By DANA DITTMAR
CEO, SCC Chamber
There is one life lesson I have never learned — how to slow down from a constantly hectic pace.
Supposedly, we are encouraged to seek balance in our work and private lives, making sure there is plenty of time for fun, family and friends. In theory, this sounds divine. We leave the job when we turn off the desk lamp and spend quality evenings with loved ones over dinner. On the weekends, we head to the beach or a movie, maybe have friends over for a backyard cookout. This is how it works in the magazines, anyway.
In reality, one or the other spouse often works a little late, which throws off the dinner schedule (it either gets cold or one of you goes ahead and eats alone in front of the TV). Chances are you haven’t had time to go to the grocery store anyway, so the two of you meet and grab a quick bite somewhere before heading home. The laundry basket is full, and you need something to wear to work tomorrow. Or the litter box needs emptying or the checkbook needs balancing.
If you don’t get these little chores done during the week, you have to knock it out on Saturday, which means no cookout in the back yard. No beach either, since you haven’t had time to hit the gym and get into bathing suit shape. Sunday you’re so wiped out you just want to veg out, work the Sunday crossword puzzles and watch movies on the Hallmark Channel.
How is it we seldom get to live the lifestyle they show in the magazines? The ones with perfectly decorated picnic tables and uniquely delicious appetizers whipped up in no time. Where the house is gleaming with a pre-set dinner table, fresh flowers, and the perfect décor. Where is my HGTV (Home & Garden Television) life?
Last weekend I was at the Ruskin Tomato and Heritage Festival selling tomato sandwiches (oh my, were they delicious). On Sunday I did laundry and helped my husband grout someone’s bathroom. This weekend I’ll be at Freedom Plaza organizing a mini Relay for Life to raise money for the American Cancer Society. I love all the charity work I do, but I think I need a weekend off.
It is vitally important to seek that balance between business and personal life. We still need to give our all to making our businesses profitable and productive. But at the end of the day, even if you’re just splitting a sandwich at the local sports bar, make time for the loved ones in your life.
I may never get to live the magazine lifestyle, but I wouldn’t give up the chaotic, spontaneous, less than perfect, but always-something-to-do life I have now. I just wish we had a washer and dryer at the chamber so I could at least try to spend Saturdays at the new movie theater. And I need to teach the cat how to empty her own litter box.