The Magic Never Goes Away – Just Keep Looking

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

Well, it had to happen sooner or later. The white stuff started falling out of the sky yesterday evening and it’s still there. Looks like a couple of inches, and that’s about as close to accurate as I’ll get, because anything more would require that I step outside and actually see how deep it is. That’s not gonna happen. I only look stupid.

I remember a time in when snow was cause for celebration. It was magic. A white blanket over God’s not-so-green earth. A new playground. Sledding and ice skating and all those fun things we used to do. My dog is in heaven. He runs around the yard with his nose to the ground, bulldozing a trail through the snow with every step. It’s something new, and he’s making the most of it.

Yet, half a century later, it’s not that magical anymore. Sledding has been replaced by trying to stay on the road, and ice skating is what you do getting from the house to the car. And let me tell you, the ground gets a whole lot harder when it’s cold. Emergency rooms throughout the area will treat more broken bones today than they have all year.

It seems to work that way with a lot of things. Think back to the first time you rode a bicycle. That was a day of excitement. Nothing in your life could measure up to that one proud moment. Then you fell, but it was worth it. One day the training wheels came off and you were in heaven. Then one day you wanted to borrow the car and Dad said, “You have a bike.” It didn’t feel so special then.

I know people who still love to ride. In fact, I have a friend who spent more on his bike than I spent on my first five cars combined. I live in an area where old railroad trails have been converted into bike paths, and you can crisscross the entire state without riding on a single road. Not to say that stops people from riding on the hilliest, curviest country roads they can find. But that’s another story.

Think about your first day at work. Not this job – your very first job. For one in three adults, that first job had something to do with food (I use the term loosely). You stood in front of the mirror, brushed your hair, admired your uniform and name badge, then proudly walked down the street for everyone to see that you were now among the gainfully employed. Then you found out why they call it work.

It’s even that way with kids. You hold them in your arms, before they even go home, and can’t imagine how you ever got this far in life without them. They’re precious. They’re adorable. Every sound, every facial expression, every movement of the hands (and bowels) is special. First they crawl, then they walk. And then they turn two and leaving for work is once again a source of excitement.

I think most of life works that way. You work for a promotion, and a year later it’s just another job. You move into a new home, full of excitement, but before long it’s just another house. You start a business, full of excitement, and then one day you find yourself just going through the motions. You stand at the altar with your best friend in life, and ten years later you’re just paying bills together.

Don’t get me wrong. All of those things are awesome, and if you look hard enough, there will always be enough moments of excitement to remind you why you wanted it in the first place. But looking for excitement, by itself, usually leads to problems. What we should be looking for are goals. You’ve accomplished what you set out to do. So, what’s next? Dream a little. Together.

Dreams are the ultimate use of our imagination, and imagination is the first step in every worthwhile thing you’ll ever accomplish in life. Don’t focus on what is – imagine what could be. What if? Those are the two most important words in any endeavor. What if this job leads to bigger things? What if you added a sunroom to the house? What if that snow were actually a sunny Gulf-coast beach?

And what if all the years leading up to this day were just some sort of rehearsal for what’s yet to come? What if your very best days to this point were just a teaser of what lies ahead? What if you stopped saying “what if” and did something about it?

For every one of us, the future begins today. We can either find the magic we once saw in simple things and turn it into even greater things. We can enjoy what we’ve built to this point or build something even bigger. And if we can simply get out of our own way, we can find the same excitement in each moment that we did the first time we experienced it. It’s up to you. Make it count.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Wait For Time to Come to You – Reach Out and Grab It

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

Last night, I got together with some close friends for a weekly business meeting. We’re a supportive group, and when one of us has a special need, we set aside some time to rally around them in prayer. Such was the case last night. One is in the hospital battling recurrent cancer, and we were able to give her a call and let her know we’re all thinking about her. Sometimes, it’s the little things that count.

As I drove home, I thought about how in all this talk of dreams and goals, what is the one thing she would want most right now? I doubt it would be anything material, though she did mention she’s keeping her eyes open for single doctors.

But my guess is that if you were to ask her for the one thing she wants most, it would be time. Not necessarily more time to live – for all I know, she may outlive every one of us. But I would bet that she’d like to have more time to enjoy the things she enjoys most – family, friends, travel, adventure, and maybe even a little more quiet time at home. We all need these things more than we may know.

And as I draw closer to the age of retirement, time is a lot more important than it once was. Again, not necessarily time to live, because I don’t plan on checking out any time soon. But I do look forward to having the time to enjoy my family, to play with the kids, to take my wife to some of the countries I’ve seen, and when the mood strikes, to just enjoy quiet time at home.

I remember watching a documentary years ago about a professional stock investor. He earned a seven-figure income by knowing exactly when to buy and sell certain stocks. And, because a stock exchange is always open somewhere in the world, he literally worked around the clock. All through the night, he would be awakened to a phone call advising him of price changes on a particular stock.

I remember thinking, sure, he’s a lot wealthier than I’ll ever be, but who wants to live like that? Hopefully at some point he’ll take a step back and enjoy the income he’s built, but when you work like that every day it becomes more than a job – it’s who you are. It’s what you do, not because you have to or even because you want to, but because it’s the way you’ve conditioned yourself to live.

Of course, any doctor would tell you that working like that is a quick way to put yourself in an early grave. Yet most of us, to a large degree, do the very same thing. We may not have a have people calling at all hours, asking us to make snap decisions in a fog of sleepiness that could affect our portfolio (and that of our investors) by several million dollars. But we do put a heavy emphasis on work.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but what are you working for? Are you working just to pay the bills? Are you working because you want a new car? Are you working because your parents made you? Or are you working to reach a point in life when you can slow down a bit and have time to enjoy the things you’re working for?

Time is one of our most valuable commodities. And yet, we spend very little time doing the things we enjoy. Our days are mostly spent working, whether that’s on a paid job or taking care of things around the house – cleaning, laundry, repairs, lawn care, getting the kids ready for school, and all those other things that consume our day. What little time is left is spent sleeping so we can do it all again tomorrow.

And then comes that day when we don’t have to do all those things anymore. The kids are grown, we downsize into a condo where somebody else takes care of all the maintenance and yard work, and we can finally carve out a little time to do the things we want. Only now, our bodies make some of those decisions for us. We know what we’d like to do – we just can’t actually do it.

Time is not a renewable resource. You get one shot to get it right. If there’s something you want to do, a burning desire that just won’t go away, make it happen. Don’t wait for a better day, or until somebody else tells you it’s time. Because when that day comes, all the money and possessions you’ve accumulated won’t replace the time it took to get there.

We all get 168 hours each week and no amount of money will change that. So, change what you can. Make time work for you. It’s the one thing you have that nobody can take away. Make it count.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What Are You Waiting For?

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

Have you ever stopped to think about where you thought you’d be at this point in your life, and then compared it to where you are? Hopefully for most of us, the gap isn’t all that large. I’d like to think most of us have accomplished at least some of the things we wanted to do by now. But for many of us, myself included, the gap is pretty large. There’s still so much to be done.

Maybe that’s just my impatience kicking in. Because, in all honesty, I’ve been able to accomplish a lot. And some things are meant to come later, or at least that’s what we’re taught. We work for 45 years and then take a really long vacation. And if we’re lucky, we actually get to go a little further than the front porch in the process. I’ve seen mine before. It’s not all that special.

For some people, the concept of putting in all those years up-front for a few years of enjoyment at the very end is as appealing as a root canal. Especially when they realize their physical abilities and stamina are at an all-time high during those years they’re supposed to be working and, by the time they retire, all that stamina will have been long since used up.

For them, the answer is simple. Put in a little extra in the early years when everyone else is out partying and get started on that long vacation early. Like, thirty years early. By the time everyone else is halfway through their work life and still has little to show for it, they’re off enjoying a lifestyle most of us could never imagine. They didn’t want to wait. And they didn’t have to.

Well, here’s the deal – I’ve worked my 45 years and retirement is still a distant goal. Oh, I’m getting closer. And days like I’ve had this week, using a cane to get around because my back needs all the help it can get, I know it may come sooner than the bank thinks it should. We don’t always get the option to choose our retirement date. Sometimes, fate chooses it for us.

And I’m coming to realize that retirement may not be quite what I’d imagined. I see commercials and pictures of old folks jumping out of airplanes and racing around on jet skis, and that’s the image I’ve had all these years. Oh, I’m sure I’ll try some of those things. But I’ll probably spend a week in traction afterward.

The sad fact is, all these years we’re working and saving for a brighter day, we’re missing some of the brightest days along the way. They’re here, right now, and we’re trudging through them hoping to find something better down the road. And I think, at least for most of us, there will be brighter days down the road. I just hope we’re able to enjoy them when the time comes.

My wife and I decided several years ago our retirement will involve a motorhome and a new mailing address several times a year. We’ve talked to people who have enjoyed the nomad lifestyle, and I’m starting to notice a trend. Many of them are a few years older than we are, and they all say the same thing – “Back when we had ours, we absolutely loved it.”

Now, that could mean they had one and got tired of it after a few years. It could mean they blew all their money on the first one and couldn’t afford to replace it when things started to wear out. Or it could mean they’ve reached an age where physical limitations have brought their days of galivanting across the country to an end. I hope that’s not the case, because I’m almost as old as they are.

And therein lies the problem. We find something we want, a burning desire, and go through life promising ourselves that one day we’ll find a way to enjoy it. “Someday.” Famous last words. Well, not necessarily last words, because there comes a point in life where “someday” turns into “I should have.” That’s usually when we’re sitting in a wheelchair in the day room of a nursing home. Lovely.

I’m not suggesting you quit your job and start that long vacation today. But unless your life’s goal is to die with a bunch of money in the bank for everybody else to fight over, get out and enjoy it! If you wait for the perfect time or opportunity, it’ll never happen. Find a way. Make it happen. We’re all headed for the same destination. Reach yours with memories to share and stories to tell.

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

© 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

Happy People Live Happier Lives – It’s a Fact!

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

It’s that time of year when all the germs that have been closed up in our homes over the winter are starting to take their toll. Trust me, there are no germs left outside. They froze weeks ago. In fact, according to the National Pest Management Association, this last “polar vortex” wiped out about 95% of the stink bug population. That means it’ll take them until June to fully repopulate.

But as the cold weather wreaks havoc on bad things outside the home, we’ve done a bang-up job of preserving all those germs indoors. They’ve not only survived, they’ve thrived. After a while, it’s like last week’s leftovers. They all get thrown together for a stew nobody can quite identify.

Until now, everybody was fighting a cold. It was an especially brutal winter for that. But with each cold, we build our immunity for the next one. Of that strain. Next year there will be a whole new batch of germs to contend with. Still, people seem to be getting over the worst of it. But, apparently, we haven’t built up our immunity to the norovirus that’s making its rounds. Lovely.

So far, I’ve dodged the bullet. Both of my grandkids had it over the weekend. They gave it to their mother, who called my wife to pick her up from work when it hit. Well, guess what my wife was up doing all night? I tend to be a little more resistant to these things, but nothing gets past her.

When things aren’t going well, I’ve always said we sometimes need days like this to help us appreciate the good ones. Well, maybe. But I don’t think anybody needs this. I can appreciate a day of backaches and stiff joints just fine without an intestinal bug as a basis for comparison. This is just plain evil.

And all those pounds we thought we shed overnight are just nature’s way of rubbing salt in an open wound, because they’ll be back the first time we eat a slice of peanut butter toast. There’s no up-side to this, except possibly the power-flush of the digestive system. You pretty much start from ground zero on that.

I always try to impart some kind of lesson in my morning posts, but I’m not sure there’s much of a lesson in this one, other than don’t kiss grandkids when they’re sick. And nobody’s going to follow that advice, least of all me. That’s a chance I’ll take any time. Believe me, they outgrow that age far too soon. And those moments are worth whatever consequences they may bring.

I guess if there’s something to be learned from any of this, it’s that we should try a little harder to enjoy each day as it comes. No day will be perfect. You may wake up with a headache (deserved or not), somebody may cut you off in traffic, the boss may be in a bad mood with you squarely in the crosshairs, dinner may be late, whatever. Life happens, and it’s not always pretty.

But that feeble gratitude you feel as you wake up from a night glued to the porcelain with a bucket in your lap, and realize the worst is over and you may be able to eat a cracker for lunch, will overcome just about any bad thing that happens for the rest of the day. It certainly has a way of putting things in perspective.

We’ll all have bad days. And we’ll have even worse nights. But if we take more time to enjoy the good things as they come, the bad stuff just doesn’t have as much of a lasting impact. It sucks for the moment, but when it’s gone, we’re able to get back into enjoying life that much quicker.

I read something yesterday that pretty well sums it up. It said it’s easy to spot a yellow car when you’re thinking of yellow cars; it’s easy to find opportunity when you’re thinking of opportunity; and it’s easy to spot reasons to be mad when you’re thinking of being mad.

We are the sum of our thoughts. If we spend our days looking for reasons to be upbeat, they’re a lot easier to find. And when something we didn’t really deserve comes along to knock the wind out of our sails, it’s that much easier to get back on track. Happiness is a choice we make. And the more we practice it, the easier it becomes.

That’s all for now. Have a happy, healthy, and completely awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What’s The Rush?

I don’t know of too many people who wake up in the morning yearning to take their spot in the rush-hour commute. There are a few occasions where some people are determined to show the very worst side of their personality, and that one ranks at the top of the list. Can I get an amen?

And, other than an accident that ties up traffic even worse, few things can ruin the morning commute more than rain. Anything more than a sprinkle is enough to do the job, but a downpour is a special kind of messed up. Wipers blazing, puddles in the worst possible places, and people driving like the green flag just dropped at Daytona. That describes my commute yesterday.

I’ve often wondered what goes through a person’s mind to make them drive just as fast as they can, weaving in and out of cars that are at least trying to maintain a safe distance, on days when every instinct and everything they were taught in driver’s education tells them it’s about as dangerous as a coiled-up rattlesnake. “It’s raining! I need to hurry up and get there!!!”

I usually say a silent prayer that they’ll get where they’re going in one piece, and without taking anybody else out along the way. Because that’s usually how it happens. The accident they cause is behind them, and they race on oblivious to the mess they just caused.

It makes you wonder, are these people even half as energetic when they get to work? Do they approach their whole day with an equal sense of purpose and urgency, determined to outdo everyone around them? Or are they the ones sitting in the bathroom stall for a half-hour reading the newspaper, right before they clock out to take a break? We may never know.

In his 1974 song, Mac Davis reminded us all that it’s important to “stop and smell the roses along the way.” And, given the hectic pace in which most of us are forced to live, I can’t think of a more befitting sentiment. Sure, we need to get things done. But we miss a lot of the world’s beauty when our eyes are only fixed on that car in front of us.

Okay, I’m not suggesting we should take our eyes off the car in front of us. But you get the point. It’s easy to get tunnel vision, so short-focused that we never see the wonder around us. The baby calf in the pasture, the eagle perched in a dead tree, the snowman carefully crafted a day earlier, or the toddler lovingly waving goodbye to an older sibling.

It’s easy to see our world as a challenge to be conquered, full of people who are determined to get in our way. That guy in the left lane who’s only going five miles per hour over the speed limit. The person you have to reach around to get a can of corn off the grocery store shelf. Or the child who won’t stop crying when it should be obvious to the whole world you’ve got a headache.

But it’s just as easy to take a step back and enjoy those same situations. Instead of lamenting heavy traffic, turn up the radio and sing along. If you can’t race through the grocery store, take a little time to read some labels and find healthier alternatives. And when a child is crying, think of the innocence of youth. Try to remember a similar time in your own life.

It’s all about perspective. George Carlin once said the same words that hurt can heal. It’s that way with just about anything in life. Even the deadly venom of a rattlesnake can be used to make blood-thinning medicines that can lower blood pressure and prevent stroke. Now, I don’t suggest petting one, but they do have a purpose in our world. So does everything and everyone around us.

When the pace of life starts raising your stress level, slow down and take a deep breath. Take a moment to enjoy the world around you. Smile a little. Wave somebody else into traffic in front of you. It’s therapeutic – try it sometime. And when the jerk behind you starts blowing his horn, just wave and wish him a better day. You may get the finger in return, but that’s on him, not you.

When we take time to smell the roses, we find another level of existence. We find enjoyment in things that once were a source of irritation. We make new friends. We find new paths and enjoy new scenery. But most importantly of all, we enjoy this journey a lot more, and maybe even help those around us to do the same. That, my friends, is living.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved