Are You Moving Forward or Running Back?

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

It’s the first day of May and, according to some loosely defined timelines, today is the day things start to get back to normal. It’s not an official day of change. It’s more like when your mom said, “Maybe someday in a month or two …” That automatically becomes the first day of next month. I learned to tell my kids it’ll never happen. That saved a lot of whining later.

I can appreciate all these people marching on the Capitol, telling the world they want to go back to work. We do need to work. Only problem is, I’ve seen a lot of these people on the other side of the office doors. It’s like those idiots racing through traffic every morning. You know they’re not that energetic once they get there. They just want the first cup of coffee.

We went to the store last night, and it’s disheartening how many people are completely ignoring the recommendations of preventive health. It’s like this never even happened. The rules of social distancing are out the window, and masks are seen almost as a sign of weakness. It’s like trying to get teenagers to wear a seat belt. “Not me! I’m Superman!!!”

I think every parent has had problems with that, especially when it comes to toddlers. They watch how the seat belt works, and then it becomes a conquest to see how quickly they can open it up. It’s not even about freedom – it’s about proving they can do whatever they want. I solved that problem fast. I carry a staple gun in the car and dare them to even try.

It’s too bad we can’t do that in the grocery store. A six-foot baseball bat would drive home the message. Same thing in traffic. I always wondered if we could replace the airbag in a steering wheel with a spring-loaded boxing glove. Do something stupid and a light starts flashing. Do it again and it beeps. Strike three, you’re out. Wham!

My car has lane change assist, interactive cruise control, and rear blindspot detection, among other things. Basically, the car watches the road for me so I don’t have to. With all those added features, I guess I couldn’t complain if it whacked me in the face for being stupid. So, I just let my grandson drive. He deserves a good punch.

The RV, on the other hand, doesn’t have any of those features. It has a horn – a really loud horn. And 24,000 pounds that says I make the rules. People don’t jump in front of me and slam on their brakes. And if I drift out of my lane a bit, they move. Oh, I get the finger every now and then, but I’m used to that. Only difference is, they wait until they’re safely out of reach to do it.

Yes, life is slowly starting to get back to normal. As normal as it’ll ever be, that is. Parents will be back to work, kids will be outside playing, and grocery shopping will be more like a road rally than a game of dodgeball. And in exactly three weeks, people will be calling in sick, kids will be whining that there’s nothing on TV, and grocery shopping will turn into a demolition derby.

Why? Because no matter how badly we want things to change, we fight even harder to get back where we were. There was a book titled, “Who Moved My Cheese?” I’ve never read the book, but apparently it’s an amusing account of our resistance to change. We spend half our lives chasing the rainbow, and the other half trying to get back.

Before I left for the Navy, my dad told me the two best duty stations in the world are the one you’re going to, and the one you just left. Oh, we want change. Until it happens. The vast majority of lottery winners go bankrupt in a just a few years. One day they’re multi-bazillionaires and the next day they’re posting “his and hers” Lamborghinis on eBay.

We all want change. We want to be happier, we want nicer things, and we want a more comfortable life. Yet, no matter how badly we want those things to change, we have a certain level of comfort in the way things are – knowing what to expect and how to deal with it when it happens. We want everything around us to change, as long as we can stay the same.

Well, change is coming. Some of it will be good, some will be a challenge, and some will be a boomerang ride back to where we started. With every crisis comes opportunity, the chance to come out a little better than we went in. It’s what we make of that opportunity that counts. You can move ahead, or simply go back to where you were. And decision time is here.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Persistence – The Art of Winning By Wearing Down the Gods

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

Have you ever tried a dozen different ways to accomplish something and then finally realized the gods are just working against you? Take weight loss, for instance. That seems to be the topic of the day. Everybody is complaining about eating too much and not being able to get out and work it off. Not that I was working anything off before, but at least now I have an excuse. Right?

I think I’ve tried just about everything short of surgery and diet pills. And believe me, in 24 years of fighting this beast, that covers a lot of ground. It seems every year, there’s some new miracle diet or food item that just magically melts away the pounds. I guess it goes without saying that most of the studies behind those claims are paid for by the people trying to sell those foods.

With few exceptions, I’ve tried it all. First there was the one that said eat cereal three times a day. Okay, I never really tried that one. Once the little marshmallows are gone, the rest is just soggy oats. I did try the Atkins diet, and lost a few pounds. But I knew I was in over my head the day I looked at a piece of communion bread and thought, “How many carbs are in that?”

Then there was the one that said don’t just eat three meals – eat all day. Okay, maybe that’s not exactly what it said, but that was the message I got from it. I gained ten pounds and my A1C went up six points. Then there was the three-day cleanse. I lost a few pounds but three days later the weight was back and we were out of toilet paper. That’s not a risk I’m willing to take right now.

I even tried some supplements. I mean, come on … all it takes is concentrated grapefruit to melt away the pounds? I can do that! After all, it’s just like eating M&Ms. I’m pretty sure that’s what got me this way to begin with. Then I read the fine print on those bottles. You know, the part that comes after the asterisk. “When combined with proper diet and exercise.”

Are you kidding me? Even I’m not stupid enough to fall for that. ANYTHING can make you lose weight with proper diet and exercise, including diesel fuel. In fact, that one may help you take it off even faster. I’m not sure the doctor would approve, but so far his advice hasn’t done much for the cause.

“It’s simple Dave … just lose one pound a week.” Right. It’s simple Doc. Just grow one new brain cell a week. Then go stand on a scale, because that plan sure as hell isn’t working for you. And why is it that the doctor’s scale is always calibrated eight pounds heavier than mine? Care to guess why my blood pressure was so high? Try checking it first, and THEN put me on the scale.

Okay, I’m having a little bit of fun with this, but the truth is, there’s nothing really fun about being overweight. I had to get down on the ground to open a water valve on the RV and I almost didn’t get back up. I’m pretty sure the neighbors thought I was drunk, because I fell three times. And the only thing that can make me run is an ice cream truck. Then I’m faster than the kids.

We all have something about ourselves that we’d like to change. It’s not enough to know we should change, or even that we have to. We have to want to, more than we want whatever it is that’s holding us back. I have a full assortment of meal replacements that would help me lose weight. They taste good and don’t leave me hungry. The problem is, I like cheeseburgers. A lot.

It all comes down to one simple fact. Nothing changes until we change. Whether it’s weight, physical fitness, learning a new skill, improving our financial status, or just about anything else, we have to take the first step. That’s the easy part. What’s hard is doing it again and again and again until we finally reach our goal, no matter how long it takes.

Nobody likes to swing and miss. It’s even harder when you do it over and over and over. But unlike baseball, you can keep swinging until you get on base. Sure, a home run would be nice, but a single still puts you in position to score. And once you cross home plate, it doesn’t matter how long it took to get there. The scoreboard still reads the same.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Change Itself Isn’t Good Or Bad – It’s What We Do With It That Counts

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is starting off well.

Not long ago, one of the television channels showed an episode of the Jetsons. It was fun reminiscing at all the things the show’s creators thought we’d have at some distant point in the future. Personal robots, spaceports, flying cars that fold into a briefcase. And phones that fit in your pocket. Who saw that one coming?

I still remember one of the greatest breakthroughs in communications technology … phones that came in different colors. Until then, you had three choices – black, black, or black. Next came long cords that could reach any room in the house, and then the old rotary dialer was replaced by buttons that could play Mary Had a Little Lamb. I’m not sure whose phone rang on that one, but I’m betting it was long-distance.

Sometime in the 80s, we got cordless phones. Big, bulky things with a pull-out antenna on the top, just like your old transistor radio. Remember those? You had to set the dial just right to hear your favorite channel, and then every time a good song came on, a plane would fly over, and you’d lose the signal completely. Ah, those were the good old days!

Back then, if you wanted to change the channel on the TV, you had to get up. That’s not to say we got a lot of exercise, because there were only three channels to begin with. Channel surfing was like a rodeo – it lasted eight seconds. And if the antenna wasn’t pointed just right, you got snow. That’s how teenage boys learned to watch digitally scrambled cable channels. You know the ones.

We’ve seen a lot of changes in our lives, even if you’re only 30. Think about it. Thirty years ago, people still carried pagers. Long-distance was a costly service, and cars still came with a clutch. Want to throw a teenager into a tizzy? Put them behind the wheel of a car with three pedals. And then, as some on social media have suggested, write the instructions in cursive.

Yes, we’ve come a long way. Some changes have been better than others. Personally, I like not having to budget the cost of calling somebody in a different county. But I do miss the days when you could get on a plane without a full-body scan and six episodes of the same stupid questions. “Did you pack your bags yourself?” Yes, but I did ball up my underwear. Will that be a problem?

Let’s face it, technology is changing our world even as we sit here enjoying our morning coffee. I read an article a few months ago about how some of the major retailers were moving toward a model of stores without customers. Instead of an attractive storefront, you’d have a warehouse with robots roaming the aisles. Place your order online and it gets delivered to your front door.

Which sounds great, unless you’ve ever seen my wife inspecting produce, or me looking for a pack of bacon where all the pieces are straight. Besides, who’s gonna squeeze my bread to make sure it’s fresh? At least you’d know if the robot did it for you. Right in the middle of the loaf, you’d have four slices shaped like an hourglass. No thanks.

But it’s coming, folks. And in a way, it makes sense. Stores are expensive. They have to be decorated, brightly illuminated, and kept reasonably clean. Items on special promotion have to be displayed instead of just moving them to the home page. Besides, it’s the only way they can sell the stuff nobody would buy if they saw it first. Soggy grapes? No problem. Order #34872.

Sometimes, fate has unexpected consequences. What was unacceptable a month ago is standard procedure today. And that won’t stop when this virus goes away. A lot of the changes we’ve seen are here to stay. That may be good or bad, but it won’t change the inevitable. Corporations learn fast. And once you’ve got a foot in the door, it’s that much harder to slam it shut.

We’ll adapt. We may complain a little, but in time these new ways will just become a part of life. I hope that new life doesn’t involve masks and a ban on hugging, but some of the changes may not be so bad. Let’s face it, curbside liquor delivery is pretty convenient. Maybe it’ll replace the ice cream truck. Wonder what song they’d play? Jimmy Buffet, perhaps?

The key to thriving in a changing world is to change with it. Technology is only part of the equation. The biggest challenge lies somewhere between our ears. We can accept change and go along for the ride, or we can embrace it and take the wheel. Change is inevitable. The only question is, will you make it work for you?

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

Find Your Spare Tire Before You Need It

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

Yesterday morning was a jolt to the system. After 12 weeks of being able to start my day at my own pace, I found myself in unfamiliar territory – two rug rats who were a lot more awake than I was, and a tight schedule to get dressed, eat breakfast, and leave for work. Okay, “leaving” means climbing down a flight of stairs to the basement, but it counts.

Abrupt change is a shock to the system, even if it’s something you want. I have to be honest. I wasn’t heartbroken at the prospect of spending a few weeks at home in January. It was a taste of what retirement might be like. The verdict is in – I’ll survive that just fine when the time comes. I never resorted to leather sandals and black knee socks, but the rest felt pretty good.

Still, in the back of my mind, I knew it was temporary. Any time that fact slipped my mind, I had my wife to remind me. Women worry about these things a lot more than men. I knew we’d be okay. I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy most of the time. Any time it starts looking empty, I just pour it into a smaller glass. And a shot glass is still technically a glass. I’m just saying.

Thankfully we had some things going on the side before my job went away. Not enough to live on, but every little bit helps. It’s important to have something to fall back on while you still have the ability to stand. Because sooner or later, something will come along and kick your feet out from under you. And trust me, that ground gets a lot harder with age.

When that happens, our first reaction is usually some level of panic. Then we start to think a little more rationally. Finally, creativity slips in and we start looking at things we’d never considered. The only problem is most of those creative ideas require a little time to start generating an income. If only you’d started six months ago. Sound familiar?

And what happens? The crisis ends, and we go right back to what we were doing before. Only this time, it’ll be different. Because we said so, that’s why. And if the same thing happens again, we’ll be a lot better prepared. Only next time, it won’t be the same thing. It’ll be something you’d never anticipated. Like now. Who would’ve ever dreamed of something like this?

Well, you know what they say about doing the same thing and expecting different results. It’s delusional, at best. My street has two ends. They never change. I can drive from one end to the other, and I’ll always end up in the same place. It doesn’t matter how I drive, or what kind of car I use. The destination is always the same. Unless the brakes fail. Then things change real fast.

That doesn’t mean what you were doing before is all wrong. But if what you were doing left you high and dry with nothing but a savings account to fall back on, you may want to consider a different approach moving forward. And the time to get started is now – before the need arises.

Cars have a spare tire you hope you never need, but potholes happen. And when they do, they can literally knock the wind out of your tires. That’s pretty much true with most things in life. Things will never be the same as they were, and they won’t always go the way we’d planned. The question is, do you have a spare?

Dad always used to remind me to check the air in my spare tire. You see, it’s not enough to have something on the back burner, forgotten until the need arises. A spare tire needs an occasional shot of air, fire extinguishers need to be recharged, and fallback sources of income need to be running above idle. At the very least, keep some gas in the tank. Good stuff.

Change affects us all in different ways, and preparation helps to minimize the impact. Hopefully you were ready for this crisis. But could you do it again next year? It could happen. You can save yourself a lot of sleepless nights by finding that spare tire today. Hopefully you’ll never need it. In that case, it’s just money in the bank. And who couldn’t use a little of that?

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Next Year – It’s The Day That Never Comes

Good morning! I hope your day (and your month) is starting off just right.

Yes, it’s a new month. Officially, this marks the end of mourning for all those New Years resolutions we buried earlier in the year. We can finally set aside our feelings of guilt and get on with life. You know, pretty much the way it was last year. Only now, we have a head-start on next year’s resolutions. “This time I really mean it!”

Do these things accumulate? Because my pile of unfulfilled resolutions is getting pretty big. You know, if “big” can really be used to describe a mountain. Except I think a mountain is easier to climb. Resolutions are about as firm as marshmallows. At some point, you’d just fall in. Then you’d have a new resolution. “Next year, I’m climbing out of this mess!” Meanwhile, you smother.

A resolution is a promise we make to ourselves. It’s a vision of self-improvement and a brighter future in which we live life to its fullest because we’re too awesome to do anything else. Okay, maybe it’s nothing more than smaller clothing and some admiring eyes on the beach. Right. The only way I’ll get admiration on the beach is by cruising past in a million-dollar speed boat.

Personally, I see two problems with resolutions. First, we seem to think that by simply flipping a page on the calendar, we can undo years of undesired habits and form completely new ones. Kinda like my algebra teacher pointing at Sheldon Cooper’s chalkboard and saying, “Look again! It’s so simple!!!” Okay, it’s like my dog mastering the concept of Daylight Savings Time. Better?

Change is never simple. It takes effort. It takes commitment. And it takes bribery. There has to be a reward. Whether that’s a new bathing suit, dinner at your favorite restaurant, a weekend vacation, or getting the bill collectors off your butt, the payoff has to be worth the effort. Change itself isn’t a goal – it’s just another job that you can’t pawn off on somebody else.

The other problem with resolutions is they create this mindset that we can only make positive changes at some predetermined date on the calendar. Let’s face it, halfway through a night of cramming for a final exam, you’re faced with the reality that you should have started studying weeks ago like all the other bookworms. What right do you have to pass this test now?

Ridiculous? Don’t be so sure. There is a lot more truth in those words than we’d like to believe. Because we’ve been taught from birth that hard work and sacrifice are the only ways to attain any level of success. And if we haven’t worked hard and sacrificed to this point, we feel unworthy of success. It has to be in the past, not in the future. Or, so we think.

And because we haven’t done it in the past, we wait for the next window of opportunity, a time when we can start making the changes necessary to achieve the things we desire. You know, like next year. Next year is always a good time. Especially since it never comes, because once it gets here, it’s not “next year” anymore. That’s still 12 months away.

Well, if a calendar is what it takes to get you started, it’s here. Today is a new day. It’s the start of a new week, and the start of a new month. Whatever changes you initiate today will be a month old by the first of April and ten months old by next year. It may be too late to do anything in January, but it’s never too late to do something today.

The results will never change until you change your approach. That begins the day you decide your dreams are more important than a page on the calendar. Call it a resolution, a promise, a goal, or whatever you want. Just make it happen. A year from now, you can be halfway there or still just talking about it. The year will pass either way. It’s what you make of it that counts.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Grass May Be Greener, But It Still Needs To Be Mowed

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

I woke up to the most snow we’ve seen on the ground this winter. It’s pretty, it’s white, it’s like God’s protective blanket over all the brown stuff underneath. Now it can go away. That brown stuff doesn’t need any protection. It needs sun. It’ll turn green. I’ve seen it happen.

That’s not to say we had a ton of snow on the ground. Just enough to cover it. Enough to shovel if I actually had any plans of doing that. I’ve decided I’m going to strap a snow shovel to the top of the car and drive south. The first time somebody points to it and asks, “What the hell is that?”, that’s where I’ll start looking for a new house.

For somebody who has complained about the cold every year and dreamed of the beach every day, I sure haven’t done much to move in that general direction. I blame it on my job, but I hear they have jobs in the south. I say it’s because this is where my grandkids live, but most southbound roads have northbound lanes as well. The truth is, I’ve just been making excuses.

Besides, a lot of other people my age have figured out that if you want the grandkids to visit more often, move south and buy a place with a pool. They’ll pile in faster than the mosquitoes and cockroaches that apparently are smarter than I am because they don’t live in the snow. That’s one part about living in the south that I don’t miss. But I’m sure they miss me.

When I joined the Navy, my dad told me that the best two duty stations in the world are the one you just left and the one you’re going to. There was more truth in those words than I could have imagined. For ye landlubbers, it simply means the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Or, as Erma Bombeck pointed out, it’s also a little greener over the septic tank.

Yet, as soon as we get on the other side of the fence, we find ourselves looking back and lamenting how things were so much better “back home.” It’s not that the new place is really any worse. But nothing measures up to the image we have in our mind, because we never imagine the really bad stuff. Like an online dating profile, the reality never matches the picture.

It reminds me of a quip I read once offering advice to women on the three little words that lead to a perfect marriage – lower you expectations. Men could say the same thing, but we’re not stupid enough to actually do it. Not out loud, anyway. But the point is pretty much the same. Don’t build things up in your mind so big that you set yourself up for disappointment later.

We all like to say nobody’s perfect, but we usually say that when we’re talking about ourselves. When it comes to other people and other places, perfection is pretty much expected. Anything that falls short of perfection is a deficiency to be overcome. And we’re not overly forgiving when things stay the same even though that’s the way they were long before we got there.

There’s a natural, and healthy, tendency to try to improve our circumstances. And if you move into new surroundings, a new job, or a new relationship, there’s nothing wrong with trying to make things a little better. But that doesn’t mean everybody else needs to change to meet our image of perfection. They were perfectly comfortable before we came along.

Paradise doesn’t exist in this world. Granted, there are places for each of us that come closer to meeting that definition, and this white stuff outside doesn’t do it for me. But even a sunny beach gets its share of rain. The key is to find something closer to what you truly desire and enjoy it for what it is – the good parts and the bad.

Whether it’s location, relationships, family, or job, there will always be something better or newer or shinier to capture your attention. They may offer a higher level of enjoyment, but true happiness comes from within. Find happiness where you are before you look someplace else. You may still want that other life, but without that inner happiness it’ll always fall short.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Life Begins Where Your Comfort Zone Ends

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

Sometimes when I wake up in the morning, I think, “This isn’t where I’m supposed to be.” Okay, there have been times in my life when I was relieved to find myself in familiar surroundings. Mostly back in the 70s, but we won’t go there. They say if you can remember the 70s, you didn’t really enjoy it. Well, I must have had one hell of a good time.

But I’m not talking about waking up in a strange place, wondering how you got there and what you may have done in the hours leading up to that. Not that I’d know the feeling. I’ve never done that and you can believe I’ll never do it again. I’m talking about that feeling where you take a look around and say, “This isn’t my life. This isn’t where I was supposed to be.”

When I was sixteen, I knew exactly how my life would turn out. I’d be a rock star, performing on stages around the world with thousands of adoring fans screaming my name. I’d have a two-story mansion with a yacht at the dock and no less than a dozen fine automobiles. I’d pilot my own private jet and spend my days surrounded by beautiful women. Life would be one big party.

So, how did all that turn out? I spent 15 years as a stand-up comedian, performing to tens of people in biker bars around the country. I do live in a two-story house (counting the basement), my yacht looks more like an aluminum skiff, and I’ve owned at least a dozen cars, though none could really be called an “automobile.” Some even started – most days.

I’ve never flown a jet, but I did almost crash-land a Cessna on my third (and final) flying lesson. I spend my days surrounded by women, but they’re all hanging from branches on my family tree. And the only time anybody screams my name is when the toilet paper roll is empty or a spot on the ceiling sprouts legs and starts moving.

And you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing. Up until now, that is. Well, maybe that time I found myself sitting in the back seat of a Sheriff’s cruiser with three of my buddies, but you know … that was back in the 70s, too. I remember it because it wasn’t much fun. But, for the most part, I’m pretty happy with the way things turned out.

Now, if I’m still enjoying this same existence a year from now, the gods and I are going to have a talk. More like I’m gonna talk and they’re gonna listen. Because, even at the ripe old age of 62, I still have dreams. And they don’t involve spending my days this far from the beach. Or the sun, for that matter. Global warming sucks, but they could at least send a little my way.

Or, I could just find a way to put myself closer to warm weather and beaches. You see, there’s a solution for every problem. Even steamed broccoli. It’s called a trash can. But no matter what you’d like to change in life, there’s a way to do it. The problem is we put ourselves in situations where making that change is a lot more difficult than it needs to be.

Every day people get up, get dressed, and go to a job they despise. Why? Because it’s there. It’s secure. It’s what they know. They live in a town they can’t stand, yet they keep putting down deeper roots. They dream of being someplace else, but don’t take any steps to get there. Because, no matter how much we want something different, there a certain comfort in what we know.

So, what’s the answer? Get a little uncomfortable. Start by focusing on the reasons you want things to change instead of just turning on the TV and watching reruns of Bonanza. Get out and see how the other side lives. Pick up some travel magazines or take a weekend vacation. Imagine the life you want instead of existing in the life you’ve got.

Then get ready to step outside your comfort zone for real – not just in your mind. Because the results don’t change unless you change the approach. To have something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done. It means taking a risk, putting yourself out there, and leaving the safety net behind. It means embracing discomfort to find a higher level of comfort.

A dream is nothing more than an existence that’s at least slightly above where you are now. It doesn’t have to be grand – just enough to make a difference. And to get there, all you have to do is stretch your boundaries. Maybe a little, maybe a lot. But once you do, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to get started.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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

Is Comfort Holding You Back?

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

I’ve been bad about getting my posts out each morning. I could make some excuses for that, but the bottom line is I just haven’t done it. There’s something about not having to get up for work each day that changes the whole routine. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been up, most days at the same time as before. But I have to admit, I’ve allowed my days to start off a lot slower than before.

Whether we like to admit it or not, we’re all creatures of habit. Some more than others, and I tend to fit into that category really well. I used to be spontaneous, but somewhere along the line I found a level of comfort in repetition and settled into a groove. That groove has served me well over the years, but I’d like to start shaking things up a little. You know, just enough to keep it interesting.

We’ve talked about this before, but comfort is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it gives you peace of mind. You know what to expect, and as long as nothing comes along to upset your routine, you can go through the day without much challenge. Life is good, and that’s the way you want it to be.

On the other hand, comfort breeds laziness. I’m not talking about kicking back on a beach after a year of working every day and saving money so you could spend a few days in a tropical paradise. That’s reward. You’ve earned it. But when you go back home, if you slip back into that routine of going to work every day and planning next year’s vacation, that’s your comfort zone.

That sounds counter-intuitive. I mean seriously, work is your comfort zone? Well, if it’s what you do every day without thinking about it too much, that’s exactly what it is. It’s your daily routine and you don’t dare shake things up. Because that involves risk – you know what to expect every day, even if it’s not something you really love. But it pays the bills and puts food on the table. Case closed.

Hopefully you’ve got a job that provides for your daily needs and lets you take that annual pilgrimage to the beach, or wherever you like to unwind. But here’s a crazy thought. What if you worked a little harder and took two trips to the beach instead of one? Maybe you could buy a condo and go there any time you want. What if you moved into that condo and could stroll the beach every day?

If you can dream it, you can do it. But accomplishing those dreams means doing something different, maybe something you’ve never done before. It means stepping outside your comfort zone. It might mean taking some classes or spending a little extra time at work learning a new skill. Maybe it means taking a second job and investing your paycheck. Or maybe even starting a business of your own.

Think for a moment about your greatest dream. Not a weekend vacation or a new car, but something really big. Now, ask yourself this question – if I knew that doing a certain thing each day would eventually lead me to that dream, would I do it? Then, ask yourself one more question. Within the bounds of legal and moral standards, is there anything I wouldn’t be willing to do?

That last question is important, because it exposes the limits of your comfort zone. Would you be willing to talk to strangers? Would you be willing to work a few extra hours every week? Would you be willing to learn a completely new skill, or study a topic that never caught your interest before? Would you be willing to travel to places you’ve never heard of, where nobody else wants to go?

As you enjoy your next vacation, take a good look around. There are people just like you who get to do this once a year and will soon head back to a routine existence that, if they’re lucky, will let them do it again sometime. And there are others who do this all the time, who will leave this destination for another one. The difference between them lies within their own personal comfort zone.

It’s good to be comfortable. We work for it, and we deserve it. But if you’re willing to stretch things a little, to step outside that comfort zone, you open a world of possibilities. If you can dream it, you can do it. The only limitation is within your own comfort zone. Take a look outside and see what’s there. It just may be worth a try.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved