Public Service Announcement: NEED v WANT

Today I had Jury Duty.

Two weeks ago, I had a colonoscopy.

Forgive me for the “overshare” because you’re either thinking “that’s too much information, Nathan” or “dang, Nathan, that’s two bad events”.

Turns out, neither experience was as bad as I had thought and I’d do both again to “do my part”. Did I WANT to have both of these events over the past two weeks? No. But did I NEED to have them? I’d say “yes”.

Many know I turned 50 a few months ago and that’s apparently the age most people have “the procedure”. (As info, my doctor says now that studies show FORTY FIVE is the age for people to consider it…your call though). Unlike years ago when friends drank “gallons” of fluid prepping for the procedure, all I had was to take 2 pills and drink a 10 oz bottle (magnesium citrate) at 12:30 and repeat both again at 4:30 the day before the colonoscopy. Sure, I couldn’t eat any solids the day before but that actually never was a problem. I thought it would be, but I never once said to myself “I’m hungry”. I ate my “last meal” Saturday with friends around 9 and didn’t eat Sunday or again until Monday morning when we were finished around 9am. Only had water, a cup of chicken broth, and a cup of green jello for about 36 hours. Talk about some weight loss!

In any event, sometimes you gotta do things in life you don’t WANT to do – but you NEED to do.

Obviously monitoring your health is one of those (as info, I got a great report). Another “need to do’ in life is CIVIC DUTY. You don’t have to run for office. You don’t have to serve on a board. But when asked, you NEED to serve as a juror. Today, Judge Manning really stressed how important it was just seeing everyone offering for service and how it happens in every community in our country. It’s NEEDED in every community.

Many who showed up requested to opt out (various reasons) and since the General Assembly is in session this week, I’m sure I could have avoided serving as well. But, I felt like I owed it a as a member of society to serve. Other people have jobs, too, and they were there. I should be too. I needed to serve.

Long story short….we sat around for about 2.5 hours, some were excused, 30 of us were asked to “call back Monday after 6pm” and about a doze of us ended up being asked to “call back Tuesday after 6pm”. I may not end up being chosen for a jury; but I needed to experience it….I got to see one of our judges in action…..got to see a room filled with people from not just my community out here in Chapin/Dutch Fork/Irmo but throughout all of Richland County. Young, old. Black, white. Working, unemployed. We were a community of different people – but everyone wanting to serve and do our part.

It reminded me years ago when a House colleague (Rep. Bessie Moody-Lawrence) was at the podium speaking and I turned to my then-deskmate Nikki Haley and said “I have no idea what she’s talking about (referring Rep Moody-Lawrence). Then-Representative Haley reminded me that “(Rep Moody-Lawrence) was female and you’re male. She’s black, you’re white. She’s old, you’re young. She’s from rural part of state, you’re from suburbs.” That’s when it hit me. Not everyone sees things through the same spectrum. Not everyone has the same backgrounds. Not everyone thinks or acts the same. We are all different; but we all make up our state, community, homes.

I write all this to not just remind you to do the things you NEED to do for your health and community, but as a way of saying I continue to NEED and WANT to hear from everyone in the district on issues important to you. With more than 40,000 living here, obviously my votes can’t please everyone all the time; but my service can, and should.

If you aren’t receiving my COMMUNITY UPDATE emails every month, let me know by emailing me at NathanBallentine@schouse.gov. You can also call my office (803) 734-2969 or even call my home (803) 834-4613. I’ve been staying in touch for more than a decade. It’s when I send those updates, that I get the most feedback, advice, ideas on how to continue to work to make our state a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

I hope everyone continues to stay safe – and that everyone continues to stay in touch!