The leader of our local church congregation has encouraged us over the last few years to find the time to perform planned acts of kindness for others. I love the idea of random acts of kindness, but planned acts of kindness? Even better.
I love the feeling I get when I do something nice for someone else. Allen had asked me a couple of times what I wanted to do for my big 4-0 this year, and as I thought about it a plan came to mind. For 39 years my birthday has been all about me. And hey, that's awesome! But I thought it would be even awesomer to do something for someone else. Better yet, a lot of somethings. When I told Allen of my plan to perform 40 planned acts of kindness for others throughout March, using whatever money he would have spent on a birthday gift for me, he agreed.
I decided that I wanted to have my kids help out as much as possible so that they could experience that addicting, happy feeling that comes from doing kind things for others. I also planned to have all 40 things done by midnight on my birthday, March 26th.
Here's what I did.
1. Spent some time flying kites with our new friends at RAH.
3. Bought candy bars for my cashier and bagger at the grocery store.
4. Made and gifted St. Patrick’s Day necklaces to the residents of Trinity Mission Care Center.
5. Gave a friend a much-deserved gift.
6. Bought some fun cupcakes for our friends at Medallion Manor.
7. Donated 3 boxes full of books to my kids’ elementary school’s library.
8. Donated 1200 swagbucks to the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
9. Donated a ginormous box full of fun magazines to our local hospital (Thanks Chip & Becky!).
10. Gave money to a homeless person.
11. Hid Easter Eggs filled with small prizes all over the place.
12. Brought flowers to a friend.
13. Donated a little extra to one child’s classroom fund.
14. Left quarters in the candy machines at the mall.
15. Nominated a very deserving 1st grade teacher for a district award.
16. Donated to a cute girl collecting money for the American Heart Association.
17. Left a bag with some change in it on a vending machine.
18. Gifted a new pair of stripey socks that I loved to a fellow sock-loving friend.
19. Took some treats to a friend.
20. Posted happy quotes in random places (elevators, street signs, people’s cars).
21. Donated to a friend's Walk for a Cure (Breast Cancer Awareness) campaign.
22. Bought a grocery gift card and asked the cashier to give it to whoever he thought could use it.
23. Bought some “Free Ice Cream” coupons from our favorite grocery store and passed them out in the store/parking lot.
24. Donated some peanut butter and cereal (2 of my favorite things!) to Community Action.
25. Busted out my sewing machine and made a purse like ElemenoB’s for a friend who commented on how much she loved it.
26. Made a donation towards finding a cure for FOP.
27. Put out the neighbors' garbage cans the night before garbage pick up.
28. Picked up trash and trash cans that had blown all over the neighborhood during a wind storm on garbage pick up morning.
29. Donated some needed items to Kids on the Move.
30. Left treats in the teacher’s mailboxes at the elementary school.
31. Made a gift for a friend.
32. Paid for the car behind me in Wendy’s drive-through.
33. Took a gift to a well-deserving friend.
34. Sent Red Vines to a pregnant lady in Canada who is craving them.
35. Left “Crayon Bombs” (boxes of Crayolas with this quote attached) around the city.
37. Purchased a STF gift card and taped it to the front door for the next customer to find.
38. Let my kids ride the crappy rides at the mall that I never want to pay for (paid for 2 other kids, too!).
39. Took some dessert to a dear friend.
40. Put together and donated birthday bags for Juvenille Justice Services.
Without going into details on each planned act of kindness (each one could be its own post, really) and the effect that so many of them had on me, I will say one thing - this was easily my best birthday, EVER.
Forty years feels pretty good on me.