And, with an international audience, it taught me to pay a little closer attention to the jargon I use. Simply put, it’s the day ogres like me groom the hair on our humped back.

Okay, I’m kidding. My humped back isn’t from being an ogre. That just keeps other people away from me. Six months ago they called that repulsion – now it’s social distancing. Kinda like used cars are called pre-owned automobiles and house trailers are mobile homes. It’s all in the packaging. Hump Day is just the middle of the week – we’re over the hump and the weekend is coming.

It’s funny how we spend five days longing for the weekend, just to spend that time recuperating from the week that got us there. Oh, we have plans. We start making them the weekend before. You know, when we were going to be doing something fun, but the weather wasn’t perfect and there was work to be done and we had to go shopping and … yeah. Been there.

Besides, we were tired! It was a long week and we needed the rest. That’s our excuse every time we don’t do the things we wanted to do. “I’m too tired.” I hear that a lot from people as they’re explaining why they’re not doing anything about their dreams. Oh, they’ll get to it someday. You know, later in life when they’re not so tired all the time.

It’s like we think we’ll magically go over some imaginary hump a few years down the road and automatically have all this extra time and energy on our hands. “After this project ends.” “After the holidays.” “After we get moved into a new house.” “After the kids move out of this one.” Color me stupid, but that just sounds like a whole bunch of excuses.

And the truth is, we all get started on these things at pretty much the same point in life – after it becomes important enough to do something about it. The problem is, that point never comes for many of us, and when it does, it often comes in the form of a foreclosure letter or being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Now it’s important! Now we have to do something about it.

We all have to set our own priorities. I tried to stop smoking several times over a period of 23 years. Every time my wife or doctor begged me to stop, I tried. Well, not every time. But it wasn’t until the day I woke up and couldn’t breathe for two hours that I finally gave them up for good. That was 22 years ago. Thankfully, I did it soon enough to enjoy the benefits.  

But that illustrates my point pretty well. We have plans, things we’d like to do. And we always have the best of intentions. “One of these days …” Sound familiar? “When I retire …” That’s a convenient time because nobody can really define when that’ll be. Besides, we may not even live that long. Sure would suck to do all that work for nothing. Wow. How do you argue with that?

So, here’s a novel idea. How about making retirement come a little sooner? How about getting started on the things you want to do now so you’ll have more time to enjoy them? Let me clue you in. I don’t care how old (or young) you are, you will never have more time and more energy than you have right now. Never. This is as good as it gets. It’s all downhill from here.

If that sounds a little grim, it’s supposed to. These may not be the best days of your life, for any variety of reasons. But there will never be a better day to start making your days better. Sure, you’re tired. You have a lot on your plate. And who has the money anyway? I get it. We’re all tired. We all have a lot on our plate, and money is always tight. Get over it.

Tough words, I know. But time is marching on. Today is Hump Day – for this week, and for the rest of your life. We’re all cresting a hill, and we can either put our foot on the accelerator or let the forces of nature take control. We’ll reach the bottom either way. The question is, will we still have the time and energy to keep going once we get there?

Make today count. Put aside your ego. Rearrange your schedule. Open your mind to new ideas. To have something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done. And the sooner you get started, the sooner you can start enjoying the life of your dreams.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Well, You’ve Got It … Now What?

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

My wife and I just joined an online RV owners’ group. It’s a great way to see what everybody else is doing this summer while ours is in the shop. There’s pictures, stories, and recipes guaranteed to clog your arteries just by reading them. If nothing else, we’re building a fairly sizeable list of all the places we want to go. You know … when the work is done.

We knew with a brand-new RV, things would need adjustment. I didn’t count on the valance over the dining room window crashing down while I was driving, but that’s all part of the experience. So, the dealer says. It woke me up. Every time we hit the road we find something else that needs to be fixed. And with every trip to the shop, we find something else they missed.

Actually, I think they’re probably doing a better job this time. Last time we took it in, the repairs were done in a few hours. This time, I introduced the service manager to Dave. I’m not an overly demanding person, but I do expect things to be done right. Especially knowing that, sooner or later, I’ll be sleeping under the valance that’s hanging over the couch. It’s inevitable.

It’s been in a little over a week this time, and we’ve used the time to pick up a few more items that we need for long-term camping. You know, towels, tools, and an antenna for the satellite radio that was factory-installed without an antenna. Oh, they would have installed one at delivery, but it would have cost more than a month in a beachfront RV resort. I can do it for six bucks.

We’ve also used the time to start thinking about where we want to go next. That’s the fun part of having something that can go pretty much anywhere. Except Hawaii. That bridge still isn’t done. But, within the limits of the AT&T coverage map (I still have to earn a living), we can go wherever there are roads. Paved roads. Reasonably level paved roads. And wide. Really wide.

Handing me a map is like handing a kid twenty dollars and turning them loose in a penny candy store. Okay, I’m showing my age. Penny candy stores are about as common as a Waffle House with no health code violations. But you get the idea. There are just so many places to go, each one better than the last. Until you get there, but that’s why God made RVs with wheels.

I was telling some friends a couple of months ago that the RV has been a dream for several years. But once we got it, I realized the RV itself wasn’t the dream – it was the means by which we can achieve an even greater dream. It’s a vehicle to get us where we want to go, and a bed to sleep in when we get there. All the rest is fluff. Including that dining room window valance.

And the thing is, we dreamed about that motorhome until it finally occurred to us why we wanted it so badly. It’s not enough to know what you want – you have to know why you want it. Once you’ve figured that out, and can put your focus on the “why,” you’re that much closer to making it happen. So close, in fact, that all you have to do is reach out and grab it.

Okay, so there’s a little work involved. There’s work involved in everything, including … well, work. We do it every day, whether it’s around the house or around the office. There’s no escaping work. The key is to find something worth working for.

We’ll always work for the essentials, like food, shelter, and bourbon. But when you find something you want badly enough to do a little extra work, you don’t even mind doing it. In fact, you look for excuses to do more. And isn’t that what work should be? Yes, take care of your job and pay the bills. But come on, there’s more to life than just that!

So, for us, the dream has shifted from buying an RV to getting it out of the shop and on the road. A month ago, I said I wanted to spend more on camping fees than storage fees. After our last trip, I can amend that to say I want to spend more on camping fees than gas. That means finding someplace nice and staying a while. Yes, it’s a dream. It’s our dream. What’s yours?

Before you go to bed tonight, take a few moments to think about the things that excite you. Then dig a little deeper and ask yourself why. When you can put your finger on the reason for your dreams, you’ll find the way to make them happen.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

There is No Strength Greater Than Compassion

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

It’s good to be back with you. Yes, I took a week off. This would not be the time to say, “You were gone?” Writers have fragile feelings. We like to think people are hanging on every word and can’t wait to read more from us. Okay, stand-up comedy made my feelings a little less fragile. It all changed the night some guy in the back of a sold-out crowd yelled, “You suck!”

I think I’ve told that story before, so I won’t go into it now. The point is, I lived through it. And after that night, I was never again afraid of somebody sharing their own thoughts so vocally. In fact, I almost looked forward to it. That’s what happens when you have a six-hour drive home to lick your wounds and come up with all kinds of vile expressions to put somebody in their place.

Thankfully, I never had to use any of them, because it never happened again. It’s hard to believe that, in fifteen years of comedy across most of the nation, nobody else felt the need to humiliate me in front of a crowd. I guess when you’re ready for them, you have this look on your face that says, “Go for it!” Kids always do behave better when mom has a wooden spoon.

Having a thick skin is one of those things that can be good or bad, depending on the situation. When your grandchild is crying because of a popped balloon, that’s a time for compassion. When they’re crying because you took away their steak knife, sympathy is a little harder to find. And then they say, “I don’t like you!” and you start crying. Oh well.

We’re living in a time when we all need that perfect balance of compassion and a thick skin. People around us are hurting. They’re sick. They’re afraid. They need comfort, not some jackass telling them to “suck it up, buttercup!” Yes, life can be tough. They know that. They don’t need a reminder. What they need is somebody to say, “I’m here. How can I help?”

That doesn’t mean we take the world’s problems as our own, but to the extent that one of us is hurting, we’re all hurting. When a player gets hurt on the field, the team circles in to protect them, because even the most uncelebrated lineman is just as important as the quarterback. Try playing without a few of those linemen and you’ll see what I mean.

To be sure, there are times when the best thing we can do for somebody is to make them stand on their own. Even the Bible tells us, give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day – teach a man to fish and he’ll buy a boat and you’ll never see him again. Well, something like that. Which explains why my wife gave me a copy of “Fishing for Dummies.” Point taken.

Your first day on the job, you needed somebody to show you the ropes. Hopefully somebody was willing to help. And there’s little doubt some hotshot was standing off to the side, making snide remarks and waiting for you to fail. Every company has at least one. So, here’s the question – which one of those people made the biggest difference, for you and for the team?

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. And sure, it may be easier to just cut that link out and cast it aside, but what you end up with is a shorter chain. It makes more sense to beef up that weak link and make it as strong as the rest. In fact, if you could do the same with all those weak links somebody else tossed aside, you’d have the biggest and strongest chain around.

We can’t solve the world’s problems on our own, but looking the other way won’t make them magically disappear. Like anything else, if we each take a small bite out of the problem, it becomes that much more manageable. Help those who can’t help themselves and encourage those who can.

The best pitcher can’t win a game without an equally strong catcher. And even the guy in right field (you know, where the dandelions grow) is just as critical to the team’s success. There are no unnecessary players – in sports, or in life. Winning teams aren’t built by exclusion – they’re the natural result of each person helping every other person become the very best they can be.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved