Don’t Let Time Keep You From Your Dreams

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

For those of us who work weekdays, this is Friday Eve. Okay, that’s not an official term, but it does offer a glimmer of hope toward the end of a long week. Not that there’s any such thing as a long week – they all have 168 hours, unless you cross time zones. Or maybe there’s no such thing as a short week. Hmmm. Is the glass half-full or half-empty? Maybe we just need a taller glass.

Welcome to the mindless ramblings of somebody who didn’t get enough sleep last night. I’d check my Fitbit’s sleep tracker, but it says I need an update. Yes, I know that. Dave 2.0 is getting slower by the day, and apparently needs some memory upgrades as well. And what’s with this constant shoulder pain? This was not in the book. I think I want a refund.

When I was younger, Mom would always tell me “Stop wishing your life away!” That was usually in response to my impatience waiting for Christmas or my next birthday. Every kid looks forward to those things. But her point was solid. Wishing for another day to arrive is essentially the same as wishing to skip this one entirely. Do that often enough, and you can miss out on a lot.

And to be fair, there are days we’d rather skip. Tell me I have to go in for a colonoscopy, and that’s a day I’d gladly give up. Or Tax Day. Why couldn’t that be on Friday the 13th? Nobody liked that one anyway. Still, Friday is a day of celebration. Except Good Friday. The only Friday with “Good” in its name is the most somber day of the year. Even my preacher stays inside and prays.

Okay, I’m getting way off track here. That’s what happens when you don’t sleep. I should call my grandson and let him lecture me about it. He’d be happy to throw some pay-back my way. Of course, sleep isn’t a problem for him. He’s out of bed by noon every day. Well, most days. At least he has an excuse. I haven’t partied like that since 1983. Friday is a big deal to him as well.

It’s natural to look forward to things we enjoy. And after the better part of a week on the job, a couple of days off looks pretty attractive. Even if we don’t have anything planned, it’s a couple of days to start a little later, move a little slower, and rest a little longer. At least that’s what the boss thinks. For most of us, the weekend is more hectic than the days we actually get paid to work.

But at the end of the weekend, what’s the first thing we say? “It was too short.” Again, it was the same two days we get every week – a total of about 63 hours from clock-out to clock-in. But it seems we never have enough hours to do all the things we put off until the weekend, plus play with the kids, do laundry, mow the lawn, buy groceries, and paint the front porch. Tired yet?

And the problem is, at the end of that weekend, we still don’t feel like we got anything done. A good portion of what was on our list Saturday morning remains for next weekend because a dozen other things crept in and took up all our time. Is it any wonder our dreams go unfulfilled?

Dreams take time. Depending on what you want, it could take years to achieve. Even when we think we could have it done in six months, that’s six months of working at it regularly. Like every day. And that’s what stops most of us from ever getting started. Just carving out 8-10 hours a week can be a real challenge, especially when we focus on the entire 8-10 hours. Who has time for that?

But more often than not, we can put in those 8-10 hours an hour or two at a time. Nobody is asking you to carve out that much time in a single day, or even a single weekend. But if you really try, it’s not hard to find an hour or two in the evening a few times a week or maybe over lunch. Do that, and you’re more than halfway there. Once that’s behind you, finding a few more hours is a breeze.

Unless you prioritize your dreams, they’ll never come to fruition. Life is hectic. We’re all busy. But finding that time now, while you’re still young enough to go on a little less sleep, can make all the difference in the world later. You enjoy weekends? Who doesn’t? Put in a little effort now, and weekends could become a fulltime occupation. That’s what I’m working for. How about you?

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Nice Goal! But What’s In It For You?

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

I need to go shopping. I know, that’s not something men say very often. But I need a suit. One that actually fits. I’ve got plenty of jackets with non-matching pants, but the buttons won’t close and the pants are mix and match. You know, like navy blue against plaid, or vice-versa. Fashion has never been my thing. My wife can attest to that.

I’ve been talking about buying a suit for years. “When I finally lose this weight, I’m gonna buy myself a nice suit.” It finally occurred to me that, if I’d just bought the suit the first time I thought about it, the damn thing would still fit, and it would probably be worn out by now. Can I get an amen?

How often do we do that? We condition one goal on another, as some sort of reward for doing something we know deep down we’ll never do. But who wants to buy a nice suit right before they lose weight? Then you just have to give it away and go buy another one. Boo-hoo! I doubt many women would even give that a moment of thought. “I lose weight AND get to go shopping? Yeah!”

So, as a consequence, I’ve spent the past 20 years going to dressy functions looking like I just stepped out of the Goodwill store. And, for good reason. I think that’s exactly where most of my suit jackets came from. Not that there’s anything wrong with them, or shopping at Goodwill. They’re in pretty good shape. And, according to my wife, thirty years ago they were right in style.

But let’s be honest. Men’s fashions don’t change much. From year to year, they pretty much stay the same. Okay, the powder-blue leisure suit I wore for my high-school senior picture is a little dated, and the white shoes & belt would draw a few laughs. But the jeans I buy today look exactly like the ones I bought in 1976. They’re just a lot bigger.

Okay, back to the original point – conditioning something we want on a goal we may or may not ever achieve. We think it’s motivating. Doctors even feed us that crap. “Promise yourself you’ll buy a new article of clothing for every ten pounds you lose.” Okay, but do I have to return it when I gain the weight back? I’ve lost the same ten pounds a hundred times. Give me a break!

There is something to be said for dangling a carrot on a stick, especially when you’re trying to do something challenging or unpleasant. And let’s be real, dieting is not at the top of our list of dreams. Losing weight, sure. That’s the pleasant part. I tried telling myself that if I’d eat right for six months, I’d reward myself with a lower bathroom scale reading. The scale had other ideas.

Now, ask me if I actually ate right for six months. No, don’t. We both know the answer to that one. I know what I need to do, but doing it takes a little more willpower. And that’s especially true when the reward part isn’t materializing the way we’d planned. “Ten pounds this month, ten pounds next month, nine the month after that, by Christmas I’ll be back in onesies!” Right.

Rewards are an important part of goals as long as the goal is realistic, and the reward is proportional to the effort. A new car may motivate you to make a few phone calls to build your business, but if those phone calls only net an extra $4 profit, that’s not going to buy much of a car. On the other hand, it’s not realistic to think a few extra phone calls will quadruple your income.

But a couple of phone calls a day, over the span of a few months, could set the wheels in motion for something much bigger than you’d ever imagined. A couple of hours each week learning a new skill could put you in line for a promotion later in the year. And, according to my doctor, if I lose a pound a week, I’ll eventually get to my goal weight. Too bad I didn’t start that two years ago.

It’s the small changes that make the biggest difference. But we have to repeat them every day, without fail. That takes patience. It takes faith. It takes constantly reminding ourselves why we’re doing it in the first place. And that’s where the reward comes in. What will YOU get out of this? What will be YOUR reward when it’s all over?

Get a picture of that reward and hang it someplace you’ll see it several times every day. And if you need a suit sooner or your car dies before you reach that goal, do what you have to do. But keep working toward the goal. Find another reward, something even better. Now that you know how to achieve those rewards, the sky is the limit!

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You’re Either Building Your Own Dreams, or Somebody Else’s

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

Yesterday I posted about Groundhog Day, and I made a mistake. I caught it later in the day but decided to leave it there to see who would point it out. Nobody did. So, given that the groundhog saw his shadow today and we all agreed (apparently) that means an early spring, I say let’s make it a decree. Otherwise, we’re stuck with six more weeks of winter.

Now, I know some of you like winter. According to a travel industry survey, 23% of adults prefer to spend their time in winter destinations. That’s almost one in four. I found another statistic that says about a million babies each year are dropped on their head at birth. Coincidence? I think not.

That said, if you like playing in the snow – if that’s what you dream of while the rest of us are dreaming of sunny days on the beach – more power to you. Get out there and enjoy it. Because the groundhog says you only have six more weeks before it’s gone, and the groundhog is never wrong. You know, except those times when he really is wrong. Which, as it turns out, is about half the time.

I read something the other day that stuck in my mind. “If you don’t chase your own dreams, somebody else will hire you to chase theirs.” That may not be an exact quote, but it’s close enough. Most of those people flying north in ski clothing instead of clocking in at the office have one thing in common. You know, aside from being dropped on their head.

Years ago, I spent my days building and refurbishing luxury motor yachts for people who made a whole lot more money than me. My first day on the job, I helped a captain find a box of Waterford crystal that was covered up in a corner. He was frantic. Not as frantic as I was when I found out what was in that box. Ten minutes earlier, I’d been kneeling on it. Total cost for that box – $15,000.

Every day, really expensive boats would cruise past, driven by people my age who apparently didn’t have to work that day. And most of them probably made more money that day than I made in a year. They were out enjoying their dream because they paid somebody else to make it possible. You know, somebody like me.

Now, it would be easy to belittle somebody like that for taking advantage of us poor folks, living a life of luxury while I went home smelling like sawdust and turpentine. But let’s be real. If it weren’t for people like that who can afford to live their dreams, I’d have been sitting in an unemployment line waiting for the next rich guy to come along.

As long as you’re working for somebody else, you’re making them more money than they’re paying you. That’s just the way it is. And if they can get a dozen people like you to make them a little bit of money each, it adds up. Give them a hundred or so more, and they’re making money while they sleep. I tried that once. I got fired.

Okay, I’m kidding. I’ve never fallen asleep on the job. Not as far as the boss knows. But you get the point. Almost 90% of us work for somebody else or are self-employed in a small business that requires our daily participation. And somebody much higher up the ladder is earning a premium on our work. Maybe a little, maybe a lot. But the bottom line is, we’re worth more.

So, it stands to reason that if you want to be on the receiving end of that equation, you need to start a business of your own and build a team of people whose efforts contribute toward your income. In most businesses, that means employees. And who wants the headache of dealing with that every day? Not me!

But what if you could build that same team of people, except instead of making them work to support your dreams, you helped them build their own? Sure, you’d get a small cut, and the bigger your team, the bigger that cut would be. But instead of sending people home smelling like sawdust and turpentine, you’d lead them closer to their dream.

In his bestselling book, Robert Kiyosaki named network marketing as “The Business of the 21st Century.” It’s a business model that works, simply because it’s based on mutual benefit. Do the people at the top make the most money? Sure. Just like in every other company. The difference is the people at the bottom can increase their own income any time they want.

Network marketing is one of many ways you can build an income that supports your own dreams instead of somebody else’s. Is it right for you? Only you can answer that. But it might be worth a closer look if your income continues to fall short of your dreams.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Opportunity Knocks, But You Still Have to Open the Door

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

It’s the first day of February. For those of us here in the US, tomorrow is a special day. It’s the day we watch a clown in a top hat translate the squeaks of a large rodent into prognostications about the weather that the most experienced meteorologists with the most sophisticated equipment can’t guess beyond the next few hours. Let me answer that for you right now. It’s gonna be cold!

For those of you in parts of the world that don’t rely on folklore to tell you if you need a jacket, here’s the basic premise. The clown in the top hat takes a groundhog out of a fake log. If the groundhog sees his shadow (it’s sunny, or the TV lights are especially bright), it means an early spring; no shadow means we’re in for at least six more weeks of misery. High-tech, huh?

And we don’t stop when it comes to groundhogs. When I first moved back to Ohio, everyone was talking about the wooly worms. “Did you see the fur on that one? We’re in for a cold winter!” “See which way the geese are flying? It’s about to snow!” “My dog was scratching his butt on the ground this morning. It’s gonna storm tonight!” Or maybe his butt itches. It’s hard to tell.

One my granddaddy taught me is that, when the trees show the back side of their leaves, it’s about to rain. That one is based at least a little bit in science. The shiny side of a leaf doesn’t absorb much water, so trees flip their leaves over to let the porous side catch the rain. Or the wind is blowing hard enough to flip them over. I’ve never actually asked a tree.

It’s an effort to explain the unexplainable, which means it’s probably very explainable to some people, but not to us. You know, smart people. The ones who can explain the molecular structure of a carbon atom but can’t balance a checkbook. That’s a different kind of smart. And then there’s my grandson, who hasn’t mastered either. He’s too focused on shoes.

It’s normal to be amused, if not somewhat enlightened, by folklore. After all, Granddaddy lived to be in his 90s and was pretty smart, so he couldn’t have been wrong about everything. It’s also why we gaze suspiciously on black cats and kids are afraid to step on a crack in the sidewalk. Except my youngest daughter. She finally confessed that she jumped on every crack in the county.

While folklore may have at least some basis in fact, superstition is simply a way of passing the buck for things that don’t go as planned. “It was just bad luck.” Couldn’t have been anything we did, right? You know, like blowing money at the carnival instead of paying bills. Or sitting in front of the TV instead of searching the online job boards. “Nobody wants to hire me. I just can’t catch a break!”

Well, as I’ve suggested in the past, if you want better luck, you have to do something about it. Luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparedness. And, since opportunity is always there, luck is the natural result (or consequence) of our preparedness to make the most of opportunities as they arise. Let’s face it, the right person can turn a pile of manure into a mountain of gold.

Yet, when you ask somebody why they’re still right where they were ten years ago, the answer is usually the same – “I’m waiting for the right opportunity.” Oh, the “right” one. Got it. Because all those other opportunities just weren’t worth your time, especially the ones that required you to step out of your comfort zone a little and actually … you know, work for it.

Now, that may sound harsh, but if you give it a moment of thought, you’ll realize we all do that to some extent. We want something better, and we know we need to work for it. But work at what? That’s where we get hung up. All too often, we close our eyes to opportunity because it’s not exactly what we were looking for. “What would my friends say?” I don’t know. Are they paying your bills?

To be fair, every opportunity isn’t for everybody. We have to find something that fits our values and, to some extent, our comfort zone. As long as we realize comfort is a constraint that holds us back. It keeps us from trying new things. And that’s okay if you’re happy the way things are. But if you want new things, you have to try new things. That part will never change.

Opportunity is there. The question is, what will you do about it? Will you take advantage of opportunity, even if it’s not exactly what you’d imagined? Will you achieve your dreams, or make excuses? Luck doesn’t just happen – we make it happen. Make yours work for you.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Let Setbacks Turn Into Roadblocks

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

What a week. We usually say that at the end of a week that was, for whatever reason, extraordinarily challenging, tiring, depressing, or otherwise miserable. Oh, we say the same thing if it was a good week. The only difference is we add an exclamation point at the end. What a week! See the difference?

Sometimes, it’s not just the words we say, but the tone, inflection, and yes, even punctuation. It reminds me of one that made its rounds on the Internet several years back … “A woman without her man is nothing.” That’ll get some women fired up! But a little extra punctuation changes the meaning entirely.  “A woman – without her, man is nothing.” Yes, ladies, now would be the time to do the happy dance.

It goes without saying that this has been a week I don’t want to repeat. It began in a Hospice room, and it’s ending with an unplanned trip for a funeral. Everything in between was a blur. There were happy times, sad times, hours on the job, and the constant juggling of priorities to answer calls, soothe emotions, and try to make Dad’s final journey something worthy of the man he was. Whatever we do, it’ll never be enough.

It’s also the end of our longest-ever stretch as potential fulltime nomads. Last night, we spent our 28th consecutive night in the RV. It was a test, of sorts, as we decide whether we may be able to do this on a more permanent basis. Sure, a younger Dave would have just sold the house and hit the road. I’ve always been an adventurer. Besides, bill collectors can’t chase you down if they don’t know where you live.

There’s something to be said for changing the scenery any time it gets boring. It’s also a great way for people our age to decide where we’d like to retire. Instead of moving in, you move around. You stay in one place and say, “Let’s come back again later in the year and see how it is then.” And other places, you drain the tanks, secretly hoping a little spills out on the ground. I’m just saying.

Moving from a three-bedroom house to a 300 square-foot box on wheels is an adjustment. Funny thing is, we have one more toilet in this thing than we do in our house. Go figure. And, in case you’re wondering, we DO have one at home. Inside. With plumbing. Shame on you for even thinking that.

RV living means downsizing, in more ways than one. My entire wardrobe consumes a single drawer and six hangers. We’ve become really creative in use of the kitchen counter. My wife wanted a bread maker, and we debated long and hard over where we would keep it. There’s a mantra among RV fulltimers – one in, one out. You buy a bread maker, the bath towels have to go. I don’t make the rules.

On the other hand, we’ve never really felt cramped. We’ve slept nine in relative comfort (for me, anyway – we get the bed), and on one rainy night we fed 11 inside. Nobody was on the floor, but it did take an hour to vacuum after they were gone. And on that point – if you don’t like house cleaning or laundry, buy a really big home and stay there forever. RV living isn’t for you.

So, here we are. With a month behind us, I’m fairly certain we can do this long-term. We had originally planned to be out until spring, but that wasn’t in the cards. You adapt and do what needs to be done, and then get back on track. Our trip hasn’t been cancelled. It’s been interrupted. We’ll take care of more important things for now, and then get back on the road. The goal hasn’t changed.

As young entrepreneurs, Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel set sail in the Caribbean. Neither had any sailing experience and, apparently, neither was an expert used boat inspector. Not long after they set sail, their boat sank off the coast of Cuba. They were rescued and, after a brief period of time ashore, collected the insurance and continued on their adventure as repatriated landlubbers.

The point is, despite a major setback, the adventure continued. Would it have been easier to go home, lick their wounds, and get a job in the factory? Sure. But it wasn’t in their DNA. And I’m willing to bet it’s not in yours, either. The very fact that you read these ramblings every day puts you in an exclusive class of people. You’re one who wants more, who isn’t willing to be swayed by a single misfortune.

Life will always present its share of challenges. But if the dream is strong enough, those challenges become speed bumps, simply slowing our progress for the moment. It’s what we do after those moments that counts. Stay in the game and press on. You’ve got this.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

It’s Okay to Be Comfortable, But You Still Need a Backup Plan

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

There are lots of things we take for granted. Your parents love you. That’s a big one. When you strap yourself into an airplane, you’ll arrive safely at your destination. That one involves a little more trust, but odds are it’s a safe bet. And when you flush the toilet, its contents are transported into a medieval abyss, never to be seen again. Unless you use too much paper. Then you’ll do more than just see it.

When you’re in an RV, there’s a way station between the commode and that mythical destination, one that fills up until you step outside and do something about it. And it’s not exactly like the scene from Christmas Vacation where Cousin Eddie is standing at the storm sewer in his bathrobe pumping you-know-what from a gurgling hose. I’m usually in pajamas and slippers.

Too much information? I know. But it’s one of the realities of RV living. The good part is you have another tank, one with a mild concentration of clean soapy water from the showers and sinks that does a really good job of flushing all the nasty stuff from the sewer hose. So, the last thing you see draining through that clear elbow at the end of the hose helps restore your appetite in time for dinner.

How long would it take you to make a list of all the things you take for granted? You know, things you just expect to happen a certain way, a cause and effect that occurs without so much as a second thought. It would be a daunting task and would likely fill an entire book by the time we’re done. And even then, we’d be taking it for granted that there’s nothing else we take for granted. Getting dizzy?

Taking something for granted amounts to nothing more than a leap of faith. If I turn the key, the engine starts. If I pull the ripcord, the parachute opens. And that gauge on the wall that says my RV’s propane tank is empty means it’s almost empty. God, please, let that be what it means. Otherwise, we’re in for a really cold night.

Taking things for granted is pretty much a way of life.  When a student applies for a college loan, they take it for granted they’ll find a job that, over the course of two decades, will pay a little more than the cost of the loan. And the lender takes it for granted they’ll pay the loan back. Talk about a leap of faith!

All our lives we’ve been told to get an education, find a good job, and climb the corporate ladder. And that’s great if you’re into ladders. The problem is most corporate jobs can be done just as well by somebody overseas for a whole lot less money. If you really want job security, become a plumber or learn to work on cars. Sorry, I just report the news. Don’t shoot the messenger.

I’m good at my job. I’ve never had to worry about being replaced because I don’t measure up or haven’t stayed up with emerging technology. Even at my age, employers place a premium on experience versus the potential health issues of age. Still, I know that any day they could come to me and say, “Dave, we’re sending your job offshore. It’s not personal – just business.”

Thanks to modern technology, remote work becomes more feasible and profitable by the day. That’s why I’m able to work from the RV, regardless of where it’s parked. It’s also why finding somebody halfway around the globe who’s willing to work the night shift in their time zone opens a world of opportunity for employers who need to cut costs.

So, while I take it for granted that reliability and doing a good job will keep me in my employer’s good graces, the reality is that I’m only here for as long as it’s profitable to keep me. And most of us, especially if you sit in a cubicle or work from home, are in the same boat.

So, what’s a person to do? Well, let me answer that with a question. Do you keep a spare tire in your car? Do you have a few dollars set aside for an emergency? Do you keep a few extra light bulbs in the house? Does your pantry have food you don’t plan to eat today? I could make some kind of profound statement here, but I think you get where this is headed.

Never before in our lifetime has it been more important to have a Plan B. Yes, rely on what you’ve built to this point in life and make the most of it. But realize that, in a moment, everything can change, and you may have to find a completely new way of getting things done. The sooner you find that something new and get started on it, even if it’s just on the side, the better you’ll be in the long run.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Love Shared Will Always Be Life’s Greatest Blessing

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

It’s been a little over a week since my last post. Hopefully none of you noted my absence with a resounding, “Thank God!” Yes, I get a bit wordy sometimes, in much the same way that a Chihuahua gets a little testy at times. It’s a way of life. And here you are, still listening to me. I guess something must be working right.

Mom used to tell me that, when I was young, I barely spoke at all. I guess I was saving it up for later. Dad had to go on a job-related trip when I was about five or six and, while he was gone, I discovered my voice. When Dad called home, Mom said, “He’s started talking and he won’t stop!” Dad thought maybe she’d been into Granny’s secret elixir. I think Mom tried some of it on me as well.

But you know, talking has mostly served me well over the years. As a writer, I never had to worry about getting paid by the word. No employer was ever that gullible. As a comedian, there was always somebody in the back of the room with a flashlight telling me when it was time to shut up. I think some people in the audience tried that a few times.

And my wife has told me several times that, when we went on our first date, she was mostly attracted to my willingness to talk. That’s a nice way of saying it wasn’t my rippling biceps. But she’d been with her share of guys who talked with their hands, and I guess in that sense, it had to be a refreshing change of pace.

As I got out of bed this morning, she told me happy anniversary. It was 41 years ago today that we stood together and said, “I do.” It’s been a ride like we could never have imagined, but there’s no other person on this planet I’d rather have taken that ride with. We complete each other, rough edges and all. Sometimes like sandpaper, but the right progression of sandpaper can really make things shine.

To say we’ve been through a lot together is an understatement. With two daughters, four grandchildren, career successes and failures, and our share of profound loss, I’ve always known she was there at my side. And I never felt that more than I did two nights ago, as I said goodbye to my dad. It was one of the worst nights of my life, and somehow, I still feel blessed.

If you remember my last post, I had just taken Dad to the hospital. Things were looking up a bit, though I knew deep down that was a temporary reprieve. Recovery wasn’t in God’s master plan, and he slipped peacefully beyond this life just before midnight Sunday. I was at his side, along with my daughter and grandson, and his whole family had been with him in his final days and hours.

I had lots of good conversations with Dad in those final days. Last Friday, he told me about some of his days in the Navy, and for whatever reason, he recalled a co-worker who had just gotten married and brought his new wife to our house, probably 50 years ago. I had no idea that would be my last conversation with Dad. A few minutes later, he went to sleep and never really woke up again.

But I also know he was aware of what was happening, and of everyone who was gathered around him. Even in his last hours, when I’d put the phone to his ear, he was visibly attentive. The sense of hearing is the last to go, so much that it’s been suggested a person can still hear the voices around them for a couple of minutes after they pass. I believe that.

One of life’s greatest blessings is the opportunity to send a loved one to their final reward with expressions of gratitude and love. As I said in a post last night, most people don’t get that chance. And as hard as it is to let go, those final moments will remain in my memory as some of the most precious of my life.

I think it’s fitting that, on the same floor as the Hospice unit was the hospital’s birthing center. As one person leaves, another life begins. I thought of that every time I walked past. I’ve prayed a lot for all those little ones and their parents, wishing them all a relationship like I had with my mom and dad. There is no greater gift than love, a lesson Mom and Dad taught by example.

And when it was all over, I came home to the one person I knew would be there to comfort me like nobody else can. After all these years, a hug and kiss from my wife can somehow make all the bad things disappear, even if only for a moment. I just hope I’ve been able to do the same for her.

As I said in my last post, we never know what life has in store or when we’ll spend our final moments with somebody we love. Make the most of those moments. Heal any wounds and atone for any wrongs. Life is short, my friends. Don’t waste any opportunity to make it beautiful.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Make Every Moment Count

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

It’s funny how we can reach Friday and say, “This has been a really long week!” Long, compared to what? A shorter week? I’m not talking about working hours, or those weeks when we get a holiday. Even then, they have a way of leveling the score. I’ve often said that when you get to skip a Monday at work, you get four more to make up for it. Can I get an amen?

Yet, at the end of these “long” weeks, we always say the same thing. “I just didn’t have enough time to get it all done!” Well, which is it? If the week was noticeably longer, that excuse pretty much goes out the window. And in all honesty, there are only two ways to make a week longer – flying west or waiting for the change to Standard Time. And that only happens once a year.

Still, it’s been an exceptionally long week for me. Let’s face it, time doesn’t always fly. The more challenging the situation, the slower that clock seems to turn. There were times this week when I was pretty sure mine was broken.

One of the nice things about working from home is that “home” doesn’t always have to be in the same place. I’ve been fortunate to work for a company that really doesn’t care where I’m located, as long as I’m online during working hours. That was an unintended consequence of the pandemic, but still a blessing. And this week, I’ve been in Florida to spend time with my dad.

Yesterday that time was spent in a hospital emergency room, literally all day. I won’t go into detail, except to say there were a few hours where I wasn’t sure the day would have a happy ending. One of the most heartbreaking things we’ll ever experience is watching that example of strength we’ve known all our lives slip further into a debilitating condition with only one eventual escape.

Thankfully, things started going our way late in the afternoon and he finished the day better stabilized and gaining strength. He’s got a long recovery ahead, and I know some days will be better than others. The best I can do is be here, and make sure he knows how much I appreciate the person he is and the person he’s helped me to become.

I’ve had several conversations with my daughters and oldest grandson this week, and the thing I keep telling them is never take anything for granted. For each person in our life, there will be a last visit and a last conversation. What we’ll never know is if it’s in the future or has already happened. And that’s why it’s so important that we take advantage of those opportunities to make the time count.

I worked with a guy years ago that I didn’t particularly like, and he felt the same about me. I really can’t say why. That’s just the way it was. Our conversations were typically laced with snide remarks and disdain. I still remember the day he made an especially rude comment to me and I suggested he should kiss my behind. I wasn’t always this nice.

A few weeks later, we had to team up on a manufacturing issue, and we worked really well together. He came to respect my abilities, and I came to respect his. We never went to lunch together, but it was a pleasant experience. A month later, he had an aneurism and died. I can’t remember my final words to him, but I will always know what they might have been. Thank God we were able to work past that.

Throughout our lives, we will come to know a lot of people. Some will mean the world to us, some will be mere acquaintances, and the rest will fall somewhere in between. And whether we mean to or not, we will each leave an imprint on one another in ways we may never know. That’s why it’s so important that we think before we speak, and atone for any transgressions as quickly as possible.

To that person at work whose smile we barely notice, a smile or a warm greeting from us could mean the world. The neighbor whose lifestyle offends us may be yearning for acceptance. Even the person in handcuffs in the back seat of a police cruiser deserves our compassion. And the best part is, it’s free. It costs nothing to offer a smile or a kind word. Will it make a difference? You may never know.

I’m confident I’ll have more opportunities to spend time with Dad and let him know how much he means to me. How many more is the great unknown. Pick up the phone. Write a letter. Go visit. You’ll never know when that last conversation about nothing in particular may truly be your last. Make it count.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Say What You Mean

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

It’s Hump Day. I remember having to explain that to a young friend from the Republic of Georgia. She had never heard the expression before, and it reminded me that a lot of what we consider to be common vernacular is not so common outside our own little community. Okay, full disclosure – that’s the first time I’ve ever used “vernacular” in a sentence. I’m feeling just a little giddy right now!

What is vernacular? Just a more expensive version of the word “language.” It’s like saying “cove” instead of “dead-end street.” They both mean the same thing. Which one you use depends entirely on the price of the houses. In a trailer park the sign simply says, “No Outlet.” To me, that one always sounded like a vague reference to a lack of restrooms. Yes, that’s really the way my mind works.

We often use fancy words to describe simple things. Sometimes, it’s just good marketing. Why would you consider buying a used car when you can buy a pre-owned automobile? And let’s be honest, a house trailer just isn’t as prestigious as pre-manufactured housing. Besides, once the wheels come off, it’s just a house, right? And doesn’t “son-in-law” sound nicer than “jerk who married my daughter?”

Okay, I’m gonna get in trouble here. Not with my daughter. She’s got a few colorful words of her own to clarify that sentiment. But that’s another story. The point is, when something isn’t as pretty as we’d like it to be, all we have to do is find more appealing ways to describe it. Politicians learn this premise early in life. Instead of an allowance, they hit their parents up for tax-deferred contributions.

I was reading the news last year and came across a new term I’d never seen before – “food insecure.” I had to read that a couple of times, because when I first read it, I thought it had something to do with gas station sushi. That’s about as insecure as you can get. Or the time Mom thawed the Thanksgiving turkey outside for three days in 80-degree weather. I issued advance warning to the whole family on that one.

But, as it turns out, it’s just a less painful way of saying somebody’s refrigerator is empty and the kids won’t be getting any dinner tonight. And I have to wonder, why do we feel the need to color that with anything other than its true shade of mottled gray tinted with desperation? Is it to make us feel less guilty about not dropping a can of soup in the church food pantry?

We do the same thing to describe our own circumstances. Nobody ever says, “We’re poor.” They’re having financial difficulty. Unemployment is more palatable if you’re just between jobs. And plus-sized sounds a whole lot nicer than overweight. My granddaughter gets really upset when I say I’m old. “You’re not old!” Well, in all honesty, this isn’t as old as I once thought it was. But let’s be real.

The challenge is when you think somebody may need a little help, but you don’t want to approach it in the wrong way. It’s especially delicate when the other person hasn’t opened up to you first. You know, like when you go into the business of selling weight loss products and want to approach a prospective customer. “Wow, you really need to visit my store!” That’s not the best way to make friends.

On the other hand, if you truly believe you have something to offer, something that another person needs and that can benefit their life in some way, you really owe it to that person to say something. It may be nothing more than friendly advice, from the perspective of somebody who’s been in a similar situation themselves, or as complex as a plan for doubling their income over the next year.

When we avoid these conversations, we make a decision for people that they may not want us to make. “I know you could use some extra cash and I can show you how to make some. But you wouldn’t be interested in what I’m doing, so I’ll save us both the trouble.” You might as well look at them and say, “I know something that could make your life better, but I’m keeping it to myself.”

We all face challenges in life. It may feel better to describe those challenges in “politically-correct” terms, but if the person we’re talking to doesn’t understand the vernacular (twice in one post!), we could be completely missing the chance to give or receive help. Sugar-coating may make the words easier to say and hear. Just don’t let the meaning get lost in the message.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Just Change Your Habits – Replace Them

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

I made a commitment to myself at the beginning of the year. I don’t call it a resolution, because in 1998 I resolved to never make a New Year’s resolution again. It’s the one time I’ve been able to follow through beyond January 10, and I’m not about to give in now.

So, this one is technically a commitment. Okay, it’s more of a pipe dream, because so far I haven’t done a single thing to accomplish this goal. One look at my waistline and you’ll be able to guess what it entails. I want to start eating healthy and lose some weight. You know, in the sense that “some weight” can be interpreted to mean “something around 100 pounds.” Give or take a few.

I’ve promised myself I’d make these changes since a few weeks after Moses parted the waters. I’ve made that vow every time my pants slip below the biggest part of my belly and head for the floor. I’ve said it every time my lower back spontaneously combusts from standing in a checkout line. Okay, I say it every time I have to bend over and tie my shoes. Some days I’m happy to just sit up.

And, don’t get me wrong. I am trying. Well, I intend to. You know, right after the potato chips and Twizzlers are gone. I had oatmeal for breakfast yesterday. Does that count? I mean, come on. Any time you can get somebody this big to skip the bacon and eggs for a single serving of oatmeal, that should be worth six pounds by itself. How many healthy things do I need to eat?

I have good intentions, and I know the things I need to do. I just have trouble putting it into practice. It’s like the guy who goes into McDonalds and orders two Big Macs, a large order of fries, an apple pie, and a diet soda. If you think I’m joking, you should see me make a salad. It starts off healthy. But by the time I’m done adding eggs, bacon bit, cheese, and creamy dressing, it might as well be a hot fudge sundae.

It all comes down to habits. Years ago, I lost almost forty pounds by making small changes over time, changes I could live with for the long haul. There were some food substitutions, like egg whites instead of whole eggs, rye bread instead of white, and meal bars instead of fast food. Throw in a little portion control, and the pounds started slowly coming off.

What happened? Well, my new habits gave way to old ones. When my youngest granddaughter was born, we spent the better part of a week going to the hospital every day after work, and it was dinnertime, and there was a Wendy’s on the way and … well, you get the picture. Within six months, my all that “lost” weight magically reappeared.

Anybody who thinks habits are hard to form has never given in to a habit they’d previously broken. I smoked cigarettes for 23 years. And, like most things I do, I didn’t smoke just a little. The day before I quit, I smoked three full packs. And truly, that’s been the one bad habit I broke without ever going back. Quitting was easy. I did it six times.

The last time was 23 years ago, and so far, I haven’t gone back. There’s one simple reason. I know that, for the rest of my life, I’ll be a chain-smoker in remission. And one cigarette is all it would take to undo two decades of success. Habits are that strong. They’re like an ex-girlfriend you can never seem to shake. And all it takes is a single text message to get the whole thing started again.

Breaking an old habit isn’t enough. We have to form new habits to take their place. And the new habit needs to be one that doesn’t leave us feeling empty or deprived. If I were to give up fried chicken forever, that decision would be doomed to failure. It just isn’t going to happen. But I can use an air fryer instead of a deep fryer. I can cut it down to one piece instead of four, and monthly instead of weekly.

The first step is identifying the unhealthy or counter-productive habit we want to change. Then we have to find something to take its place. And it doesn’t even have to be a direct substitute. Like putting away the leftovers after a meal instead of leaving them out for a grazing. Taking a walk instead of an after-dinner drink. Or reading a book instead of surfing the internet.

Habits are simply our default response to a given situation. But defaults can be changed any time they no longer support our needs and needs change every time we dare to dream. Match your habits to your needs, and every dream becomes that much more attainable.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved