Where’s Your Sense of Adventure?

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

When was the last time you were asked to do something different, something you’ve never done before? It happens on the job all the time. “You’ve done such a great job on such-and-such, I know you won’t have any problem with this!” Sound familiar? It falls into that last line in your job description … “And any other such duties as may be assigned.”

It’s a little scary sometimes, but in the end, we usually do the job pretty well. Maybe that’s because of experience and conditioning. Everything we’ve done in the past has taught us everything we need to know for the job at hand. Sometimes, the boss isn’t just giving you a pat on the back. They know you’ve got what it takes, and they have confidence in your ability to do whatever is necessary.

It feels good knowing that not only does somebody have confidence in you, but that their confidence wasn’t misplaced. And I think we work a little harder to validate that. Nobody wants to be the last choice, the person who gets the assignment simply because everyone else was too busy. It’s like being the last person chosen for the team. You got the spot, but only because nobody else was there.

So, let me turn this line of thinking around. When was the last time you actively set out to do something you’ve never done before? Not because it was assigned and you had no choice, but because you decided to tackle something completely different? We do it all the time, just most times without any fanfare. There’s no cheering section and no pats on the back for a job well-done.

I think that’s a lot of the reason we don’t do more of these things. That, along with the fact that when you try something new, the results aren’t always guaranteed. I’m sure any stylist can tell you there are a lot of women who leave the beauty salon disappointed, or maybe even in tears. And all they can do is wait for their hair to grow out so they can get back to the way it was.

It happens with me sometimes when I decide to cook a new dish. I’m excited about it the whole time, just thinking about how much my family will enjoy my new creation. But those taste tests in the middle aren’t very promising, and before it’s even halfway there my wife yells from the living room to see what’s on fire. Sometimes it all comes together, but sometimes you crash and burn.

When that happens, do you try again? Or do you lick your wounds and vow never to do that again? Well, if it’s something as simple as a new meal item, you can always go online and get a more reliable recipe. You can even check the stars to see how well others like it. But when it comes to something as personal and semi-permanent as your hair, it’ll take a lot to find that sense of adventure again.

Now, for the final question – how many times have you thought about something that could raise you to a higher level and put you closer to your dreams, but never even gave it a try? And in making that decision, you probably came up with a laundry list of reasons for not trying. “It’ll never work.” “That’s just not me.” “I don’t have time.” You know, excuses. Or as Mom always said, any old port in a storm.

So, we keep doing what we’ve been doing and hoping for a better result. Well, back to the kitchen, if you follow the same recipe over and over and over, odds are it’ll come out pretty much the same every time. If you want different results, you have to change it up. Or, as I’ve said several times before, to have something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.

It’s simple logic, but most of us spend our entire lives trying to prove it wrong. I think that’s partly human nature, the desire to go against conventional wisdom and come out on top. But there’s also fear of failure. And, rather than admit our fears openly, we just convince ourselves that we never really wanted that dream anyway. After all, we’ve lived just fine without it. Right?

It’s okay to stick with the tried and true. If it suits your personality, and you’re okay with things going pretty much the way they always have, then don’t rock the boat. But if that sense of adventure is yearning for a little more excitement, or just better long-term security, then maybe it’s time to consider something different.

We all have different goals in life, and those goals are as personal to us as the hairstyles we choose. Changing things up can be a little scary, but you never know what’s on the other side of a mountain until you climb up and take a peek.

I’ll be offline for the next few days, so if you don’t hear from me just enjoy the break. I’ll be back with you before you know it!

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Plan for Tomorrow – It’ll Get Here Sooner Than You Think

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

For the first time in months, I made it through the weekend without a trip to the grocery store. That doesn’t happen very often. And don’t get me wrong – when we need groceries, I like to go along. But I guess we’ve been stocking up over the past several weeks, so there’s really nothing we needed at the time. Again, that doesn’t happen very often.

Some things you can’t stock up ahead of time. Milk has an expiration date that you can’t really ignore. With other things, expiration dates are more of a suggestion. I’m not sure if there’s a shelf-life on macaroni noodles, but I’d feel pretty safe throwing them in boiling water after the expiration date. Yogurt, on the other hand, is a little more testy. When the foil lid is bulging, it’s about to open itself.

My mom always kept extra dry foods and canned goods in an outdoor pantry. When it became evident my dad’s employer was about to go under, she began stocking things up to make sure they’d be able to ride out any periods of unemployment. It was a smart move. Until one of the neighbors helped themselves to most of what was in the cabinet. But that’s another story.

There’s a reason farmers have silos full of grain that they won’t need until next year. It’s the same reason we save money, or at least try to, when we have a little extra. Or that we carry an umbrella in the car on sunny days. It’s about having what you need when the need arises. Or, as the saying goes, dig the well before you get thirsty. You know the need will be there someday. So, plan for it.

There have been more than a few times in my life when I’ve been caught off-guard with a job loss or an unexpected expense. We like to think we can plan for the future, but in all honesty, the future just gets a good laugh out of that. If you think you’ve got all your ducks in a row, it’s like a challenge to the gods to throw you a knuckle ball. And believe me, they will.

That’s why batters wear a helmet. Odds are they can stand at the plate five hundred times and never get hit with a fastball. But it only takes one wild pitch to really mess up your day. And when that pitch is coming in at 90 mph, they don’t have time to run back to the dugout and grab a helmet. So, they put that helmet on just in case.

Have you ever been driving to work and somebody decides to take your spot in the road? It happens all the time. And hopefully we’re alert enough to avoid an accident and get to work with nothing more than an elevated heart rate. But what if we weren’t able to take evasive action quickly enough? What if, instead of another car, it was a dump truck? That can really mess up your day.

And it can turn your whole life around in an instant. Last year, when I found out I needed brain surgery, it brought home a reality none of us ever wants to think about. In my case, it was relatively minor (something to do with the size of my brain, or so I’m told), but it could have been a life-altering event. And it’s not like I planned for it ahead of time. It just happened.

It’s a good feeling knowing you’ve got things pretty well under control, but in a lot of ways, that’s just an illusion. What it means is you’re controlling the things you can control, but with everything else you’re just along for the ride. And, like a rollercoaster, the track can take a sudden turn downward and there’s nothing you can do but hang on for dear life.

I guess that’s why I’ve always tried to maintain some kind of second income. It’s not much, and certainly not enough to live on. But when the chips are down, a little here and a little there can add up quickly. Especially if it’s something you can do from home, without any strenuous effort. The doctor only says you can’t drive or lift more than ten pounds. That leaves a lot of possibilities.

We never know when life may turn on a dime and leave us scrambling just to maintain what we’ve got. It’s nice to kick back in a recliner and let life go by without us. But there may be a day when we’ll wish we’d put some of that time to better use, or we’ll think of all those opportunities we let slip by.

Put on the helmet now, before you stare down a wild pitch. Set something aside for a rainy day. Take another look at those opportunities. Maybe you’ll never need any of those things. But what if you do?

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Relationships are Complicated – Choose Your Food Wisely

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

Weekends are a time to get caught up on all the things we let stack up during the week. Oh, we tell everybody we’re not doing anything – just sitting around the house and getting a little rest. But we know better. Rest is what we do in between errands. You know, when we’re not putting away groceries from the first errand or planning the next one. There’s never any shortage of things to do.

Grocery shopping usually tops the list. I’m sure some of you have figured a way around that. You go online, click the items you want, trust a minimum-wage employee you’ve never met to get them for you, and then just arrive at the appointed time so they can load your purchase in the car. Voila! If you trust the kid down the street to pick out produce you’ll actually eat, you’re a better man than I am.

I guess I just like the act of shopping. There’s something about sifting through the strawberries, picking the perfect steak, or checking dates on dairy products. I mean, is yogurt supposed to fart when you open it? I’m sure it’s just a sign of active cultures, but the same can be said for curdled milk. I like to know what I’m buying is at least supposed to be fresh.

Besides, if you shop online, you’ll miss all those extras that are strategically displayed throughout the store because the retailer knows you’d never think about them otherwise. And that’s where we blow both the grocery budget and our diet. It’s been estimated that Americans spend an average of $5,400 a year on impulse purchases, and 71% of those are food. Well, in a strictly literal sense.

I’m not sure a lot of that stuff actually qualifies as food. Just because you can eat it, that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Every product we pick up has nutritional information on the label. That’s required by law. As if that would stop us. You could put a label on potato chips that says, “This product will clog your arteries and make you even fatter than you already are” and I’d still buy them.

Doctors have suggested we should have a healthy relationship with food. Well, if love is the basis of a healthy relationship, then food and I are on solid ground. I talk a lot about health, and I do believe we need to focus a lot more on nutrition. But when somebody invents broccoli that tastes like a bacon cheeseburger, we’ll talk. Until then, I’ve just agreed to know my limitations and work with them.

For me, that means trying to eat at least one healthy meal for every piece of junk I eat. Which is probably why my weight never comes down. I’m eating a lot of healthy stuff, but I’m eating a lot of junk to go along with it. A protein bar doesn’t do a lot of good if you wash it down with glazed donuts. I take supplements – good ones. I keep them in the cabinet next to a bag of M&Ms.

Okay, I’ve had a little fun with this today, and I hope you have, too. The bottom line is that, if we hope to live to a ripe old age without becoming overly ripe, we need to pay a little closer attention to the things we put in our body. That begins at the grocery store, when we’re deciding what choices we’ll get to make in the coming week. Go in with a healthy mindset, and those choices will be good.

That’s not to say you won’t yearn for a chocolate bar during the week. So, instead of finding one on the candy aisle, look for something a little healthier. Maybe something with mixed nuts and berries, bonded together with a little chocolate. You can find them in stores but read the labels. Many times, they’re no better for you than a candy bar.

I’ve found some healthy alternatives online. And the beauty of shopping there is I don’t have to walk past the potato chips and candy bars at the checkout line. You know, things that cost half as much and make you twice as fat. And when it comes to nutritional value, there’s no comparison. Sure, I love a good candy bar as much as anyone. But the older I get, the more I realize they don’t love me back.

A healthy relationship with food means it loves you as much as you love it. And long after the taste is gone, your body is left to deal with the choices you make. Keep that in mind as you walk through the store or make your selections online. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be a sacrifice. With the right choices, you can enjoy an incredibly tasty meal and hang around to tell your grandkids about it.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What’s Holding You Back?

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

Every day as I come home from work, there’s this young boy about a block down the street who’s always outside riding an electric motorcycle. He started on a tricycle, and then moved up to a bicycle, and now something that pedals itself. And if he can find a way to rig up a trailer behind it, he’s in heaven. I wish I could count the number of different tag-alongs I’ve seen that boy hook up to his bike.

Every time you drive past, he smiles and waves like you’re his best friend. He always has. A couple of times when he was headed the other direction, I started to tap the horn so he could see me wave. But all that would do is let the rest of the neighbors know there was a car on the street blowing its horn. He can’t hear a thing. He’s spent his entire life in complete silence.

He’s got some other physical limitations – I’m not really sure the extent of them, but he’s faced an uphill challenge since birth. Not that you’d ever know by watching him cruise up and down the street, smiling and waving at every car that passes. I’m not even sure he knows. How do you explain sound to a person who’s never heard one? To us it’s a handicap. To him, it’s just another day.

I first became aware of him years ago when our neighbors adopted his family for Christmas. He was about three at the time, and the family was facing some huge medical expenses relating to his condition. He had some kind of nasal tube along with some other apparent problems. I remember wondering if he’d ever see his fifth birthday, much less his tenth.

I would guess he’s 11 or 12 now. At my age, the years go by pretty fast, so I’m not completely sure. But watching him grow over the years, you’d have never known he had any kind of limitation at all because nothing seems to hold him back. His parents allowed him to live like any other boy his age, and he’s made the most of it. I look at him now and wonder what he’ll accomplish next.

I don’t know what goes on inside his house, or the things his parents have taught him. But I have to imagine words like “limitation” and “handicap” are never part of the conversation. I’m pretty sure nobody has told him what a rotten hand he was dealt in life. For all he knows, he’s just like everybody else. And because of that, he is.

We’re all born with some level of imperfection. And, as we grow older, we pick up a few more along the way. But they’re only handicaps to the extent that we allow them to get in the way. I’ve seen people with artificial legs run an obstacle course that would bring most star athletes to their knees. And I’ve known blind people who can see so much more than most of us ever will.

It’s all a matter of belief. If you believe you’re incapable of anything, you can cross it off the list of things you’ll ever accomplish. You can tell by the way a baseball player swings his bat whether he believes he can hit the ball. If you believe you can hit a home run, you swing for the fence. If you expect to strike out, you swing without energy or interest. Why bother? You’ll just fail anyway.

It’s that mindset that keeps us from doing the things we could be doing in life. It’s the feeling that we can’t do something, or maybe that we can never do it as well as anybody else. You know, “normal” people. Or maybe we look at the things we’d like to accomplish and think we need superpowers to even come close. There’s a reason “ordinary” people like us never succeed. Or so we think.

It’s been said that behind every successful man is a completely astonished wife. That may be true, but there’s another side to the story … the man who set out to prove to his wife and the rest of the world that he could succeed against all odds.

If you’ve ever accomplished anything in life, it began with the belief that you could do it. That’s not to say you didn’t have some concerns or maybe even a little trepidation. We only need enough confidence to get us started. The rest we can build as we go.

A limitation is only a handicap if we allow it to become one. We can allow it to become an excuse, or simply another mountain to climb. That young man down the street doesn’t know he’s got a handicap, probably because nobody told him. So, what’s holding you back? Believe you can succeed, and you will. And just think of all the people you’ll amaze along the way!  

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

It’s Okay to Dream – It’s Even Better to Achieve

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

Have you ever sat with a group of friends and just talked? Not about the job, and not about anybody else. Those are the default conversations that don’t really count for much of anything other than filling time. You talk about those things when you can’t come up with anything better. And you know what? Nobody is really listening anyway. They’re too busy waiting for their turn to speak.

But have you ever just sat there and really gotten to know one another? As the walls come down and trust begins to build, you can learn a lot about somebody that you would otherwise have never known. Very often you find that you have a lot more in common than you thought. Not just where you live or work, but who you are … the things that excite you and make you get out of bed each day.

Sooner or later, the topic will turn to dreams. Depending on the setting, that could come out right away or it could take a lot of foreplay to build up to sharing that part of ourselves. If you see a complete stranger wearing a tee shirt from your favorite vacation destination, you’d have no problem letting them know that’s on your bucket list. But with friends, we tend to hold back a little. Why?

I think it all comes down to our inner concern for the opinions of others. With strangers on the street, it’s no problem. You may never see them again, so who cares if they think you’re overly optimistic? But when it’s somebody we see every day, we’re not so quick to share our inner desires.

Part of the problem is that, when you’re talking with a complete stranger, they have no idea of your current station in life. You can tell them you’re getting ready to take a trip around the world, and they have no basis for acceptance or doubt. It’s just talk. But the better somebody knows you, the more difficult it is for them to just accept your aspirations on blind faith. They know your limitations.

And then there’s the issue of greed. Let’s just get it out there now. We’re all raised to believe that it’s okay to work for the things you want, but it’s greedy to want something you don’t have. Well, if that’s the case, why bother going to work? Just stay home and enjoy what you’ve got. Or work just enough to pay the bills and stop thinking of anything else. Is that the lesson we were supposed to learn?

Greed isn’t the mindset that wants something more. Greed is when there’s not enough to go around and you knock somebody else out of the way to make sure you get yours first. It’s the very concept of a game most of us played in kindergarten – musical chairs. There are just enough chairs for everybody – except one. And the moment the music stops, everybody races to claim a chair for themselves.

But I can’t think of many things in life where there isn’t room for everybody who really wants to sit at the table. If you buy the fanciest car on the lot, the dealer will just order another one. Buying a bigger house doesn’t mean somebody else can’t have one just like it. And is there a resort destination on your bucket list where you’d have to kick somebody else off the plane to get there?

It’s okay to dream. It’s okay to want something more, and to share those dreams with the people who mean the most to us. You may be surprised to find they have dreams just as big as yours. In fact, they may share a dream that slips into the inner recesses of your mind and works on your subconscious until it becomes your new dream. Who would ever dream of a Rolls Royce if they’d never seen one?

No, I don’t dream of a Rolls Royce. I don’t dream of many extravagant things, but I do dream of having the ability to see a little more of this world and time to enjoy the things I’ve worked so hard to build. I dream of a motorhome simply because it’s the most practical way of traveling across the country and staying in each place long enough to enjoy it. Extravagant? Maybe. But it’s not what I’d call greedy.

When you share your dreams with those closest to you, it validates not only the dream but your right to have it. When you work for a dream, you earn the right to achieve it. And few things feel better than enjoying something you’ve earned. So, dream. Share your dreams. Work for them. It’s okay to want something more. It’s even better when those dreams turn to reality.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Job Isn’t Done Until Something More Interesting Comes Along

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

There’s nothing quite like the excitement of starting something new. Okay, finishing what you already started is pretty exciting, too. So I’m told. That’s never been my strong suit. I usually take things to a point of usability, and then take a breather. That breather has been known to last several years. Just ask my wife.

We were in a home store this weekend, looking at laminate flooring. It’ not an imminent project, but something we’ll probably do within the next year or two. The old floor has been in for about fourteen years. That’s how long some of these walls have been without baseboards. I did a pretty good job of putting in the floor. But trim work is just for visual appeal. I’m sure I read that somewhere.

In the not-so-distant past, I was pretty handy around the house. I have woodworking tools, and I always enjoyed using them. I’ve done some electrical work, a little plumbing, and a ton of painting. My wife’s theory with paint is if you don’t like the color, you can always paint over it. What she means is if she doesn’t like the color, I can always paint over it. Guys, can I get an amen?

My projects now are a little less labor-intensive. Aging muscles and a deteriorated spine have put a damper on my ability to tackle the big stuff. That’s what contractors are for. I tell myself I’m fighting unemployment by giving someone else a job. The bank tells me I’m fighting personal wealth by paying someone else to do something I could do myself if I weren’t such a wimp. That’s how it feels.

My big home project this weekend was fixing the broken caster on my office chair so I can spend several hours a day … well … sitting in it. When I moved my office downstairs, I lost my grip on the chair and it went tumbling down the stairs. By the time it reached the bottom, one of the casters was gone. Have you ever tried sitting in a chair with a missing foot? It requires a certain sense of balance.

With cooler weather moving in, I’ll be spending a lot of time in front of my computer. I’ve got a long-term freelance assignment that’ll keep me busy a good part of the time, and several of you have encouraged me to write a book, so that’s something I want to do as well. And along with that, I’m still working to build my business. Yes, it’s a lot. But it gives me an excuse not to shovel snow.

It’s easy to take on too much all at once, but some of us need a little variety to maintain focus. I used to build model cars and airplanes. I rarely built one at a time. While the glue was drying on one, I was painting another. If I had to put two pieces together and set it aside to dry, it would go back in the box and be forgotten for six months. Meanwhile, I’d have started building four new models.

People keep telling me to focus on one thing until it’s done, but that just doesn’t work for me. I get bored easily, and once I get bored, I rarely go back to finish whatever it was I started. That’s why cutting the grass was always so easy. It’s done in an hour. Painting, on the other hand, can take a few days. By the third time cleaning brushes and rollers, I’m ready to start on a new floor.

I’ve lost count of the number of books I’ve started and never finished. Both reading, and writing. I probably have five or six books at this very moment with a business card stuck in the pages as a bookmark. Those business cards were supposed to be in somebody else’s pocket, not in my unfinished books. But that’s another project I’ve had a hard time finishing. At least I’m consistent.

So, I’m trying to turn over a new leaf. On the job, I work several projects at once and I’m expected to finish each one. And I do, which proves it can be done. It’s all a matter of discipline. When you’re on the job, do the job. It’s the same whether it’s the day job, my business, freelance work, or writing a book. Even if it’s just an hour a day, schedule the time and do what needs to be done.

I’ll get my book written. In fact, I’ll probably write two or three at once. Meanwhile, I’ll do the other things I’ve committed to do. You can, too. If your personality is better suited to one task at a time, focus on that project until it’s finished. If you’re like me, make a schedule. There’s no limit to what you can accomplish. Just find what works best for you and don’t stop until you’re done.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You’re Never Too Old to Dream

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

It’s been a busy week for me. Sometimes it works that way. Usually when the boss is out of town, but hey … that’s the way it goes. The bottom line is I get to come home at the end of the day knowing I did something productive. At my age, that’s a lot more important than brownie points.

I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the line I hit that point where my goals shifted from advancement and recognition to just doing a good job and leaving the place better than I found it. I think we all reach that point sometime in our work and personal life. For some of us, it just happens a lot sooner than others.

I talk to a lot of people who, when you suggest building something that can provide a little better security in retirement, and maybe even let them reach that point a few years earlier than they would have, they shake their head and say, “At my age …” What follows is some variation of “I’m too old to start something new” or “I’m happy with things just the way they are.”

What that means, in so many words, is, “People my age don’t have dreams.” Well, yeah, they do. We all do. We just may not spend much time thinking about them. But the most active retiree still has things they want to do, or places they want to see. And I don’t care how much money they’ve got, they probably wish they had a little more.

We naturally gravitate toward things that bring pleasure. Advertisers know that all too well. That’s why in vacation commercials, you only see families snorkeling over the Great Barrier Reef or enjoying a candle-lit dinner in a mountain lodge. You never see them waiting in line for tickets, enduring a body search at the airport, or crammed into a coach seat for six hours.

Part of the problem is that, when we’re younger, we want all the nice things and we want them right now. Sure, saving a portion of our paycheck would get us there eventually, but the credit card company says we don’t have to wait. We just have to take an even bigger portion of our check to pay the bill long after the fun is over or the new car smells like old cheeseburgers.

I did the same thing, so I won’t lecture anybody on financial responsibility. But, having done it both ways, I have to admit there’s a lot more excitement in saving for something you want than paying for it once you’ve got it. It’s like the difference between building something and then having to repaint it – every month until there’s nothing left to repaint.

As we get older, we realize that all those days of spending on whatever we wanted may have created some fun times along the way, but it may not have been overly responsible. And that’s when it hits – responsibility. The dreaded “R” word. It makes Mom and Dad proud, but to the rest of the world it simply means you’ve grown old.

That’s when we start saying things like, “Why do I need a new car? The old one still runs.” “A bigger house would be nice, but it’s just that much more to clean.” “I’d love to go to Tahiti, but who wants to sit on a plane that long?” Sure, the excuses make sense. But at the end of the day, they’re just validation of the fact that we stopped acting on our dreams.

I think a lot of that is the wisdom of age, realizing that money really doesn’t grow on trees and whatever we spend today won’t be there tomorrow. Part of it is the reality that, at some point in the not-too-distant future, we’ll retire and have to live on whatever we’ve been able to save. And part is just the fact that, as we age, a quiet evening on the porch holds a lot more value than it used to.

But part of it is that, as we get older, we give up our ability to dream. We’re no longer looking at a lifetime to enjoy whatever we begin building today. The appeal of a vacation every month yields to the lure of relaxing by the fireplace. And the excitement of new things turns to the cold, hard calculation of how much it costs and all the other things that money could be used for.

It’s one thing to become responsible, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on your dreams. So, what if you’ll only have a few years to enjoy what you’ve built? Doesn’t that beat not enjoying it at all? Dreams represent hope. And the longer you have hope, the longer you truly live. That alone should be worth the time you spend standing in line.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved