The leaves are back, the courthouse canopy full and shady. Colorful tulips anchor the Square’s four corners and splash color here and there along the sidewalks. Music wafts on an evening breeze. People lounge and children scamper in the soft green-grass carpet of Denton’s living room.
Twilight Tunes opened on the Square for the first of 2014’s 11-week Thursday evening local music series. Brave Combo will close the 34th Arts & Jazz Festival tonight in Quakertown Park. Cinco de Mayo is next week. Spring is quickly giving way to summer. Whew!
“Time flies when you’re having fun.” I don’t know who coined this phrase, but it’s quite true. Luckily, in Denton, most of us are having fun. If you’re not, you definitely need a primer on where to plug in, because you are simply missing out. We at the Convention and Visitors Bureau are more than happy to help with that. Either way, though, sand is rushing through the hourglass at avalanche speed with no sign of slowing down.
The more technology advances to “simplify our lives,” the more hours we work and the less we indulge in the craft of stillness. But in those rare instances where the mind has a moment to wander, have you ever asked yourself, “What is my real role in this rat race? Does what I do matter?”
I imagine most everyone has pondered these questions at some point. It would perhaps be strange if we didn’t. There is something innate in our human nature, I believe, that longs to be significant. The flurry of too-many-hours-a-day demands and activity stifles longing, taxes dreams and wearies souls. The quest for meaningful moments is back-burnered again and again in our society that will surely be historically documented as the most time-depraved in the world.
In more than 25 years of destination marketing, I confess there were times that I wondered what about my work affected others, how it was important. Since coming to Denton, however, I’ve quit wondering. I know.
Life’s better in Denton because of what we at the CVB make happen. In fact, tourism in Denton County is responsible for 5,830 jobs and a $13.5 million impact on our local tax receipts. Direct travel spending accounts for more than $6.5 billion in our Denton County businesses. Tourism is a positive economic stroke that affects our daily quality of life.
This is great stuff, important to our city. And while that thrills me, how does it matter to individual people?
In the center of our city stands the 118-year-old crown of Denton County, the courthouse. Time decorates all four sides of her spire, ticking minutes off one-by-one for more than a century. One day several years ago, that clock struck a personally significant second as I gazed across the treetops from my office window and “got it.” I finally grasped fully how the work with which I fill my life’s hours matters to other people. It’s measured in time.
Time is a luxury. It is scarce and highly valued. Budgeting time is as great a concern as budgeting finances when families plan vacations. And far too often, vacations have been minimized to harried three-day weekends or a couple of days tacked onto a business trip. I can only imagine how much more difficult the challenge will be if year-round school becomes the norm. Without intervention, time devoted to togetherness, reconnecting and intimacy at any level may be relegated to a heap of outdated ideologies.
We offer Denton as a doable, desirable respite for visitors, yes, but also for Dentonites. This place is special. Our brand states the truth. We are original and independent. We are a place that values “being present” and investing our minutes in the pursuit of passion and experience, stuff that memories are full of and that matter in the long run. This is the Denton vibe people talk about. It is our essence. And it is manifested in many ways across numerous interest areas. We are blessed with history, horses, music, art, culture, entrepreneurship, university influences, creativity, sports and a diverse, vibrant culture.
We don’t have everything, but we have lots of things. And lots of things means a lot of different people find their time spent in Denton a valuable, meaningful, refreshing investment that lightens their lives. And that matters.
KIM PHILLIPS is vice president of the Denton Convention & Visitors Bureau at the Denton Chamber of Commerce. She loves promoting Denton’s original, independent spirit through the city’s sense of place and cast of many characters. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.