My 30th Birthday

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MadeByMeggs DOTcom -- Happy 30th - Acts of Kindness (1)

Today is my birthday. And not just any birthday. It’s my 30th birthday. Which really doesn’t mean all that much to me (HA, can someone tell my creaky knee that?). My entire life, I’ve always been a big kid at heart (see image below!). The goofball who is always willing to get friends & family to laugh. Age is only a number right? Really when it comes down too it, it’s just the number of years you have lived. Of course most people, when looking back, will consider how  they lived those years to the fullest. While I think everyone should make goals and dream big — I also think that many of us focus mostly on what they can do for themselves in those years. But I wonder what would happen if we all dedicated a small part of our lives to help others? 

MadeByMeggs DOTcom -- Happy 30th - Acts of Kindness
Big kid at heart // Yes that is me! Yes that was a birthday gift! Yes I asked for it! lol

You see, I read a blog post a long time ago, on Pinterest of a blogger who did exactly what I am about to share. For her birthday, as a means of celebrating with her kids, she opted for a new tradition. Using her age number to create an epic list of acts of kindness. And went around town with her children completing this list. How brilliant, right?? Now my girls are a bit young to understand the bigger picture — but they know what being kind means. Especially how a smile & a hi goes a long way at the grocery store! So I thought I would try to complete my list of 30 as a new tradition, and to teach my kids as much as I could along the way.

This past blog post wasn’t my only form of inspiration. I also recently discovered The ARK Project Now, which tours the nation making Acts of Random Kindness (ARK) everywhere (check out their list of ideas here). It’s amazing to watch these young people (I can say that, cus I’m old now!) create such an incredible and powerful following.
his is where we should be focusing our energy!

People, ALL PEOPLE can do this, and do this NOW!

Random Acts of Kindness You Can Do TODAY!

I began by asking friends and family who may have received or given a random act of kindness. Surprisingly I had more givers!! Which makes me so proud of the circle of people in my life!! But also gives me a phenomenal list of ideas to pass on to all of you! Some of these were my 30 acts of kindness for my birthday, but I wanted a list of ideas and suggestions for everyone to reference!

MadeByMeggs DOTcom -- Happy 30th - Acts of Kindness (5)Snail Mail — This is a magical power that is often over looked. How do you feel when you get a letter, card or package?

Meals for New Parents — I loved visitors when my children were fresh babes. They come to say hi & breath that fresh baby smell. And as much as I wanted company, those who brought food hold a special place in my heart. Didn’t matter what it was. If it was hot or easily become hot via my stove, then THANK YOU! (PS And do NOT wait for them to ASK YOU!)

Movie Night — You see those Redbox movie stations on the way into the grocery store? I’ve seen this idea in several forms. 1) Tape candy or microwave popcorn bags to the box itself with a note to enjoy with their movie 2) When returning a movie yourself, stick a dollar inside the case. (Movies cost a dollar per day.) 3) Purchase a “code pack” on the Redbox website (send them to yourself) & tape cards containing the free movie code inside. (I am signed up for the text message rewards & often pass off my “free rental” code to someone browsing the movies.)

MadeByMeggs DOTcom -- Happy 30th - Acts of Kindness (7)Coffee Fix — This was a popular winner. Pay for the people behind you in line, I do this frequently & have had it happen to me too. What a way to start someone’s day!

Visit Family — Go out of your way to spend time with your grandparents, your parents, or your aunts/uncles on a day that isn’t a birthday or holiday. Just enjoy the one-on-one time and ask questions… Like what advice would you give your 18 year old self? There are apps and websites filled with conversation  invoking questions. Make it a game if you want, and tape it if you can… That would certainly be a treasure to last forever. (Try the iPhone app Intent)

Give Compliments — I friend suggested this one. She remarked that so much attention is brought on when she is pregnant & the feeling of receiving compliments is a wonderful boost in anyone’s mood. So she felt always delivering compliment was a super simple way to pass on some happiness on to others!  

Neighbors — How many of you regularly speak to your neighbors? I definitely think it’s a lost “art,” if you will. People are so busy working and heading home to be inside, that we over look each other. I won the lottery in terms of neighbors, they are family, like a set of grandparents to my girls. We visit often, bring baked goods, & shovel walks. Everyone remember the November Storm? You don’t feel so desperate & alone when you have friends 10 feet away!

MadeByMeggs DOTcom -- Happy 30th - Acts of Kindness (4)Library — Your library has so many opportunities to help and become part of the community. Maybe you have a skill you can teach with a free workshop, or a box of books to donate to the book sale, or you have time to donate to read to children. It doesn’t have to be much to make a difference.

Secret Gift Cards — This was an idea from a reader & I think its brilliant. Purchase a gift card to a store you are at (ie coffee, target…). Give the gift card back to the cashier with a note for the next person. In my reader’s case, she wanted to use the act of kindness to bring attention to the lack of funding we have for childhood cancer research. So with her gift card she leaves an informational card or awareness bracelet, hoping to bringing awareness to one more person.

Thank our Service Men & Women — This can not be done enough. The sacrifice that they make, as well as their families. They never expect to be thanked, but boy they should! So draw pictures, send thank you notes, and especially thank anyone you see in uniform.

MadeByMeggs DOTcom -- Happy 30th - Acts of Kindness (2)Give to Charity — While financial donations are always welcome, YOUR TIME is THE most invaluable gift you can give. Pick a favorite and go with it. Not sure where to start? Start local — Every year I support the Ride for Roswell, The Ronald McDonald House, Make-a-Wish, & The Independence Foundation. All of which hold a special place in my heart for various reasons.

Smile & Say HI! 
— My daughters have taught ME this lesson more so now than ever. They are the “sunshine committee” whenever we are out running errands. Even my youngest yells “ELLO” (like an old English gentleman) from her seat in the cart while she waves! And the joy that I get to witness on stranger’s faces is amazing! And imagine, if you share this joy with your children now, how much THEY can share over their lifetime!

MadeByMeggs DOTcom -- Happy 30th - Acts of Kindness (3)Donate Clothes — Declutter your closet, your house, your office. GIFT those items to a shelter or organization in need. There are so many great organizations in our area that are always in need. My local favorite is the VVA, you can schedule a local pickup right off of your patio!

Dollar Store Surprise — I can’t tell you how many items I pass at the Dollar Store with my daughter and say “No sorry hunny you can’t have that today.” Take a bunch of singles to the store & hand them to kids. Watch their faces light up — if you don’t instantly feel amazing, I owe you a $1!

More Ideas

  • Treat a friend who is sick, or just had a baby, and ask I f they need anything at the store while you are out.
  • Visit a nursing home, read to patients who don’t get a lot of visitors or who are not as mobile.
  • Take cookies to the fire station or police station (or any community office).
  • Organize a give back picnic. Invite friends & family to the park for a picnic & after clean up litter and beautify the grounds before you leave.
  • Some hospital collect diapers, toys, coloring books and other kid items for the nurses’ closet. (Great place for packs of diapers left after your kids are potty trained or moved up a size.) Check with your local hospital before donating.
  • Let someone ahead of you in line. Or moms with kids who have just had enough! It’s a blessing when mom has also had enough & just wants to get out quick! (I do this often since I seem to have the largest order & biggest pile of coupons each trip!)
  • Make ziplock bag kits in your car with a small toiletries, snacks, water, band-aids, etc… to give to the next homeless person you see.
  • Tip extra. I know when I would waitress in college, at a diner, with an older crowd… tips were on par. But there were a few times that either a note or a larger bill was left, and it gave me an extra kick in my step for the day. Knowing that something you did made their meal enjoyable is priceless.
  • Return someone else’s cart. Maybe you are heading inside, maybe its a struggling mom, maybe its rainy! There are tons of reasons to grab any empty cart and return it to a safe place.
  • Call about great service. I think too many of us grip about negative service or expereinces. We should also try to celebrate the positives. So call  up and tell a manager at a store or restaurant how good your service was. If you remember (or maybe its on your receipt) use the person by name.
  • Animals are in need too! I know I have an abundace of towels and sheets in my house. Foster care, and animal shelters are always in need of clean linens.
  • Just plain help. If you see someone struggling with opening a door, reaching for an item, dropped something in the store, juggling kids and whatever else — step into action! The kindness people I run into, I never really meet & probably barely make eye contact because they are helping in a big moment of need. And we are so thankful!
  • Park cool down. Take a cooler of water bottles and popsicles to a local park or playground for anyone in need of a cool down!
  • Hand out flowers.  I did this one last summer. When my Black Eye Susan flowers come in there are so many flowers I can’t cut them all for myself. So I made 4 bunches with notes attached, and left them on windshields in the parking lot of a park we went to take a walk at. You could also hand deliver flowers at random, either cut from your yard or purchased, both will bring a smile!
  • Feed the meter.  This is always a huge help! Maybe their meeting ran long, or they were in a hurry on the way in. Drop a quarter or two and save them the trouble of getting a ticket!
  • Share your umbrella. Walking in the rain with an umbrella and see someone who is getting drenched? Walk along side of them and share your cover. Strike up a conversation & walk them to their destination. Great way to connect with someone, you may never have met any other way.

Now it’s your turn! Give me your stories below… What have you done? What has someone done for you? What is my list missing? I can’t wait to hear more about what you have to share! Make sure to also have a special birthday treat for yourself to celebrate my big 3-0 today 😉

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xoxo Meggs

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