Work Hard, Play Hard

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

So, what are your plans for the weekend? That seems to be the common question we ask people, usually when we need something to start a conversation. Or maybe we just ask for the sake of saying anything, with no real interest in how they’ll respond. It’s like asking somebody how they’re doing. We say it out of habit. But oftentimes, the response is a lot more than we’d bargained for.

But have you ever noticed how, when you ask that question, people instinctively look away from what they’re doing and turn toward you? Whether you’re interested in what they’ve got planned for the weekend or not, they are. Especially if they’ve got something planned. But even if it’s just sitting around and getting some rest, people are naturally drawn to anybody who shows an interest in them.

So, what are your plans for the weekend? I hope you’ll have a little fun. You’ve earned it. I hope you’ll get all those weekend chores done quickly and without complications. I hope you’ll find time for a movie with the kids or maybe ice cream with that special person in your life. And in the middle of all that, I hope you’ll find time to rest. Just sitting back, with nothing to do and not a care in the world.

It’s a shame we spend five days every week trudging through life with one simple goal – getting to the weekend so we can have some fun. And the whole time, we dream of that day when we’ll be too old to work, and life will become one long vacation. Oh, the places we’ll go and the things we’ll do! Yeah. Ask any retired person how that’s working out.

Don’t get me wrong. I know a lot of retired people who are on the go all the time. All those TV commercials that show septuagenarians dancing in Tahiti and racing around on jet skis aren’t the result of trick photography. Some actually do these things. But if you talk to them, you’ll probably find they’ve been actively relaxing most of their life.

Actively relaxing – is there such a thing? The words just don’t seem to belong together. But relaxing isn’t always lying back on the couch, snoozing through a movie you’ve seen a dozen times before. Sometimes it’s exhilarating, a day that completely wears you fall into a deep sleep.

Wear yourself out until you can’t go any further? Sounds a lot like work, doesn’t it? So, what’s the difference? It’s all in the face – that smile, the excitement in the eyes, that unmistakable look that tells you this person is having the time of their life. And it doesn’t matter how old they are. What matters is that they’re living.

Okay, back to the initial question. Why do we spend seventy percent of our lives trudging around like robots, and the remainder catching our breath? Is there anything you have to do on the weekend that you couldn’t do earlier in the week? Grocery stores are open just about every day. The washer & dryer are just sitting there. You could mop the floors one evening and dust the furniture another.

If we could take care of some of those smaller things that seem to consume an entire weekend, we’d have two full days to do whatever we want. No shopping, no cleaning, no errands – just get up and enjoy the day. Sound like a dream? Well, it can happen. And when it does, odds are you’ll find something else to fill that time. Maybe even something fun. Imagine!

It’s important that we work. It’s important that we do the things we need to do. And it’s just as important that we make time to enjoy the things we’re working for. Let me clue you in – nobody works for a paycheck. We work for the things money can buy. If you want an active retirement, start practicing now. Get out and have some fun! Then when the time comes, you’ll be a seasoned pro.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What Are You Waiting For?

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

Have you ever stopped to think about where you thought you’d be at this point in your life, and then compared it to where you are? Hopefully for most of us, the gap isn’t all that large. I’d like to think most of us have accomplished at least some of the things we wanted to do by now. But for many of us, myself included, the gap is pretty large. There’s still so much to be done.

Maybe that’s just my impatience kicking in. Because, in all honesty, I’ve been able to accomplish a lot. And some things are meant to come later, or at least that’s what we’re taught. We work for 45 years and then take a really long vacation. And if we’re lucky, we actually get to go a little further than the front porch in the process. I’ve seen mine before. It’s not all that special.

For some people, the concept of putting in all those years up-front for a few years of enjoyment at the very end is as appealing as a root canal. Especially when they realize their physical abilities and stamina are at an all-time high during those years they’re supposed to be working and, by the time they retire, all that stamina will have been long since used up.

For them, the answer is simple. Put in a little extra in the early years when everyone else is out partying and get started on that long vacation early. Like, thirty years early. By the time everyone else is halfway through their work life and still has little to show for it, they’re off enjoying a lifestyle most of us could never imagine. They didn’t want to wait. And they didn’t have to.

Well, here’s the deal – I’ve worked my 45 years and retirement is still a distant goal. Oh, I’m getting closer. And days like I’ve had this week, using a cane to get around because my back needs all the help it can get, I know it may come sooner than the bank thinks it should. We don’t always get the option to choose our retirement date. Sometimes, fate chooses it for us.

And I’m coming to realize that retirement may not be quite what I’d imagined. I see commercials and pictures of old folks jumping out of airplanes and racing around on jet skis, and that’s the image I’ve had all these years. Oh, I’m sure I’ll try some of those things. But I’ll probably spend a week in traction afterward.

The sad fact is, all these years we’re working and saving for a brighter day, we’re missing some of the brightest days along the way. They’re here, right now, and we’re trudging through them hoping to find something better down the road. And I think, at least for most of us, there will be brighter days down the road. I just hope we’re able to enjoy them when the time comes.

My wife and I decided several years ago our retirement will involve a motorhome and a new mailing address several times a year. We’ve talked to people who have enjoyed the nomad lifestyle, and I’m starting to notice a trend. Many of them are a few years older than we are, and they all say the same thing – “Back when we had ours, we absolutely loved it.”

Now, that could mean they had one and got tired of it after a few years. It could mean they blew all their money on the first one and couldn’t afford to replace it when things started to wear out. Or it could mean they’ve reached an age where physical limitations have brought their days of galivanting across the country to an end. I hope that’s not the case, because I’m almost as old as they are.

And therein lies the problem. We find something we want, a burning desire, and go through life promising ourselves that one day we’ll find a way to enjoy it. “Someday.” Famous last words. Well, not necessarily last words, because there comes a point in life where “someday” turns into “I should have.” That’s usually when we’re sitting in a wheelchair in the day room of a nursing home. Lovely.

I’m not suggesting you quit your job and start that long vacation today. But unless your life’s goal is to die with a bunch of money in the bank for everybody else to fight over, get out and enjoy it! If you wait for the perfect time or opportunity, it’ll never happen. Find a way. Make it happen. We’re all headed for the same destination. Reach yours with memories to share and stories to tell.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved