Editor’s Page: Balance

Finding the right mix.
Robbie Dingeman

Balancing our lives seems to be one of those elusive goals that many of us are always adjusting. While it’s easy to feel we’re juggling more than ever, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that generations before us felt that they were as busy as we do. 


We spend time with our families and friends, at work and running the business of our lives. All of that could easily fill our waking hours. Then, on top of that mix, we walk, run or work out, we read, watch movies and tinker with hobbies, we belong to groups and organizations. Then we throw in some downtime. And we wonder why it’s tough to find that just-right balance. 


I feel very fortunate to work in journalism, especially in these rapidly changing times. We tell the stories of our community. We learn something every day and occasionally help to make a difference by calling attention to what is right and wrong. Here at the magazine, our local ownership and management leaders believe in the importance of preserving local voices. That’s an honor and a responsibility that we take seriously. And we have access to communication technologies that we could scarcely have dreamed of just 20 years ago. (I’m thinking about the smartphone in my pocket that allows me to reach out immediately with just a few thumbstrokes.) Those technologies offer us the opportunity to report and deliver stories in speedy new forms.


Acknowledging that I can’t do everything can help keep me mindful that I need to take time to think each day about what’s most important.


Remember playing the kid’s game of comparing with your friends what your three wishes might be if some genie offered them? (Sure, there was always one friend who said the first wish would be three more wishes until informed that was cheating and not allowed.) We wished for: a million dollars, dream jobs, fantasy travel, world-changing missions. More recently, I’ve started to suspect that one of my three wishes would be the secret to better time management. Not just wedging more work into a shorter period of time (though that would definitely be a wonderful skill), but a better compass for balancing time spent with our loved ones, doing work we love, and taking care of all the small chores and tasks that keep our wheels rolling. 


I was explaining this to a workout buddy outside the gym and she nodded sympathetically, then said, “You can’t do everything.” It was so simple and wise. Yes, it probably seems obvious to many, but somehow it helped me to stand back and think that’s a good phrase to keep in mind as I strive to balance each day, week, month, year. Acknowledging that I can’t do everything can help keep me mindful that I need to take time to think each day about what’s most important and how to get things done. To write down the most important things to do that day and check back on how I’m doing. And to remember that others around me are doing the same. 


Working on our June Restaurant Guide reminds us that restaurateurs cheerfully balance so many diverse tasks each day in serving food to our community. We had a chance to learn more about culinary professionals while taking our eat-around-the-world journey that makes us appreciate the global cuisine we have here. Led by our intrepid food and dining editor Catherine Toth Fox, we all dived into the task of mapping out some of Hawai‘i’s best international dishes. We’re also pleased to get some inside tips from the world of wine through writers Jennifer Fiedler and Lesa Griffith checking in with some of the state’s top sommeliers. And I’m especially happy to get a rare peek into the kitchen straight from the chef of one of Honolulu’s top new restaurants. Chef Robynne Mai‘i graciously takes us behind the chef’s counter.


And, of course, our summer would be completely out of balance without something to read. Our senior editor Don Wallace did our homework for us, bringing us a variety of Hawai‘i-linked books we can tuck into our travel and beach bags or keep next to our beds. 


OK, summer, we’re as ready as we’re going to be!


Thoughts about the magazine? Please email me at robbied@honolulumagazine.com.