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