When I realized that I would be turning a half a century in December of 2018, I knew I didn’t want a big party, a fancy trip or even an extravagant piece of jewelry. I wanted to plan something memorable and do something for others.
I shared with my friends that I wanted to celebrate each year of my life by doing an act of kindness. My friends and I planned out the day by searching for ideas on Pinterest, making sure to include some intentions that directly touched each of our lives.
On a busy Saturday in the middle of the Christmas shopping season, seven of us loaded up into a minivan and went out to perform the 50 Acts of Kindness. We ended up doing more and were at it for over 12 hours. Some were extravagant and some were small, but our goal was to make an impact, however big, on 50 people.
We paid for two families eating breakfast at a local restaurant, brought treats to a very special city firehouse, filled up the gas tank of a stunned teenager at the gas station, paid for three pet adoptions, left a jar of pennies in front of a fountain for easy wish-making, gave blankets, foods and socks to the homeless, dropped off coats and toys to a crisis nursery, gave a roll of quarters and lottery tickets to several people at the laundromat, hung homemade bird feeders in the park and delivered flowers to residents at my mother’s assisted living center, among a list of other things. It was beautiful, impactful, and memorable and lots of fun!
We posted a short video made from photos we took during the day on Facebook and suddenly—our acts of kindness exploded! In just 2 days—over 1,200 people had viewed the video and many of those commented on what they planned to do to keep the acts of kindness going. Friends from near and far have since contacted me asking for the list of all 50 acts and how they could duplicate them for their own birthday celebrations.
My family still hosted a fabulous KINDNESS-themed party to celebrate my birthday and instead of presents, many of the attendees shared what bit of charity they had shared that week in celebration of my birthday. It was a wonderful way to extend the acts of kindness long after my birthday celebration was over.
Numerous studies confirm that selflessness decreases stress levels and lengthens your lifespan- I guess I better get busy planning the 100 acts of kindness for my 100th birthday!