Not Until You Eat Your Brussels Sprouts!

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

Well, it’s been a week. I know, understatement of the century. That’s a nice way to avoid the more descriptive response, one that involves a legendary British detective and a lack of manure. Don’t spend too much time thinking about that one. I already did.

Thankfully, this week is coming to an end. Hopefully it’s not an indication of what 2021 has in store for us. If it’s any comfort, a year ago we welcomed the New Year with reasonably mild weather, no pandemic (that we knew of yet), and little more than a mild hangover to remind us of the preceding year. Then it all went to hell.

So, maybe this year will work in reverse. Get the bad stuff out of the way now so we can get to the good stuff that much sooner. You know, like those steamed Brussels sprouts for dinner. Mom didn’t make dessert very often, but every time she did, dinner included something I wouldn’t feed a skunk. I tricked her. I came to enjoy liver. I just never let her know it.

There’s something to be said for paying our dues and earning life’s rewards. There’s something to be said for skipping some of that obnoxious stuff, too. I’ve often said the best way to cook spinach is with coconut oil. It’s a lot easier to scrape into the trash that way.

Okay, if you’ve ever seen me try to run, you can fully appreciate the result of that thinking. I’ve always been one who wants to skip right to the good stuff and pay my dues later. You know, way later. Like when I’m too old to enjoy the fun stuff and don’t have anything else to fill my days. Besides, old people have to read books and eat healthy stuff. That’s the law.

Well, here’s the thing. Somewhere along the way, I got old. It happened while I was sleeping, because I certainly didn’t notice it while I was awake. I was too busy partying. I always figured we live life backward anyway. Retirement should come first, while you’re still young enough to enjoy it, and then you work yourself into an early grave. Okay, the first part sounds nice.

Of course, life has other plans. As long as there are bills to pay, kids to feed, and nobody is willing to send me to exotic locations so I can write about them in my spare time, the work part has to come first. And believe me, it has. When I got my first job at the age of 15, Mom tried to talk me out of it. “Once you start working, you’ll work the rest of your life.” File that one with “Don’t spit into the wind.”

Yes, Mom knew exactly what she was talking about. Aside from a few very brief periods of unemployment, I’ve been working nonstop for 48 years. When you’re 15, that’s inconceivable. Besides, by the age of 19 I was supposed to be a rock star and I’d have paid servants to do all that other work.

Well, strangely enough, it rarely works out that way. Most of us will work most of our lives, whether as a paid employee or an even harder working slave to the home. That’s just the way it goes. And if we want that phase of our life to end early and yield to a more relaxing and recreational existence, we have to eat a few extra servings of pungent green vegetables along the way.

It would be nice if we could just wave a magic wand and skip right to the good stuff. Or even put in a few hours of extra work and suddenly find success. But it doesn’t work that way. Sometimes, we have to beat our head against a brick wall for a long time before we see any appreciable results. And maybe that’s too much to ask. If so, modify your dreams. It’s really that simple.

But if there’s something you want, something you don’t have the ability to accomplish this instant, then resign yourself to the fact that you’ll have to work for it. The sooner that work begins, in earnest, the sooner that dream will materialize.

And here’s the thing – if you focus too heavily on results, especially in the beginning, frustration sets in and success becomes that much more elusive. Focus on the goal, and just do the work that needs to be done. It doesn’t matter if you got the desired results today, or any day. Success isn’t linear, and it doesn’t have to be. It just has to happen.

If you have a clear dream, you know the things you need to be doing. Get through the hard part now, and you’ll be enjoying the reward that much sooner. 

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

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Invest Your Time Wisely and You’ll Have More to Spend Later

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

I’d ask what you’ve got planned for the weekend, but I’m pretty sure it’s a combination of shopping, cleaning, and laundry. Or, what the boss affectionately refers to as “rest.” I’ve never quite understood that. We work all week so we can take two days off and work even harder? I think somebody’s been spiking the Kool Aid.

I try to do laundry during the week. I work in the basement anyway, so it’s not really any extra trouble. Yes, I said that out loud, with full knowledge that my wife may actually read this. That’s okay. She cooks and vacuums and sprays air freshener every time I walk through the room. I’m beginning to think that has something to do with me.

I don’t see how single people do it. I mean, yeah … there’s only one person making a mess so there’s only one person to clean up after. Half the people, half the mess, right? Wrong! That logic completely overlooks the dust that collects on every surface, upside-down or right side-up. I get how dust settles on tables and shelves. But how does it “settle” on the bottom of the bed?

And while we’re at it, how do windows get dirty when nobody is touching them? My grandkids leave fingerprints now and then, and the cat licks the front door glass. Don’t get me started on that one. But I’m talking about places they can’t reach. Places I can’t even reach. I think it’s the residue from all that air freshener.

Okay, I have absolutely no idea where I’m going with this. My weekend will largely consist of ordering components to attach to the new car so we can tow it behind the RV. Which means taking a set of tools to a brand-new car to install those components. Those tools include a drill and a saw. Don’t ask. My wife isn’t allowed to be home while I do that.

Don’t get me wrong. She knows I can do the work. I’ve done a lot of work on our cars over the years, and never once has she actually hit anything as a result. Still, there’s something about hitching a brand-new car to the RV using brackets that I installed at home, and then dragging it halfway across the country. Hopefully, “dragging” is a metaphor. That could be bad.

So, there’s a really busy weekend in my future. The instructions say it’ll take three hours. That’s three hours for a body shop mechanic with a lift that goes up and down on a whim, and a chest full of air tools that never break. For me, it’s six days. I learned my lesson when I decided to do a bathroom remodel “over the weekend.” That was ten years ago, and it’s still not done.

Thankfully I have another car out front that I can drive to the hardware store fourteen times while the new car is strewn across the driveway in pieces that will inevitably get stepped on or lost. And I’ll end up buying a whole new set of tools by the time it’s finished, one tool at a time. Over the years I’ve collected enough tools to build a space shuttle. I just can’t find them.

I remember announcing a few years ago that I’d never crawl under a car again. Then I saw the estimate to have this done professionally, and that sentiment went right out the window. Besides, there’s something to be said for knowing how it was done. You know, in case I ever need to go back later and fix what wasn’t done right the first time. Like that ever happens.

I’ve had a little fun with this, but you get the idea. Sometimes, a job is the reprieve we get from all that resting the boss thinks we do every weekend. Unless you’re independently wealthy, keeping up a home and car takes work. And even with your best effort, something will come along and mess things up when you need it the least. That’s life.

All we can hope for is to keep the major chores to a minimum and maintain as we go. Yes, maintenance takes time. But it takes less time to polish than it takes to refinish. Mopping is easier than scrubbing, and oil changes are easier than rebuilding an engine. Sure, it’s still work. But it’s less work. And all that extra work gives you more time down the road.

More time for what? Well, hopefully there are some things you’d like to do for yourself. You have goals and dreams, right? But you never have time to do anything about it? Well, now you do. Put in a little extra effort today so you’ll have a little more time tomorrow. Then spend that time on yourself. You’re the one who earned it.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Not Your Circus, Not Your Monkeys

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

I once had a manager who loved to ask loaded questions. “Do you remember two weeks ago when I asked you for that report?” Don’t answer! It’s a trap. If you say yes, the next question is, “Then why didn’t you do it?” If you say no – “So, you just don’t pay attention!” At that point, even a fake coronary won’t get you out of trouble. Because he’ll do CPR and then say, “Well?”

What that usually means is he was supposed to do the report and his boss just asked the same question. “Do you remember a month ago when I asked you for that report?” Now he’s in trouble and no boss is ever in trouble on his own. In lifesaving courses, the first thing they tell you is that a drowning person will do anything they can to climb on top of you.

And when that happens, there’s only one thing you can do – sink. The faster you go down, the quicker they’ll let go. Then you can try again, and odds are they’ll be a little more cooperative. Okay, that works in the water. I’m sorry to say it doesn’t work in the office. The moment you start to sink, the boss will put his foot on your head and push down even harder. Okay, some bosses.

Thankfully, most are a little more compassionate. Even in the military, they’re learning that you get more out of people when you treat them with a little respect. Sure, they have to do whatever you say. You know it and they know it. And one of the first things they teach you in the military is how to delegate. You know, pass the buck. “I told Glardon to do that!”

But that’s how things get done in the real world. The top dog needs something done, so he calls in his leaders and says, “Make it happen.” They call in their managers and say, “The old man wants this – make it happen.” And the managers find somebody getting a cup of coffee and say, “Since you’re not doing anything else right now, I’ve got a job for you.” Sound familiar?

So, you go back to your desk fuming, because this is the first cup of coffee you’ve had in three days. You have a pile of work the boss doesn’t know about, because six other people have dumped work on you this week alone. There’s no way you can get it all done, and now you have one more job to add to the pile. So, you make a phone call. “Honey, I won’t be home tonight.”

Yesterday we talked about time, and how we always find time for everything but our dreams. But you know, there comes a point where you’re so busy you can’t even remember that you had dreams, much less what they are. And it goes that way until you’re so stressed out, your only dream is running away forever. I know, I’m preaching to the choir. We’ve all been there.

It’s estimated that up to 90% of medical conditions are related to stress. That’s a pretty grim statistic, especially when you consider that stress is largely within our power to control. I didn’t say “eliminate.” There’s only one way to completely eliminate stress, and funerals are expensive. But we can control stress and make it a little less prevalent in our lives.

We can start by putting things in perspective. Mom always used to ask, “Will it matter twenty years from now?” Okay, that’s a tough question when your kid just colored the front of your first Bible in red crayon – the one you’ve had since you were ten (the Bible, not the kid). Thirty years later, those marks are still there. But you know, they really don’t matter.

Another way is by using one of the very first words we ever learned … “No.” Oh, you’d be surprised at how many people act like they’ve never heard it before. “What do you mean?” I mean no. I don’t have time for this right now, and I’m not taking it on. Your crisis is not my emergency. I’ll help any way I can, but the answer today is no. Period.

Sure, there are times when you can’t say no. This week has been one of those times for me. Just don’t let it become a habit. Because odds are, while you’re burning the midnight oil doing somebody else’s work, they’ve already gone home and had dinner. And they’re not giving you a second thought. It’s almost like somebody told them to get a life and they listened.

Well, get a life! Don’t let other people dump their load on you. It’s all about balance – being productive and helpful, but not to the detriment of your own well-being. Know when to say no. I promise you they’ve heard it before.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Pull the Weeds and Feed Your Dreams

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

I just had the most relaxing weekend ever. Friday evening my son-in-law came over with a chainsaw and we started some “tree” removal in the back yard. Okay, these weren’t technically trees. They were weeds that somebody ignored for several years until they were twenty feet high with a stem six inches in diameter. And that somebody would be me. There, I said it.

Saturday my pool of available help decreased by a third, so I had to go rent a chainsaw to finish the job. While I was at it, I decided to remove all the shrubs and a tall evergreen from the front of the house. And two more of those weeds on steroids. Actually, one of them really was a tree.

I was almost finished when the chainsaw started smoking and stopped spinning, so yesterday I took my reciprocating saw out to finish the rest. It’s done. Okay, it’s piled up across the front of the house in the flower bed that hasn’t had flowers for the past 17 years, waiting for my grandson to come over with his truck and haul it off. The neighbors are so happy.

I also managed to finish off my left shoulder and lower back. But my Fitbit says I burned about 17,000 calories, so I really expected to step on the scale this morning and get a pleasant surprise. Yeah. I gained two pounds. Surprise!

This is a job I needed to do two years ago. You know, before my back problems were diagnosed. Actually, I should have taken care of it the moment I saw a three-foot weed growing through the fence, and another one with maple leaves growing right next to the basement wall. They’re easy to pull up at that point. A year later they have roots. Deep roots.

They say when you look at an iceberg, you can only see 1/3, because the other 2/3 is underwater. Well, that’s pretty much the way it is with weeds. And if you don’t get the entire root – if you leave just one sliver – it’s coming back with a vengeance. I’m pretty sure these “trees” I cut down will have fresh sprouts by this weekend.

As I look around the house, I see lots of things I’ve been planning to take care of for the past 14 years. You know how it goes. The first weekend it rains. The next weekend you visit friends. A week later, you take a drive in the country. And a week after that, it’s raining again. Before you know it, the year is 2020 and the list is still growing. Just like the weeds.

But one day fate steps in and says, “You’re going to do this, and you’re going to do it now.” Our toilet has been a little loose on the floor. I knew what the problem was. The bolts were corroded, and the plastic flange was cracked. And I kept saying, “I need to fix that.” Well, Friday it spoke up for me in a voice that sounded like dripping water coming from under the toilet.

And you know, when these things happen, we suddenly find the time to do what needs to be done. But when it comes to our dreams, the things we desperately want for ourselves, the answer is usually the same … “One of these days.”

I often think about one of the first riddles I ever learned. What day never comes? Tomorrow. Because when tomorrow comes, it’s today. Oh, I laughed hard at that one. Okay, I was six. But at that age, I learned what should have been a lesson for life. Tomorrow never comes. And it’s the same with all those things you said you’ll do “one of these days.”

Today is the day. Do it now. Make time. Okay, so there are things you just can’t do right now. But I’m pretty sure there are other things that’ll get in the way later. A leaky toilet always takes precedence over your dreams. Count on it.

Pull the weeds before they become trees and fix the toilet at the first sign of trouble. It’ll save you a lot of time and expense later and leave you that much more time to work on your dreams. We have 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week, and 8,760 hours in a year. You can spend that time living the dream or cutting down trees. The choice is yours.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Well, You’ve Got It … Now What?

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

My wife and I just joined an online RV owners’ group. It’s a great way to see what everybody else is doing this summer while ours is in the shop. There’s pictures, stories, and recipes guaranteed to clog your arteries just by reading them. If nothing else, we’re building a fairly sizeable list of all the places we want to go. You know … when the work is done.

We knew with a brand-new RV, things would need adjustment. I didn’t count on the valance over the dining room window crashing down while I was driving, but that’s all part of the experience. So, the dealer says. It woke me up. Every time we hit the road we find something else that needs to be fixed. And with every trip to the shop, we find something else they missed.

Actually, I think they’re probably doing a better job this time. Last time we took it in, the repairs were done in a few hours. This time, I introduced the service manager to Dave. I’m not an overly demanding person, but I do expect things to be done right. Especially knowing that, sooner or later, I’ll be sleeping under the valance that’s hanging over the couch. It’s inevitable.

It’s been in a little over a week this time, and we’ve used the time to pick up a few more items that we need for long-term camping. You know, towels, tools, and an antenna for the satellite radio that was factory-installed without an antenna. Oh, they would have installed one at delivery, but it would have cost more than a month in a beachfront RV resort. I can do it for six bucks.

We’ve also used the time to start thinking about where we want to go next. That’s the fun part of having something that can go pretty much anywhere. Except Hawaii. That bridge still isn’t done. But, within the limits of the AT&T coverage map (I still have to earn a living), we can go wherever there are roads. Paved roads. Reasonably level paved roads. And wide. Really wide.

Handing me a map is like handing a kid twenty dollars and turning them loose in a penny candy store. Okay, I’m showing my age. Penny candy stores are about as common as a Waffle House with no health code violations. But you get the idea. There are just so many places to go, each one better than the last. Until you get there, but that’s why God made RVs with wheels.

I was telling some friends a couple of months ago that the RV has been a dream for several years. But once we got it, I realized the RV itself wasn’t the dream – it was the means by which we can achieve an even greater dream. It’s a vehicle to get us where we want to go, and a bed to sleep in when we get there. All the rest is fluff. Including that dining room window valance.

And the thing is, we dreamed about that motorhome until it finally occurred to us why we wanted it so badly. It’s not enough to know what you want – you have to know why you want it. Once you’ve figured that out, and can put your focus on the “why,” you’re that much closer to making it happen. So close, in fact, that all you have to do is reach out and grab it.

Okay, so there’s a little work involved. There’s work involved in everything, including … well, work. We do it every day, whether it’s around the house or around the office. There’s no escaping work. The key is to find something worth working for.

We’ll always work for the essentials, like food, shelter, and bourbon. But when you find something you want badly enough to do a little extra work, you don’t even mind doing it. In fact, you look for excuses to do more. And isn’t that what work should be? Yes, take care of your job and pay the bills. But come on, there’s more to life than just that!

So, for us, the dream has shifted from buying an RV to getting it out of the shop and on the road. A month ago, I said I wanted to spend more on camping fees than storage fees. After our last trip, I can amend that to say I want to spend more on camping fees than gas. That means finding someplace nice and staying a while. Yes, it’s a dream. It’s our dream. What’s yours?

Before you go to bed tonight, take a few moments to think about the things that excite you. Then dig a little deeper and ask yourself why. When you can put your finger on the reason for your dreams, you’ll find the way to make them happen.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Work Hard, Play Hard … And Get Some Rest In Between

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

I guess I’ve been on “summer” hours lately. At least that’s the way it feels. What used to be a morning ritual of grabbing a cup of coffee and hitting the keyboard has now become rolling back over in bed, begrudgingly getting up at the last minute, then curling up on the sofa until it’s time to go to work. Then I make my coffee. That’s okay, I quit early to make up for it.

With my luck, this is the one day the boss will read my post. And no, that’s not exactly how it works. Last night I worked three hours over to make up for some perceived non-productive time during the day. You know, taking a couple of five-minute breaks, checking the weather, and things like that. I’d say the day worked out in the company’s favor.

That’s the way it is when you work from home. In fact, my employer sent an email a couple of weeks ago to remind us that there’s a time to work and a time to call it a day. And, during the day, we need to get away for 10-15 minutes and take a real break. But why? There’s nobody hanging around the coffee pot, and the snack machine in my house is empty anyway.

To people who have never worked from home, it’s a novel concept. Get out of bed, brush your teeth, straighten your pajamas, and walk across the hall to “the office.” Okay, in my case it’s in the basement, but you get the idea. No dressing up, no commute, and instead of a soda machine I’m six feet from a refrigerator full of beer. What could possibly go wrong?

But the reality is, working from home can lead to burnout even faster than clocking in at the office. The reason is simple. You tend to skip the things that would normally take you away from your desk at work. Even lunch. It’s just as easy to eat at your desk, especially if the dining room table IS your desk. And since you’re there anyway, you might as well be productive.

And then there are days like yesterday when you get on a roll and don’t want to break the momentum. I’m a business analyst, which means I spend half my day in meetings asking dumb questions, and the rest of the day writing the answers and coming up with more dumb questions. And, as any writer knows, when you’re on a roll, you don’t stop for anything.

We spend most of our days so focused on getting the job done that it’s easy to forget when to step away and let life take a turn. And that’s important – every bit as important as making sure we don’t spend too much time in the break room or hanging over a friend’s desk. Run your computer all day without recharging it, and the result is pretty much the same.

It’s all about balance. Work when it’s time to work, then step away. Take a break. Pet the dog. Spend some time with the kids. Take a walk around the block. None of those things takes more than a few minutes, but they’re critical to your physical and mental wellbeing. Just as critical as getting out of bed and doing something productive. Maybe even more.

And if you just have to stay busy, put some of that time to use for yourself. Set a goal. Put a picture of your dream on the refrigerator and spend a little time working on that. Sure, it’s still work. But that’s true of anything that doesn’t involve TV and a recliner. Still, there’s a difference between working for a paycheck and working toward a dream. You should try it.

And when all that work is done, take a breather. In fact, take a few breathers. If the company gives you a paid break, take it. Even if you’re home. And if sitting on the couch during “working” hours makes you feel guilty, take a walk. When lunchtime comes, get away. Even if it means leaving the house completely. Your body needs it, and so does your brain.

It’s been said that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It also makes him a psychotic timebomb that nobody wants to be around. Work when it’s time to work, but know when to call it a day. You’ll be healthier and happier, and so will everyone around you.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

You’ve Earned a Break … But Don’t Overdo It

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

I had a really productive weekend. I trimmed shrubs, sawed up branches, set two nine-foot posts for a new gate, and gave the RV a bath. That’s a lot for an old guy like me. I can’t say I did quite as much as my grandson, but I paid him for helping so that counts. Right?

Something I learned a long time ago about home ownership. Things break. Things need adjustment, lights need to be replaced, and there’s always something to clean. And for anything that escapes those troubles, get a bucket of paint. I have twelve almost-empty cans of paint in the garage. I don’t care about saving the paint – I just want the color numbers.

See, that’s something else I learned. It’s good to save the color numbers in case the grandkids do what grandkids are known to do, and you have to paint again. But the empty can is just taking up space. I could just as easily save the numbers in my computer. Besides, by the time it needs to be painted again, my wife will want a different color anyway.

Her motto has always been, “It’s only paint – if you don’t like the color, you can always paint over it.” Loosely translated, that means “If I don’t like the color, you can always paint over it.” Our living room wall started off clinical white. Then it was red, and now it’s blue and tan. I may be missing one or two. After 18 years and all those paint fumes, my memory is a little hazy.

But that’s the way it is. There’s always something to be done. Same with the RV – it’s just a smaller house. I did a couple of repairs on it yesterday as well. Yes, it’s only three months old. Most houses hold up better. But most houses don’t bounce down the road, either. On our last trip, some hardware fell on my wife’s head. Twice. I couldn’t have planned it better if I tried.

On the home front, I’m in the process of building a new gate. The old one is falling apart, and I can’t get into the back yard without a territorial challenge from the dogs next-door. All six of them. And one is a St. Bernard that’s about to topple the fence. So, I need a new gate that’ll open in the middle and keep us a little further away. That’ll work until the fence falls down.

Granted, the gate I’m building costs a little more than buying one at the store, but it’ll look a lot nicer. Besides, setting those two posts in concrete yesterday taught me a couple of valuable lessons. First, posthole diggers suck. That’s a lot of work, especially when you hit concrete from the old fence posts. And second, privacy fences need a LOT of posts. Not going there.

But mostly, I’m doing this myself because I need the exercise. Sure, I could pay somebody to do it for me, but that gets expensive. And meanwhile, I’m getting weak. Not really frail, but those packs of bottled water are getting really heavy. And we won’t even talk about the bags of water softener salt. I don’t carry them down the stairs. I drag them.

It’s all part of the aging process, but it’s a part in which I choose not to participate. There are things I want to do with my life and sitting around in a wheelchair isn’t part of the dream. But, as we age, we have two choices. We can either stay fairly active and maintain adequate strength, or pick out a nursing home before the kids do it for us.

And most of the time, we can get the exercise we need by just taking care of things around the house. If nothing needs to be done, look again. And if you still can’t find anything to do, take a walk. Take the kids to a park. Go swimming. Play a round of golf. If you play like I do, you’ll get a LOT of extra steps in, plus a little cross-country hiking as well. Maybe even a swim.

Gyms are great, if that’s your thing, but all it really takes is a little movement. Just doing the routine things that need to be done – shopping, cleaning, mowing, sweeping, and occasionally building a new gate. Throw in a little recreational exercise, and you’re good to go. Sure, you’ll still get old, and you’ll still feel it. But you won’t feel it as soon, and maybe not quite as much.

Like most things in life, it’s all about small steps repeated over time. Whether your goal is to build strength, improve your health, build a business, or build a house, it all starts with a commitment to get started and keep moving. It may take time – maybe even the rest of your life. But isn’t that really the idea?

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What’s Your Enjoyment Factor?

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

One of these days, just to see who’s paying attention, I’m going to start my post with something a little less upbeat. Not really. I like wishing you all a good day. Besides, that would be just one more thing I’d have to dream up before I finish my first cup of coffee. I’m not that good.

One day, about a year ago, my grandson called and said, “Hi ‘good morning’ man!” I was touched. Not that he read my posts, but that he actually reads. Oh, he went through a phase with the Wimpy Kid series, but aside from that, getting him to read was like getting him to clean his room. I tried reading Huckleberry Finn with him. He just never got into it.

He was always more into sports. And he was always better at that than I was. Especially basketball. I didn’t mind the shooting hoops part of it, but you had to do a lot of running first. And then again. And again, and again, and again. That was just never my thing. I guess that’s why I liked baseball. The only time you had to run is if you actually hit the ball. I didn’t.

To me, there was always a fascination with drifting down the river on a wooden raft. I had two uncles and a cousin who were tugboat captains. They spent their days gazing across a couple-dozen barges as they inched up the Mississippi River. And all they had to do was bump the rudder, blow the horn, and crank up the throttles. That’s my kind of job.

I was always more into adventure. I spent seven years in the Boy Scouts and loved every minute of it. Waking up in the morning to the smell of bacon, paddling a canoe down the creek to the sounds of nature, going to sleep with a pair of red eyes ten feet offshore … okay, some parts were a little more adventure-filled than others. But those were the best days of my life.

I guess that’s why I miss my time in the Navy. Not all of it. For the first four years, my job was Aviation Buffer’s Mate. I spent my days cleaning toilets and swabbing decks. But after I put on a couple of stripes, that part faded. And I have to be honest – I loved being at sea. I didn’t like the family separation and the food pretty well sucked. But I loved being underway.

My brother was a submariner. We had names for those guys, but I can’t really share them here. That’s okay, they had names for us as well. I remember a bubblehead telling me once that the Navy only had two kinds of ships – submarines, and targets. I guess he had a point. But I just couldn’t go underwater in a tin can with a bunch of other men and stay there for three months.

We all have our passions. And there are things we all do a little better than others. Hopefully, we spend our days doing something that fits into both of those categories. I love my job. There are times when I’d rather not face it, but overall, I love what I do.

A job should be more than just a paycheck. Granted, it would be hard to feel a burst of creative energy as you raise a dumpster over your head and empty it into the compactor behind you, but there should at least be some form of enjoyment in what we do. After all, you’ll be doing it a long time. And if you’re lucky, you get to quit when you’re too old to enjoy much of anything.

Work is a necessary part of life. Hopefully you enjoy what you do, but for far too many people that’s not the way it is. Still, unless your uniform has an inmate number, you probably have at least a few options. Those options may involve going back to school, learning new skills, or even moving to a new location. Only you can decide if the changes are worth the cost.

Beyond that, we can all try a little harder to balance our time with something we really do enjoy. Gardening doesn’t pay much for most people, but it sure does a lot to ease stress. I write. I don’t get paid to do it, but it’s something I enjoy. What’s your passion?

Work/life balance is all about averaging the enjoyable with the not-so-enjoyable. Find something you can enjoy, even if it’s just for an hour a day. That hour can make all the difference in the world for your sanity. Then carve out one more hour – an hour for you and your dreams. Work toward something you really want. You might just amaze yourself.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

We All Work, But Are You Working Toward Something You Want?

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

I’m still trying to figure out this morning routine. You know, the one that starts with getting out of bed and ends with going to work. Those two parts aren’t all that hard to figure out. It’s everything in between that’s all jumbled up. When I was working before, I had a solid routine every day. I need to get back to that routine. I do better when I don’t have a chance to think.

That said, I’m thrilled to be working again. People say if you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Okay, people lie. It’s still work, some days more than others. But it’s work I enjoy. I like being in the thick of things, making something work that wasn’t working when I got there. Sometimes I break stuff just so I can fix it. Oops! Did I say that out loud?

I remember when I took my ASVAB test to enter the Navy. That’s a vocational aptitude test that tells the recruiter what kind of job you’d be good at. Funny thing is, more than forty years later, I’m writing that test. I write questions for different sections of the test and, all told, I’ve written close to 1000. So, if you’ve ever wondered who writes this stuff? The answer would be me.

When I took the test, I wanted to be a photographer or a member of a flight crew. Imagine my surprise when the recruiter said electronics or nuclear power. Excuse me??? Electronics guys are nerds, and nuclear techs glow in the dark! No thank you. Is there anything in there about being a rock star? I can do that!

Well, I went with electronics technician, but only after the recruiter promised I wouldn’t have to wear a pocket protector. I made him put it in writing. Until that day, I’d never had even a remote interest in electronics. But you know, that test did exactly what it was designed to do. It let them take an unsuspecting soul and put him in a job with the greatest amount of openings.

Okay, I’m kidding. The test is designed to measure aptitude, not interest. And, as it turns out, I had an aptitude for electronics. Maybe not so much electronics, but a keen interest in how things are supposed to work, and a fascination with figuring out why they didn’t. And most of the stuff I worked on was broken. Pilots are good at that. I fix it, they break it. Again, and again, and again.

Somewhere along the line, I found my ability to write. I didn’t mean to. Our company had asked us to submit a list of three things they could do better, and I was more than happy to help. A week later, one of the VPs came to me with my submission in hand. Yes, my heart skipped a beat. “This is it,” I thought, as I did a mental inventory of all the personal stuff I’d have to pack.

But he wasn’t there to complain. Okay, he wasn’t there to agree, either. Turns out, none of my suggestions were taken to heart. But I’ll never forget what he said. “I didn’t know we had anybody in the company that could write like this.” A month later I traded in my meter probes for a keyboard and began my career as a technical writer. Funny how things work out.

A few years later, I was asked to write some functional requirements for a software change. Basically, what does it need to do in order to get the job done? People actually write these things. Still, if you’ve ever used any kind of software, you know developers have a mind of their own, and the finished product doesn’t always match the requirements. And on we go.

But in my case, it was the perfect blend of skills. A technical mind, an ability to write, and an inner drive to figure out problems and make things work better. If you want to see me on a bad day, ask me to write a report. I was born to fix stuff, and when I’m in the middle of that, there is no such thing as a long day.

Sometimes, we find our true calling in the last place we’d think to look. We get so focused on the how that we forget the why. And when we do, we find ourselves working really hard toward something we never wanted. “It’s a living,” we say. Yep. So is doing the things that you were born to do. The question is, which would you rather be doing?

Focus on the dream, and the “how” will present itself. It may not be what you’d thought, and it may be the last thing you’d imagined yourself doing. But if what you’re doing hasn’t opened up your dreams, it probably never will. Be open to change. There are a lot of paths to reach your goals. Find one you can enjoy, and the trip will be that much nicer.

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

© 2020 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