The Clock is Running … What’s Your Score?

Good morning, and happy Friday! We made it through another week. I hope yours has been awesome.

This morning I have a biometric screening at work – blood test, body measurements, all those things that normally don’t start the day off well for somebody with my physique. I’ll get the results in a few days and they’ll tell me the things I’ve done well and all the things I could’ve done better. That second list will be the longer of the two. No surprises there.

It’s important to get a measure of your standing from time to time, because that’s a measure of success. If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know where you need to go. I know about things like blood pressure, weight, and body fat. I measure them regularly. But the stuff on the inside is a little more of a mystery. This is where I find out how all the outward stuff is affecting the rest.

And when I get my results, I’ll know exactly where I stand right now, and what needs to be fixed. I already know how to fix those things. But sometimes, we need to know the current score in order to prioritize what needs to be done next.

It’s the same with anything you’re trying to accomplish. Project managers draft detailed project plans to set milestones and track progress through the life of a project. Banks send those statements every month that shows our progress toward saving more than we spend. And the GPS shows our progress toward a desired destination. And mine seems to say “recalculating” a lot. Just me?

It’s important to stop occasionally and take stock of where you are, what you’ve accomplished to date, and then reassess your next step. Whether you’re cooking dinner or playing chess, progress is an important measure of what you need to do to keep moving toward your goal. And it lets you know when it’s time to take an unscheduled turn or pit stop to get things back on track.

As we talk about our dreams and goals, it’s easy to just throw them out there with a simple one-word timeline – “Someday.” It’s a goal, and we plan to do it at some point in life. But with such a vague definition of when this is all supposed to happen, it’s pretty hard to track our progress along the way.

Let’s say your goal is a European vacation for the whole family. Twelve countries in five days. I’ve never understood the fascination with breezing across borders without slowing down to enjoy the scenery, much less sample the local cuisine. But some people seem to enjoy that.

You probably have an idea of how much that will cost. In today’s dollars, that is. You save a little every month for several years, and watch it grow. Every year, you see yourself getting a little closer. Emergencies come along and set you back. The car needs repairs. Your kid needs braces. Then there’s college, a new roof on the house, and all the other things that come along.

And by the time you have everything in place and you’re ready to pack up and go, inflation has more than doubled the price. Now you’re back to square one. Maybe not all the way, but how many more years will it take to make this happen? And how many other things will come along to mess up your plans even more?

Cemeteries are the resting place of unfulfilled dreams. All those things a person never had a chance to do are buried right along with them. And after the funeral, the family decides to pool their resources and take that vacation mom always dreamed of … you know, in her honor. And the whole time they’re saying, “Mom would have loved this!” Yeah, probably so.

The time for living our dreams is now – while we’re still alive and have the chance to do something about it. But we have to put measures in place, so we know where we are and what still remains to be done. And we have to check along the way to see if the goal has moved. Destinations don’t move around much, but what it takes to get there may change dramatically along the way.

Life is full of surprises, some good and some not so good. By knowing where we’re going and how far we’ve come, those surprises turn into detours rather than roadblocks. Instead of getting to the end of life and lamenting the things we never got to do, we can bask in the memory of the things we’ve done. And memories live on, long after our dreams have been laid to rest.

Dream, set goals, and make plans. But most importantly of all, make sure you’re getting closer as you go. You only have the rest of your life. Make it count.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Best Dreams Are the Ones We Share

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

Every Monday, I get to spend a couple of hours with my two youngest grandchildren. At the ages of 3 and 4, they can be a handful. What I wouldn’t give for an ounce of the energy they expend so readily, with plenty more in reserve. Thankfully, most of that energy is heartwarming and entertaining. And when we do have a test of wills, they usually let me think I won.

It’s a fun age, mostly because they still crave interaction with the old folks. When I got home yesterday, I became a jungle gym as they took turns bouncing into my lap so we could sing a wacky song. As soon as one was done, they’d move out of the way for their sibling to take a turn. It was steady back and forth for a good fifteen minutes. After that, they just wanted to cuddle.

And I’ll be honest, at 61, my energy level just isn’t what it once was. Their older brother will be 19 in a week, and he got the best part of me in that respect. We were together all the time, and it was only in the last several years that Grandpa started to peter out a little. But I still tried to keep up. They’re only young once.

Then came the age of throwing a football, shooting hoops, and all-day outings to the local theme park. We did pretty much everything together and, even though he wore me out completely, it was some of the best days of my life. I only wish I had that much energy to share with his cousin and younger siblings.

I mention this because, as we talk about our dreams and things we want to accomplish, those dreams almost always include the people we care about the most. It’s no secret that I want a motorhome. That’s a personal goal that I plan to accomplish within the next year.

And I don’t want to park it in front of the house to make the neighbors jealous. Unless they happen to be on the front porch as we pull up long enough to pack for the next trip, they’ll never see it. Because we plan to spend our time traveling – meeting new people, seeing new places, and enjoying new adventures. Otherwise, I could just buy a lawn chair and yell at passing kids to stay off the grass.

But here’s the thing – when I think of the places I’d like to explore in that motorhome, I see my wife and grandchildren right there beside me. Okay, my daughters too, but they may have to sleep in a tent. Convertible dinettes are made for kids, not adults, and I’m not giving up my bed for anyone.

Okay, I’m having a little fun here. But all joking aside, none of the dreams I have for my remaining years on this planet mean anything unless I can share them with the people closest to me. And I’d venture to say that’s true for most of us. Sure, there are things we enjoy doing alone. But, for the most part, it’s always better if we can share those things with somebody special.

Friday, I challenged you to define your dreams, to write them on paper and even try to get pictures. But, without considering the people you want to share those things with, they’re little more than words and pictures. There’s a reason cruise ship advertisements show families having the time of their life. It’s because nobody wants to buy a ticket for a ride on a boat. They want the adventure.

So, write your own commercial. Visualize not only your dream, but the people you want to share it with. Picture them enjoying every new adventure with you. Sitting by the campfire, snorkeling off the coast, hiking up a mountain trail, enjoying an afternoon cookout in the back yard, or simply gazing at a herd of bison or the majesty of the Grand Canyon.

I have a picture of a motorhome over my desk. I see it almost every day. But that picture alone isn’t enough. It’s the image of my wife gazing through the windshield at things she’s never seen before, and my grandchildren enjoying experiences they’ll remember a lifetime – those are the visions that drive me to make it happen.

Most dreams don’t mean much unless we can share them with others. So, as you picture your dream, be sure to include the people who make it important. Make them an integral part of it. Because, once you have that vision clearly in mind, there’s not much that can stand in your way.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Into Every Life a Monday Must Fall

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

For a day of new beginnings, Monday seems to get a pretty bad rap. We spend all weekend bemoaning its pending arrival, and then start the day with pretty low expectations because, after all, it’s Monday. Nothing good ever happens on Monday. It’s a day when all the forces of nature (not to mention the corporate gods) are aligned against us. To hear people talk, you’d sure think so.

But Monday is the start of a new week. Okay, technically, Sunday is the start of a new week. I’ve never quite understood that because the Bible says that on the seventh day God rested, and that’s supposed to be Sunday. But according to the calendar, this is the second day of the week. I guess with all the time changes over the years, that one got lost in the shuffle.

Speaking of time changes, this is a Monday we tend to dread even more than normal because, for most of the United States, we lost an hour of sleep this weekend. When the clocks moved forward in the wee hours of Sunday morning, our normal wake-up time came an hour sooner than we’re used to. That’s worthy of at least a few complaints, right?

Okay, it’s understandable that Monday isn’t our favorite day of the week. It means the weekend is over, along with any rest you may have gotten during those two days. And it means we’re back to the grind, slaving away in the salt mines for the next five days. The countdown to Friday begins today. We even have a mid-week celebration for going over the hump.

Any time we wished for another day (usually birthdays back then), my mom would tell us, “Don’t keep wishing your life away.” And you know, she was right. Every time we wish for the clock to advance a little faster, whether it’s an upcoming vacation, a birthday, date night with somebody special, or simply next Friday, we’re wishing ourselves that much closer to the end.

It’s a grim thought, but most of us don’t tend to see it in that light. “I just want to get to the good part and skip all the bad stuff in the middle.” We’ve all felt that way at times, especially when the stuff in the middle isn’t so enjoyable. I don’t know of anyone who wakes up every day to another 24 hours of sheer bliss. Some days are better than others. It’s all part of this thing we call life.

There’s something to be said for making the most of each day, even Mondays. As I said at the start of this post, it’s a day of new beginnings. Last week is behind us and we get to start fresh. Even those tasks left over from last week don’t seem so bad, because we’re able to look at them with a pair of fresh eyes. Sometimes, the job that wouldn’t go away is over in just a few minutes.

It’s also a new day to begin working toward your dreams. In fact, if you spend a few minutes every morning (especially Monday) thinking about the things you want to accomplish for yourself and resolve to spend just a little more time this week doing that, you’ll find reason for a little excitement. And when you approach anything with a sense of excitement, it’s just automatically better.

Instead of thinking of all the work you have to do, think of all the things you’ll accomplish. Instead of looking at the five days that stand between you and your next weekend of rest, look at five days in which you can find a little time to work toward your own goals. With five days of leaving the house every morning, you get five days of coming home. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Every day is a new beginning. It’s a chance to do the things you couldn’t do yesterday, or even to launch into a brand-new endeavor that will make life that much more enjoyable. And even if it’s only a day to go to work and earn a paycheck, it’s still an opportunity to make the most of the time between waking up and going back to bed.

Each moment of our life is gone as fast as it came, and we can never have any of them back. That includes Mondays. As we race through our lives, it’s important to enjoy the moments that make up each day. Some will be better than others, to be sure. But it’s our ability to find the good in most situations that will make the bad times not so bad, and the good times even better.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Define Your Dream and Make It Happen!

Good morning, and happy Friday! The weekend is finally here!

I don’t know about you, but this has been an especially long week for me. I wrote a few days ago about frustrations on the job and, though they’re nothing major in the overall scheme of life, they can make the days really drag and send you home completely exhausted. It’ll be nice to have a couple of days to rejuvenate.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a lot of things to do this weekend, courtesy of not getting them all done last weekend. It seems to work that way. Time runs out, but the work never really goes away. But that’s okay. I’ll get caught up and still find some time to enjoy what should be a mild improvement in the weather. And then Monday we’ll start all over. It’s the cycle of life.

One thing on my list for the weekend is to buy a new outdoor grill. Our old one rusted out in less than two years (thank you Sears), and we’ve developed a passion for grilled food over the years, so it’s pretty high on the list of priorities.

I know there have been studies indicating that grilling your food causes cancer. Well, so what? Everything causes cancer. I’m pretty sure the food itself, with all the dyes and growth hormones is a lot more of a problem than a couple of sear marks. Besides, it’s the only way I can get salmon at home. I’m not allowed to cook it inside. And salmon is healthy, right?

Beyond that, I have some freelance work to do and some things I need to do for my business. But I don’t mind because it’s part of building our future. I think for most of us, the paycheck from our daily job pretty much pays the bills and leaves a little left over for a couple of life’s conveniences. If you want to make a real difference, you have to do something extra.

It’s all about goals, and we talk about that a lot. Everybody has a dream. We don’t always share those dreams, and sometimes we can’t even articulate them that clearly in our own mind. But they’re still there, tantalizing us from time to time as a reminder that there could be more to life than what we’re currently experiencing. And that’s a good thing.

I know the Bible tells us to be grateful for what we’ve got, and to find a way to share some of that with others. It also tells us that two men had a talent (apparently the currency of the day) and, while one man spent his talent in one swoop, the other invested his talent and made ten more. Guess which one received more praise in the scriptures?

It’s okay to want something more. It’s even okay to go out and get it, as long as we do it in a way that isn’t detrimental to those around us. And there’s something to be said for being humble instead of rubbing our good fortune in people’s faces. Nobody likes a jerk.

If there’s something you want, a burning desire that won’t go away, get up and do something about it. You don’t have to work 100 hours a week to do it. Once the bills are paid, a little extra begins to add up. It only takes a few hours a week if you’re doing something productive. We’ve all heard the expression “work smarter instead of harder.” Well, there’s something to be said for that.

I’m a firm believer that we all have within us the ability to achieve anything we desire. Whether that’s learning a new skill, getting a college degree, enjoying more time with our family, or living on a tropical beach with nothing to do all day but soak it all in, you can do it. Forget where you’ve been. The past won’t get you a thing. It’s where you’re going that’s important, so make it count.

Take a little time this weekend to focus on your dreams. Write them on paper and describe them in vivid detail. Get pictures if you can. Then ask yourself what it will take to make those dreams come true. If it’s going back to school, do it. If it’s getting closer with your family, make it happen. And if it’s something that will require more money, get some. No more excuses – just do it.

No matter what you’d like to accomplish in life, the only thing standing in the way is you. If a person with two prosthetic legs can run the Boston Marathon, there aren’t too many limitations the rest of us can hide behind. Figure out what needs to be done. It’s probably easier than you think. But you just have to want it badly enough to make it happen.

That’s all for now. Have a fantastic day and an awesome weekend!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Life Begins Today

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

You know how you wake up in the morning with a song stuck in your head, and you’re stuck with that song for the rest of the day? And the whole time you’re wondering, “Why couldn’t it have been something I’d play on a jukebox instead of this? I never even liked this song!” Okay, my brain has a flood of thoughts each morning, and some are no more insightful than this. Sorry.

As I was getting dressed this morning, I thought briefly about a man who used to go to our church. Don’t ask me why. I already told you I can’t explain my thoughts before my first cup of coffee. But I do have to say, this man was memorable. I don’t know of anybody who didn’t like him, because he went out of his way to be a friend to everyone.

I remember my pastor telling me one time, “I believe he’s a member of at least half the churches in town.” It’s a small town, but that still meant he was a member of about six different churches. He didn’t drive, so every Sunday you’d see him walking to church with his developmentally disabled nephew holding his arm. And he brightened the room by just walking in.

On the surface, it sounds like a person with such an overwhelming need for acceptance that, anywhere a crowd was gathered, he wanted to be a part of it. But there was nothing needy about him. He lived well below the poverty level but smiled like he was on top of the world. I think it wasn’t as much a need for acceptance as a need to share a little of that enthusiasm.

One time our friend was taking a trip to a neighboring state for the first time. In fact, he had never been out of Greene County in his entire life. I couldn’t fathom that. I was a good ten years younger and I’d already lived in ten different cities in four states, and had literally traveled around the world. And he was leaving the county for the first time ever.

Yesterday, I got a text message from an old friend. She’s read my posts about shopping for an RV, and was excited to tell me that she and her family are picking up a new travel trailer this weekend. And knowing her, that trailer won’t be sitting around collecting dust. Spring isn’t quite here yet, but that’s why God made campfires. They’ll be out enjoying that thing in no time.

I remember when I first started working with her. I was being introduced to the team, and then the manager pointed at an empty desk. “She’ll be back next week. She’s on vacation with her family in Mexico.” As I recall, every year they were off someplace different with the whole family. Talk about enjoying life and building memories.

And for lunch yesterday, I met a co-worker I haven’t seen in a while. She’s another one who’s always on the go. And she told me yesterday of her New Year’s resolution – every month this year, she will travel somewhere. Mostly long weekend trips within the country, but I believe she’s planning a trip overseas as well. She’s already got her destinations planned out through the summer.

Three different people, each enjoying life in their own special way. And at the end, as they’re sitting in a rocking chair sharing stories of their life with great-grandchildren gathered around, they’ll each have completely different stories to share. But two of those three will never run out of interesting and new stories to tell. And I’m sure their eyes will sparkle as the memories come flooding back.

There are people who are perfectly content to walk the same path every day of their life. There are some who are content never to walk any path, but to sit in a quiet room, isolated from the world. There are some who live to work, and when the work is over, they sleep until it’s time to work again. We all have different things that excite us and make us want to get up in the morning.

It’s not important that we all enjoy the same kind of things. What is important is that we don’t spend our lives waiting for that perfect opportunity to do the things we enjoy. If life is getting in the way, change it. If money is the problem, fix it. Don’t let challenges stop you from enjoying life. If people in a wheelchair can travel to vacation destinations around the world, what’s your excuse?

We all have a certain number of days on this earth, and there’s nothing more disheartening than to see a hearse drive slowly past, carrying a casket of unfulfilled dreams. Dare to dream, and then chase those dreams. Enjoy every day. Find what makes you happy and do it. You only have the rest of your life.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What Makes You Happy?

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

This is the time of year when we begin to think about life after winter. Unless you live in Australia, in which case you’re still enjoying the better half of summer. I guess it’s just a matter of perspective. I always admired birds for their ability to follow the warm weather, and their common sense in doing so. Except the birds here. I’ve heard them chirping in the snow. They must work here.

Before I get too deep into this topic, I know there are a lot of people who absolutely love cold weather and as much snow as Heaven can dump. I also know people who think smacking your head into a brick wall is invigorating. I’m not assuming anything here, just making an observation.

Let’s just say that, for most of us, warm weather is a lot more pleasant and enjoyable. And I’m finding that, the older I get, the colder cold gets. What used to be tolerable is just downright freezing. They say it’s a slowing metabolism. I say it’s common sense improving with age.

For somebody who just wrote yesterday about making the most of each day, you probably had an image of me outside in the snow, bundled from head to toe with nothing showing but an ear-to-ear grin. Now you’re making assumptions. I do try to make the most of every day. But when it’s cold, I tend to find my enjoyment inside where it’s warm.

There was a time when I loved playing outside in the snow. I remember our first winter in Ohio, pushing my daughters on their brand-new sled. They’d squeal, I’d fall, and we all got a big laugh. But it was something new. Much like that dust-covered treadmill in my office, it didn’t take long for the newness to wear off.

And I know that, in about six months, we’ll step out the door and it’ll be hot. Not just warm, but the kind of sweltering, stuffy hot that takes your breath away. And then, my friends, you’ll see that ear-to-ear grin. I may comment that it’s hot, but I’ll never complain about it. That’s just my time of year.

Which begs the question, if I love warm weather so much, why do I live in Ohio? I had to answer that question several times when we first moved here from south Florida. And I still remember my answer: “When it’s hot and I’ve stripped off everything the law allows, that’s as good as it gets. But when it’s cold, I can always get warm.” Famous last words.

Okay, there’s some truth to that. I can put on a heavier coat and a ski mask. They won’t let me in the bank like that, but it’s a start. Still, there is no cold on earth like standing next to a slow-moving gas pump in near-zero weather and the wind is cutting through like a frozen dagger. And the probability of an empty gas tank increases as the temperature goes down. It’s Newton’s law of relativity.

I’ve had a little fun with this, but there is a point to be made. If weather can have such a profound effect on our happiness, why don’t we do something about it? Right now, as I look outside at the remaining snow on the ground, people in the southern hemisphere are planning a day at the beach. And somewhere in the middle, it never gets cold. And you know what? They have houses there, too.

We all make choices. I moved here thirty years ago looking for work, and I’m still here because this is where my daughters and grandchildren live. And when my little ones walk through the front door on a snow-covered day, I remind myself this is a choice I’ve made and it’s the right choice for me. Sometimes, the greatest warmth comes from within.

Still, my wife and I have this idea that the same roads that run south also run north. As long as we have the means to travel, distance is simply a matter of choice. We can choose to let that distance separate us from family or pay them a visit. Or invite them to come see us. Or even meet someplace in the middle for a vacation the kids will never forget.

It’s all about having the means to make those choices. I have friends who visit Hawaii every year because they can. They’ve traveled all over the world because of choices they made. And every one of us can make those same choices today. We just have to want it.

It’s one thing to be stuck in the cold because you enjoy it. But we should never let our lives be controlled by circumstances we have the power to change. No headstone was ever inscribed with a person’s dreams – only their accomplishments. Get out there and make the most of it.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Are You Hiding Behind Your Dreams?

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

In a previous life, I used to sell cars. And I was pretty good at it. Please don’t hold that against me. I wasn’t one of those who swindle everybody who walks through the door. I felt my job was to solve a problem – they needed transportation, and I had the means to help. Some people came in with a chip on their shoulder, but for the most part, we all got along really well.

They taught us a lot in the first few days of training, but the one thing that’s stuck with me through all these years is the simple fact that most people hold their cards close. When somebody says no, we ask why. But the first reason they give isn’t the real reason they won’t buy. You have to keep asking why until they get to that final answer – and that’s what’s really holding them back.

It’s the same through much of life. It takes a certain amount of trust for us to lay our cards on the table face-up. Until then, we put up a façade of indifference. It makes the fall a lot easier when things don’t go according to plan. Or, so we think.

I love talking with people about their dreams. If you’ve been reading these posts any time at all, you’ve already figured that out. There’s something about watching the sparkle in a person’s eyes as they describe a vacation they’d like to take, a place they’d like to live, their plans for retirement, or watching their children start a family of their own. It’s inspiring.

But we don’t always share those dreams freely because to do so means we have to bare our soul. It may mean letting somebody know we’re not entirely happy with our current situation, or that we have visions of a life most other people may not understand. It’s possible they wouldn’t approve of it even if they did understand. And you know what? Who cares? It’s your dream, not theirs!

It bothers me when somebody describes their dream and, before you can respond with a single word of affirmation, they begin listing all the reasons it’ll probably never happen. “I know, that takes a lot more money than I’ll ever make. Besides, it’s not like you can just up and move anywhere you want, right? And my family would never go along with it. But it sure would be nice.”

The problem is we’ve conditioned ourselves to the probability that very few people will share our excitement and be supportive of our dreams. The rest, who think they have our best interests at heart, will try to bring us back to reality and save us from the heartbreak of certain failure. So, before they can break out that laundry list of reasons we shouldn’t even try, we do it for them.

It’s a defense mechanism meant to keep somebody else from making us feel small. But, when the conversation is over and you go your separate ways, their dreams are still intact. Yours, on the other hand, have been diminished by the one person who valued them the most. Nobody has as much to gain by achieving your dreams as you do. So, why tear them down for somebody else’s benefit?

If you’re spending time with people who make you feel uncomfortable sharing your dreams, you may be spending too much time with the wrong people. Practical friends are the kind of people you bring along as a designated driver. They’re good for keeping you out of jail. But they’re usually not the life of the party. You bring along other friends for that.

We all need somebody we can trust enough to share your dreams without shooting them full of holes. Maybe they know somebody who accomplished the same thing and they can offer some meaningful advice. Maybe they’ve got some ideas of their own on how you can attain those goals. At the very least, they can be there to cheer you on when the going gets rough.

If you want to learn how to play tennis, you hang around the tennis court. If you want to climb the corporate ladder, hang around with somebody who’s already doing it. And if you want to build a stronger marriage, spend more time with happy couples. Find people who share your dreams, and you’ll be that much closer to your own.

As a friend often says, don’t ask thousandaires for advice on becoming a millionaire. Whatever your dream, find somebody who’s already there, or who is accomplishing dreams of their own. They’ll understand your passion a lot more than those who are willing to sit around take whatever life throws their way. And they may just have the one piece of advice you need to succeed.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved