October 3, 2013

What I Want for my Birthday

Tomorrow I turn 32. 

Thirty. Two.

How is it possible that I'm in my 30s? That I have a baby and a husband and a car note and bills and all these other grown-up things? How is it possible that I'm HAPPIER THAN I'VE EVER BEEN even with all these grown-up stresses and responsibilities?

I used to laugh when folks would say that life gets better as you age. But it's really true.  I could wax philosophical about all the reasons why it's true, but instead I want to get to the point of this post, which is "What I Want For My Birthday."

I want things, of course.  Everybody wants things. I'd love a new handbag I don't need.  Some new tall boots for autumn fashions. 

However, I'd like to do the complete opposite of our current government right now and focus instead on need.  I don't need a lot right now.  My needs are met on a daily basis.  I'm fed. I'm loved. I have a place to rest my head.  My bills get paid (sometimes just barely).  My baby is also provided for. Friends contact me for no reason to tell me they're thinking of me; my husband tells me he loves me daily.  I have a Father in Heaven who loves me and thinks I'm pretty special.  Currently all of my physical, spiritual and emotional needs are met.

Not everyone can say the same.  And sometimes it's hard to know, because admitting that those needs aren't being met can be difficult or embarrassing.  Sometimes they need a little push. A little help.  A little love.  Even something as simple as a smile. 

So, for my birthday, I'm asking that folks perform a Random Act of Kindness as my gift.  I got the idea last year from The Birthday Project (click on that link for some fantastic ideas!) and my friends really came through:

Barbara let 70 of her AP students bring notecards for their test that day. This was their gratitude to me! (Love the "call me!")

Diane gave away free love, smiles and mustaches around her town.

Bethany gave away one of her custom-made dottery mugs (one with a Firefly quote, no less!).

Ashlie left Operation Beautiful notes on bathroom mirrors.

Helina donated blood!

I got many, many more text messages and tweets detailing "pay it forward" acts of kindness in the Starbucks drive-through (that one is a favorite any time!) and even one friend who donated $10 to a homeless man she encountered, which she urged him to use for food.

I realize some people may think that it's defeating the purpose of a selfless act to broadcast it on social media like this, but in such an angry, politically divided world, I think it's refreshing and rejuvenating to see evidence of acts of kindness like these.

So, I'd like to do this again.  I'd like to see at LEAST 32 Random Acts of Kindness for my birthday tomorrow.  Take pictures. Post them on my Facebook timeline or Tweet at me or tag me on Instagram (username: OperaWife).  Or email me.   Please let me know!

Stuck for an idea? Click on the link in an earlier paragraph to the original post that inspired The Birthday Project.  Take inspiration from the pictures above.  Or come up with something else! 

Offer to babysit for a friend, so she can go on a date with her husband or get a mani/pedi or take a NAP. 

Call your local food bank or shelter and see what they need.  Clean out your pantry/closet and take stuff to them.

Instead of throwing away those endless formula coupons, use it to buy discounted formula and donate it to a local women's shelter.

Call your local animal shelter and see if they need old sheets, blankets, pet food, etc. donations.

Wear a sign around your neck all day that says "FREE HUGS!" 

Just be KIND.  Make someone's day.  I promise you it will make yours, and mine, and it's the best birthday gift you could ever give me.

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