Keep it Healthy This Holiday Season

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

Yesterday, my oldest daughter went to visit her doctor with some of the really fun symptoms nobody wants – chest pain, dizziness, headaches, nausea, and a partridge in a pear tree. All it took was a look at her blood pressure, and the doctor sent her on her merry way – straight to the hospital. They did some blood work, and she got a nice warm bed for the night.

So far, the tests are inconclusive. There may be a few different things going on, or they could all be related. A stress test this morning will help them zero in a little more. When she described symptoms that began two weeks ago, like fluttering of the heart followed by the sensation that she’d been punched in the chest, I formed my own opinion. Those are not the kind of symptoms you ignore.

This is my public service message for the year, so bear with me. Heart attacks can strike at any age, and they’re twice as likely to be fatal for young women than men. And they seem to like the holidays. There are more deaths from heart attacks on December 25 than any other day, with December 26 coming in second, and January 1 coming in third. So yeah. Something to keep in mind.

Also, women don’t usually experience the same heart attack symptoms as men. We always think of the old man bent over on the sidewalk, holding on to a streetlamp, clutching his chest in agony as he slowly falls to the ground. It’s not usually that way with women. They may not feel anything more than mild indigestion with a little nausea or shortness of breath. That’s if they feel anything at all.

My daughter knows this, probably more than anybody else. She’s a registered nurse and has worked with a lot of elderly and terminal patients. But if you ask any doctor to describe their worst possible patient, nurses will be near the top of the list. It’s like the proverbial carpenter’s wife, who watches her husband fix things for everyone in town while their own house is falling down around them.

Yesterday we talked about knowing our limits, doing what we can do without overdoing it. This is a time of year when we tend to ignore the signals our body quietly sends out and we keep going and going like an Energizer bunny with a brand-new battery. Only that battery isn’t as new as we’d like to think. And sooner or later, it’ll peter out. If we’re lucky, we get by with a mild case of exhaustion.

I’ve had a heart attack, so I know a little about the subject. As little as anybody else out there, which is almost nothing. At least when it comes to advising other people, because I know from experience the symptoms are never the same from one person to another, sometimes even with the same person. I had chest pain for years before the real thing hit. And when it did, it was nothing like the warnings.

Doctors tell us that if we even suspect a heart attack, go to the emergency room. Not later, now. And I know, that’s not an easy decision to make. Is this the real thing, or just indigestion? Did I pull a muscle carrying boxes upstairs? Is my shortness of breath just a sign that I need to exercise more? Maybe. But while we’re thinking about those things, we could be in a life-or-death emergency.

Nobody likes emergency rooms. And if you go into the ER with chest pain, you’re probably not going home that night. Odds are, it won’t amount to anything more than some tests and a hefty medical bill. I get it. I’ve had that conversation with myself at least a hundred times. Like that day in the Atlanta airport, slumped against a concrete pole with sweat pouring down my face. Get the picture?

One other reminder I’d like to pass along. As you’re out and about, especially this time of year, pay attention to people. Not just the seedy looking guy who’s following a little too closely in the store, but that person sitting on a display of bottled water, looking like he just finished the Boston Marathon. Seconds count, and I know the feeling of watching hundreds of people walk by when you need them the most.

I’m not sure yet what’s going on with my daughter, but I’m happy knowing she’s where she needs to be. It may be a combination of issues, or just a little pre-holiday stress. We’ll get some answers today, and odds are she’ll be back home tonight. But I also know how quickly things could have gone the other way. Don’t take chances on your health. Your family is counting on you. And so am I.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Make Time to Enjoy the Season

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

This is a time of year when routines change and what we’ve become accustomed to yields to something completely out of the normal. We shop. We go to parties. We spend a little time with the kids as they thumb through toy catalogs with nearly every page earmarked. And we eat. Oh, do we eat. Candy, cookies, cupcakes, pastries, and everything else our brain tells us we should avoid.

Even the morning traffic is reduced, which I’m still trying to figure out because the parking lot at work is still just as full, so I imagine everyone else’s is as well. Are people just leaving a little later? Are they leaving earlier? Or are they simply driving with a little more of a cool head, not in such a rush to get someplace they’d rather not be? Maybe someday I’ll look into that. For now, I’m just enjoying it.

But in the evening, there are a lot more people out and about. Parking lots at stores fill up more by the day, and even Walmart has hired a few extra people to work the cash registers. Too bad they don’t keep that up through the year. It’s a good time to go grocery shopping, because everybody else is in a different store. Unless they shop online, which more and more people are doing.

And then there are the parties. I have one this week and one next week, plus a happy hour after work. Twice. After that, I’m not sure. But given that this will be my last month in my current position, I’m sure I’ll get out with a few more people before this calendar page hits the floor.

And then there are the holiday celebrations, church services, and meals. You’d think we’d lose weight with all this running around. But, remember the candy and cookies? Yeah. Mystery solved.

It’s a time of year most of us look forward to, because we find ourselves interacting just a little more. We’re a little nicer (well, most of us). We’re a little more generous. We find delight in the simple things, like a child sitting on Santa’s lap, eyes aglow, as they verbalize their dreams.

It’s also a time when stress levels are through the roof. Just watch cars in a parking lot jockeying for position as somebody in a prime spot sits with the engine running and the transmission in reverse, carefully checking their receipts against their shopping list. It takes about 6.2 seconds for tempers to flare. Before long, fingers are in the air and the Christmas spirit goes right out the window.

A lot of that is simply the result of overcommitment – trying to do too much in too short a time, when there are other things we should be doing instead. Kids are still in school, and the teacher still expects them to finish their homework. Dinner still needs to be served. And the boss still expects us to get the job done, even if that means working a little late to make up for all the socializing. And on it goes.

I’m not sure how to really fix that, but there are a couple of things we can do. First, be realistic about what you can and can’t do each day. You don’t have to do it all, and certainly not all at once. If the store is sold out of that prized toy, look online. With parties, you don’t have to be the first to arrive and the last to leave. Just showing up is enough. Fit it into your schedule as your schedule permits.

And no matter what, set aside some time to drive around and look at house decorations, or to take the kids for a sleigh ride. Go out for ice cream. Enjoy a quiet dinner for two, or drinks by the fire. Breathe. The holidays will come regardless, and in January another year begins. Make sure you leave enough of yourself intact to face the new year. Everything else will work out. It always does.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

When It Comes to Optimism, We're All Mutts

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

The movie Pretty Woman was on this past weekend (again) and I found myself watching (again). Either I need some better cable options, or Hollywood is falling down on the job, because it seems the same movies keep playing over and over and over. Last week I jokingly mentioned the Forrest Gump channel. If you missed that movie last time it was on, have no fear – it’s coming again.

One of the scenes I always enjoyed in Pretty Woman was when they went to the opera. As the lights were dimming for the opening act, Richard Gere told Julia Roberts that a person’s first reaction to the opera is very dramatic. They either love it or hate it. If they love it, they will always love it. If they don’t, they may learn to appreciate it, but it will never become part of their soul.

It’s that way with my morning posts. Sometimes I’m really happy with what I wrote, and other times I feel I left something on the table. But the responses let me know that, even when I think I missed the mark, it was just what at least one person needed to hear that day. That’s why I love reading the responses. It puts us on a more personal level.

Yesterday, a very perceptive friend responded with a tough question – “Are you talking to yourself?” I know I give this impression of a rock-solid optimist who never frowns and always sees a brighter future, but the truth is I’m no more delusional than any one of you. Well, maybe a little. But the point is, there are days when I need to read my posts as much as anyone.

Having a positive outlook doesn’t mean you’re never down. There will be days when you feel the weight of the world crashing down, and times when hope is about as distant as that exotic destination you know you’ll probably never get to visit. Some days you won’t feel like doing anything, and dreams go from a burning passion into a silent resignation that nothing will ever change. It happens.

On the other hand, feelings of despair don’t necessarily mean you’re a pessimist. In a world where everything has become so polarized that you’re either this or that and there’s no in-between, your personal outlook is likely a mixed bag of good, bad, and indifferent. It doesn’t mean you’re mixed up. It just means you have emotions like every other person, and some days one is more prevalent than the others.

It means you can see a better life, with enough clarity to be drawn to it, but with enough restraint to keep you from getting in over your head. It means you believe in yourself enough to dream, but you also live in a world where reality says some dreams will take a lifetime of work. And it means you have the ability to shed tears like anybody else, but you also know the sun is shining on the other side.

This is a time of year when a lot of people experience feelings of immense joy and excitement. It’s also a time when just as many people fall into a deep depression that even they can’t quite explain. Same day, same weather, same traffic, same everything. But it affects us all in very different ways.

The point is that none of us are a complete package of optimism or pessimism. Yesterday, I’m told, was National Mutt Day. Well, maybe we should haver been celebrating ourselves, because in a lot of ways, we’re mutts. There are no absolutes in our lives or our outlook on life. We all have a little of this and a little of that, in varying proportions. That’s what makes us unique. It’s what makes us human.

Sometimes, the best way to talk ourselves out of a mood of despair is to talk somebody else through the same transition. It may not change everything on the spot, but it does help us look a little closer to find that ray of sunshine we so desperately need. And in helping others find hope and possibilities, we find hope and possibilities for ourselves.

Life is in a constant state of flux, and no mood ever lasts forever. Feeling down doesn’t mean you have to stay there, and when you’re on top of the world, there will still be days when things aren’t perfect. None of us will ever be happy and optimistic all the time. The best we can do is look for those things that bring us closer and focus on them until the clouds go away. And they will. They always do.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Secret To Youth Lies Within Your Dreams

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

It’s looking like a cold day here in southern Ohio. Well, cold by comparison. My dad, who lives in northern Florida, told me it’s supposed to get “down to the 50s” today. For them, that’s cold. For me, it would mean putting a jacket in the back seat just in case. We’re close to the freezing mark right now, and it’s not going to get any warmer as the day goes on. Guess it’s just that time of year.

I hope everybody had a good Thanksgiving weekend. We spent the day with family, and my wife and daughters did a little shopping. I held down the fort, which means I didn’t do much of anything. I guess I needed the break. Still, I think it’s good to take some time to reflect on those things for which we’re thankful. For me it begins and ends with family. Everything else falls somewhere in the middle.

I think most cultures and nations have a day of Thanksgiving. They’re not all on the same day, of course, and maybe that’s a good thing. It’s a reminder that we should be thankful all through the year, not just because the calendar says so. If we all celebrated every day of Thanksgiving through the year, maybe we’d be a little more appreciative of the good things we’ve got.

That doesn’t mean we can’t want something more. And, contrary to what we may have been led to believe, it’s not selfish or greedy to want something we don’t already have. That’s what gives us the motivation to get ahead in life, to do that little bit extra when we’d rather kick back in a recliner.

I can’t say it’s what gets us out of bed every morning, though it would be nice if it were true. What gets us out of bed is necessity – whether it’s a job, or kids that need to be sent off to school, or just the fact that we can’t really spend the whole day in bed, something gets us up and moving each day. But wouldn’t it be nice if it were something that excites us?

If you focus on your dream as you’re falling asleep, odds are that thought will be there when you wake up in the morning. It may not be enough to get you going. If you’re like me, it’s all the more reason to curl up a few minutes longer. But the thought is still there. And, much like that song that gets stuck in your head, if a thought is there in the morning, odds are it’ll be there most of the day.

When waking up means little more than another day on the job, life can become pretty empty. We need something that excites us, and we need to feel that all these years on the job are getting us closer to something we really want. Otherwise, we’re just working to get old. And, believe me, once you reach that point, you start aging at the speed of light. The only way to slow it down is to dream.

Find something that excites you. Put it in writing and describe it in detail. Get pictures. Then put it someplace where you’ll see it every day. The more you focus on your dream, the more it becomes a part of you. But you have to do something about it. Remove the barriers and make it happen. Dreams not only make you live longer – they make you enjoy living longer. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Enjoy Today – You Can Grow Old Later

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

It’s officially Hump Day, but for most of us in the United States it’s an early Friday. Since tomorrow is one of the biggest holidays of the year, most companies give their people a day to recuperate. Not like recuperating on New Year’s Day – that one usually involves a hangover. Recuperating the day after Thanksgiving usually involves Pepto Bismol and a lot of sitting around.

Today I add another candle to the cake. As if we’d actually put that many candles on a single cake. Even if it didn’t collapse from the weight, we’d set off every smoke detector in town. I’ve officially reached what the Social Security Administration has deemed the age of “early retirement.” That doesn’t mean I can retire. It just means I have an excuse for dreaming about it.

There was a time in my life when I thought this was old. Like, REALLY old. And, to my grandkids, I guess it is. My grandson asked me yesterday if I’ll be 91. I told him someday. Not for another 31 years. But at that age, they can’t really tell the difference. There are kids and old people. And I guess I fall into the second category.

I don’t feel old. Well, let me correct that … my body feels really old. It just feels like it has to be somebody else’s body, because the rest of me hasn’t quite caught up. Granted, there are days when my wife would argue that point. I guess I can be a bit of a grump sometimes, but the kids can too, so that’s not really a valid measure of age. Right?

That said, people tend to judge our age by how old we act. I know a lot of people much older than me who have a zest for life that I hope to someday master. I imagine they’ve had a lifetime of practice, and I’m sure there are days when their body doesn’t feel up to the task. But they don’t let that get in the way. They just keep on plugging, making the most of every single day.

And it’s hard to think of somebody like that as “old.” It’s not that we deny their age. We have eyes, and it’s obvious they’ve made a few more trips around the sun than the rest of us. But they have eyes, too, and it’s the sparkle in those eyes that defies their chronological age. It’s heartwarming, adventuresome, and even a little ornery. You wonder sometimes what they may do next.

George Burns once said you can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old. We must think a lot alike, because I’ve always said aging is inevitable, but growing old is a matter of choice. He was always somebody I admired … 100 years old, with a smile and a twinkle in his eyes that never faded for a moment. If I live to be that old, that’s exactly the kind of person I hope to be.

Our whole lives, we’ve worked to build something. Whether that was intentional or consequential, we’ve put in a lot of time getting where we are. Hopefully it’s at least close to where we wanted to be, because I don’t think anything makes us old faster than resigning ourselves to a life that’s less than we’d hoped for. That’s why so many people get old at such a young age.

The day we stop having something to look forward to, we begin giving in to the reality of time. We not only look old, but we feel old … mentally and physically. As kids, we were constantly reminded to act our age. Well, this is the time when that happens. And the only cure is to have a dream, along with some genuine sense that it’ll actually come true. Without dreams, we’re old already.

If you want to stay young, or at least young at heart, the prescription is simple – hang onto your dreams. And don’t just dream, do something about it. Every day you let slip past is a day wasted. Because the time will come when our bodies can no longer accommodate the dreams we kept putting on hold. Make the most of life now, while you still can. There’s plenty of time to be old later.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Mood Won’t Strike Until You Poke It

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

Imagine, if you will, a surgeon with a patient on the table, doing what surgeons do. The patient is asleep, the incisions have been made, and the heart is fully exposed. Halfway through one of the most delicate procedures known to man, the surgeon puts down his scalpel, pulls off his mask, and says, “Sorry folks – I’m just not in the groove today. I’m gonna let this one slide. Go tell the family.”

I don’t believe that’s ever actually happened, but it would certainly change the day for several people, least of all the person clinging to life on the operating table. But you have to wonder how many times the surgeon was a little more tired than normal or had an argument with his wife before leaving for work. The patient has no idea, but it’s likely the surgeon isn’t at his very best that day.

No matter how good we are at what we do, there will always be days when we’re just not fully up to par. And it would be easy to just go back to bed until we feel more energized. But we know from experience that, when we put things on hold because we’re not fully in the mood, that mood never gets any stronger. We just waste the day beating ourselves up for not doing anything.

If you do that on the job, you’ll probably be invited to sit down with the boss for a one-on-one chat. The first time may be friendly and constructive, but if it happens too many times you’ll find yourself looking for someplace else to spend your days. Employers are pesky about these things. They pretty much expect our best every day.

But when it comes to your own priorities, those dreams that make you smile and inspire visions of a happier life, you’re in business for yourself. You’re the CEO, the CFO, the Vice President of Marketing, the Production Manager, and the company’s sole employee. Nothing gets done unless you do it yourself.

So, here’s the question … if you were paying yourself to work toward your dreams, would you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth? Or would you call yourself into the office, lay down the law, and issue an ultimatum? I think, if we’re being completely honest, most of us would say we’re a pretty good employee on the job, but not so good when it comes to our own priorities.

There are lots of reasons. After a full day on the job, it’s not easy to carve out time to go to work for yourself. It’s dinnertime, you’re tired, you’re hungry, and the kids need a little quality time as well. Monday night you go bowling, Tuesday is movie night, Wednesday you go out for ice cream, and on and on it goes. Who has time for anything else?

So, pick up the calendar and look for a day when you won’t be doing anything. I dare you. Even if you find one, something else will see that empty day and sneak in to fill the time. Another week goes by, another month, and eventually another year … and still you’re no closer to your dreams than you were to begin with. Yet somehow, we just keep giving ourselves a pass.

At some point, we need to become that grumpy boss nobody wants to see. We need to set goals and demand results. Not from other people – this isn’t their dream, it’s yours. If you want anything to happen, you have to make it happen yourself. Nobody but you will complain if you take a night off. Unless you hold yourself to the fire, nobody else will. It’s all on you.

You don’t have to be completely up to par every day, but you do have to be committed. A little effort is better than none at all, and when you take those first steps, it’s easy to get in the groove and keep going. Success happens when your dreams are bigger than your excuses. Make the time, and make the time count. The reward is yours to enjoy.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What’s Stopping You Now?

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

I finally got some things accomplished this weekend that I’ve been wanting to do. Okay, I should say my grandson got something accomplished for me. I paid him, so it’s fair. I like having outdoor lights for Christmas, but I don’t like climbing a ladder fifty-two times to hang them. He’s still young enough to get on the roof. And, he’s still more likely to bounce if he falls. Voila! Problem solved.

I normally try to get the lights up a little earlier, when it’s still reasonably warm. I just don’t turn them on until the week of Thanksgiving. And I’ll turn them off at the start of the New Year. But that doesn’t mean they’ll be coming down. I’m the guy who leaves the lights up until Easter. Sorry, there’s something about ladders and ice on the ground that gives me the willies.

There are some jobs we can do before they actually need to be done. Hanging outdoor lights is one of them. Though I did read a news article about a family that received a citation from their homeowner’s association for putting out decorations a couple of weeks early. I think that one falls under the heading of “get a life.” If somebody else’s celebration bothers you that much, look the other way.

But most things happen in real time and we have to respond and adapt. Sure, we can plan our work week, at least in terms of when we have to be at work and when we hope to come home. Starting time is always pretty well set in stone, but the workday doesn’t always end at a set time. That’s just part of the job. Somehow, it never seems to work that way with lunch breaks. Go figure.

When you really think about it, there are very few things in life we actually plan. For most of us, if we even have a calendar, there’s not much in it other than birthdays, anniversaries, and vacations. My wife keeps everything in her phone calendar, which means I don’t have to. At least not for anything that involves both of us. But thank God the doctor’s office calls to remind me of my appointments.

I guess the point is, we pretty much live day to day. We take things as they come, and handle the immediate needs as they arise. The rest goes into a bucket that we dip into any time we have a few minutes on our hands and there’s nothing good on TV. Seems that happens a lot more these days. The Forrest Gump channel plays the same movie all week. All that changes are the commercials.

The problem with that approach is we never seem to dig deep enough in that bucket to find the things that will bring us closer to our dreams. Unless working until you’re 80 is part of your dream, and in that case, knock yourself out. But if there are other things you want, maybe a little earlier in life, at some point you’ll need to do something about it.

We handle the important things because we don’t have any other choice. Some things just won’t be ignored. It’s the things that can be ignored that keep us from enjoying the life we desire. “I’ll get to it tomorrow.” “Next week.” “After the holidays.” If any of this sounds familiar, welcome to the club. We all do it to some extent. And to the extent that we drag our feet, our dreams slip further away.

Only you can decide which of your dreams are important and how much you’re willing to do to achieve them. But they’ll always be just a passing thought or a picture on the refrigerator until you dig down into that bucket and get busy. And the sooner you do, the sooner you’ll be living those dreams. Focus on the goal and don’t let anything stand in your way. Least of all, yourself.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved