by Heather K. Terry | Featured Contributor
This past week, I’ve been busy planning an international business trip that, truth be told, I don’t really feel much like going on. Not because I don’t love the notion of just flying off to Peru, but because I have to leave my baby behind. Granted, she will be with her father, her grandmother, and her nanny, so she probably won’t even notice I’m gone. But I am feeling a lot of guilt over having to leave her.
I was having trouble sleeping last night over this because I always feel a lot of anxiety when my work gets in the way of my life.
Then it struck me—the weight of that thought.
I don’t like when work gets in the way of my life.
To me, that means I am doing it right. Because for a lot of people, it’s the other way around. Life gets in the way of their work. It was like that for me when I was an actress, I admit it.
Back then, everything revolved around me and my career. I was so focused on getting my fifteen minutes that I would be frustrated if a family event came up that I was expected to attend. Or, if my friends wanted me to be somewhere, I almost resented them for inviting me. Like, didn’t they know how busy I was? How swearword screwed up was that?
Luckily, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten wiser. When I left the world of acting to be an entrepreneur, I realized that if my company were to fail, it wasn’t going to be my business contacts whom I would turn to. Those connections would be long gone if anything were to happen to the business.
It occurred to me that I was missing out on my life and on those human connections that really matter.
Last night, when I was up worrying about leaving my little girl, I started to think about how many people in my life are constantly attached to their cell phones and laptops. Living life through a screen.
I thought about the friends I no longer spend time with because they’re always too busy with work to just hang out.
I thought about how, when I was younger and in pursuit of fame and fortune, there was a time where I lost sight of what was really important.
And then I took a deep breath and put things in perspective.
My daughter is growing up with a strong woman as a role model. I own a successful company and sometimes that physically takes me away from home. But when I am home with my child, I am home with my child.
When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do does not involve checking email. I have some time with my daughter, and then her father takes over and the two of them enjoy each other’s company before he goes to work.
While they hang out, I have a cup of drinking chocolate, I look at the trees, and I enjoy my life. Before I sit down to work, I make a point of reaching out and connecting with my mother by sending her an email. Or I text a photo of the baby to my sister. Or I call my aunt to check in.
I make a connection with a human being I love.
And it isn’t until I’ve fulfilled that need to reach out to someone who matters to me that I start my work day.
I will work from home during the day, unless I’m needed at the office. I take frequent breaks through the day to relieve the nanny, so I can spend time with the baby. I squeeze in a yoga class whenever I can, being sure to take time every day to do something for my own personal well being.
Then, when my husband gets home from work around 7 or 7:30, we turn our phones off and enjoy just being together without any distractions.
I am living my dream life every single day. Those little things I do during the day end up being very important when times like this arise where I have to do something I don’t want to do. Because overall, my life is in balance and I am happy. Can you say the same? If not, maybe you need to make some adjustments.
There will be times when you can’t control work interfering, no matter how close to perfect you’re living your life. And if you love what you do, that’s ok. As long as you have a balance you’re happy with.
If I could go back and have a word with my 20-year-old self, I would say, “Heather, smarten up and pay attention because you are missing your life, and it’s not worth it.”
If the words you are reading right now have any influence at all on you, I hope you will take my message to heart. Is your work interfering with your life, or is it the other way around?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to look back and realize I spent my 30s staring at the screen of a cell phone. I want to look back and say, “You know what? I lived the shit out of my life.”
Celebrated health coach, cooking instructor, yogi, and writer, Heather K. Terry, is a true health aficionado. She is co-founder and COO of NibMor Chocolate, co-founder of the Gluten Free Sugar Cleanse, and a strong advocate of eating real, simply prepared, organic foods and avoiding genetically modified, highly-processed food-like objects. A graduate of The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and The French Culinary Institute of Manhattan, Heather’s passion for food and nutrition are palpable.