Talking to some friends last night, I was reminded of a lesson I learned during my "carnival" days (as fellow blogger Bruce refers to the trade show biz). Back then, I was a workaholic ball of stress most of the time. I would have laughed at anyone who even suggested the idea of life balance. Bah!
One day I was at a team meeting to discuss a new pricing model. I was not happy with most of the decisions being made. Frustrated and fatigued, I kinda freaked out. Angst and argument emanated from me like the world might actually end if this (clearly faulty) pricing model passed into reality.
Later on, my boss AD met with me in the hallway. In a Tim Gunn tone he said, "Charlene, I'm worried about you."
I vented. He listened then continued, "What we're doing here... it's not life and death you know."
He was right of course. I heard the words and agreed. On an intellectual level anyway; enough to temporarily get my knickers out of a twist.
A few weeks later, a fellow carny friend and I were taking a break, strolling the back streets of Cannes, France. Our path became blocked by a crowd of people in an unlikely spot. I stepped around a tall, thin lady holding a rat-sized dog.
Nestled between road and curb was a body; neck and limbs twisted in unnatural positions. His mangled scooter was several yards back near an only slightly dented car.
When the SAMU ambulance arrived, AD's words rang in my mind even more loudly than the sirens, "Life and death. Life and death. Life and death." Over and over. Life and death.
I stared at the wedding ring on the man's bloody left hand and pictured his wife receiving the news of his tenuous state. Did he have kids? I wondered painfully.