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

Work Hard, Play Hard … And Get Some Rest In Between

Good morning, and happy Hump Day! I hope your day is starting off nicely.

I guess I’ve been on “summer” hours lately. At least that’s the way it feels. What used to be a morning ritual of grabbing a cup of coffee and hitting the keyboard has now become rolling back over in bed, begrudgingly getting up at the last minute, then curling up on the sofa until it’s time to go to work. Then I make my coffee. That’s okay, I quit early to make up for it.

With my luck, this is the one day the boss will read my post. And no, that’s not exactly how it works. Last night I worked three hours over to make up for some perceived non-productive time during the day. You know, taking a couple of five-minute breaks, checking the weather, and things like that. I’d say the day worked out in the company’s favor.

That’s the way it is when you work from home. In fact, my employer sent an email a couple of weeks ago to remind us that there’s a time to work and a time to call it a day. And, during the day, we need to get away for 10-15 minutes and take a real break. But why? There’s nobody hanging around the coffee pot, and the snack machine in my house is empty anyway.

To people who have never worked from home, it’s a novel concept. Get out of bed, brush your teeth, straighten your pajamas, and walk across the hall to “the office.” Okay, in my case it’s in the basement, but you get the idea. No dressing up, no commute, and instead of a soda machine I’m six feet from a refrigerator full of beer. What could possibly go wrong?

But the reality is, working from home can lead to burnout even faster than clocking in at the office. The reason is simple. You tend to skip the things that would normally take you away from your desk at work. Even lunch. It’s just as easy to eat at your desk, especially if the dining room table IS your desk. And since you’re there anyway, you might as well be productive.

And then there are days like yesterday when you get on a roll and don’t want to break the momentum. I’m a business analyst, which means I spend half my day in meetings asking dumb questions, and the rest of the day writing the answers and coming up with more dumb questions. And, as any writer knows, when you’re on a roll, you don’t stop for anything.

We spend most of our days so focused on getting the job done that it’s easy to forget when to step away and let life take a turn. And that’s important – every bit as important as making sure we don’t spend too much time in the break room or hanging over a friend’s desk. Run your computer all day without recharging it, and the result is pretty much the same.

It’s all about balance. Work when it’s time to work, then step away. Take a break. Pet the dog. Spend some time with the kids. Take a walk around the block. None of those things takes more than a few minutes, but they’re critical to your physical and mental wellbeing. Just as critical as getting out of bed and doing something productive. Maybe even more.

And if you just have to stay busy, put some of that time to use for yourself. Set a goal. Put a picture of your dream on the refrigerator and spend a little time working on that. Sure, it’s still work. But that’s true of anything that doesn’t involve TV and a recliner. Still, there’s a difference between working for a paycheck and working toward a dream. You should try it.

And when all that work is done, take a breather. In fact, take a few breathers. If the company gives you a paid break, take it. Even if you’re home. And if sitting on the couch during “working” hours makes you feel guilty, take a walk. When lunchtime comes, get away. Even if it means leaving the house completely. Your body needs it, and so does your brain.

It’s been said that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It also makes him a psychotic timebomb that nobody wants to be around. Work when it’s time to work, but know when to call it a day. You’ll be healthier and happier, and so will everyone around you.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You’ve Earned a Break … But Don’t Overdo It

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

I had a really productive weekend. I trimmed shrubs, sawed up branches, set two nine-foot posts for a new gate, and gave the RV a bath. That’s a lot for an old guy like me. I can’t say I did quite as much as my grandson, but I paid him for helping so that counts. Right?

Something I learned a long time ago about home ownership. Things break. Things need adjustment, lights need to be replaced, and there’s always something to clean. And for anything that escapes those troubles, get a bucket of paint. I have twelve almost-empty cans of paint in the garage. I don’t care about saving the paint – I just want the color numbers.

See, that’s something else I learned. It’s good to save the color numbers in case the grandkids do what grandkids are known to do, and you have to paint again. But the empty can is just taking up space. I could just as easily save the numbers in my computer. Besides, by the time it needs to be painted again, my wife will want a different color anyway.

Her motto has always been, “It’s only paint – if you don’t like the color, you can always paint over it.” Loosely translated, that means “If I don’t like the color, you can always paint over it.” Our living room wall started off clinical white. Then it was red, and now it’s blue and tan. I may be missing one or two. After 18 years and all those paint fumes, my memory is a little hazy.

But that’s the way it is. There’s always something to be done. Same with the RV – it’s just a smaller house. I did a couple of repairs on it yesterday as well. Yes, it’s only three months old. Most houses hold up better. But most houses don’t bounce down the road, either. On our last trip, some hardware fell on my wife’s head. Twice. I couldn’t have planned it better if I tried.

On the home front, I’m in the process of building a new gate. The old one is falling apart, and I can’t get into the back yard without a territorial challenge from the dogs next-door. All six of them. And one is a St. Bernard that’s about to topple the fence. So, I need a new gate that’ll open in the middle and keep us a little further away. That’ll work until the fence falls down.

Granted, the gate I’m building costs a little more than buying one at the store, but it’ll look a lot nicer. Besides, setting those two posts in concrete yesterday taught me a couple of valuable lessons. First, posthole diggers suck. That’s a lot of work, especially when you hit concrete from the old fence posts. And second, privacy fences need a LOT of posts. Not going there.

But mostly, I’m doing this myself because I need the exercise. Sure, I could pay somebody to do it for me, but that gets expensive. And meanwhile, I’m getting weak. Not really frail, but those packs of bottled water are getting really heavy. And we won’t even talk about the bags of water softener salt. I don’t carry them down the stairs. I drag them.

It’s all part of the aging process, but it’s a part in which I choose not to participate. There are things I want to do with my life and sitting around in a wheelchair isn’t part of the dream. But, as we age, we have two choices. We can either stay fairly active and maintain adequate strength, or pick out a nursing home before the kids do it for us.

And most of the time, we can get the exercise we need by just taking care of things around the house. If nothing needs to be done, look again. And if you still can’t find anything to do, take a walk. Take the kids to a park. Go swimming. Play a round of golf. If you play like I do, you’ll get a LOT of extra steps in, plus a little cross-country hiking as well. Maybe even a swim.

Gyms are great, if that’s your thing, but all it really takes is a little movement. Just doing the routine things that need to be done – shopping, cleaning, mowing, sweeping, and occasionally building a new gate. Throw in a little recreational exercise, and you’re good to go. Sure, you’ll still get old, and you’ll still feel it. But you won’t feel it as soon, and maybe not quite as much.

Like most things in life, it’s all about small steps repeated over time. Whether your goal is to build strength, improve your health, build a business, or build a house, it all starts with a commitment to get started and keep moving. It may take time – maybe even the rest of your life. But isn’t that really the idea?

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Are You Ready For the Next One?

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

Mom once told me that if I walked through a door and got punched in the face, I might not be so eager to walk through that same door again. And if it happened a few more times, I’d find a different door. Well, knowing me, I’d just open the door and duck. Until I got kicked.

I thought about that the other day as I read about more states opening up and allowing people to get back to work. I think it says a lot for our society that we are so eager to work. And, when you get down to it, we do like working. Okay, we like the paycheck. We’d like it more if it were bigger, but that goes without saying.

I’ve been working the whole time anyway, but that’s more a stroke of luck than genius. I learned long ago that I’m not good at sitting around. In 1984, Dad had a heart attack and I went on emergency leave. My ship sailed while I was home and, through a series of administrative blunders, it took three months to get me back onboard.

By the time I got back, my commander had decided I’d gone AWOL and was trying to process me as a deserter. I’ll never forget stepping off that plane when it landed on the ship, after a lovely 32-hour trip halfway around the world, waiting for the Master at Arms to put me in handcuffs. It didn’t happen, but life was never the same for me on that ship again.

The entire time I was waiting for a ride to the boat, my job was to check in every morning and keep my sea bag packed by the door. After a week, I bought a bottle of bourbon. A week later, I bought another. By the end of a month, I called in at 7:45 every morning and had my first drink at 7:50. It wasn’t pretty. My wife didn’t even cry when I left. Neither did I.

Over the years, I’ve had a few bouts of unemployment. That happens when you’re a contractor. But I learned a few lessons from that experience in my Navy days. First, no drinking. Get a hobby instead. In my second month at home that first time, I took up woodworking. It was pretty rudimentary at first, but over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at it.

Second, you need a plan B. We all like to think we have a secure job and that we’re so good at it nobody would ever think of putting us out to pasture, but that’s just our own ego stroking itself. And even if we are that good, nobody counts on a pandemic almost entirely shutting down the nation. A job isn’t much good if the doors are closed.

Well, we’ve mostly weathered the storm … for now. But already we’re seeing a spike in new cases and medical experts are telling us to buckle up because we’re likely facing a second round this fall that may be even worse than the first one. If summer is truly the miracle we’ve been waiting for, can you wait eight months for it to come around again?

One of the wisest quotes I’ve ever read was this: “Dig the well before you get thirsty.” We live in a nation where more than 60% of us don’t have enough in savings to cover a $1000 emergency. And we know the emergencies will come. They always do. It’s just a matter of when, and how bad it’ll be. And how long it’ll be before the next one comes along.

It’s hard to dig the well when you’re dying of thirst, especially when you don’t know how far down the water is. You get tired. You make mistakes. When the bills are stacking up and there’s no relief in sight, you take chances you wouldn’t normally take. Or, worse yet, you just give up and wait for the inevitable.

If you could put some extra money in the bank today, would that come in handy when things get bad again? What if you could build an ongoing income, even a small one, that’s independent of your current job and could continue through another round of shutdowns? Would that be a game-changer?

I’m willing to bet you’ve been given opportunities to get ahead of the situation. If not, talk to me. I’m happy to offer suggestions. What works for me may or may not work for you, but you never know unless you try. And maybe we can come up with something completely new between us.

If you’re not thirsty today, you will be. Hopefully it won’t be anything like the crisis we’ve seen, but it’ll still happen. The question is, will you be ready? The sooner you start digging that well, the better off you’ll be when the rivers run dry.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Be Mad. But Be Mad At The Right People.

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

Well, it’s a brand-new month. The year is almost half-over, and we’re finally allowed to get back out and interact with the world around us. Masks and social distancing are still part of that, and probably will be for a long time. But it does seem like we’re finding ways to cope with a virus we still don’t fully understand and make the most of the situation.

Yet once again, we’re in crisis with protests across the entire nation – not against masks and closed nail salons, but against something much more sinister. Most of the protests are peaceful, and for a cause we should all stand together to uphold. This isn’t political, or at least it shouldn’t be. It’s about human rights, something this country has fought wars to defend.

Sadly, there will always be some who see these things as little more than an opportunity to incite violence and destruction. They are the minority – a fractional percentage of those who stand peacefully. But, through their actions, they degrade the message of hope and unity that others are trying so desperately to share.

It’s beyond heartbreaking – it’s truly sickening. But that small faction only has the power that we give them. When we let their violence obscure a message of humanity and lump them in with all those who are protesting peacefully, they win. When we give violence a voice and amplify that voice louder than all others, we enable it. Hate prevails because we allow it.

When riots broke out in Los Angeles over the verdict in the Rodney King case, my daughter, who was still in elementary school, asked why people would destroy their own neighborhood. I told her she was seeing less than one percent of the population in those neighborhoods doing these things. For every person on the street, hundreds were at home praying for it to end. The same is true today.

So far, five people have died as a result of this violence, and many more have been injured. It’s understandable that we would be outraged. Yet, in the same month, store employees have been killed for asking patrons to protect others from a deadly virus by wearing a mask. Were we equally outraged by that?

It would be as unfair to blame the death of those store employees on everybody protesting state shut-downs as it is to blame the destruction we’re seeing on everybody who is standing peacefully against the violence that triggered this latest round of protests. Place the blame where it lies – with those who perpetrate violence, not those who are standing against it.

It’s easy to blur the lines, especially when we don’t have a personal stake in the situation. But we do have a stake. We have a stake in restoring peace and stability, and we have a stake in making sure no citizen faces the risk of death for suspicion of committing a non-violent and relatively petty crime. This isn’t about us versus them – it’s about who we are as a nation.

I try to avoid controversial topics in my posts, and I try to keep them lighthearted and motivational. But there are times when we must all speak out and address the elephant in the room. This is a big elephant, friends, and it’s not going away on its own. We have to make it go away, and we have to do that in a manner that benefits humanity rather than tearing it down.

This has been a tough year for all of us. Every time we think we’re seeing the end of one crisis, another takes its place. Yet somehow, instead of standing together as we did following the 9/11 attacks, we’re allowing each crisis to divide us further. Our perspective is clouded by politics instead of being guided by a sense of morals. Until that changes, things will never get better.

Violence begets violence, and silence breeds indifference. Somewhere between the two lies an appropriate response. If it’s acceptable to protest the inconvenience of social distancing, it must also be acceptable to protest the immorality of wrongful death. In fact, it’s more than just acceptable – it’s a responsibility we share as citizens of a free nation.

While we must never accept violence, we must also never allow that violence to stain a message of compassion. We’ll get through this. The riots will end, and peace will once again be restored. But our response to those standing peacefully against a grave injustice will say more about us as a nation than any number of fires we have to put out in the process.

That’s all for now. Have a peaceful and blessed day.

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What’s a Bed of Roses Without a Few Thorns?

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

There have been several segments on the news this week about a sudden boom in the RV business, in both sales and rentals. It seems people have figured out that open air just may be good for you, not to mention a little bit of recreational exercise. Besides, most campsites are a little more than six feet apart.

I think this may be the first time in my life when I was actually ahead of a trend. Not by much, mind you, but enough to convince a salesman that the winter months may not be the best time to hold out for a higher price. We got a pretty sweet deal and were still able to find enough toilet paper for a weekend outing. You’d think they could have thrown that in.

As we near the completion of our first full week on the road, I have to say I couldn’t be happier with our new lifestyle. I’ve figured out this whole setup thing and can now have us leveled and hooked up in fifteen minutes. And, after a little over 2000 miles, my wife thinks I’m a fairly decent driver. That last one is nothing short of a miracle.

Sure, it’s not the same as living in a house. It’s more confined, the air conditioners are a little louder, you can’t take a Hollywood shower, and the spin cycle on the washing machine shakes the whole house. But the scenery is a lot more enjoyable and if you don’t like your neighbors, it’s only temporary. I can live with a few minor inconveniences.

Sometimes, it takes a crisis to make us appreciate the simple things. Okay, an RV may not be one of life’s simple pleasures, but it is one way to become a little more grounded and shake off some of the daily stress. It’s about families enjoying one another instead of the TV. It’s about bonding with nature and breathing fresh air. And it’s about emptying tanks full of stuff we’d rather not think about.

With anything, you take the bad with the good. For myself, pulling a valve every couple of days to empty a tank beats mowing the lawn, so I’m not complaining. But there is no change we can make in our lives that won’t come with some inconvenience. The question is whether the sacrifice is worth the gain.

And it’s that way with anything you do. A bigger house means more cleaning and maintenance. A new car means bigger monthly payments. A business means giving up some of your free time. And a boat, I’m told, is a hole in the water you throw money into. I get that completely. Our new lifestyle certainly isn’t cheap. But it’s simplistic, if that makes any sense.

Life is short, my friends. If there are things you want to do, waiting around won’t make them any easier to achieve. Besides, there’s something to be said for doing things while you’re young enough and healthy enough to enjoy them. The longer you wait, the greater the chance it’ll never happen.

That doesn’t mean you chuck it all and go for broke. But figure out what needs to be done and get moving. It may take ten years. So what? Wouldn’t you rather get those ten years out of the way now? I’ve mentioned before how hard it is for me to envision getting to my goal weight by losing a pound a week. “At that rate, it’ll take two years!” Ah, but if I’d started two years ago …

Set a goal. Work toward it. Understand and accept the sacrifices and be sure you’re willing to make them. Test the water if you can. It may be as easy as putting half your wardrobe in storage or turning off the TV a couple of hours every night to read a motivational book. Some sacrifices are simpler than others. But they can also be the hardest ones to make.

I’m fairly certain a lot of these new RV owners will be like the New Year’s crowd in the local gym, or the hundreds of thousands who start a new business every year. It’ll be fun for a while, but at some point, reality will check in. And that’s okay. They’re learning. And they’re gaining a better perspective on which dreams they want to chase, and which ones they’ll leave for somebody else.

You never know unless you try. I’ve been married for 40 years because I took a chance. And those 40 years have been a learning experience of their own. There were times we wanted to drain the tanks and move on. But the sacrifices have been worth the result. Define your dreams, make the sacrifices, and reach for the stars. We’re only here for a short time. You might as well enjoy it.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Slow Down and You’ll Get There Faster

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

For those of us here in the US, it was a long weekend – one that traditionally marks the beginning of summer. Vacations, beaches, and backyard cookouts. And sunburns. Lots of sunburns. I used to think you had to get through the first sunburn of the year in order to tan. But if you live where I do, suntans only last a year. Then you have to do it all over again. I think I need to find a better tan.

But a tan is like a lot of other things. The faster you build it, the quicker it goes away. The quickest, and safest way is a like spray painting your car with watercolors. It never looks great to begin with, and it generally lasts until the first good rain (or shower). Then it’s gone, with just a blotched reminder that you tried to do something the easy way. Sure, you can spray it on again. But it’ll never look quite right.

Then there’s the strategy of burning once so you can “get it out of the way.” You can also get some of that old skin out of the way as well. In fact, you and a friend can peel off an entire layer in a single afternoon. If you’re lucky, the layer underneath is a little tanned and you can start building on top of that. The process is both painful and non-attractive. Not the ideal way to get what you want.

Or you could just take a 15-minute walk every day or so some work in the yard. It may take a while, but sooner or later that bronze glow will start to take hold. No spray, no burns, no peeling skin – just a gradual transformation that will stand the test of time. It may fade a little during the winter, but next summer you’ll have that foundation, and the next tan will be a whole lot easier to build.

In our microwave society, instant gratification is the name of the game. I remember dial-up internet, where it took twenty seconds for a page to load and you could spend upwards of a whole minute downloading a file. Now, I’m tapping my fingers and complaining if that hourglass spins for five seconds. “Come on, slowpoke!” Five more seconds and I pull the plug for a “hard reboot.” Sound familiar?

I’m that way with a lot of things. If something needs to be done, I want it done now! Unless, of course, I’m the one doing it. Then there are special dispensations for slow starts and excessive breaks. Or, in the case of my weight loss, abrupt halts. And it’s all because I want instant results. If the starter spins for three seconds, I’m pumping the gas. And don’t even get me started on slow-brewing coffee.

I think a lot of us are much the same in that regard. We’ve become so accustomed to two-day delivery that we’re on the phone to customer service if it takes three days. Almost nobody plants a garden anymore, because you do the work today and don’t see any results for at least a few weeks. Unless, you’re me. Then, the weeds start popping up in a matter of hours.

But sometimes, the slow and methodical approach is the best. It’s like the fable of the tortoise and the hare. The bunny ran far ahead and then took a nap as the tortoise kept up a slow but steady pace and ended up winning the race. It’s like that slow tan, or repeatedly losing a single pound. I’ve done that. Only problem is, it’s the same pound. Maybe I need to lose a different one.

Nobody likes to wait for good things to happen. But sometimes, that’s the best way to achieve long-lasting results. You can infuse money into a business with a single visit to the bank or a weekend inventory reduction sale. Or you can do it the old-fashioned way. One is a temporary fix that requires repayment with interest. The other lays a solid foundation for continued success.

It’s okay to want things now, but sometimes slower is better. Don’t be so focused on the results that you short-change the effort. Do the right things consistently, and the results will come. It may take a little longer, and you may have to make some corrections along the way. But when winter inevitably comes, that strong foundation will still be there, waiting to be rebuilt even better than before.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Who Made You The Expert???

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

I read a post yesterday from an acquaintance who excitedly announced she was now earning a full time living as a writer. I remember the feeling the first time somebody paid me to write. Okay, it was technical stuff – how to build an auto-chuck assembly for an electronic engraving machine, but from that day forward I could call myself a writer. Mom would have been proud.

When I first started creative writing, I wondered what qualifies a person to call themselves a writer. A few well-intended friends said, “If you write, you’re a writer!” Okay, so I’m a writer. I’m also a cook, a driver, a babysitter, and a trash-taker-outer, in case you were wondering. But what I learned is there are no real qualifications. You know, like running for public office.

Writing is a lot like stand-up comedy. You do it for free until somebody says, “Hey, I’ll give you a few bucks to do that again.” A “few bucks” being the key phrase. My first year as a comedian I made zero. Nada. Zilch. My second year I made $300. Woohoo!!!  By then, I’d logged a total of 36,000 miles doing shows for “exposure.” IRS sent me a letter saying don’t quit your day job.

I still remember when I got my first pay as a creative writer. I was being paid very well for the technical stuff – probably in the top 1% of technical writers in the nation. It was just me and that other guy. And then I got an assignment to write three articles for a magazine, offering advice on career choices for young men. I told them don’t even think of becoming a writer.

Since then, I’ve done a lot of freelance work. If you’ve ever taken the ASVAB test to join the military and wondered who wrote those stupid questions, the answer would be me. All told, I’ve written over 1500 questions for that test. It’s not necessarily the kind of gratifying work that gets you a ton of fan mail, but it sure does pay well. And I still can’t pass the test.

When I started writing humor, I submitted to newspapers across the nation. I got a lot of great responses. In fact, I made it to the final round of editorial consideration for a regular spot with a major syndicate. I could have made upwards of $30 a week! But that was at the very beginning of the newspaper decline, and nobody was buying humor. So, I gave it away for free.

A friend, who’s now a published author and regular columnist, once asked, “Do you ever feel like we’re just faking it?” Yes. All the time. Writing and stand-up comedy are a couple of those things you just pick up on your own. Sure, you can take classes or get a journalism degree. But that doesn’t make you a good writer. It takes passion, patience, and a really thick skin.

The same is true of a lot of things in life. You find something that captivates your interest and just do it. Maybe you get good enough to get paid, and maybe that pay is enough to live on. Thankfully, I never became a good enough plumber or mechanic to get paid. That was never my thing. But writing, speaking, and entertaining have always been my passion. So, here I am.

I see a lot of people who want to expand their horizons but think they don’t have the necessary qualifications to do it. To be fair, some things do require formal training. Brain surgery comes to mind, as well as flying, dispensing pharmaceuticals, and mixing explosives. It all depends on the consequences of mistakes. Never trust a chemist with one hand missing. I’m just saying.

But a lot of things can be learned on the job. It’s called, “Fake it till you make it.” The lack of recognized credentials doesn’t mean a thing. Most of the best-known authors don’t have a formal education in writing. Most of the highest-paid musicians learned on their own. And, according to TV, a fair number of actresses started out as waitresses in the Cheesecake Factory.

With the right amount of passion, there are few obstacles you can’t overcome. Whether it’s writing, performing, parenting, or running your own business, the skills you need can be learned. All it takes is passion – the desire to achieve a personal goal, and the determination to do whatever it takes to make it happen. If you’ve got that, you’ve got it all.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved