Dreams Don’t Have to Wait if You Get Started Now

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

Okay, I realize that for most of you it’s afternoon. It’s only 9:30 here. It’s not my fault Arizona decided to start the day so late compared to everybody else. Well, unless you live west of here. My workday starts at 5 AM. I don’t care where you’re from, that’s early. On the other hand, I get to knock off at 2 and head to the pool. So, there’s that.

As I look around, I’m surrounded by what was once a dream. Living in an RV, surrounded by palm trees, mountains, and a clear blue sky, and everybody who walks past either waves or stops to talk. Stress exists, but on a distant planet. You know, somewhere outside the front gate. This is what we’ve dreamed of. Well, except the scorpions.

People ask sometimes if it’s hard living in such a small space and moving from one location to another. I guess that depends on how you look at it. The view out our front window right now is awesome, and we can change it any time we want. Having the ability to move means you’re never stuck with the local weather. Don’t like snow? Head south!

For us, it was all part of the dream. Getting out and seeing the country (even west Texas), chasing the sunshine, sampling the local cuisine, and meeting new people every day. So far, most of that has come to pass. Okay, as it turns out, there’s still a Burger King on every corner, so I’m not completely convinced there’s any such thing as local cuisine. But we try.

Should we have waited a few more years instead of doing this now? Maybe. My bank statement could make a financial analyst cringe, but this was our dream, not theirs. And there’s something to be said for doing things like this before you’re too old to enjoy them. Okay, that ship already sailed, but you get the point. We’re not getting any younger. It was now or never.

We always think there will be plenty of time to chase our dreams, and that our financial situation will somehow be a lot better later in life. Well, ask somebody who’s made it past 50 how well that worked out. Sure, we may make a little more money, but expenses pretty well keep up. And your health doesn’t care what you had planned. It has plans of its own.

That doesn’t mean you just chuck it all and start living the dream. Depending on your situation, that can be a quick way to make the dream come to a premature end with little to no hope of ever reviving it. On the other hand, we see a lot of young couples living on the road, enjoying the experience before life forces them to put down a set of roots.

And let’s be honest – what makes it all possible is money. Not necessarily a huge bank account, but the ability to replenish it as you go – a source of income that doesn’t stop the minute you leave home. A friend once told me that when you can make money from home, then home can be any place you want. “There’s no industry there!” Awesome! Sign me up!

Maintaining that income is simple if you just open your mind to possibilities you never considered. When you’re the boss, you decide when and where you work. When you need more money, you work harder and give yourself a raise. If you want a vacation, you take one. And nobody tells you that you’re too young or too old, or that your job has been outsourced.

Find an income like that, and you open a whole world of opportunity. It’s not easy, but it’s not hard. You just have to be open to new ideas, and willing to take a chance on the one person you can count on the most. Sure, you have to ease into some of these things. But with that in mind, how long do you plan to wait? Rather, how old do you plan to be when you finally get there?

Nobody visualizes themselves at beach in a wheelchair or dragging an oxygen bottle through the streets of Rome. When we see the dream, we’re vibrant and healthy, living life to its fullest. Maybe you can’t start the dream now. That’s okay. But the sooner you take the steps to make it possible, the sooner it’ll happen. So, what are you waiting for?

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Make Money or Make Excuses – You Can’t Do Both

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

Well, the verdict is in. Our washing machine has a faulty RF line filter. Unless you’re into electrical stuff, that means nothing. In layman’s terms, it’s fried. And it may or may not be my fault. That all depends who’s paying the bill. I say it was defective, but the manufacturer may have other ideas. All I know is that repairman sure knows his stuff. And the bill reflects it. $523 just to tell me it’s broken. Wow.

The good news is we can get it fixed. Next week. Which means all the dirty clothes that were in it are back in the closet. The nice thing about camping is that people don’t notice smells quite as much. That’s probably due to the multitude of odors that are so prevalent in campgrounds. Like the smell that hit my wife’s nose when I emptied our tanks this morning. Phew! By comparison, I smell fine.

Yes, we’ll have to find a laundromat today. Always have a plan B, right? And a little extra in the bank, because none of these things are cheap. A friend once told me that emergencies have no regard for your dreams, but they know exactly how much you have in savings and the estimate will always come in just a little higher. Can I get an amen?

Thankfully, we’ve got this one covered. Ten years ago, a similar repair would have brought us to our knees. A recent survey revealed that only 39% of adults could afford an unexpected $1000 expense. And for many of them that expense would wipe out their savings completely. Well, guess what? With $250 “service fees” and labor at $135 an hour, you can blow through $1000 in an instant.

Financial experts suggest we should have enough money in savings to cover 3-6 months of living expenses. We’ve all heard that, and we’ve all said the same thing. “On what planet???” You might as well tell us to grow wings and fly. Sure, that looks good on paper. But when you’re barely making ends meet, it’s a little hard to fathom.

Yet, when you ask people why they don’t make more, they pretty much say the same thing … “If I knew how, I would!” Okay, so let me show you how. “Well, yeah, but I don’t have the time for something like that. I’m too busy already. And my brother-in-law said his neighbor’s cousin tried something similar and failed. Besides, I’m up for a cost-of-living raise in a few months. We’ll be fine after that.” Really?

Thankfully for some people, excuses are cheap. Otherwise, they’d go broke just telling you why they’re going broke. If $10 were deducted from their bank account every time they uttered a lame excuse, they’d be overdrawn by dinnertime. And then they’d whine about the overdraft charges. When, all along, they could have used the same amount of energy to actually fix the problem.

You can make money or make excuses – but you can never do both. I didn’t dream that one up. It’s been around a while, but it’s as true today as ever. And sooner or later, we all have to answer this question – which one will make your life better? Which one will make the problems go away? Excuses may buy you some time, but sooner or later you’ll have to pony up. Or give up. It’s your life.

You know one thing you almost never hear? “I make enough – I don’t need any more.” We ALL need more. Things can change in an instant, and what we know today may not be what we’ll live tomorrow. And even if things don’t change, is there nothing else in life you want that you don’t already have? “Sure, if I had the money!” Seems this is right where we started.

We all think our situation will change with time, but it never works out that way. Pay off the car, and it needs repairs. Pay off the house, and the kids are headed to college. Pay off college, and the kids are having grandkids. Get a promotion, and your property tax goes up. Get all that under control, and it’s time to retire. You know, on half-pay (if you’re lucky). And that’s when the medical bills get real.

The question is, what will you do about it? Will you fix the problem, or spend your days in a rocking chair explaining that it’s the best chair you can afford? There are dozens of ways to make more money, and just as many excuses for why you can’t. Take control now, and you won’t need those excuses. Open your mind, and you may find the answer right there waiting for you.

Money can’t fix everything, and there’s something to be said for enjoying what we have. But sooner or later, you’ll need more. We all do. Fix the problem today, and you won’t even have to think about it tomorrow.

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You’re Learning – But Who’s Teaching?

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

My weekend was spent in a recliner, whining about my back, and taking pain meds pretty much around the clock. The good news is, after 8 hours of work, our car can now be towed behind the RV. Better still, we didn’t damage the car in the process. Of course, it’s still sitting in the driveway, so the jury is still out on what happens when we actually hook it up.

I’m not sure my wife has complete confidence in me. Probably because I told her about the emergency mechanism that will stop the car in the middle of the road if the entire trailer hitch falls off. If it does, you can blame that one on the factory. But sometimes, details aren’t entirely helpful. Now she has a vision I can’t quite get out of her mind. And I put it there. Color me stupid.

I have to say, YouTube is the greatest creation ever for those of us who need to do something we’ve never done before, especially where the cost of failure is so high. On the other hand, when they wheeled me into the operating room for brain surgery, I was relieved to see there wasn’t a “how-to” video queued up for that one. So, I guess I understand my wife’s concern.

Every day we do things without even thinking about them. They’re second-nature. Yet most of those things had to be learned at some point in our life. Some we learned on our own, others we were taught. I’m pretty sure I never showed my grandson how to climb the cabinets to reach what’s on top of the refrigerator. But I did teach him what happens when he does.

Mentors play a huge role in our lives. We often don’t even think about it, because they’re just there – some get paid, and others don’t. Some are a lot better than others. Some can lead you to incredible success, and some can only teach you how to fail. That’s why it’s so important that we try to choose our mentors wisely.

So, here’s something to consider. If you wanted to learn to fly a plane, would you ask your best friend, or look for somebody who’s actually flown a plane? You know, more than once. I took a few lessons in 1976, and even landed three times without crashing. Oh, I came close, but we eventually ended up on three wheels.  Want me to be your instructor? I didn’t think so.

Now, let’s say you’re looking to start a business. You have a dream, and some notion of how you plan to achieve it. All that’s left is putting the plan into motion. So, what’s the first thing you do? Well, you call your drinking buddy and ask his opinion, right? He’d never steer you wrong. Besides, he’s been out of work and looking for ways to make money, too.

Sadly, that happens more than we’d like to admit. We put our complete faith in the hands of somebody who, if they really knew how to make extra money, would already be doing it. Yet, when somebody comes along and offers to share what’s working for them, our first reaction is to shut down and run. “What’s in it for him?”

Well, that’s something to consider. What’s in it for the other person, and how much will it cost you? Valid questions, to be sure. But also consider the possibility that the other person just wants to help. Have you ever taught somebody how to do something for nothing more than the satisfaction of watching them succeed?

One of life’s greatest rewards is to become so good at something that we can pass it on to others. Because, in doing so, in watching somebody else succeed at something we’ve learned, we’re creating a legacy that will live on long after we’re gone. It’s validation that something important to us is also important to somebody else. It’s a gift we both give and receive.

When I tore the front end off our brand-new car Friday, I followed a video. Not the advice of a friend or a “how-to” manual written by somebody who’s never done the job, but a video of somebody actually doing it. And it didn’t cost me a penny to watch that video. It was there, free of charge, for anybody willing to tackle the job on their own.

Choose your mentors wisely. The ones you think have your best interests at heart aren’t always the best to teach what you need to know. Sometimes you need to take a leap of faith and put your trust in people and ideas you hadn’t considered before. Sure, you can still lose. But nothing ventured, nothing gained. Is your dream worth the risk? There’s your answer.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Time to Get Started is Now

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

It’s Monday, not to mention the last week of October. Just in case you needed a reminder that … you know, after this, things start getting real. For those of us in the US (okay, most of the US), daylight savings time ends this week. After that, we’re officially in the build-up to the holidays. Not that the stores have noticed. I think they still have last year’s Christmas displays up.

Which reminds me, I need to get my grandson over here to put up our outdoor lights. I like to get that done before the first snow falls. Something about climbing 16 feet up a ladder that’s resting on a bed of ice just sounds dangerous. So, I pay him to do it for me. Besides, he’s young and his bones will heal faster.

This is also the time of year when we start to complain. Okay, we got an early start on it this year. Like back in March. I’d say we were entitled. But every year around now we take notice of how much earlier the stores put out their holiday inventory and how the whole thing has just turned into one big, commercialized mess. In other words, “This is gonna be expensive!” Yep.

And I’ll be honest – I think we do miss the whole holiday spirit in the rush of the season. The cleaning, the baking, the meal preparation, throwing the dishes away because there are too many to wash … and we cap it all off by standing in the drizzling cold at 4:00 in the morning to get a 92-inch TV for $6.95. But hey, they’re giving away free Furbies to the first 100 customers!

Okay, it’s obvious I haven’t been Black Friday shopping in a long time. It just never was my thing. Besides, I’m usually still too full of whatever was on the table the day before, most of which my body can convert to gas in a matter of minutes. Let’s just say I’m doing the world a favor by staying home.

Black Friday sales are there for one thing, and one thing only – to get whatever is left of your paycheck before anybody else gets their greedy paws on it. And when the money runs out, we go home. Right? Are you serious??? That’s why God made plastic! And if you’ve already reached your credit limit, have no fear! Customer service reps are standing by to give you an increase.

Well, let’s get down to it. If you don’t have the money to buy something today, odds are you won’t have the money to pay it off next year. We all know that. And this year has been especially hard on people. A lot of credit cards have been maxed out at the grocery store buying superfluous items like … you know, food. That doesn’t leave much for anything else.

Several months ago, I posed a rather important question. Could you do 2020 again? Hopefully most of us made it through with our health and finances relatively intact, but could you survive another round? Was there any point this year where you wished you hadn’t spent quite so much last year? “If only I’d known what was coming.”

Well, here’s the thing – we don’t know what’s coming. We never know. Hopefully this virus will fade away, but the numbers right now aren’t working in our favor. Almost every expert says it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Can you survive another round? Can your employer? How will that affect the decisions you make over the next couple of months?

As soon as things get dicey, we all start singing the same tune. “I have to do something to make more money!” So, why do we always wait until things are really bad before we look for ways to make them better?  Sure, better late than never. But you can’t just snap your fingers and double your income. It takes time. Time that most of us are wasting today.

Are there things you could do if you suddenly found yourself short of money? Are you short today? Let’s be honest. We could all stand to have a little extra coming in. Believe me, two years ago when I found myself facing brain surgery, I thought about that a lot. “This business could have made all the difference in the world. Why didn’t I get started sooner?”  

Dig the well before you get thirsty. What’s the worst thing that can happen? The drought never comes, and you have a little extra water on hand? Never once have I heard anybody say they wish they hadn’t saved money or built an extra income on the side. Because the reality is, we’ll all get thirsty at some point in our lives. And the decisions we make today will make a world of difference when that time comes.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

It Ain’t Over Until You Quit

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

A friend at work once asked, “What time do you get out of bed in the morning?” She was referring to the fact that, by the time she woke up, she already had a morning post from me. Back then, I was getting up at 5:00 every day. Now, I’m lucky to be up by 7:30. I’d like to say it’s because I work so hard and need more sleep. But we all know the truth, now don’t we?

Last week I was writing to you from the heart of the Smoky Mountains in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It was a beautiful campground with amazing scenery. And most of the week, the weather was perfect. Made it hard to stay inside and work all day, but the bank says I have to keep putting money in if I want to keep taking it out. They’re picky like that.

We did get to the pool most afternoons, and I was able to spend a little time over lunch getting some sun in the hammock. Now, if you want something to jump-start your amusement today, picture me getting into a net-mesh bed that pivots at each end. Have you ever watched people at the carnival trying to climb a horizontal rope ladder? The neighbors thought it was funny.

As I quickly learned, there’s an art to getting in and out of a hammock. Well, getting out is pretty easy. It happens when you least expect it, with no effort whatsoever. But unlike cats, people don’t always land on their feet. Thud!

It would have been easy to just leave it sitting there for the next victim, but I wanted some sun and stretching out on the patio just isn’t my cup of tea. Besides, I’ve learned one of life’s brutal truths – at this age, getting down on the ground is a long-term commitment. Might as well change the oil while I’m there, because I’m not getting back up any time soon.

But when there’s a will, there’s a way. And, if you’re lucky, a much younger granddaughter to show you how it’s done. Sit in the middle, let it stop moving, then very slowly rotate sideways and lie back. Then shift to the middle because you’re still not centered and when you’re packing this much weight, there’s not much room for error. I finally got it right.

It’s that way with a lot of things. You see something that looks simple, maybe too simple, and think, “I can do this!” Well, you can. It just may take some practice. That’s the whole premise of those carnival games, where a carnie with six teeth and an IQ to match shows you over and over how easy it is. And $100 later, you finally realize there may be a secret he’s not telling you.

The thing is, once you learn that secret, it really IS simple. Sometimes, the hardest part is just trusting our instincts and not overthinking it. A business friend and mentor tells me all the time, it’s simple but it’s not easy. And he’s right. The concept is so simple, anybody can do it. But making that concept work takes effort.

And, like getting down on the ground at this age, it takes a little of that long-term commitment. All too often, we find something that could lead us to our dreams, but when the money doesn’t start rolling in within a few days, we quit. “That just doesn’t work.” Yes, it does. But it only works if you do. Off-ramps are plenty, and the moment you take one, it’s all over.

All through life, there are flashing signs that say, “Exit here!” They pop up at every hint of failure and keep flashing until we turn them off or just ignore them and keep driving. And once you drive past, the flashing stops. You can’t see it anymore. Sure, there will be another sign down the road. Lots of ‘em. But as long as you keep your eye on the goal, they’re just glitter along the way.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Past Is Gone, But The Future Begins Today

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

A couple of days ago, oil was trading at -$37.63 per barrel. Read that again. Did you see the minus sign? That means below zero. If you were somehow able to get your arms around a barrel of oil at the right moment this past Monday, somebody would have paid you nearly $40 to take it. I’m not even sure how that works, but I’d like to give it a try.

In eighth-grade we were learning about the stock market. The teacher gave us all $50 to invest (fake money, naturally) so we could do a six-week test of our investment savvy. Most of the class invested in several different things – you know, in case one failed. And most of them lost. Apparently, an affinity for candy necklaces doesn’t always translate into stock gains.

But that was back in 1971 and Walt Disney World had just opened. At the time, their stock was just under $1 per share, so my buddy and I put our money together and bought 100 shares. By the end of the six weeks, the stock was up 40% and we won the challenge. And the teacher still hasn’t paid up.

Earlier this year, Disney stock was trading at a little over $140. So, an investment in 1971 would be worth at least 140 times its initial value today. In 1986, Microsoft stock was selling for just over 10 cents per share, and last year it topped out at $190. Imagine waking up today and finding 1000 shares of Microsoft under your pillow. Where’s that tooth fairy?

Yes, hindsight is 20/20. Had we known way back then what a $100 investment might been worth, I’m sure most of us would have taken the plunge. On the other hand, I’d have probably invested it all in 8-track players. That was a hot commodity back then. So were slide rules. You know, until Texas Instruments came along.

Right now, I’d bet a lot of us are wishing we’d made some different decisions a few years, or even a few months ago. Those decisions may have been health-related, financial, career-oriented, or even just how much time we spent with family. And like it or not, the piper always gets paid.

I don’t think any of us are naïve enough to believe life will somehow go back to the way it was. Those days are gone. All around us, the world is changing. Retail stores are no longer spending their money on cash registers. They’re spending it on robots. The drive-thru at our local pharmacy just put in a new carrier system that’s twice as fast as the old one. It’s about time.

Things we never thought we’d see have come to pass. I remember a time when people said, “If gas ever hits a dollar a gallon, I’ll walk!” Those same people said we’d never see personal computers in every home, nobody wants to carry around a phone all day, and we’ll never let somebody else pick out our meat and produce for us. Famous last words.

We like to think the secret to capitalizing on a trend is to get in on the action before everybody else does. I’d love to own a souvenir shop on the beach. But apparently a few other people had the same idea. You know, like eighty years ago. That’s not to say a new store couldn’t survive. We went to Gatlinburg a few years ago, and there’s a pancake house on every corner. Literally.

Which only means that what was a good idea 50 years ago may still be a good idea today. All too often, we look right past the obvious solutions because they’ve been around so long. Sooner or later, they’ll have to collapse. Right? Well, those pancake houses probably aren’t doing so well today. But home-based businesses are stronger than ever. We’re home anyway.

It’s easy to pass on opportunities that are outside the mainstream. It’s even easier when we know somebody who already tried and failed, or our neighbor’s cousin had a friend whose brother couldn’t make it work. Well, guess what? Businesses fail. It happens every day. And every day, new businesses in those same industries succeed.

So, here’s the real question. Are you where you want to be today? Can you survive another six months in your current situation? What if it happens again this winter? If the decisions you’ve made haven’t put you where you want to be, maybe it’s time for a change.

The opportunities are there. And right now, most of us have time to do something about it. I’d be happy to share some ideas if you’re up to it. There are dozens of things you could be doing. Some may work, and others may not. But just sitting there isn’t really an option. A year from now, you’ll be looking back on the decisions you made today. Make them count!

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

How Much Is A Plumber Worth? Whatever He Charges

Good morning! It’s Hump Day! I hope your day is starting off well.

My day started with prayer. Well, okay, I did brush my teeth and get breakfast first. Then I went outside to start the car. The old one. The one that got a new battery yesterday. That’s when the revival started. Oh, the battery worked fine. But apparently when I opened everything up yesterday to replace it, Mother Nature filled the fuel intake with something cars don’t like.

That’s why I don’t like working on my own car. Well, that and the rusted battery clamp that won’t tighten down. It’s good enough to make contact and spin the starter, but just loose enough to leave me stranded the first time it snows. And, as luck would have it, that’s supposed to happen tonight. Lovely.

I used to do all the work on my cars. Not because I particularly enjoyed it, but there was a time in life when I couldn’t afford a mechanic. You know, like yesterday. Okay, I could have let somebody else change the battery, but the car wouldn’t start, and my wife isn’t willing to push it to the shop. Hey, somebody has to drive.

I learned to work on cars out of necessity. And that’s when I earned my Master’s in profanity. Mark Twain once said you never really learn how to swear until you learn how to drive. Wrong. Drivers are amateurs. Try replacing the front hub on a Dodge truck after road salt has worked its magic on aluminum and steel parts. I didn’t own a sledgehammer until that day. I do now.

My grandson wanted to help. He was only ten at the time, and better at asking questions than turning a wrench. Still, I was happy to have the company. The instructions said to remove three bolts and slide the hub off. The instructions lied. My daughter asked me afterward if I taught him any new words. No, he already knows the words. But I did teach him about proper usage.

That was the day I decided I’m done working on cars. Okay, that’s the day I said I was done working on cars. A month later I had to replace the other hub. And four years after that, I had to do it again. Both sides. Over the years I owned that truck, I replaced parts I’ve never seen on any other vehicle. That truck was the epitome of Murphy’s Law. Anything that can go wrong …

Okay, so I’m sure the good folks at Dodge Motor Company would prefer that I didn’t publish this piece, but that’s what they get for making that piece. Still, that’s not really the point I wanted to make. Let’s just say sometimes life has its little bonuses, okay?

There are things we do throughout life that we’d rather not do, but for one reason or another, we have to. Like eating broccoli and paying bills. But beyond that, there are those things that we do simply because somebody has to do it and the kids have moved out. Until two years ago, my grandson still thought it was fun to mow the lawn. Guess who does it now?

I have a good friend who, as she and her husband built an extremely successful business, has built a list over the years of things she’ll never do again. I would imagine scrubbing around the base of the toilet is near the top of that list. With four kids, including a couple of boys, I’m sure she did that a time or two. But now she doesn’t have to. That’s the beauty of success.

Are there things you do that you’d rather not do? Could a little extra income give you some options in that regard? Nobody likes to waste money, but I’ve come to the realization that whatever a mechanic charges to climb under my car, he earns. And it’s worth it to me to sit comfortably in the customer lounge reading a book while he does the dirty work.

My list of things I’ll never do again is pretty short, but it is getting longer with age. How about yours? Do you have a list of things you’d rather hand off to somebody else? Would a little extra money let you do it? You know, money is a renewable resource, and you’re allowed to have as much as you want. You just have to be willing to earn it. And that’s where we seem to come up short.

We all have to do things we’d rather not do. But that list gets smaller when you tackle the things that are standing in your way today and make them work to your advantage. They may seem unpleasant at first, but in time they’ll be as routine as turning a wrench. You may never come to love doing them. But just think how many others you can check off along the way.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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