Work Hard, Play Hard

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

So, what are your plans for the weekend? That seems to be the common question we ask people, usually when we need something to start a conversation. Or maybe we just ask for the sake of saying anything, with no real interest in how they’ll respond. It’s like asking somebody how they’re doing. We say it out of habit. But oftentimes, the response is a lot more than we’d bargained for.

But have you ever noticed how, when you ask that question, people instinctively look away from what they’re doing and turn toward you? Whether you’re interested in what they’ve got planned for the weekend or not, they are. Especially if they’ve got something planned. But even if it’s just sitting around and getting some rest, people are naturally drawn to anybody who shows an interest in them.

So, what are your plans for the weekend? I hope you’ll have a little fun. You’ve earned it. I hope you’ll get all those weekend chores done quickly and without complications. I hope you’ll find time for a movie with the kids or maybe ice cream with that special person in your life. And in the middle of all that, I hope you’ll find time to rest. Just sitting back, with nothing to do and not a care in the world.

It’s a shame we spend five days every week trudging through life with one simple goal – getting to the weekend so we can have some fun. And the whole time, we dream of that day when we’ll be too old to work, and life will become one long vacation. Oh, the places we’ll go and the things we’ll do! Yeah. Ask any retired person how that’s working out.

Don’t get me wrong. I know a lot of retired people who are on the go all the time. All those TV commercials that show septuagenarians dancing in Tahiti and racing around on jet skis aren’t the result of trick photography. Some actually do these things. But if you talk to them, you’ll probably find they’ve been actively relaxing most of their life.

Actively relaxing – is there such a thing? The words just don’t seem to belong together. But relaxing isn’t always lying back on the couch, snoozing through a movie you’ve seen a dozen times before. Sometimes it’s exhilarating, a day that completely wears you fall into a deep sleep.

Wear yourself out until you can’t go any further? Sounds a lot like work, doesn’t it? So, what’s the difference? It’s all in the face – that smile, the excitement in the eyes, that unmistakable look that tells you this person is having the time of their life. And it doesn’t matter how old they are. What matters is that they’re living.

Okay, back to the initial question. Why do we spend seventy percent of our lives trudging around like robots, and the remainder catching our breath? Is there anything you have to do on the weekend that you couldn’t do earlier in the week? Grocery stores are open just about every day. The washer & dryer are just sitting there. You could mop the floors one evening and dust the furniture another.

If we could take care of some of those smaller things that seem to consume an entire weekend, we’d have two full days to do whatever we want. No shopping, no cleaning, no errands – just get up and enjoy the day. Sound like a dream? Well, it can happen. And when it does, odds are you’ll find something else to fill that time. Maybe even something fun. Imagine!

It’s important that we work. It’s important that we do the things we need to do. And it’s just as important that we make time to enjoy the things we’re working for. Let me clue you in – nobody works for a paycheck. We work for the things money can buy. If you want an active retirement, start practicing now. Get out and have some fun! Then when the time comes, you’ll be a seasoned pro.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Who Says You Have to Act Your Age?

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

Today is a special day for kids around the world. Okay, not just kids, but those of us who still miss the innocence of youth. The traditions are different in various parts of the world, but here in the United States, kids will dress up as their favorite super-hero, princess, villain, or spook, and go around door-to-door with a bag for us old folks to fill up with candy. Why can’t we do that for cash?

Every year, there seems to be a debate over when a kid is “too old” for Halloween. Along with every group of young children dressed up in their favorite costume, there will be one or two teenagers dressed in the clothes they wore to school, holding out a bag without saying a word. And you know what? They get candy, too. If it makes them happy and keeps them out of trouble, why not?

If you can’t enjoy the fact that they’re trying to hang onto their youth just a little longer, look at it from another perspective. The conversation goes something like this:

“Trick or Treat.”

“Aren’t you a little old for this? You’re not even wearing a costume.”

“Yes I am.”

“What are you supposed to be?”

“A juvenile delinquent. Nice place you’ve got here. Is that your car?”

Is that the conversation you want to be thinking about right before you fall asleep? I find it a lot more relaxing (and reassuring) to just enjoy the evening and everybody who comes by. Besides, you never know when one of those teenagers may be the one that comes by a month from now and offers to shovel the snow off your sidewalks.

About a month ago, before I had injections in my lower back, I had to use a cane to get around. Not for stability, but to bear weight. One day after work, as I was getting out of the car with the cane in one hand and my lunchbox and laptop in the other, a teenage boy walking down the other side of the street asked if I needed any help. This from what some people like to refer to as the “me” generation.

But that’s a story for another day. My point today is that it’s easy to look at other people and decide for ourselves whether they’re too young or too old for whatever they’re doing. Okay, too young may be more a matter of practicality than opinion. My youngest grandson would love to drive my car, but it’s safe to say he won’t be doing that any time soon.

But on the other end of the spectrum, we have people who are too old for whatever we deem fit. “Why don’t you act your age?” How many times have you heard that one? How many times have you said it? Whether it’s playing silly games as a third-grader, trick-or-treating as a teenager, or getting your ears pierced at the age of 50, people love to impose their own standards of what’s appropriate at a given age.

So, here’s the question – who decides what’s appropriate and at what age? Is there a book somewhere that I haven’t read? Was it part of the birds and bees talk that my dad conveniently skipped? Did they teach it in church when I was out of town? Seems it would help if they’d at least publish it in the newspaper once a year.

The reality is, you’re never too old for anything you can still enjoy. Period. And the moment you buy into the thinking that you’re too old, you immediately begin aging at a much faster rate. And we all know what’s on the other end of aging. So, why are we in such a hurry to speed it up? Worse yet, why are we so adamant about imposing monotony on people who are still trying to enjoy life?

There’s a time to act our age, to be certain. At work, they appreciate my sense of humor as long as I can mix it with the appropriate amount of professionalism and still get the job done. My bank appreciates deposits in excess of my withdrawals. And the mortgage company appreciates a payment each month, even if there are a lot more fun things to do with that money.

But beyond that, what’s wrong with having a little fun along the way? As adults, most of us like to get away from the kids, meet some friends, and enjoy an evening of music and laughter (and maybe even a few “adult” beverages). We went to an Elton John concert several years ago, and let me tell you, old people still know how to rock! The look on the younger people’s faces was priceless.

Don’t be so quick to teach younger people that it’s not okay to act young. Let them enjoy it a few years longer. Adulthood is coming fast enough. This is their time. Help them make the most of it.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved