Wednesday, August 07, 2013

30 Random Acts of Kindness
for My 30th

My birthday has always been bizarrely important to me. As a child, my otherwise mild-mannered self would turn into an attention-seeking monster proclaiming: "It's MY birthday," to anyone who would listen. My peers would shrug and accept my royal status as fact, which only added fuel to the fire.

But ever since my boys were born, my birthday (along with the rest of my life) has taken a back seat. I get out my need to plan a themed BBQ early in the summer and have no juice left for my own birthday in mid-August. Last year I didn't really celebrate my 29th birthday at all, figuring I would save up my energy for something really cool for my 30th.

Well, my 30th is less than a week away and I have no plans. This is not because I'm moping about entering my 30s, by the way. I strongly feel that I earned those years. And, I often hear from older friends that one's 30s usually trumps one's 20s anyway.

So, I want to celebrate but I realized that a party is not quite what I have in mind. I have been reminded in recent days how incredibly nice many of my friends are. So, friends, here is my birthday challenge to you, if you choose to accept it:

I want to log 30 random acts of kindness for my 30th birthday. My goal is to recruit 30 of you to do something unexpectedly nice for someone else, and then tell me about it on my Facebook page. There are only two rules:

1. It has to be something you weren't already planning.

2. You have to tell me about it, preferably on my Facebook page, before the end of August.

As added encouragement and to let you know that I am not just sitting on the sidelines here, I will randomly choose one of the 30 (or more???) entrants to receive their own act of kindness. I can't tell you what it is yet because I hope to tailor it to whoever is randomly selected, but believe me when I say it will be a substantial gift because I've learned that those are the most fulfilling to ME. And it is MY birthday after all! :D

Your random act of kindness can be to family, friends or strangers, but I encourage you to be as creative as possible. If you always make pancakes on Saturday, but add blueberries this time, that's awesome but it's not really what I'm after. My dream is for you to get out of your comfort zone, make a bold decision, take that next step to making the world a little better place.

But don't let that scare you off, either. As I mentioned in my post last January about giving, even just $2 can do an amazing amount of good. All I ask is that if you see a need and hesitate to fulfill it, please use my birthday as the added excuse and oomph to follow through! If it makes you feel good, then you're doing it right!

Despite some of my recent grumbly posts, I really have had some amazingly positive experiences in the last two years. I would love for those good vibes to continue. It would really be the best birthday present ever to know that 30 of my friends made a difference in the world just because I was born!

Think about it, will ya? Thanks! Much love to you all!



P.S. Here's a gratuitously cute picture of my kids sharing an ice cream cone. They thought this was hilarious.






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Need a great gift? Dark & Light: A Love Story in Black and White is a beautiful and insightful board book available here. All profits go towards my son's medical needs. 

7 comments:

  1. What a great idea! My thinking cap is ON!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Replies
    1. Not even close! Didn't you see that picture of my kids? They are the cutest. I am a distant runner-up. ;)

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  3. I'm thinking about this. I turn 30 this year too. I like this idea.

    I might have to tell you about my random act of kindness after I do it- because sometimes I think the opportunity shows itself and you need to do it right away. I feel like I never plan these kinds of things.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Shasta, what a great idea! I didn't realize this was a thing but it was the first story to pop up in my news feed after flinging myself onto my bed in exhaustion just now. It doesn't feel thankless to tell somebody (or loss of somebodies) about a random act of kindness but for your birthday, and because I was inspired to do it without really understanding why, I'll share :) It was kind of a crummy day at work and I was feeling extra beat down as I got on the elevator at the office 45 minutes after I had wanted to leave work. On the elevator I met a young gay black man, dressed smartly in a ladies pants suit and a pretty wig. For whatever reason, he felt compelled to strike up a conversation with me and despite my best intentions to hurry to the train and home to clean the kitchen and make dinner, I wound up engaged in that conversation for more than an hour. As a wound our long chat down and approached the train station, Avion looked embarrassed and told me to go to alone, that he was going to wait for someone to swipe him on. Knowing full well that I had about $12.53 to last me through pay day, I offered to get him a $10 metro card so we could confine our talk on the train as we both headed deeper into Brooklyn; me to the comfortable, love-filled apartment I share with Adam, and he to yet another in a long string of homeless shelters he's found himself in since moving to the city from Atlanta. I said he'd come to pursue the real American dream, in a city that wouldn't care if he was gay or black or dressed as a man or a woman. I knew from our tall and from my 2 years in Brooklyn that Avion had not found that dream that he sought. More than once in our talk I paused to think "why me? why now? Why today?" And oddly enough, in my act of kindness, I really do feel as though I received far more than I gave. I slowed down. I stepped outside myself. I was reminded to be grateful and reminded again of my deep love for humanity and all of the little imperfections in this world, a love I'd never have known had it not been for my father. In a long talk with a 21 year old gay black man who moonlights as a lady of the night, I was reminded of my dear sweet dad, and I realized that the reason it had happened to me, today, in that moment, was because I needed it to! And then I pulled up facebook on my phone, in my privileged little live and I saw your prompt and I was like "oh." Happy birthday, Shasta! Only you would think to give so much to everyone else on this planet on the one day that's supposed to be all about you :) xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  5. Shasta, what a great idea! I didn't realize this was a thing but it was the first story to pop up in my news feed after flinging myself onto my bed in exhaustion just now. It doesn't feel thankless to tell somebody (or loss of somebodies) about a random act of kindness but for your birthday, and because I was inspired to do it without really understanding why, I'll share :) It was kind of a crummy day at work and I was feeling extra beat down as I got on the elevator at the office 45 minutes after I had wanted to leave work. On the elevator I met a young gay black man, dressed smartly in a ladies pants suit and a pretty wig. For whatever reason, he felt compelled to strike up a conversation with me and despite my best intentions to hurry to the train and home to clean the kitchen and make dinner, I wound up engaged in that conversation for more than an hour. As a wound our long chat down and approached the train station, Avion looked embarrassed and told me to go to alone, that he was going to wait for someone to swipe him on. Knowing full well that I had about $12.53 to last me through pay day, I offered to get him a $10 metro card so we could confine our talk on the train as we both headed deeper into Brooklyn; me to the comfortable, love-filled apartment I share with Adam, and he to yet another in a long string of homeless shelters he's found himself in since moving to the city from Atlanta. I said he'd come to pursue the real American dream, in a city that wouldn't care if he was gay or black or dressed as a man or a woman. I knew from our tall and from my 2 years in Brooklyn that Avion had not found that dream that he sought. More than once in our talk I paused to think "why me? why now? Why today?" And oddly enough, in my act of kindness, I really do feel as though I received far more than I gave. I slowed down. I stepped outside myself. I was reminded to be grateful and reminded again of my deep love for humanity and all of the little imperfections in this world, a love I'd never have known had it not been for my father. In a long talk with a 21 year old gay black man who moonlights as a lady of the night, I was reminded of my dear sweet dad, and I realized that the reason it had happened to me, today, in that moment, was because I needed it to! And then I pulled up facebook on my phone, in my privileged little live and I saw your prompt and I was like "oh." Happy birthday, Shasta! Only you would think to give so much to everyone else on this planet on the one day that's supposed to be all about you :) xoxo

    ReplyDelete

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