Was it ridiculous to turn my birthday into a month-long event/campaign/fundraiser/whatever? Yes. I am, as they say, pushing thirty. Women of This Certain Age are not supposed to wear Burger King crowns as “tiaras” and demand an ungodly amount of attention and/or ice cream. I should be embarrassed.
First and foremost, I need to thank everyone who donated to my charity:water campaign and helped me exceed my goal of saving 28 lives. To date, we’ve raised over $600! By far the most successful fundraiser I’ve ever had – even better than the time I offered personalized limericks as an incentive (And what an incentive it was – I rhymed “schadenfreude” with “does it annoy ya?” Poetry.).
I also had a lot of fun and some good response with the social media experiment portion of my birthday project – the 28 for 28 Facebook page. I like sharing things I care about, and I care about my birthday! No, I mean, I care about ways to make the world better. Thanks to those of you who got involved with that, too.
I was determined to spend my actual birthday committing 28 Random And Not So Random Acts Of Kindness. I made lists, I set a budget, I made timetables. But because I was excited, I started two days early. And because the birthday weekend involved several Unscheduled Naps, I finished two days late. That’s me all over.
I got the idea to do this by searching online, so I’m presenting this list in no particular order to maybe inspire another internet stranger one day:
Birthday (Weekend) Acts Of Kindness
1. Bought my boss tulips. They immediately folded in half and looked incredibly pathetic. But luckily I revived them (aka cut the stems) before she saw them
2. Stuck a coffee gift card on the door of a very deserving friend
3. Drew something for a friend who needs a pick-me-up
4. Donated my hair to Locks of Love. The entire ponytail you see up above is now on its way to Florida. Factoid: the first time I did this, I was 14, and it made the front page of my hometown newspaper. I’m just trying to get to that level of fame again.
5. Tipped the stylist of my new ‘do 28%
6. Helped a stranger move a desk (or helped a stranger rob another stranger – either way, helping!)
7. Bought a friend lunch
8. Bought a different friend a beer
9. Helped yet another friend (I don’t want to brag but I have more than two) set up a blog – check it out, especially if you’re a beer fan! Also, I would like to note I agreed to do this before I knew there was going to be a paragraph of nice things about me in it. That just made me more eager to help.
10. Bought a bunch of children’s books to donate to a program I care about
11. Bought a friend tea (I was going to buy coffee for the person in line behind us, but he turned out to be a very cantankerous man, and my friend is nicer)
12. Bought a thank-you gift for someone who was nice to me recently
13. Helped the same cantankerous old man from #11 exit a “confusing” building at the St. Paul Art Crawl
14. Recycled plastic bags and donated food at a grocery store
15. Left money at a Redbox rental machine, along with a note
16. Left a 110% tip at Caribou Coffee. I did the math so that I, like every pro athlete, can say I “gave 110%”
17. Donated books to a Little Free Library (I love those things!)
18. Left money at Nice Ride MN station. I don’t want to talk about the poorly-worded note I also left there.
19. Dropped about thirty online coupons in a basket at Target
20. Donated clothes to Goodwill
21. Gave my neighbor’s dog a treat
22. Recovered a friend’s lost phone
24. Picked up Target gift cards for The Bridge For Youth
25. Wrote thank-you notes
26. Left money at a vending machine
27. Bid on silent auction items for local fundraisers at BiddingForGood.com
28. Left quarters in laundry room for my neighbors
So there you go. Twenty-eight mostly small, mostly deliberate acts of kindness to celebrate twenty-eight mostly great years. Thank you, everyone, for making them worth celebrating.