Are You Prioritizing Your Dreams?

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

It’s April 1, a national holiday for practical jokers and wannabe comedians. It’s a day when great deals really are too good to be true, and everything on the Internet is met with a little extra skepticism. And it’s the one day a politician’s word is as good as anybody else’s. I’m not sure that’s as good as it sounds.

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, April is a symbol of hope. Winter is gone (mostly), flowers bloom, and small animals abound. Oh, they were there before. But now we can see what they’re up to, instead of wondering how much insulation and wiring they’ve destroyed in hibernation. It’s a good thing squirrels are so cute. Besides, one is barely enough for a sandwich.

April is also the time when we start to think about getting started on those projects we dreamed up over the winter. I didn’t say we actually start them – just that we think about it. But Mom always said it’s the thought that counts. Come to think of it, my wife says that a lot, too. I’m beginning to think that’s just a tactful way of saying, “Nice try.”

Planning projects is easy. You dream it up, figure out what it would take to make it happen, and then start listing all the things that are standing in the way. “It’s too cold right now. As soon as it warms up, I’ll get started. As long as it doesn’t get too hot. But I’ll have to set aside time to do the taxes. And then there’s graduation and summer vacation, and then … well, I’ll get to it.”

We all have good intentions. And I’m told they come in real handy for paving the road to perdition. Several years ago, I tore down our backyard storage shed to make room for a new one. But in the process, I stepped on a rusty nail and my foot got infected and then it got too hot to work outside and then winter came and then … well, you get the picture.

It was a year before my grandson and I actually built the new shed, and that’s a personal best for me. Notice I didn’t say we finished the new shed – we built it. I still need to put on the front and rear trim pieces and install soffits to keep the birds out. But it’s reasonably weatherproof, and that was my goal five years ago. Get the lawnmower in out of the rain.

And we haven’t even talked about the missing baseboards from new flooring that I installed twelve years ago, the cracked vanity top in the bathroom, the new faucet we bought for the kitchen, or all the clutter in the basement and garage. I told my wife it’s the thought that counts. She said the same thing about dinner. I guess two can play that game.

Home projects are one thing. Sooner or later, they have a way of prioritizing themselves and eventually you don’t have a choice. But what about all those other things you wanted to do? That business you wanted to start, the trip you planned to take, or the book you’ve been meaning to write? Well, maybe this winter when there’s nothing better to do.

The longer we put things off, the easier it is to do. After a while, it just becomes routine. Dream it up, put it off … dream it up, put it off. The boss has this stuff figured out. They dream it up and set a deadline. Otherwise, nothing would ever get done. Except coffee. They said “take initiative.” Isn’t that when we do something without being told? That’s a good thing, right?

It’s not that we’re lazy. Far from it. The problem is that life doesn’t stop just because we have other plans. It doesn’t even move out of the way. It’s like that old lady in the grocery store who parks her cart in the middle of the aisle as she searches the entire selection of canned soup looking for that one flavor the store doesn’t sell. And I didn’t even want soup.

Meanwhile, we wait for that perfect opportunity to get on with our own plans. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the perfect opportunity doesn’t exist. Sometimes you have to just push the cart out of the way and move on. Or do like the boss does – dream it up and set a deadline. Put it in writing and give it to somebody else so they can nag you till it’s done.

We can’t control life’s interruptions any more than we can control the weather. But unless our dreams take priority, they’ll never get done. Spring has begun. And another one is just a year away. The question is, will you begin the next one living your dream, or thinking about it?

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Stop Waiting For the Right Moment

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

I was thinking the other day of a tee shirt slogan from back in the 70s … “When this crisis is over, I’m gonna have a nervous breakdown!” Social media is loaded with memes about what we’ll all do when this ends. One was particularly funny. It said, “We’ll all come out of this one of three ways – hunk, chunk, or drunk.” That pretty well sums it up.

I don’t drink much these days, but I do have a workout bench literally two feet behind me all day. So, I guess it goes without saying that I won’t come out hunk or drunk. That weight bench is loaded with papers, old mail, and printer supplies. You know, like the treadmill that used to be there. Around here, a treadmill is just a really expensive clothes hanger.

Oh, I had good intentions. I always do. But if you take your intentions into Starbucks with $3.95, they’ll give you a free cup of coffee. I took mine to the dinner table instead. And now I’m paying for it. But I don’t want to talk about weight again. Seems we just did that a couple of days ago.

I always had a set of criteria that would magically drive me into action. “That’s it! If my weight goes up another five pounds, I’m going on a diet!” “If it ever warms up, I’m cleaning the garage!” “If it ever cools off, I’m cleaning the garage!” “If that grass gets a foot taller …” Well, you get the idea. We always seem to let fate decide whether we do the things we need to do.

My post from last year popped up on my feed yesterday, and it was on this very topic. When there’s something we need to do that’ll bring us closer to our goals, we always seem to wait for the perfect moment to get started. It doesn’t really matter if those goals are grand or mundane, getting started is left to some twist of fate over which we have little or no control.

And that twist of fate doesn’t always have to be something good. It’s like sitting on the porch as the river is overflowing into your yard. You’ve got sandbags and a shovel, but you’re waiting for things to get bad enough before you put them to use. “If that water gets a foot higher, we’re shoring up!” No, if that water gets a foot higher, you’re swimming.

A friend confided to me once that he needed more money. The roof was leaking, the car needed repairs, and the bills were falling behind. I suggested he start a side business to supplement his income and he said, “Yeah, I guess if things get bad enough, I may have to consider that.” Excuse me? How bad do they have to get? Would foreclosure do the trick?

It’s easy to make plans when we really don’t intend to do anything about them. And it’s even easier when you put those plans at the mercy of something you can’t control. And then the water rises another foot. “Well, it’s kinda late for sandbags now.”

And the problem is, we do this whether it’s something we really need to do, or just something we’d like to do. “Oh, that’s just a dream. I’ve lived without it this long.” Well, how important was the dream? Was it something you just thought about once or twice? Because that’s not really a dream. It’s a brain fart.

Not taking action on our dreams is no different than not taking action on our needs. The consequences are a little different, but in the end we’re left to wonder what might have been. And friends, that’s one of the worst feelings in the world – knowing you could have at least tried to change the situation, but never did. And for what? Because things never got bad enough?

I’ve heard people say if they lose their job, they’ll change careers. I’ve heard them say if the car breaks down one more time, they’ll fix it. I’ve even heard sick people say if they get any sicker, they’ll do something about their health. Seriously? How bad do things need to get in order for us to do what we should have done in the first place? “Well, it’s kinda late for vitamins now.”

We all know the things we need to be doing. But if we wait for the perfect set of circumstances, we’ll never do it. Instead of waiting for things to get better or worse, forget the circumstances and just do it. Life on the other end may be completely different than anything you’d imagined. You may never get back to where you were. And isn’t that pretty much the idea?

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Stop Beating Yourself Up – Just Keep Moving

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is starting off nicely.

If you missed yesterday’s post, you’re not alone. I did, too. It was just one of those days. I had the best of intentions, and even started to write. But you know what they say about good intentions. I believe they’re used to pave a certain road.

Okay, but I have an excuse. Ever heard that one before? We always have an excuse. Wednesday was a busy day and I had a hard time getting to sleep. That’s an excuse, right? I mean, you need to be reasonably awake to create literary masterpieces with just the right blend of humor and inspiration. If you ever read anything like that, give me a yell. I’d love to learn how.

But Wednesday, after two months of unemployment, I had a job interview. It was my fourth or fifth interview during that time, but this one just felt really good. Okay, some of the others did, too. They do that on purpose, just to get your hopes up. “Dave, that’s exactly the answer I was hoping to hear.” Yeah, I know. And that’s exactly the answer I was hoping to hear. Next!

But this one just felt right. It was with my previous employer – you know, the one that told me I did such a good job they didn’t need me anymore. It’s in a different department, newly formed just for me. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. And they even staffed the department with a bunch of my old friends to make it feel like home. It does. Sometimes, old shoes just fit better.

So, as I sat here yesterday morning trying to write, I kept looking at my email and phone to see if I had any new messages. I got an extra cup of coffee, checked the news, looked at some RV sites, and took my granddaughters to school. Sound familiar? Finally, just before noon, I got the call I’d been waiting for. Time to dust off the old lunchbox and start getting dressed again.

That said, I can honestly tell you I spent the day agonizing over the fact that I never wrote my morning post. Sure, with over 500 previous posts in my archive, I could have pulled out something from the past and posted it instead. Odds are, very few would have noticed.

But I would. When I started this thing, I made up my mind I’d put forth my best effort every day. I’ll admit, some days that’s more apparent than others. If I had a list of writing prompts to work from, it might be easier to think of a new topic each day. But most of this is simply stream of consciousness, with the hope of giving you a touch of amusement and inspiration.

That’s the way it is with a lot of things we do. We have a goal – an overriding objective we’d like to achieve. Sometimes that goal is imposed upon us by other people, and sometimes we dream it all up on our own. But Mom always said if you’re going to do anything, take the time to do it right. The bosses always appreciated Mom. I’m betting their mom said the same thing.

When it comes to the job, we always put forth the effort. It’s pretty simple. Do the job or find someplace else to spend your day. Motivation isn’t really an issue, because somebody else does that part for us. But when it comes to our personal goals, we can’t depend on somebody else to crack the whip. We need to do it ourselves. And that’s easier said than done.

Don’t get me wrong. We usually have little trouble beating ourselves up. But history has proven that beating people up isn’t the best way to motivate them. And we all know, criticism can be especially painful when it comes from somebody we like. Hopefully you like yourself at least a little. You know, enough to care when that person in the mirror starts beating you up.

You learned to walk by falling down. You learned to ride a bicycle by falling down. You learned to talk nicely to your mom by … well … stop, drop, and roll. It works for fires, too. But you get the message. Falling down is just a part of life. What’s important is that you get back up and try again.

Life will get in the way, and sometimes we have to put things off for a day. But that was yesterday, and this is today. It’s what you do with today that counts. Try not to repeat mistakes of the past, but put them behind you and move on. Your goal is still out there waiting. And the sooner you dust yourself off and take that next step, the sooner you’ll get there.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved