Breathe – This Too Shall Pass

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

Mine started off completely different. Before I even had my first cup of coffee, I went to the store to see if I could get lucky on some items that have been part of the panic hoarding. You know, a box of macaroni and a small bag of rice. Apparently, these things are part of the miracle cure for coronavirus. I never got that memo.

Since the stores are closed overnight for cleaning and re-stocking, I went at opening time. Well, a half-hour later, complete aisles were empty. It’s pretty obvious what happened last night. At least they were gracious enough to throw away the empty liquor bottles after the party ended.

This will eventually settle down, and then the stores won’t sell any of these items at all for another six months, except to those of us who only bought what we needed for the next week or two. Funny, there’s no shortage of hand soap. I guess if you use enough toilet paper, you don’t need it. Mom, are you listening?

Another thing that’s plentiful is dog food. I went to the store yesterday to hoard … I mean, buy … some of that. The shelves were completely full. I guess if this thing keeps going long enough, we can buy a little extra and mix it with some pinto beans and cheese to make a casserole. I mean, the dog has no problem eating our food. Fair is fair.

I remember when I was a kid walking into Grandma’s kitchen and she was snacking on something. Grandma had one glass eye and was nearly blind in the other. She saw me come in and asked, “Do you want some candy? It’s good!” I said, “Grandma, that’s dog food!” She couldn’t dig it out of her mouth fast enough. It went from tasty to poison in less than a second.

That story would be a whole lot funnier if it really was candy and I was just playing a trick on her. Needless to say, I never tried any. It may have been awesome. I’ll take her word for it.

They say desperate times call for desperate measures. I’m assuming the reason stores are out of Kleenex and paper towels is that, in a pinch, they can be used for cleaning something a little more personal. But when my granddaughter ran out of Kleenex and started wiping her nose with toilet paper, that’s where I drew the line. She can have one of my old tee shirts for that.

I hate to see forced hibernation, but that may be what it’ll take to let this all settle down. We need to get a grip. There is no shortage of toilet paper or any of these other items. They are just temporarily out of stock. That’s all. Granted, if you’re out and can’t buy any, that’s a problem. Just visit your neighbors. Odds are one of them has enough to supply the whole block.

Panic doesn’t solve problems – it creates them. When we approach a problem with a level head, solutions appear. Panic is a reaction that clouds our judgment and compounds problems. Whether the problem is health-related, financial, marital, or just about anything else, our ability to maintain an even keel and work through the problem is critical to our success.

Tackle what you can today, and worry about the rest tomorrow. In that time, some of the remaining issues will resolve on their own. And even if they don’t, you’ll be that much better suited to work through them. You eat an elephant one bite at a time. Do you have enough food and toilet paper for today? Then who cares if the store is empty? Move on to the next problem.

This crisis will go away. It may take a while, and we will certainly have to adapt in the meantime. But the sooner we settle down and face the real problems instead of creating artificial ones, the sooner we’ll be able to get on with the business of living. And that doesn’t stop with the coronavirus. It’ll be that way throughout the rest of your life.

Whenever you’re faced with a mountain of problems, break it down. Some are real problems, and some are perceived. Some require your immediate attention, and some will work their way through with no help from you. Focus on the things you can fix. One step at a time, one day at a time. Breathe in and breathe out. Lather, rinse, and repeat.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom always to know the difference.” Words to live by, now and always.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Focus on Solutions and Give Hope Room to Grow

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

I looked at the weather this morning, and we’re in the single digits – 7 degrees. For those of you who live by the Celsius scale, that’s 14 below zero. For those who don’t need a thermometer to tell them whether they’re comfortable, it’s #&!@ing cold! One of the nice things about having the option to work from home is I don’t have to go outside and f-f-f-frrreeeze. I think I’ll stay here and stay warm.

Yesterday was a somber day here in Dayton. A 30-year veteran of the Police Department was laid to rest, having been killed in the line of duty during a drug raid last Monday. He survived on life support for three days as doctors made plans to harvest his organs to sustain life for others who would not have survived without them. In his final act, he gave the gift of life.

Just three months ago, our city awoke to the news that somebody had gone into a popular nightclub district and opened fire at random, killing nine people and injuring 27 more in less than thirty seconds. I won’t dive into the topic of rapid-fire assault rifles, but that’s something this nation certainly needs to address with common sense instead of soundbites and fears of a larger conspiracy.

When these things happen, we’re left to wonder what goes on in the mind of somebody who would do such things. It’s easy to blame violent movies, video games, upbringing, lack of religion, poverty, broken families, and the ills of society. But none of those things, by themselves, can explain the drastic change in somebody who was once an innocent child, singing nursery rhymes.

We all started out pretty much the same. Sure, there were differences in where we were born, our station in life, and how we were raised. And without a doubt, there are people raising kids today who shouldn’t be trusted with that responsibility. But even in those families, if you were to follow the kids through a day in kindergarten, you wouldn’t see any future killers. They’re all just children.

So, what makes one child grow up to become a doctor, another to serve their nation’s military, and another to open fire on innocent victims? What goes through a person’s mind in that instant when they do something they know will result in their own death or a lifetime of incarceration? Why is that one conscious decision worth the inevitable consequences? We may never know.

What we do know is that, short of a diagnosable mental illness, the one common denominator in these people is a lack of hope. Whether that’s due to drugs, environment, family life, or whatever, the lack of hope can make us act in ways that a person with even the most basic level of optimism would never consider. It’s the feeling that they have nothing to lose, and no reason to go on.

We all know people who live with the same feelings of despair. For some, it’s driven by financial concerns. For others, it may be related to health, relationships, education, family issues, their job, or even politics. We all deal with some of these issues at some level. If not, we’re just one stroke of bad luck away from it. We can’t escape heartache. It’s part of living. All we can do is try to manage it.

If you ever feel like the weight of the world is crashing down on you, take a step back and breathe. Assess the situation for what it truly is, not what it could be if everything that could possibly go wrong does. Write it down on a piece of paper. If you’re dealing with multiple issues, list them all. Then prioritize them in the order of what needs to be handled first.

Most times you’ll find that there are only one or two really urgent matters that need your immediate attention. The rest are what military experts refer to as collateral damage. An entire stack of bills can go away if you can correct the underlying problem of income. Don’t dwell on the symptoms – focus on the solution. In the moment that you identify a solution, you find the first glimmer of hope.

Fix what you can fix and let the rest take care of itself. Adversity is a part of life, and suffering adversity simply means you’re still living. And as long as you’re still living, there’s hope. Some things we can’t change, and in those cases,  we just have to adapt. But when we focus on the things we can change, the surrounding problems just don’t seem quite as big.

Hope begins with the realization that we’re not just here for the ride – we control the outcome. We’re only on this planet for a short time. Don’t get bogged down in despair. Today and every day, find hope. It’s right there inside you. All you have to do is give it room to grow.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

When Fear Clouds Your Dreams, Find Those Rays of Sunshine

Good morning! It’s Hump Day. I hope your day is off to a great start.

Well, by the end of the day the week will be half gone. Depending on your perspective, that could be good or bad. If you’re having a particularly tough day at work, the weekend can’t get here soon enough. But if you’re not making the desired progress on your weekly goals, it’s coming too fast.

I talk a lot about dreams. That’s because I want you to focus on your own dreams enough to decide whether they’re important enough to do something about them and, if they are, to find the inner drive to get up and do it. There is literally nothing you can’t accomplish if you put your mind to it.

But dreams, like anything else, come with a cost. That cost can manifest itself in a dozen different ways. Attaining our goals takes work. It takes time. We may need to learn new skills, or step outside our comfort zone. Others may scoff or maybe even ridicule us. And the final attainment of that dream may involve elements of a life we’re not entirely sure we want.

Back when I had just gotten out of the Navy, my wife mentioned that she’d read about jobs in Australia that paid a lot higher wages, and for Americans working abroad the income was tax-free. It was tempting. I’d been to Australia, and it was beautiful. And the thought of that much money was hard to overlook.

But it would mean leaving our extended family and moving halfway around the world. It was a price I just wasn’t willing to pay. Even now, I complain about winter weather every year and dream of life in a place where snow is only found on postcards from the north. But both of my daughters and all four grandchildren live within twenty minutes of my home. I’d have a hard time leaving them.

Sometimes, it’s not even the reality of what will change that competes with our dreams, but the fear of what might change. How will attaining our dream affect the people we care about? How will it impact our career? What if we get where we want to be, only to find out it’s the last place we want to be? Fear can fuel the imagination faster than fresh logs on a fire.

Sometimes the attainment of our dreams involves changes we may welcome on the surface but may include consequences we’re not quite so thrilled to pursue. And it’s that fear, or even the reality of those changes, that can hold us back from chasing our dreams.

And sometimes that fear isn’t about the attainment of our dreams, but in somebody close to us pursuing their own. It’s said that Neil Diamond dropped out of college to chase his dream of being a professional entertainer. I can imagine his parents weren’t too happy about that. But it was his dream, and sometimes we have to simply accept what we can’t quite understand.

Part of that involves a closer examination of our dreams. Maybe not so much dreams, but our visions of how we want our life to be. Which specific part of our own life will change because of their dream – not only the attainment of that dream, but their pursuit of it? How will it impact our own life, and are we willing to make that sacrifice? More importantly, are we willing to hold them back?

If we look deep enough, we can often find compromise that wasn’t readily apparent. My dream of moving south comes with the cost of leaving our grandchildren behind, and that would certainly impact us all. But it would give them a place in the sun for vacations, and it’s not like we couldn’t just get in the car and come back for a visit.

For every challenge, there’s a solution. When I began comedy, I took my wife along on some of the trips so we could share the experience together. It was a way for her to share my dream while enjoying her own dream of seeing places she’s never been. And she was able to see firsthand my excitement in performing. It didn’t remove all her concerns or minimize her own sacrifice. It was simply a compromise. And it made me appreciate coming home that much more.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved