Is It Friday Yet???

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

You know how you go through the whole week thinking it’s a day later than it really is, and then you wake up on Tuesday realizing it’s not Friday? Okay, Monday was a long day. So were the others that followed. Today is Friday, right? Pleeeeze, somebody tell me it is!

Mom used to always say, “Stop wishing your life away!” Okay, that was usually when I’d make comments about wishing I was older or that Christmas would hurry up and get here. When you’re nine, those things are pretty important. Now? Not so much. Christmas comes fast enough, and I’d be thrilled if the aging thing would slow down a little.

It’s not that I mind getting older. I’m perfectly happy to have lived this long, and I hope to be a lot more wrinkled and gray before it’s all over. I’ve earned this. That’s not to say I deserve it, because I’ve been pretty hard on this body over the years. Every now and then it reminds me.

I’ve often said the closest I come to weightlifting is standing up after dinner – if I want to sweat, I’ll eat a plate of Buffalo wings or bend over and tie my shoes. The end result is pretty much the same. Yes, I say that tongue-in-cheek, because I know the damage I’ve done over the years. But you know, sometimes you have to laugh at yourself. Besides, it beats others to the punch.

Aging is a double-edged sword. It’s a badge of honor, proof that you escaped danger enough times to tack on a few more years. But it also comes with the realization that you may not have as much time left to do all the things you wanted. We talked about this yesterday, and I won’t go into that now, other than to say it’s a time of reckoning.

My grandson was telling his girlfriend the other night that I’ve had a picture of a motorhome on my desk for several years, as a reminder of my dream. He’s right. On that picture it says, “If not today, when?” It’s still there, even though we bought an RV earlier this year. It’s a daily reminder that the dream is only half-fulfilled. Now we need to hit the road.

My dad, who has spent 88 years managing finances from a safe and practical approach, shocked me when he said, “I’m glad you bought this now instead of waiting until you were too old to enjoy it.” I about fell over. But he made my point perfectly – there’s a certain age for all of us where we crest that hill, and things start to move downward. It’s just a fact of life.

I’m not there yet. I’ve still got plenty of good years left, or so I hope. But you never know when life will throw a knuckleball. You’re driving to work, and somebody takes your spot in the road. You get a hearing test and find out you need brain surgery. Your company closes. A pandemic strikes. The economy tumbles. Any of a thousand things that can instantly change your life.

And that’s when it hits you that you still had things you wanted to do. Odds are, you’re not done yet. But you may have to re-assess your capabilities and tailor your dreams to fit. And that, I think, is probably one of life’s greatest sorrows. Because you’ll always know if you’d just started sooner, you might have been able to do it all.

We can’t go back in time and start sooner. Today is today, and in a few short hours it’ll be gone. And sure, the opportunities you have today will probably still be there tomorrow. But every day we fail to capitalize on those opportunities is one less day we can enjoy the rewards. And it’s that much closer to the day we may no longer be able.

Aging is one of life’s greatest blessings. If we’re lucky, we reach that certain age having accomplished most of our goals. I can’t imagine much that would feel better than looking back over a lifetime of accomplishments, with just enough spark left inside to take it one step further.

Yes, life is passing by quickly enough. Instead of living for Friday, maybe we should make the most of the days leading up to it. You never know what tomorrow may bring. Make things happen today and you won’t have to wish you had later.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The More We Adapt, The Faster We Grow

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

Well, it’s the last day of the month. If you live in my world, that means a whole new set of bills to pay. Those things just never seem to go away. I’ve paid for my house twice already, and still owe half of what I borrowed. I’m apparently in the wrong line of work, because when I earn a paycheck, I only get it once. I think it’s a scam. They just keep sending a bill until you catch on.

This is also the time when we measure our accomplishments for the past month against our goals. And if you need a hand with that, the boss is more than willing to help. Somehow, they don’t quite understand the concept of “almost.” Then comes that loaded question – “Do you remember when I asked you to (insert missed goal here)?” Don’t answer. It’s a trick.

But how about those things you were planning to do for yourself? Okay, you may get a pass on that if it involved getting out of the house and spending time with people. Today. But what was your excuse last month? How about the past several years? “Well, there may be a pandemic out there waiting to happen, and just to be on the safe side, I had to put my plans on hold.” Right.

Okay, enough about pandemics. I guess if somebody has actually been using that as an excuse, they can finally rise up and loudly proclaim, “I told you!” The rest of us have to come up with something better. And the truth is, there is nothing better. Or worse, for that matter. The bottom line is we’re still just making excuses. If that was your goal, congratulations. You win.

A friend often says that success has no regard for the validity of your excuses. Okay, so right now, we have a good one. And it still doesn’t matter. Because, while we’re complaining about the raw deal we’re getting, other people are adapting and moving forward anyway. You play the hand you’re dealt. A pair of twos can still win, especially if the other guy folds.

Right now, companies around the world are doing something they’ve never considered – paying employees to work from home. All those big, glamorous office buildings are sitting empty while we work in our PJs. And yet, the job is still getting done, sometimes better than before. Why? Because that’s our only choice and the job still needs to be done.

I read a story once about a frog that tried to hop over a deep rut in the road and came up short. He tried and tried to jump out, but the rut was too deep. Another frog came along and tried to help, but it was no use. Finally, the second frog went for help as the first frog sat at the bottom of the rut and cried. “I’ll never get out of here!” I think we’ve all been there.

Well, the second frog couldn’t find anyone to help and, as he was going back to deliver the bad news, along came the first frog, happily hopping along. “Wait, is that you? How on earth did you get out of that rut?” The first frog replied, “I had to – there was a truck coming.”

When the chips are down, we find ways to adapt. Hopefully this isn’t the new “normal.” But what we’ve come to know as normal has changed forever. And the tricks we learned now, when we had to jump just a little higher, will take away some of those excuses that have been holding us back. The question is, will we make the most of new opportunities, or make new excuses?

Whether you’re able to work from home or not, this is where the rubber meets the pavement. We can adapt and move forward or sit around and accept whatever fate throws our way. The company’s goals will be met, whether that’s now or later. But what about your own goals? Will they survive?

A new month is about to begin, and in 30 days, we’ll be right where we are now, with a fresh set of bills and that nagging question in the back of our mind – did I make the most of the time I had, or am I still making excuses? This is one bill we can pay early. And the sooner we get started, the easier it’ll be to pay.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Opportunity Flows Easiest Into an Open Mind

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

Mine began with a moment of frustration. After weeks of considering what to do with two old gas grills that have been rusting on the back porch since the days of Moses, I finally dragged them out to the street. It’s garbage day, and we always have people cruising the streets looking for scrap metal or anything else they can use. Well, as it turns out, almost always. Guess what’s still sitting on the curb?

Now I have to go out there before I leave for work and drag them back up to the house. Isn’t that the way it works? People will come along and collect any kind of junk on the planet, but my junk doesn’t rise to their standards. Broken down lawnmowers, old furniture, TVs and even fried-out microwave ovens, all get picked up by somebody. But my old grills, full of recyclable steel, get left behind.

You can never predict what will appeal to another person. Corporations spend millions of dollars trying to figure it out, and millions more convincing us that what they sell is exactly what we want, whether we already knew that or not. I guess I could find a way to make those old grills more appealing, but then I’d be tempted to put them back on the patio for another ten years.

Have you ever seen somebody driving a car that you think is the ugliest thing on the planet? And not only are they sitting in the driver’s seat where everybody can see their smiling face as they drive past, they adorn the car with equally ugly after-market accessories that probably cost as much as a week’s groceries. You’d never be seen dead in it, but they think it’s the most awesome car around.

One man’s junk is truly another man’s treasure. It works that way with a lot of things. Every day, we encounter people in professions we’d never consider. Sometimes they’re quick to let you know it beats unemployment, but other times they seem to love their work. You just never can tell. And if they knew what any of us do for a living, they’d probably shake their head and say, “Not on your life.”

I guess it’s why my mom always insisted that we take at least one bite of everything on our plate. Sushi isn’t the most attractive food I’ve seen, and the thought of it was a little revolting. But I tried some one time and liked it. Over the years I’ve developed a taste for all kinds of things. Except broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. I’m convinced God created them as a punishment for eating apples.

The point is, we never know what may appeal to another person, and things we never considered before sometimes become a little more intriguing. Even our values change over time. I often find myself debating topics with people who feel exactly as I once did, and as fervently as they now do. Yet, over the years, my viewpoints have grown. That’s not to say I’m any more right – I’m just more “me.”

It’s easy to look at another person, even a member of our own family, and think, “They’d never be interested in that.” Believe me, I almost fell over when my wife and I took a weekend vacation to the mountains and she suggested hiking. And I’m sure she was equally shocked at how much I enjoyed our day in a restored Shaker village, learning about their tools, furnishings, and unique way of life.

All through your life, people will suggest things you never would have thought of on your own. It may be as simple as a different food or drink, or as complex as a side business or new career. It’s easy to shrug it off and say, “That’s just never been my thing.” Yet, the very fact that you can go into a grocery store and come home with a variety of foods is proof that you haven’t always been so closed-minded.

We find new things by opening our mind to new things. We may or may not come to truly enjoy any of them, but we never know unless we at least give them some consideration. It’s just possible all those people out there running marathons know something I don’t. “But I tried running once and didn’t like it.” Seems I’ve heard those words before.

Just because we didn’t like something before doesn’t mean we won’t like it now. And things we didn’t consider before somehow begin to make sense. But only if we open our mind enough to change the question from “why” to “why not?” It’s a simple change. One extra word. But it’s a change that can lead us to new opportunities, greater accomplishments, and a more fulfilling life. And isn’t that what we wanted all along?

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

When Faced With Dessert, Eat the Brussels Sprouts First

Good morning! I hope you all had a nice weekend.

It’s the start of a brand-new week, and that means a whole list of things we need to do over the next several days. More likely, it means a whole list of things we didn’t get done last week that we have to do now before we can begin this week’s work. Can I get an amen?

More and more, that seems to be the way things go. There’s never enough time to get things done in the allotted time, and our reward for all that hard work seems to be adding even more to the schedule for the following week. Whether it’s your job, things around the house, or anything else that keeps you occupied, there’s always more than enough to do.

And it’s easy to skim off the top and take on the more pleasant tasks first. After all, it is Monday. Do they really expect you to just jump right back in? Do they not understand that it takes a few hours to shift from weekend mode into work mode, and you probably need a little time to unwind from two days at home? The nerve of some people!

Well, the reality is, whatever we didn’t get done last week probably needs to be done first. And there’s probably a reason it didn’t get done to begin with … it wasn’t one of those cherry-picking skim-off-the-top tasks that you can knock out in a few minutes. If so, it would have already been done. Along with all those other less-than-challenging tasks you knocked out Friday afternoon.

It’s hard to begin a major task late in the day, especially right before the weekend, because you know there’s no way you can get it done. But, by morning, something else usually comes along that has to be done right now because the assumption is that you show up for work every morning with a clean slate. And nobody wants to set the boss straight on that one.

So, the big task that you planned to tackle first thing Monday morning sits until Monday afternoon, and then there’s no time to get it done by the end of the day, so you resolve to just get it done Tuesday. Then Tuesday comes along with its own new challenges, and guess what happens? I could probably build a big list of those Monday morning jobs that never got done. Thankfully, most are at home where I can’t get fired.

And, believe me, I was a shining example of this concept over the weekend. I’ve got enough projects at home to keep me busy for the next couple of months, and they won’t wait forever. But one thing led to another this weekend, and there wasn’t really time to get any of them completed, so I sat in front of the TV instead. Smart, huh?

We’ve talked before about tackling the most unpleasant task first. When my wife puts broccoli on my plate, I tend to eat it first so I can get it out of the way and enjoy what’s left of my meal. And there’s a reason mom never let us eat dessert first. She knew there was no way on God’s green earth we’d have eaten those Brussels sprouts later. So, we learned this concept early in life.

Most of us will face work today that we’d rather not do, and some of that will be pretty significant in terms of effort. But work has a habit of staying right where you left it. You can spin your wheels all day, or take on a dozen other tasks, but whatever you’ve been avoiding will still be there waiting. Sooner or later, you’ll have to do something about it.

As you begin your day, take a few moments to assess what’s on your plate. Make a list if you have to. And take a guess at how long each job will take. Then double that estimate, because nothing is as easy as it seems. Then take the biggest or most pressing task first and dive in. You may not get it all done today but think of how much less you’ll have to face tomorrow morning.

It’s natural to avoid the unpleasant and anything that seems insurmountable. But if we knock those things out first, the rest of the day is just that much easier. And meanwhile, it builds your own confidence. You’re not only getting things done, you’re doing the impossible. And with that kind of ability, no task (or dream) will ever be too large. You can accomplish anything!

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved