Goal #1. Fitness/Nutrition.
- Steady progress. In addition to regular cycling and stair climbing, did lots of lifting, scrubbling, grating, and even stomping (of heavy aluminum cans for the recycling bin) at my volunteer job at a restaurant. I am on my feet for the entire six-hour shift in the kitchen and I definitely feel like it’s better than the gym. Nutrition was also good. I almost ordered a dessert with my friend after work but remembered my very first goal and changed my mind.
Goal #2. New Skills/Information/Creating Things.
- Though I consider myself to be a pretty good home cook, working in a professional kitchen has really challenged me mentally and physically. Last night, I got to use a mandolin for thinly sliced golden beets for the first time, learn that lots of wine can make the most succulent pork cheeks ever and that an industrial kitchen oven comes apart for cleaning (with many parts that can pop out, so beware!)
Goal # 3. Clean House/Eliminate Clutter.
- Happy to report that systems continued on without me even while I was away at work. All I had to do was leave a to-do list and husband and co. followed through with putting away their laundry, doing homework, wiping surfaces and even unloading the diswasher. Not everything was completed, but I was in total shock that anything was done at all. Magic!
Goal #4. Quality Time With Family/Friends.
- Hygge-filled dinner with a dear friend at the restaurant after my shift. It was the first time for both of us eating out in such high style since like the late 90’s (I kid… Well, maybe not). And the food tasted extra amazing because I earned it through my volunteering.
Goal #5. Help.
- Really got an opportunity to serve. Happy to scrub vegetables until my fingernails had dirt all under them, take trash down to the spooky basement, grate endless little mountains of ginger into a steaming cauldron of dahl and even pick up a 30 lb bag of donated organic bread for the restaurant after my shift was over.
Goal #6. Financial Independence
- Mindless shopping was not an issue because I was too damn busy. Woot!
Goal #7. Gratitude.
- Everytime I get the opportunity to volunteer at the restaurant, I feel inspired, uplifted and amazed. Benefits of working there include awesome camaraderie, a supportive community of people with similiar interests and values, free culinary education, and a lovely meal at the end of my shift. But I also get the satisfaction of knowing I am playing a tiny role in fighting against food waste (85 percent of the food they use is fresh, donated food that would have otherwise been thrown away). The organization really benefits everyone involved, and I am immensely grateful for this opportunity.