Gift of 50

Over the previous weekend’s Friday Five, I had set out to write 10 of the 50 good deeds I hope to do as part of my 50th birthday this year.  Yes, I am 50, and I think I have a lot to be thankful for through the years.  2015, in particular, has found me appreciating all that I have been blessed with despite all the bad breaks that have been thrown my way.  In the bigger scheme of things, I think I have been fortunate to be who and what I am.  So in celebration of all the good in my life, I promised to do 50 good deeds — and not the regular kind of good like donating your used clothes to a clothing drive, but the kind of good that makes someone else feel better.

Others choose to celebrate their birthdays with the less fortunate– well, I plan to do that, too, but I think the everyday people in our lives deserve a break or two in a less charitable kind of magnanimity.  Like maybe this or that person would appreciate a simple gift just from out of the blue.   To start things off, I thought I’d try to list 10 such deeds I hope to do just to get the ball rolling.  (Unfortunately, I ran short by four..)

(1) Have you ever thought how that person who serves you your made-to-order sandwich in the cafeteria or deli would feel if you handed him a $20 tip?  Ha!

(2)  Or how that pretty young lady who rings up your sandwich order at the chain deli across the street would feel if you handed her a pair of earrings and bracelet in a nice gift box?

(3) How about leaving a tray of earcandy just for the taking in the office pantry, just because?  (I know I would take one and I make my own!).

(4)  I know there’s this lady at work who wears a different scarf everyday no matter what the season is.  I’ve chatted her up because of it, and I am planning to gift her with one of Narda’s handmade/handwoven scarves from Baguio — one of the scarves I bought during one of my two trips to Manila last year.

(5)  I’d like to try and get to know someone I work with but am not social with like some of the new assistants in my department, or someone I have seen on the floor but have never interacted with besides a perfunctory hello or how are you.  One a quarter?  Not just sit down and talk but actually pay for the meal.  (Okay, I’m not going overboard with this one..something casual and light..)  I already know who I’m inviting out for the first getting-t0-know-you meal.

(6)  There is someone I work with and have known for years who, I know, is undergoing medical treatment right now.  It wouldn’t hurt to send her words of encouragement but not letting her know it’s from me.  Sometimes it is awkward to accept help from others, even from friends, at a time when you feel most vulnerable, so I will respect that need for space and step back but step up to let her know someone’s rooting for her.

44 more to go.. although one or two of these can count as 3-4 such gifts..  Random listing with links to any related posts will be found on a page so entitled.  (Please check out the navigation bar.)

We always underestimate our ability to make a difference in someone else’s life.  And I think that we have to start thinking small and doing things that are easier but not any less impactful than the millionaire philanthropists out there who can change tides in one fell swoop.  A simple greeting in the morning can change the way someone’s day turns out.  I know it has worked for me, so I imagine it can mean something to others as well.

I know it sounds so cliche to say that we can all make a difference.  But we actually can.  And I think we’ll all be more successful in doing that if we start thinking about the everyday things we can do and do them more often.

Have a good week ahead.. that’s the soon-to-be-50-year-old wishing you one!

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