It's Only A Habit If You Want It

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

I’ve learned that I’m a morning person. Anybody who knew me forty years ago would say no way. I could sleep till noon and not even feel bad about it. Dad used to tell me I’d be late for my own funeral. I always wondered, what’s the downside to that? If the date for my funeral has already been set, I don’t see any advantage in getting there early. Just start without me.

I have to admit, though, I took sleeping late to an art. Hey, if you’re gonna do something, do it right. The only problem is, people at work have this thing they call a schedule and they sit there with a cup of coffee, staring at the clock, getting madder by the minute because Dave’s late. Like you can’t do anything till I get there? Just jump right on in. I don’t mind.

I remember standing inspection in the Navy and, as the admiral passed by, he looked at the hash mark on my lower sleeve indicating that I’d been in at least four years. Then he looked at my chest and said, “Where’s your Good Conduct Medal, sailor?” I mumbled something full of consonants that sounded vaguely like, “I dmthvon, sir.” Excuse me? “I don’t have one, sir!”

And, here’s the thing. You don’t have to do anything special to get that medal. All you have to do is stay out of trouble. I couldn’t even handle that. And with one exception that we won’t discuss here because it’s still not legal in all fifty states, every time I got in trouble it was for sleeping late.  

Alarm clock, you say? Oh, I had a bunch of those. And I wasn’t stupid enough to get one with a snooze feature. Although, I have to admit, about the sixth time that went off, my roommates would have fixed the problem for me. No, I had one with a clanging bell that’ll wake the dead. In another county. Yeah, it woke me up. Just enough to slap the button and go back to sleep.

The boss finally came up with a solution. Put Dave on night shift. Oh, that worked like a charm! I could sleep past noon and still make it to work on time. You play the hand you’re dealt, right? Only problem is, my wife still thought I was supposed to do things around the house, and that messed up my sleep cycle completely. I finally had to learn to function like a normal adult.

That all changed the day I quit smoking. Well, two days later. I woke up at six in the morning, wide awake, and fully rested. Okay, I’d gone to bed 12 hours earlier, because I found that the best way to beat the nicotine fits was to sleep through them. But something happened that day. I was awake. I had energy. I could smell things. Oh, could I smell things! Time for a shower!

From that day on, I never overslept for anything. I haven’t used an alarm clock in almost 20 years. Of course, the older you get, the less you need one anyway because sleeping is about like riding a city bus. It stops at every intersection whether it needs to or not. All you have to do is pay attention and get off at the right stop, and you’ll never be late for anything.

All through life, we change. Things that used to be a challenge are instinctive, and things that used to be instinctive are a challenge. If you’ve ever seen me try to run, you’d know that. And then along comes the doctor telling us we have to stop doing the things that got us this far in life because, apparently, where we are isn’t exactly where we should be.

Some of it is simply the aging process, and the rest is just habits – things we do without even thinking about them. And the thing with habits is that, even though they seem to be instinctive, they’re really just a behavior that’s been repeated so many times it becomes instinctive. And all it takes to change a habit is to change the behavior and then repeat it. Over, and over, and over.

There are things we can’t control, and aging is one of them. But there’s very little in our daily routine that we can’t change if the reason is strong enough. Changing a habit because somebody tells you to inevitably leads to failure. But making a change because you want to leads to another habit – the habit of success. Focus on the reason, and you’ll always reach the goal.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Keep Going … I Triple-Dog Dare You!

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

There was a good show on TV last night. It started at midnight and went until … I don’t know, sometime after I finally went back to sleep. Yes, back. I was in bed at 9:00 because, apparently, I’m that old. I remember a time in life when getting to stay up late was a treat. Now, it’s a challenge. Almost like my body is throwing down a gauntlet and saying, “I triple-dog dare you!”

Well, I’ve never been one to fall for the triple-dog dare. Those words are usually followed by, “Hold my beer!” And we all know what happens after that. I’ve seen the videos. We all have. They usually end up with some guy riding a bicycle off the roof into the side of an above-ground swimming pool, or something equally intelligent. It’s just not my thing. Okay, not anymore.

I never actually rode a bicycle off the roof. I’m a chicken when it comes to ladders. Going up isn’t so bad, but getting back on the ladder to climb down is another matter. Just send up my lunch – I’m gonna be there a while. In fact, toss up a sleeping bag and pillow while you’re at it. There’s a point where the old bicycle-into-the-pool thing starts to take on a certain attraction.

I’ve done some pretty dumb things in my life. Trying to dry a wet firecracker in a microwave oven holds a place of honor on the list. And then there was the time I stuck two suitcase keys into an electric outlet and woke up on the other side of the room. But the absolute best was the time I knocked myself out cold with a 20-pound sledgehammer. Yes, that really can be done.

And, not a one of those “America’s Funniest” moments was preceded by a triple-dog dare. Thankfully, none of them were caught on video either, or I’d have been a three-time winner of that show. I did every one of them completely unassisted and unprovoked. I’m that good.

So, last night I went to bed at the normal time. I was in the middle of a pretty good dream when I rolled over in my sleep and my heart gave me a sucker-punch that opened my eyes faster than a cold glass of water. And I could swear I heard it say, “Go back to sleep. I triple-dog dare you!”

It’s a condition my cardiologist calls “atypical angina.” In other words, your chest hurts, and we really don’t know why. He told me once that it’s not life-threatening, but someday that’ll change. I asked him how I’d know the difference and he said, “Oh, you’ll know.” That’s comforting.

Like a lot of things in life, you just learn to deal with it. I carry a bottle of nitroglycerine in my pocket, and every now and then I get to give myself an instant headache. Now, there’s a choice for you. Throbbing head or pounding chest? Sometimes I just flip a coin. That’s how they’ll find me someday, flat on my face with a tails-up quarter in my hand.

The important thing is that we learn to adapt and make the most of the situation. Sometimes we need to slow down a little, but that doesn’t mean we quit. Granted, the time I went to the locker room for a hit of nitro, and then resumed my workout probably wasn’t too intelligent. But there comes a point where you have to decide whether you own life or life owns you.

Challenges come in all forms, and we all face our fair share. They may be related to health, income, education, geography, or any combination of other factors. Some may be related to poor decisions we’ve made in the past, and others are just a matter of circumstances. But to the degree that we face those challenges head-on, we’re able to rise above and move on.

There will be days when you’re not fully up to par. You may find yourself outclassed in a competition, short of skills for a certain task, or physically unable to keep up with the crowd. Adapt. Make the most of what’s working in your favor, and don’t let circumstances take control of your life. Rest if you need to. Or sit up and watch a late movie. Then get back in the game.

The best things in life await those who find a way around obstacles instead of sitting on the ground in front of them. As you’re climbing mountains, you never know what lies over the next ridge. It could be another mountain, or this could be the last one standing between you and your dreams. There’s only one way to find out.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Get Out Of Your Head – You're Making a Mess!

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

Have you ever come up with an idea, something that excites you beyond belief, and you just can’t wait to get started? It usually happens early in the morning or later in the evening. You know, as you’re getting ready to go to work or to bed and there’s nothing you can do about it for at least eight hours. By then, you’re already starting to have doubts. Naturally!

And it’s not because the idea changed. It’s the same as it was when you first thought of it. The timing hasn’t changed, aside from the eight hours you spent talking yourself out of it. Your bank balance is pretty much the same, unless you polished off a bottle of wine as you enjoyed some late-night shopping. So, what’s different now? Why is that great idea suddenly so bad?

It’s simple. You got inside your own head and killed the dream before it even got a chance to breathe. Way to go! You just saved yourself years of agony and millions of dollars, not to mention the ridicule of all those people whose opinions matter more than your own. Thank God you came to your senses in time! This could have been a catastrophe.

So, you go back to whatever it is you were doing. You know, something you had already decided wasn’t quite good enough, which is why you came up with the idea in the first place. You wanted something better. Something that would get you out of bed every morning with a smile on your face, just thinking of all those people who said you could never do it. You rock!

And maybe the idea wasn’t perfect. It happens. But you’ll never really know unless you give it a try. And then keep trying until you get it right. From the beginning of time, people dreamed of soaring with the birds. Oh, they tried. Some with less fanfare than others. I mean, jumping off a cliff while madly flapping your arms certainly makes a statement. Yet, here we are.

Motivational speakers always tell you to be careful who you let inside your head, because people can kill your dreams. They don’t mean to. It just happens. But sometimes, the worst person you can let inside your head is yourself. If killing our own dreams were an Olympic event, some of us would have enough gold medals to fill an entire room. You should see mine.

So, why? Why is it that we look so desperately for something to make life better, and then pass on everything that comes along? Or worse yet, we get started just long enough to convince ourselves it was a bad idea to begin with, and then we share that insight with everybody we know. “Don’t fall for that one. I tried!” No, you didn’t. All you did was trip over the first excuse.

But if clear the clutter out of the way, you can usually see past the negativity. Sometimes, the one thing that stops us from moving forward on anything is other people. We like to think we’re free spirits, but we rely on other people’s opinions like a teenager relies on their cell phone battery. What will they say? They’ll laugh. I just know it! How will I ever hold my head up again?

Well, get a clue. Unless they’re paying your bills, they don’t have an opinion – all they have are excuses. And the whole time you’re licking your wounds and wondering why this just didn’t work, they’re sitting in front of the TV with a beer, never giving it a second thought. Not because you let them get inside your head – because you let yourself get inside.

Until we can take ownership of our failures, we can never get on the path to success. And those failures begin and end inside our own head. The path may stray outside for others to dump their litter, but once we accept that litter as our own, the dream begins to die.

Other people can only litter your path with the garbage you give them. If you throw it away yourself, they’ll never get the chance. It’s your dream. It’s your life. It’s your head. You set the rules. And as long as you play by those rules, you’ll always come out on top.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Aging Gracefully Depends on When You Start

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off just right.

I just read an article that listed the top ten states with the highest incidence of UV-induced skin cancer in the United States. Sure, that’s just what you wanted to think about first thing on a Tuesday morning. And, having grown up in south Florida where old folks stroll the beach every morning looking like a deflated football with legs, I was pretty certain that state would top the list. I was wrong.

In fact, Florida wasn’t even on the list. That doesn’t mean nobody down there has issues with the sun. But, aside from Georgia, every state on the list was north of Ohio. In case you didn’t pay attention in Geography class, Ohio is right at the bottom of Lake Erie. It snows here. Every year. And even we’re not on the list. It’s all people who live in places closer to the Arctic circle. Why?

I’d love to see some scientific studies on that. Is it because people in the south get accustomed to the sun and their bodies build up a natural resistance? Once they build up a good base tan, they just absorb vitamin D like a teenager absorbs money? I’m joking. Teenagers don’t absorb money. They turn it into sneakers. I bet Houdini would have loved that.

Maybe it’s because people in the south are more aware of the sun’s dangers, so they take more precautions. You know, like wearing full-body bathing suits and only going to the beach on stormy days. Well, if you’ve ever seen any pictures of Fort Lauderdale beach during Spring Break, you know the answer to that one. Burger King doesn’t have that many buns.

Could it be that people in the north are so excited to see a little springtime sun that they rush right out and get that first burn out of the way so they can start tanning? I’ve done that. Okay, I don’t burn on purpose. It just works out that way. But, from all the years living in the south, my skin seems to be a little more tolerant than most lifelong northerners.

Or maybe it’s just that the majority of tanning beds in the United States are north of the Mason-Dixon line. And the further north you go, the more tanning salons you’ll find. Charleston, West Virginia, has one Starbucks, seven McDonalds, and eighteen tanning salons. There are 183 in New York City. Do we see a trend?

But are tanning beds the problem, or is it our attitude of indifference and immunity? “I know, skin cancer is bad. But I’m so special, God would never let it happen to me!” Yeah. I felt the same way about getting fat. Turns out all that unwanted advice about cheeseburgers and Fritos was pretty much on the mark. Funny, I never heard that from a fat person.

If you had told me ten years ago that thinking too much can wear a hole in your skull and you’ll need brain surgery to fix it, I’d have gone straight to Snopes to prove you wrong. Well, in the surgeon’s own words, “It’s just normal pulsations of the brain wearing on the skull.” Now I have a big scar on the right side of my head, yet here I am thinking again. Some people never learn.

Yes, bad things can happen to normal people who aren’t doing anything to hurt anybody else. Just minding their own business and trying to enjoy life on their own terms. Sometimes we can look back and see where things we did may have increased the danger, and other times not. It’s not always predictable, and it’s never fair. It’s just life.

That said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of manure. Or something like that. Why is there so much more melanoma in northern states? I suspect it’s a combination of factors. Regardless, once it strikes, the results can be devastating. And your days of worrying about a tan will be gone forever. Welcome to long sleeves, big hats, and smelling like Coppertone.

When we think of skin care, we think of rich old ladies who refuse to age gracefully. Well, forty years ago, only fuddy-duddies and race car drivers wore seatbelts. Everyone else took their chances with the windshield like a man. Thankfully, most people have come to appreciate staying in their assigned seat. And, as a consequence, most do.

There’s not much humor in today’s message, but some things just aren’t that funny. Aging gracefully is simply a matter of prevention. Whether it’s weight, physical health, mental wellbeing, or skin health, the choices you make today can make a world of difference later. Have fun, but do it right. And don’t be too proud to put on that seatbelt. You may need it sooner than you think.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Choking on Change? Take Smaller Bites

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

I think today I need to do a little research on inflammation. Something is causing my belly to swell. And before you go where we both know you’re about to go, I’m not gaining weight. Okay, I’m 12 pounds higher than I was a month ago, but I’m not gaining now. At least not since yesterday. So, it must be some kind of allergic reaction to something I ate. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

When I put my pants on this morning, or rather, when I tried to put my pants on this morning, the buttonhole had moved to the left. Not that much, but enough to make me twist and dance. An inch may not seem like much when you’re measuring area rugs, but it may as well be a mile when you’ve bent over, sucked in everything, and you’re still an inch short in getting your pants buttoned.

And they don’t make buttonhole extenders to close that gap. If you get on a plane and you’re too fat to buckle your seatbelt, they’ve got extenders for that. Not that I would know from personal experience. I guess I could just put on a belt and tighten it up like a noose. Then if I put on a really long shirt, nobody would know, right? If I had a shirt that long. They all shrunk. Don’t say it.

But it can be dangerous wearing clothing that’s a little too tight. And no, ladies, I’m not talking to you. Tight is good (to an extent). But if you have a body like mine, don’t do it. I was in a meeting once, wearing a dress shirt that was a little too snug, and when I reached for my pen a button popped off. I don’t mean it fell off and landed in my lap. It shot across the table so everybody could see.

Shirt buttons are relatively harmless in that regard, but if the metal button on my jeans were to fly off, especially under that much pressure, it could bring down a small plane. And never mind how many times I’ve sat down at work to the welcome sound of thread popping in the seat of my pants.

Yes, I need to go shopping. The problem is, most stores only carry clothing in “common” sizes, and apparently, I’ve reached the lower end of the “uncommon” bracket. No, I’m not huge. Well, depending on who’s standing next to me. I look pretty big next to those hardbodies in the gym, but next to Rush Limbaugh, I’d be invisible. Maybe I just need to make some new friends.

Okay all joking aside (well, most) the bottom line is I need to lose some weight. I’ve been saying that for several years, if you define “several” in terms of decades. This all started when I got out of the Navy, and it shot through the roof when I quit smoking. I remember my doctor telling me he’d rather I were 100 pounds overweight than smoking. All my brain took from that conversation was I had another 50 pounds to go.

And, before anybody says “Keto,” just don’t. In study after study (you know, those not paid funded companies selling pork rinds and cheese sticks), the Keto diet ranks dead last or close to it in terms of safety, heart health, usability, and bad breath. Okay, I threw that last one in from personal experience. Anybody who’s ever experienced “Keto breath” knows what I’m talking about.

So, the first order of business this morning is to buy a bigger pair of jeans. Thankfully there’s a Walmart nearby and nobody will even notice my pajamas. Then, I have to get serious about taking this weight off. Not the 12 pounds I’ve gained, but the whole enchilada. There I go talking about food again.

Losing weight is hard. Like anything else in life, it means doing something differently – making changes that you know you should make, but wish you didn’t have to. And we face lots of those decisions all through life. It’s easier if you set a goal and then work toward it. But I won’t lie, the goal alone doesn’t make the change any easier. Success, even just a little, makes the difference.

It’s okay to set a big goal, with the end result clearly in sight. But break that goal down into smaller, more manageable bites (food again), and celebrate those small wins. With each one, you’ll become that much more confident you can make it to the end. Focus on the small wins, and the bigger ones will come. Make that your goal for today. I did. But first, I need to go shopping.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Dream Feeding 101 – Fake It Till You Make It

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope today is everything you want it to be.

When a realtor is trying to sell a house, they often select a day to just open it up to the public, in the hopes that somebody will walk in and say, “This is the one!” Okay, what they’re really doing is getting names and phone numbers so they can sell something else, but we don’t tell the homeowners that. They think it’s all about them. That guest register and stack of business cards tells the real story.

And, as any realtor will tell you, the majority of people walking through the house are just there to see how the other side lives. The more expensive the house, the cheaper the cars lining the street. Put a mansion on open house and it’s a pretty sure bet you’ll see a family pull up in a Jed Clampett jalopy, dressed in tattered clothing, and asking questions like, “Does the bank verify income on this?”

I can imagine that’s how the RV dealers feel when the Glardon family comes to visit. Granted, it all started with dream-building … loading up with the look, smell, and feel of the real thing so you can go home and figure out how to make it happen. The only thing that beats sitting in the driver’s seat is taking it for a spin. Dealers know this. That’s why they hide the keys. You have to take a chaperone.

Well, last weekend we went again, and this time it was real, honest-to-goodness, getting down to final decisions, almost ready to really, really do it, shopping. We had two we were seriously considering and wanted to see both in the same day. Well, and to collect a few more brochures. There are still two rooms in the house that don’t have any.

We’re serious at this point – as serious as you can be while you’re still looking for a job. Funny, the salesmen don’t even care about that. “With your credit score, the bank won’t verify employment on this amount.” Nice try. And, believe me, it’s tempting. But there’s that whole thing about actually paying for it when the bill comes due. Banks are a little particular about that. Trust me, I know.

But here’s the thing. If you wait until all the pieces are in place and life is just perfect to even start finalizing your dreams, you’ll never get there. Okay, a job is an important part of that equation, but it’s not the only part. The biggest part is the dream. Knowing exactly what you want, down to the last detail, is the most important part. Get that part out of the way and you’ll figure out how to pay for it.

And, as you’re working that out, there’s nothing wrong with buying a few accessories. Just ask my wife. We already have eating utensils and a coffee maker, and a list of other things we’ll need. Every time we go to the store, we find other things we’ll need. I haven’t told her yet, but at some point, we’ll have to learn about “rapidly dissolving toilet paper.” That or dig a hole in the woods.

I know a man who wanted an airplane. It wasn’t just a dream – it was a passion. He didn’t even know how to fly, but he knew someday he would own an airplane. So, he built an airstrip. Then he put in tie-downs for the plane he didn’t own, bought a fuel tank and had it filled with airplane fuel. He still didn’t have money for the plane, but now he had no choice. That’s what I call commitment.

In sixty-two years, I’ve learned a few important things about life. First, if there’s something you really want, getting older won’t make it any better. You can always wait for the perfect job, for the kids to grow up, to pay off the house, or to win the lottery. And, let’s be honest here. You probably have a better chance of that last one happening than getting everything else in life just perfect.

When a dream becomes a part of you, it turns into a passion. And passion is something we’ll chase until there’s no more chase left in us. Feed those passions. Figure out what stands in the way and move it. Everything in life comes with risk. It also comes with opportunity. And opportunity can turn your dreams into reality. Live today. There will never be a more perfect time.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You Can't Win the Race if You Don't At Least Finish

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off just right.

One of the toughest things about humor is that it’s pretty much like a pot of chili – you can put in the same ingredients and the same amount of effort, yet one pot will invariably be better than the others. Okay, so maybe I should stick to name-brand instead of going with the cheap stuff. But you get the idea. There are days when I wish I’d added just a bit more spice.  

When we hear the word “consistency,” we tend to think of things like how thick the gravy is or making sure your kid knows just how far they can go before you totally lose it. With Mom, we always knew. If she gave you that look – you know the one – it was all over. Oh, she wouldn’t do anything in front of company. But you can bet seven hours later, she’d still remember. Mom never forgot.

With gravy, you can always add a little flour or water to change the consistency. But if you try to tweak it too much, it just ends up tasting like wet flour. And it’s pretty much that way with a lot of things. At a certain point, it’s as good as it’ll ever get. Beyond that, you’re just making things worse. Like tap-dancing your way out of forgetting Valentine’s Day. No amount of extra ingredients will help.

Just for the record guys – that’s tomorrow. If you haven’t already bought a card, flowers, and chocolate, start writing excuses. “That’s okay, I’ll just swing by the store on the way home from work!” Nice try. The store looks like a kindergarten class after the teacher stepped out. Nothing is where it belongs, and all the good stuff is gone. It’s just empty shelves. Have fun with that.

I always like to play little tricks and put anniversary cards in with the Valentine’s Day cards. Find one that’s got lots of pink and flowers, and have a little fun! Because you know some guy is gonna pick one up without looking, sign it in the car, and then drop it in front of his wife when he gets home. “Seriously? You thought today was our anniversary? Mom was right about you!” (as Dave chuckles)

I never got Valentine’s Day. I always thought it was something we outgrew in the sixth grade. You know, like the tooth fairy. Okay, I was a little slow. On both accounts. Guess that explains why I never had a girlfriend in high school. At least not by the end of February. Guys, here’s a tip. This day is second only to your anniversary. And if you’re only dating, it IS your anniversary.

Okay, so how did consistency turn into Valentine’s Day? Because that’s the way my brain works this early in the morning. I haven’t even had my third cup of coffee. But somehow, I manage to make it look intentional. Like getting lost so bad the GPS just stops even trying. “You’re on your own now, genius!” Then I somehow get back on the right highway and act like I knew where we were all along.

When there’s something we want, something we’ll have to really work for, we tend to charge through the gate like an Appaloosa with firecrackers under his feet. Halfway down the front stretch, we settle into a comfortable pace, taking time to check out the scenery along the way. Before long, we’re down to a slow trot, and then we come to a full stop. Maybe tomorrow we’ll run some more. Maybe not.

It’s better to make slow progress than none at all. I’ve often lamented the fact that my doctor wants me to lose a pound a week. “But it’ll take me two years at that rate!” Okay, but if I’d started that routine two years ago, I’d be there today. Instead … well, never mind. I’ve done the quick-fix diets and lost ten pounds in a week. But it’s not sustainable. Nothing fast ever is. Consistency is the key.

Set a goal, make a plan, and commit to doing something toward that goal every single day. Yes, even on weekends. It takes a lot more energy to start and stop than to just keep moving. Build a little momentum and let it work for you. It’s not important how fast you’re moving. Just keep going and you’ll get there. And by then, it won’t even matter how long it took.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved