Happiness is Waiting … Are You?

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

A friend in Florida posted this morning that she needed a light jacket and closed-toe shoes to go out. I looked outside at the covering of fresh snow that snuck its way in before we could get away, and my first thought was, “Wah!”  And yes, I know, people north of us have a lot more snow, but they deserve it for living there in the first place. So, what does that say about me???

Yes, we moved here on purpose. Actually, it was my idea. Well, my sister’s. We were living in Fort Lauderdale, and jobs in my career field were hard to find. That was before I learned to write. My sister got the wild idea to move back to Ohio (our childhood home) and I remember thinking, “There’s a lot of industry in Ohio. Surely I can find work there!”

So, I loaded up a U-Haul and hit the road with nothing more than a notion of what I’d be doing next. I found a job, and ended up staying there just shy of ten years. A co-worker asked me why I would move away from Florida, and I distinctly remember saying, “When it’s hot and you’ve stripped off everything the law allows, that’s as good as it gets … you can ALWAYS warm up!”

Okay, so I guess I deserve it. Trust me, it only took a few years for me to regret ever saying such a thing. Yes, you can warm up. Eventually. But two laws of nature never fail idiots like me who think snow is pretty. First, every gas station is a wind-tunnel with a chill factor of 96 below zero. And second, the lower the temperature, the more likely you are to need gas.

And I know some people really love this stuff. There are also a certain percentage of people who were dropped on their head at birth. Coincidence? I think not. I once did a dead-of-winter comedy show in northern Wisconsin. The next morning it was 18 below zero and the parking lot was full of snowmobiles warming up for a run across the lake. Brain damaged!

Yes, I know. The grass is always greener on the other side. No, the grass is greener someplace where the sunlight can actually touch the ground without freezing. But still, I’m reminded of that first winter when we moved from sunshine to snow. I was like a little kid, romping around and eating snow. White snow, thank you. But in my defense, I also drank a lot back then.

Do I miss Florida? Every single day. Yes, it gets hot there and the humidity is horrendous. That’s why God made pools. It beats shoveling snow. And they get hurricanes down south. Okay, we get tornadoes. Hurricanes at least announce their arrival long before they show up. Tornadoes rip the door off and then ring the bell.

So, why am I still here? It’s not like northerners aren’t allowed to move south these days, and my job can be done from pretty much anywhere with reliable internet. But, as much as I hate cold weather, we have roots here. We have family and grandkids. We have a house. And we have friends. Leaving would be easy enough but we may find it a little harder to stay away.

When we bought the RV, we picked a floorplan we can live in long-term. Permanently? I don’t know. There are two sides to everything. Sure, you get a change of scenery any time you want. There’s a lot less to clean, and no grass to mow. But there’s also a lot less room for groceries, and you have to take your entire home in for an oil change.

Life is a series of compromises, and everything comes at a price. The key is figuring out what you absolutely must have and what you’re willing to live without. And that applies whether we’re talking about homes, jobs, relationships, or going out to play in the snow. The grass is greener on the other side. What we have to decide is which shade of green we can accept.

As I’ve grown older, my metabolism has slowed to the point that I’m cold just about all the time. My wife and I have this running battle over the thermostat, because she thinks 68 degrees is hot. The one thing we can agree on is living someplace where it’s warm outside, with a touch of salt in the air.

We may or may not end up in such a place. But as long as we keep that dream alive, our odds of achieving it are that much greater. What are your dreams? Where would you like to be? Life is short, my friends, and every day we spend in an existence we don’t enjoy is a day we’re not living life to the fullest. Dare to dream. Then make it happen.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

When Fear Clouds Your Dreams, Find Those Rays of Sunshine

Good morning! It’s Hump Day. I hope your day is off to a great start.

Well, by the end of the day the week will be half gone. Depending on your perspective, that could be good or bad. If you’re having a particularly tough day at work, the weekend can’t get here soon enough. But if you’re not making the desired progress on your weekly goals, it’s coming too fast.

I talk a lot about dreams. That’s because I want you to focus on your own dreams enough to decide whether they’re important enough to do something about them and, if they are, to find the inner drive to get up and do it. There is literally nothing you can’t accomplish if you put your mind to it.

But dreams, like anything else, come with a cost. That cost can manifest itself in a dozen different ways. Attaining our goals takes work. It takes time. We may need to learn new skills, or step outside our comfort zone. Others may scoff or maybe even ridicule us. And the final attainment of that dream may involve elements of a life we’re not entirely sure we want.

Back when I had just gotten out of the Navy, my wife mentioned that she’d read about jobs in Australia that paid a lot higher wages, and for Americans working abroad the income was tax-free. It was tempting. I’d been to Australia, and it was beautiful. And the thought of that much money was hard to overlook.

But it would mean leaving our extended family and moving halfway around the world. It was a price I just wasn’t willing to pay. Even now, I complain about winter weather every year and dream of life in a place where snow is only found on postcards from the north. But both of my daughters and all four grandchildren live within twenty minutes of my home. I’d have a hard time leaving them.

Sometimes, it’s not even the reality of what will change that competes with our dreams, but the fear of what might change. How will attaining our dream affect the people we care about? How will it impact our career? What if we get where we want to be, only to find out it’s the last place we want to be? Fear can fuel the imagination faster than fresh logs on a fire.

Sometimes the attainment of our dreams involves changes we may welcome on the surface but may include consequences we’re not quite so thrilled to pursue. And it’s that fear, or even the reality of those changes, that can hold us back from chasing our dreams.

And sometimes that fear isn’t about the attainment of our dreams, but in somebody close to us pursuing their own. It’s said that Neil Diamond dropped out of college to chase his dream of being a professional entertainer. I can imagine his parents weren’t too happy about that. But it was his dream, and sometimes we have to simply accept what we can’t quite understand.

Part of that involves a closer examination of our dreams. Maybe not so much dreams, but our visions of how we want our life to be. Which specific part of our own life will change because of their dream – not only the attainment of that dream, but their pursuit of it? How will it impact our own life, and are we willing to make that sacrifice? More importantly, are we willing to hold them back?

If we look deep enough, we can often find compromise that wasn’t readily apparent. My dream of moving south comes with the cost of leaving our grandchildren behind, and that would certainly impact us all. But it would give them a place in the sun for vacations, and it’s not like we couldn’t just get in the car and come back for a visit.

For every challenge, there’s a solution. When I began comedy, I took my wife along on some of the trips so we could share the experience together. It was a way for her to share my dream while enjoying her own dream of seeing places she’s never been. And she was able to see firsthand my excitement in performing. It didn’t remove all her concerns or minimize her own sacrifice. It was simply a compromise. And it made me appreciate coming home that much more.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved