Thirty-Three (Acts of Kindness)

Birthday Wish

Today is my thirty-third birthday.

I have made it to 33, and I’m better for it. If that’s not something to celebrate, what is?

And I want YOU to help me celebrate.

I don’t normally use this space to ask people for anything, and I’m really not in the habit of asking for things. Today, however, I am asking for something that requires a bit more effort than your standard Facebook birthday wish. Don’t get me wrong, I totally appreciate the Facebook posts, but I would rather you focus your energy toward something even better. It may make you a little uncomfortable, but I promise that it’s worth the effort. Do you think you are up for it?

Let me begin with a little background information that may shed some light on why I’m starting this new birthday tradition.

I doubt that when people think about me that the first thought that comes to mind is how kind I am. Most people probably think that I’m antisocial or rude. That’s really not true. I am shy so people often mistake that for my being antisocial or rude. Really, I am just trying to avoid being the center of attention as much as possible, or I am waiting until I have really thought out what I’m going to say. I wait until I have something to say before I speak.

You may hear me say, “I hate people,” when I’m having a rough day where I have had to deal with a lot of unfriendly people, but the truth is that I honestly love people. Yes, I said it. I don’t like to be around them all the time because it is exhausting for me as an introvert, but I love people. I like learning what makes them tick and what lights them up. One of my absolute favorite things to do is to have a conversation with someone about something that they’re passionate about. You learn so much more about someone when you can get them talking about what they love. Seriously, try it.

I believe that there is good in most people, and, if you respect them and show them kindness, you will have a chance to see it. I try to show people (and animals) kindness whenever and however I can, and I try my best to leave things a bit better than I found them. I truly believe that the best way to make someone’s day a little bit better is to be kind to them without expecting anything in return.

This week, I want to make the world a little bit better and a little bit kinder, and, in order to do that, I need your help. For my birthday, I want to see if, together, we can perform at least 33 different random acts of kindness.

This is something that I do regularly, but I rarely share the details. I don’t need praise from anyone for doing these things, and, to be clear, that is not why I’m writing this. I will continue to do this whether or not anyone reads this or participates. I do these things without expecting anything in return other than the personal satisfaction that I tried to make someone’s day a little bit better. I’m hoping that maybe this will inspire you to do the same.

Here are a few of the acts of kindness that are a regular part of my routine:

  • Adding an extra item or two to my Sam’s Club order to donate where it is needed: paper products, feminine hygiene products, soap, shampoo, etc. for the local women’s shelter or pet food and cat litter for the local animal shelters.
  • Buying the order for the next car in line at the drive through – especially if it is a veteran or an elderly person.
  • Returning carts to the cart return for elderly customers or parents with children tagging along.
  • Offering to take group photos for strangers or suggesting to a parent that I can take their photo for them so that they can actually be in the photo with their kids.
  • Always, always, always waving back to a child that waves to me or says hello.
  • Asking someone that looks like they need help if they actually do need help – they look lost, they can’t reach an item on a high shelf, etc. Most people won’t ask for help but really appreciate it if you offer it.
  • Acknowledging others: say hello, say thank you, congratulate people for everyday accomplishments.

These are small things, but small things can make a big difference for someone. You can never be sure what someone is going through. You could save someone’s life by showing them kindness. Your kindness matters. Think about that.

So, what do you think? Will you help me make the world a little bit kinder by performing one act of kindness to help me celebrate my birthday this year?

It isn’t a huge commitment, I promise. You can do something small. Every little bit of kindness counts. Go out of your way to be extra kind today for kindness’ sake.

Be kind. Always.

If you do choose to participate, and I really hope that you do, please let me know how you are sharing kindness by commenting here or sharing your random acts of kindness on social media by tagging me and/or using the hashtag #BirthdayBeKind.

If you’re interested in participating, but you’re at a loss for what you can do, here are some places to find inspiration: