I’ve been sifting through old posts, thinking of things to write about. I came across my Birthday Project post that I wrote when I turned 35. Next month I turn 38, and I feel like it’s time to do another one. Sometimes I feel like all I read about is sad things, especially on social media. At times, I want to just live in my bubble of Captain America, running, dessert, and my family. But that’s not going to change the world.
The Birthday Project asks, “What if Birthdays were less about getting stuff, getting drunk, and getting older…and more about making the world a better place?” The purpose is to perform acts of kindness. Spend your birthday doing things for other people, surprising them, making them smile.
These are the 35 acts of kindness I did for my 35th birthday.
1. Left bottles of water and Clif Bloks for runners and cyclers at the W&OD Trail
2. Paid for several tolls for cars behind us on the Toll Road
3. Wrote thank you notes to the employees at Lowes for all their help with our remodel
4. Brought ice pops to share with kids at the park on a hot day
5. Bought the meal for the car behind me at the drive thru at Chick-Fil-A
6. Filled all the candy and toy machines with quarters at Fuddruckers
7. Surprised a family with movie tickets
8. Let several cars in front of me during rush hour
9. Wrote a letter of appreciation to the Walmart employee’s supervisor
10. Brought balloons to a co-worker
11. Donated baby clothes to someone in need
12. Posted comments on people’s blogs that aren’t my usuals (I know I get excited when I see a comment!)
13. My daughter donated 10 inches of hair to Locks of Love at the last minute even though she wanted to grow her hair as long as Rapunzel’s hair. She said she really wanted to help someone.
14. Donated to runners who were trying to raise money for charities
15. Took some friends for a ride on the carousel
16. Smiled and waved to every single runner on the trail one morning during a long run
17. Bought popcorn for a little girl who dropped hers while waiting in line at the Bridgit Mendler concert
18. Handed out Mickey lollipops at the doctor’s office
19. Handed a Target gift card to someone in line at Target 🙂
20. Bought groceries for the person in front of us in line
21. Made new friends at a nursing home
22. Left a Beauty and the Beast DVD on someone’s doorstep
23. Stopped by a free car wash and donated to their charity-St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital
24. Treated people to a train ride around the mall
25. Brought someone a meal who just had a baby
26. Arranged a magical call from Ariel to a little girl
27. Donated food to the local food bank
28. Did a Dance Dare just to make someone laugh
29. Donated tickets to an amusement park to charity
30. Brought roses for Dorothy and dog bones for Wags at The Wiggles concert which are donated to a local hospital and local SPCA
31. Made brownies for the librarians
32. Babysat for a friend
33. Handed out stickers at a park
34. Forgave someone
35. Dole Whips (in Pennsylvania) for everyone in line on me! Some people were only getting a soda. They NEEDED to try a Dole Whip float!
There was a common theme during this project; I received more than I gave. I remember when we left quarters in the machines at Fuddruckers, the manager gave us extra drinks and cookies. He didn’t know what we were doing. It was just his act of kindness towards us.
Also when I had just finished dropping off a surprise for someone, I met a lovely woman working in the Walmart bakery. I didn’t have time to make a smash cake for my daughter’s first birthday, so I told her I just wanted a little cake for the baby that had a Minnie Mouse design. When I came to pick up the cake, she presented me with the cutest Minnie-inspired cake! It was 2 layers, y’all! I was shocked by her generosity, because she certainly didn’t charge me for it.
I loved that this project was a family affair, and I could include my children. They accompanied me on many kindness trips and had a ball doing it. Hopefully they will learn by example, but also notice how FUN it is to do things for other people. I loved remembering some of the surprises we pulled off.
So now we start again. That project took me over a month, so if I start tomorrow, I can certainly get it done by my birthday in July. But really, the point is for me to start doing. Walt Disney said, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” So Mr. Disney, I’m doing it.
This world needs more kindness, and this is a simple way to add to it. It can even be as simple as to ignore and keep on scrolling on Facebook when you’re feeling stabby. If the kids are bored this summer, then go out and serve someone; it’ll be fun! I’ll keep you updated on how Birthday Project 2016 goes.
Let’s be the change. Will you join me? I’ll buy you a Dole Whip