I think I may have a birthday hangover…and not one caused by the delicious wine I enjoyed last night either.
It’s a happiness hangover. As in, the happiness from the celebrations and well-wishes have hung on over til today. Okay..that might be stretching the analogy just a wee bit. Still I gotta say I woke up this morning with a huge smile on my face none the less!
Before I share the list of the acts of kindness and compassion I have to say a couple of things. The most important thing being I LOVED THIS. I am so SO going to do this again but better next year.
Random is fine…but a bit of planning would have made this a thousand times better.
So here’s the list. Some of them you would might have seen on my fan page. I hope if this inspires you to do something (even one thing) yourself you let me know.
1. I’ve already left a Starbucks gift card with the person behind me in line. They said no at first! lol I explained it was a birthday gift..mine. I then asked them to pass it down the line til it was empty. Talk about smiles!
2. I also made it a point to hold the elevator for an older couple who were way at the other side of the garage. They were all smiles and surprised. It only took an extra 8-10 seconds but that elevator can take forever to come back if you miss it.
3. Took extra time out of my morning to walk with an elderly gentleman that Charlie and I sometimes see and lament with him over the loss of his driver’s license. I let him talk it out and nudged him to think of things differently. He was smiling at the end. It would have been easier to simply wave across the park and keep going but he seemed deflated today. I’m glad I took the time.
4. Stuck up a flyer in my building’s elevator that said “I am in charge of how I feel today, and today I choose to feel fabulous! Make it a wonderful day”
5. Dropped off some clothes/shoes and a couple of motivational books at a women’s shelter
6. Waved over a packed car that was looking for parking in the very busy lot. Told them I parked two rows over and I’d meet them there as I was leaving. Now that got me a HUGE smile!
7. I went to Chapters today to use up my gift card I had received as a thank you a while back. The book I wanted was on sale so I had just over $2 left. Handed it to the lady in line who I noticed searching in the kids bargain bin with her two little ones. Many of those books are around that amount so yay!
8. Driving down the busy street I noticed a car trying to leave a lot. I know that lot and its a pain to see whats coming so I slowed, stopped and waved her out. The reduction in stress was almost visible.
9. Picked up a big bag of cat litter, cat food, added in Charlies collars/leashes he outgrew before they barely saw the light of day and dropped them off at the local shelter.
10. Brought the volunteers at the shelter a box of chocolates. I am so grateful for people who do this heartbreaking work I figured a thank you was nice..but a chocolate one was nicer.
11. Offered to let the lady who was just buying one thing at the check out to go ahead of me. She was so surprised. Hey, it only took a few seconds extra for me and I was in no hurry.
12. At the grocery store near me you can get a small discount for bringing a reusable shopping bag. I love that. Behind me was an older lady who said she wished she had one like mine because the straps are wide and wouldn’t hurt her hands like the plastic shopping bags do. I had three…needed only one…so I left one with the cashier for her. Goodness knows I tend to collect them and certainly have enough!
13. Walking Charlie at the park I made it a point to say hello to all the people who walked by us. I said it with a smile and almost everyone smiled back.
14. I spent extra time with a child at the park who loves Charlie. It’s pretty clear to me this boy has some trouble socializing with the other children. I realized this over time and also noticed how much he enjoys petting and talking to Charlie. I think he feels important too when I ask him to tell the other children about holding your hand out so Charlie can say hello by sniffing it before they pet him. It’s amazing how a simple thing can transform a boy from withdrawn to confident. We spent a long time there but this kid thrived at least for a while. (way to go Charlie!)
15. Left a gift of children’s books for a family I know of with some pretty lovely kids. I know the family isn’t well off and I also know the kids will love the books.
16. Helped my a couple wrangle their groceries and two huge boxes of pampers and a stroller with a sleeping baby into the building. How do you parents DO it? Baby stayed asleep and the parents were pretty happy about that.
17. Let someone know that they were parked in a tow-zone. They had no idea. They didn’t understand the sign…I swear the government wrote the days you can’t park in such a cryptic way as to confuse people on purpose.
18. Searched out the caretaker in my building and thanked him for all his hard work. I know that he works his butt off, especially as they cut his hours recently. He still gets everything done and with a smile. I let him know my appreciation for that.
19. I printed off all the coupons for Michael’s and when they were still out of the glue I needed I found someone to give the coupon too. In fact, I had 4 coupons. One was only for frames so I wandered over to the frames/pictures area and looked for someone. I found a lady who was really excited to get a 40% off coupon. She stated that now she could get the frame that she really wanted! who hoo!
20. Left 2 other coupons in the areas because I didn’t see anyone there. Hopefully someone who needs ’em finds ’em!
21. Opened my change purse and dumped all of it into the Seeing Eye Dog charity box. The work they do is amazing.
22. Bought the man in a wheelchair asking for money a coffee and a cookie. He’s there all the time, rain or shine, with something positive to say or simply hello even if you have no change for him. I had already given all my change away so used my debit card to get him something to warm him up at least.
23. Took a moment to tell the cashier I see all the time at the grocery store that I enjoy seeing her when I come and always come to her line. I told her she is so warm and friendly that it’s a treat to chat for a few moments with her. All true!
And that’s what I have for my list. I know I said I’d do 27 things for the 27th day of the month. I didn’t quite make it. I had lots of great ideas but needed more time to implement them.
Next year, I’m going to plan ahead a little for at least some of them. I thought maybe making some doggie cookies for the doggie friends at the park, cookies or pies for friends to surprise them with might be fun but there just simply wasn’t enough time in one day.
I also think I’d like to take some pictures next time. The smiles lifted my hearts and I think it would be lovely to have a photo of some of the ‘event’s that took place don’t you?
That being said I learned a few things.
- it doesn’t cost a lot of money (or any for that matter) to change the course of someones day
- it doesn’t cost you a lot of time either
- random acts are something we can always be on the look out for..like the car in the tow-away/fine zone
- planning an act of kindness that is random for the other person is pretty awesome too…like the drop offs for the shelter
- one random act can ripple out into a beautiful wave of positive energy
- this is what Grace looks like
Walking through life looking to serve others brings a great deal of joy to ourselves. It isn’t as a servant of people that you do them. It’s as a servant of love. That is what makes all the difference.
It was my imagining that if many people started to do these types of things we might send more positive energy out into the world. Perhaps it would start a shift in the total energy and move all of us to a happier and more joyful life.
A big image, a big goal…but I think it can be done…one act of love at a time.
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