So I’ve contemplated whether or not to share a recent adventure I went on. It was one of the most fun and memorable things I’ve ever done but I was hesitant to write about it because I didn’t want to cast a boasting shadow over this little project. With that being said yesterday on my preferred radio station I heard the story of a teacher who took his extra earnings and paid over $400 wiping clean all delinquent lunch accounts for his students. I was so inspired. Hearing his story warmed my heart and it was in that moment that I decided I would write this blog to encourage others to pay it forward.
This year for my birthday I decided that I wanted to do something, but not just anything. I wasn’t sure what it was but I wanted to do something different, something memorable. I only turned 29 so there wasn’t much to celebrate lol. Long story short, I decided to be the giver this year. I went against my own grain and celebrated my birthday all week long completing little tasks in a pay it forward type project, 29 for 29 and let me just say it was the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER! Once I made my list of 29 tasks I was just plain giddy. So excited to start this birthday week. At first I thought maybe I could do it all in a day but that simply wasn’t possible so I set out to complete a few each day all week long. Some were for strangers, some for family and friends; some simple, others a bit more time consuming but all of them offering a little piece of joy all their own. At times I felt like Santa, sneaking around with every effort to leave my mark without being seen. I wasn’t able to get pictures of all 29 because of this exact reason but I kept a list for tracking purposes.
- Smile at 10 people
- Write a letter to a family member
- Make an unexpected phone call
- Praise a parent with a child in the store
- Leave a teddy bear for a child at the fire station
- Donate books to a church
- Do something unexpected- I brought breakfast to some of my favorite kiddos
- Take care of the bill of the car behind me
- Breakfast in bed for my family
- Say yes to the girls all day long (okay, this was a little hard but it helped to remind me to let go of the little things)
- Praise to my team
- Do something special for Madilyn
- Surprise someone with lunch
- Give special thanks
- Pennies near the fountain
- Leave a “You’re beautiful” note on the mirror in a public restroom
- Tape coupons to items in the grocery store (SO FUN!)
- Leave change in the kiddie machine
- Post-it note of inspiration
- Do something for a friend
- Do something for someone who would least expect it
- Donate clothes
- Do something special for your husband
- Tape a $1 bill to a vending machine
- Coffee for a homeless person
- Leave a book for someone in a public place
- Make someone’s day
- Anonymous note of appreciation left behind for the cleaning lady
- Remind someone close to you just how much they mean to you
29 for 29 Highlights
As I said, I loved doing this whole list but there are a few moments that will forever standout and brings me back to the feeling of completing each task at a time. The first being the mission of smiling at 10 people in a day, this is harder than it seems. Eye contact doesn’t bother me but you don’t realize how much you don’t really look at people unless you make an effort. We are too consumed in everything else we are doing, our phones, our children, fishing through our bags, worrying about this and that. I was walking through the mall doing my best to genuinely smile and brighten every one of those ten individuals’ days but as I passed by a family I smiled at the parents and happened to meet the eyes of the young child in tow. With the smile still on my face she instantly responded with the biggest smile as if my recognition of her made her feel grown up. She was a beautiful little girl with a smile that lit up the room. The whole project made sense and provided clarity (if ever there was doubt) in that girl’s smile.
The second would be the little project of doing something special for Madz. She loves art and she is always giving us pictures so I decided to return the favor and I did a little role reversal. I made her a picture of our family and wrote To: Maddie Love: Mommy. When I gave it to her she took an extra moment to pause looked at me and said “It’s beautiful! Thank-you, I love you, Mommy” and gave me the biggest hug. It was AWESOME!
Last but certainly not least was the pay it forward act of grabbing coffee for the person behind me. Our local Old McDonald’s has $1 coffee so I grabbed myself one and got the $4 of the person in the car behind me. I tried to hurry away from the drive thru but as I glanced in my rear view mirror I saw her get her card back, which leads me to believe that she got the car behind her. I don’t know if it went any further back than that, but in that moment I started a PIF chain, so cool that I’m still smiling about it. Here are a few more fun pics of this little project.
In the end, I echo my statements from a few weeks ago, it’s your birthday relish in it and celebrate. It is your personal holiday but I cannot tell you how crazy-good it feels to be the giver on your birthday. In regards to budget, I will say I wished at times that I had more money to be able to do more. It would’ve been nice to buy someone’s full tank of gas or handout grocery cards, and maybe in a few years I’ll be there but getting creative and including the priceless items for those near and dear to me was a great feeling too. I can’t tell you how much this brightened my whole week. It was hard to have a bad day, and with the anticipation of emotion this was a welcomed change of pace. I cannot encourage everyone enough to do something like this of your own. Even if it’s just once. It’s worth it. Celebrate life, whether it’s yours or someone else’s I encourage you to challenge yourself. Spread the only thing that matters, love ❤