The thing that struck me most about the effort was being able to see people I work with in a different light. You won’t be surprised that some were introspective, others were talkative, and a few were focused 100% on doing the task fast.
While I was observing and participating, my mind went to the people who would receive the 5-pound bags. What would they make with the onions? Soup, salad, and if they’re really lucky maybe top some burgers with them. The family would come together for a meal, and that would likely be the highlight of their day.
Dinner with the family was always the biggest highlight of my day growing up as a kid. It’s fleeting, comforting, sometimes peaceful and sometimes hilarious. And always meaningful, especially now that we’re not together for dinner as a whole family very often. The one thing I insist on in my work/life balance, is being home for dinner most nights of the week. I don’t mind working extra on the weekends, if needed (and not during the 2-3 weekends each year that I plan a family event out of town); I’ve just got to have dinner at home during the week to remind myself of who I am and that I am loved, loving, and appreciated--just like you.
It wasn’t until yesterday that I knew for sure why I insist on dinner. Packing onions, thinking of food and family, I came to realize that those meals make up our lives. That one hour a day to be with the ones you love, in your home, is who you really are. In this volunteer effort I got to see a tiny bit of that side of my coworkers--who they are outside of work. It was enlightening and enjoyable.
What feeds your work/life balance? Feel free to share your comments.