Fifty Random Acts of Kindness

A RaceI read something, a blog somewhere probably; someone had made a pact to perform a number of kind deeds on their birthday.  It struck me as a bit cheesy initially – were they American? I can’t remember, but it sounds very un-British anyway!  After a bit of consideration I thought it might be a good idea.  I was 50 on the 21st of April, and when sending out party invites, specifically asked people not to buy presents.  I don’t need them.  I don’t want more ‘stuff’ to think about and look after, I wasn’t being polite, but genuinely feel that people coming to celebrate with me is a great ‘gift’ in itself, especially given that I live hundreds of miles from most of my friends and family!  I’d toyed with the idea of asking for donations to a particular charitable cause, but in the end didn’t feel I should tell people what they should be doing with their money!  So, this doing something myself, to celebrate life, I suppose, seems like a positive alternative.

It has not been an auspicious beginning!  Maybe I’m not disposed to being kind, randomly or otherwise, but it’s proving surprisingly difficult to act in a kindly and random way. I did make a point of thanking a chef for taking the trouble to make me a vegetarian meal option, which turned out to be very good, but that strikes me as common courtesy for a job well done, and not an act of kindness at all.  Perhaps I’m just so kind and thoughtful normally that it’s hard to see how I improve on this, but to be honest, I doubt it!  I can have quite a critical and self-righteous nature (although conversely, I am also pretty non-judgemental).

I think part of the problem is the lack of opportunity.  Naively, I thought that somehow universal karmic forces would present me with the circumstances whereby I could do something good, kind or helpful on a routine basis, but this has not been the case.  Perhaps I’m too wrapped up in my own thoughts and concerns to notice the chances that life is throwing me, or perhaps I’m just completely unobservant, I’m not sure.  What I do know is that a brief light-bulb moment of ‘wouldn’t that be nice’ has turned into a longer term project.  Hats off to the lady who achieved her 20 or 30 ‘random acts’ in one day; I think this is going to take me a bit longer!

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