It’s All a Matter of Perspective

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

I woke up later this morning than normal. Sometimes the old body just needs a little more rest before the day can start. Know the feeling? The only problem is, the clock never seems to get tired. It just keeps running and running and running. This far into the 21st century, you’d think we could figure out a way to fix that.

Time is the one constant in life that never really changes. Okay, aside from twice a year when we get the directive to change our clocks, but time itself doesn’t change as a result. All that changes is the way we measure it. “I got an extra hour of sleep this weekend!” No, you didn’t. You woke up at the same time you always do. Only this time, you were an hour early. There’s no snooze button for that.

As with most things in life, time is subjective. Sure, there are officially 24 hours in a day, and there are 60 minutes in each hour. And if your favorite show comes on in an hour, that’s a measurable span of time. But remember when you were little and your mom would say, “In a minute”? Hmmm. Now we’re getting into a gray area. Is that sixty seconds, or sometime in the next hour?

It’s the same with a lot of things. “I did a really good job on that!” Well, in your opinion. Hopefully everybody else will agree, but there’s always that one person who can spot a flaw in anything, no matter how well it was done. Sometimes you’d like to smack them so hard the only thing they can spot are the little stars swirling around inside their own judgmental head.

It’s like the scene in Christmas Vacation where, after several frustrating attempts and life-endangering mishaps, Clark finally gets his display of 250,000 outdoor lights to illuminate. As he dances around in excitement, tears of joy streaming down his face, his father-in-law casually comments, “The little lights aren’t twinkling, Clark.” “Yes, I know Art. And thank you for noticing.”

But in a world where very few things are cut and dried, we all have to find our own meaning in things that are a little more subjective. How long is a moment? How much is a little bit? How soon is right away? And how good is pretty good? It pretty much depends on who’s asking. Tell your kid you’ll take them to the amusement park “one of these days” and to them that means tomorrow.

A couple of days ago, I got an email from an RV dealer offering an unbelievably low price on a motorhome we’ve had our eyes on. It was a little over $50,000 off the list price. Who can turn down an offer like that? That’s a huge savings! But, then there’s the matter of what’s left after that deep discount. And, any way you slice it, it’s still a lot of money.

But what’s “a lot of money?” It’s different from one person to the next. What’s “a lot of work”, or “too much time?” Again, it depends who’s asking because it’s all a matter of perspective. One person may say, “That’ll take four hours!” while another says, “I can have it done in no time!” Neither one is any faster than the other. It’s all in how they view the time compared to the reward.

Tell somebody you’re doing something grand, like buying an RV or starting a business, and you’ll get all kinds of opinions. Everything ranging from how much money you’ll spend to how much time it’ll take and how hard you’ll have to work. To some people, getting off the sofa to get a drink of water is just too much effort. But to another, a year of working late every evening is well worth the effort.

You have to find your own level of “worth” in all things. Is $10 too much to pay for lunch? Is 5 miles too far to drive for ice cream? Is an hour a day too much time to spend working toward a dream you’d desperately love to achieve? To one person, the answer to any of those questions is yes. But only you can decide what something is worth to you. You only get one chance to live your own life. Make it count.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Getting Cold? Then Crank Up the Heat!

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

We’re officially entering that time of year where everything we’ve done over the previous year comes home to roost. People coughing and sneezing, wondering why they didn’t take better care of their health. Looking at the upcoming holidays, and wishing they’d set aside a little more savings. And the New Year, less than two months away, a constant reminder of those failed resolutions.

Already the stores have changed their seasonal displays to maximize their income from holiday sales. It’s a strategy retailers learned years ago. Some of us are old enough to remember when Sears had a nut and candy display strategically placed at the bottom of the escalator where the smell could waft up through the store captivating everyone who came close enough to get a whiff.

The sights, sounds, and smells are carefully designed with one goal in mind – getting their share of your holiday spending before anybody else has a chance. And it doesn’t matter if you’re only there to pick up some bread and milk. They know sooner or later you’ll bring your kids with you, and then it’s off to the races with a cash register waiting at the finish line.

And the stores don’t really care how much you saved, because they know we’ll max out our credit cards and spend money that should be going to something else in order to make this once-a-year celebration the best it can be. After all, it’s not the little ones’ fault we didn’t save more during the year. Why should they have to pay for our mistakes?

That was my thinking for years. The holidays became just another time of stress. We’d count the paychecks left in the year and celebrate when we realized the last payday would come on or just before Christmas Eve. Maybe Santa would come after all! Sure, all those bills we put off will still be due in January (with a late charge added on), but January can take care of itself. Right?

Trust me, I’ve been there. And a lot more recently than I’d care to admit. Most of us have a tendency to live in the moment and figure out tomorrow when it comes. And those who don’t, those who carefully plan every action to achieve the desired long-term outcome, usually miss out on some of the spontaneity of life. Sometimes it’s nice not knowing exactly what tomorrow will bring.

But life has a way of giving us hints, whether we pay attention to them or not. That new ticking sound coming from your car’s engine. The damp clothes after an hour in the dryer. That slowly growing brown stain on the ceiling next to the chimney. And that general feeling of fatigue after a full night of sleep. All subtle hints that, if you don’t do something to intervene, things could get worse.

But hey, we’re taught to be positive, right? Focus on the good in life, and don’t imagine the worst every time things aren’t just perfect. But optimism isn’t the delusional belief that nothing bad will ever happen. It’s simply the knowledge that, when bad things do happen, you’ll somehow find a way to get past the challenge and come out on top.

In church, we’re taught to focus on our faith and to know that, no matter how bad things get, the Lord will provide. We’re also taught that we get a little more of a helping hand when we try to help ourselves. But somehow, we seem to miss that little tidbit of advice. Tomorrow will take care of itself. Right now, I’m having fun!

All through the year, squirrels spend their days scampering around and generally enjoying the simple life. But as soon as the days start turning cooler, they begin stocking their nest with fallen nuts and anything else that can be used to get them through the winter. They don’t know why they’re doing it. They just do. And no matter how bad the winter is, they emerge happy and healthy on the other end.

We all have to face the consequences of our choices, both good and bad. The trick is to learn from any mistakes and try not to repeat them again next year. First and foremost, take care of your health. You don’t keep getting second chances on that. If you know you have expenses coming up, do something about it. Save more or earn more. And if the car is making a funny noise, check it out.

It all comes back to a simple concept I’ve mentioned before – dig the well before you get thirsty. Plan ahead. And if you missed that step, don’t just kick the can to the curb and hope somebody else will pick it up. Starting late is better than not starting at all. You can always make things better. And think of how much easier it’ll be next time around.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved