The Gift of 50 – an Update

So the new year is upon us and my 50th year on this earth is more than halfway done.  Time to do this more systematically, so in the following weeks down to the first week of April, I’m hoping to do a report on the specific tasks I have set out under this banner.  I had written about the idea rather haphazardly in February of last year, and then I had updated this as of the 13th of April.  There are already a few I had sent out and done, but which, I have not been able to write about.

As I write this, I actually have around 4 in the works, and I hope to send out more after the weekend.

Back in February, I wrote:

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.

There is a sense of purpose that goads me into actually doing this, and sometimes, just seeing a smile on someone’s face is enough to keep me going.  Knowing that something I want to discard can actually make a difference in someone else’s collection makes me stop and put that something aside.

I still can’t help but wish I could do more, and in time, I will.  There is always the next year.. let’s take care of this one first.

This blog has a page dedicated to this topic for regular updating.  I haven’t been too good with that but I’m trying to keep up and catch up.

Gift of 50 – Postcards and Chicken Sandwich

Gift of 50Life is good.  I keep saying I’m not quite where I want to be yet– but are we ever? And yet I know I’m getting there, because I’m moving towards “happier”.  It’s a deliberate step forward — I’m not waiting for “happy” to find me.  I’m making it happen.

I have much to be grateful for as I hit this birthday milestone, and a few weeks back I started this project for the year I’m calling the Gift of 50. (Please see the navigation bar.).   I have tried to make a list of 50 “gifts” to give back and pay my good fortune forward in thanksgiving for being where I am now.

Postcards on their way. I have been collecting postcards since I was 17 and have amassed a modest collection, but through the years, I have acquired postcards which are not within my collecting category.  I recently rejoined a Philippine Postcrossing group and am well on my way to finding a home for the postcards I don’t want to keep.

It feels good to be able to give someone a card or two (or more) from the cards in my collection which would otherwise just gather dust and turn yellow without much love from me.  I have found the recipients, so I am sorting and putting away the postcards in “packets”, and have started sending out individual ones to those who prefer their postcards sent that way.

As a collector, I know how it feels to receive something to add to your collection, so I am trying to spread the love so to speak.  I am happy to have had the chance to make new friends along the way, and hopefully trim my collection substantially by this time next year.

Chicken sandwiches are in demand, more so since a Chick-fil-a opened nearby.  So far, two meals given out.  I’m still iffy about writing about it, though, although one was impactful in a meaningful sense because I did it while Angelo was with me.  It felt good, he said — and I’m glad to have made that impression.  Paying forward the blessings by sharing with others is one of my goals in doing the Gift of 50.

It’s not just about being good — but being good in a way that makes a difference even to just one individual.

In the mail.  I  have two snail mail cards in the mail:  one to a friend who celebrated a birthday, and one to a classmate from way back who is currently undergoing medical challenges.  I have a second dear friend in the latter category for whom I have a card which will be going out, too.  I have always said time and again that there is something about receiving something you can hold through the post, in this day and age of electronic correspondence.  Nothing beats being able to go back to what was written and said in the card without having to flip a device.  The correspondence is a gift by itself which one can touch and come back to over and over again.

It doesn’t sound like much but I feel I’m moving in the right direction and actually making this happen.. The lunch I had hoped to have with possibly a newfound friend has been scheduled and I am looking forward to that.  I am making my ear candy and other little gifts.  There is a bigger project or two I’m also working on and hoping to get off the ground within the next 11 months or so.  I’ll keep you posted..

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!