How I find balance — October 2015

How volunteering for Habitat for Humanity helps Faith Matchett stay balanced.

Faith Matchett, 52, vice-president of operations, Atlantic and Eastern Canada, Farm Credit Canada; doctoral student; volunteer, Habitat for Humanity; member, Canadian Federation of University Women; Moncton, NB

I work really hard — it’s more than a 40-hour week. And I travel a lot; I’m on the road 108 nights a year. I do a lot of reading, writing and thinking in hotel rooms and on planes. When it comes to stress, it helps me if I think about the fact that I choose to volunteer.

[The work I do for Habitat] doesn’t feel like charity; it feels like you’re coming together as a group to do something that’s good for everyone. I could write a cheque, but there’s something about going and doing — experiencing it — that makes it different. Your heart is really in it.

At the Habitat build I did in El Salvador, the family who was receiving the house had little twin girls. They and their mother were often the ones who brought in our lunch. At Habitat, the families for whom homes are being built are closely involved and help in various ways; you develop this relationship with the family that is unique and special.

Best of all, it’s physical labour — there’s nothing like that when you work with your head all day. I love to learn, I love to use that part of my brain; I work for one of the best companies in the world and I love, love, love my job, but I go home brain tired. When I go on a Habitat build, I come home physically exhausted, and it’s such a good tired.

I only have so many years in my life and my philosophy is that I want to get to the finish line spent.