I decided a few years ago that I wanted to celebrate my 44th birthday in grand fashion. Most of my closest friends are the same age, and let’s be honest… celebrating five 40th birthdays in one year is a little tricky (especially when you live in a different state!) With that, I came up with the idea of celebrating the years that had double-digits in grand fashion. That meant 44, 55, 66, 77, 88, 99 were going to be big friend-filled bashes.
And, then you know what happened next… Yep, the pandemic showed up and ruined those plans. Thanks a lot, Coronavirus.
With just 10 days away from the big day, I had a realization. This birthday is going to be weird. I will not be in France with friends visiting where rosé is made on the day I was born. I won’t even be eating naan and the spiciest Indian food in town at a table crowded with my beautiful friends. I won’t be traveling to the desert and I won’t be getting a massage. Considering the isolation I’ve grown accustomed to, I know that it’s going to be pretty quiet.
The amazing news is that I’ll have opportunities to celebrate 45, 46, 47, and so on as a result of the precautions I take this year. Whether big or small, I know there’s a new appreciation for being able to do something as simple as celebrate a birthday. Let’s go ahead and skip the whole blowing out candles thing, of course.
All that being said, I’ve figured out how I want to celebrate my birthday and it involves all of you and is a JOYFUL salute to my 44th year.
If I’m honest, the moments that I’ve held most dear in my 44th year have been those unexpected surprises.
- Meeting one of my best friends at a personal development conference
- Getting laid off (really!)
- Becoming quarantine pen pals with an elderly neighbor
- Seeing an incredible art show right in my own town in the middle of a pandemic
- Falling in love with walking around my favorite lake over and over again
- Becoming reacquainted with my local library
- Driving across 5 states solo to visit my parents
- Compiling surprise packages for 5 people that touched my life in 2020
- Painting my Christmas card
- Sharing CHOOSEday messages weekly
- Receiving fun (and unexpected!) things in the mail this year
- Meeting all my neighbors
None of these were things I expected or planned, but all of them brought me great joy.
I also believe there are very few TRUE surprises in life, and to orchestrate a surprise for someone is one of the most generous things we can do. To create a surprise, you have to devise a plan and of course, execute said surprise. These moments just don’t happen out of the blue! They are purposeful, and they’re intentional. And, they’re absolutely wonderful!
Now, let’s talk about my birthday wish and where it involves you.
In celebration of my 44th birthday, I’m asking this community to complete FORTY-FOUR Random Acts of Kindness. Yes in upcoming days, I’m asking for 44 people to do something unexpectedly kind for someone else. Can you help??
It could be as simple as writing a thank you note for your favorite barista or as labor-intensive as helping a neighbor to clear the snow from their driveway. You could donate coats to a local charity or simple smile and say hello to people from behind your mask at the hardware store. You could chalk your sideway with positive phrases or set up a zoom call with a relative you know is lonely.
One that I’ve always wanted to do (and I’ll do on my birthday this year!) is to buy a bouquet of flowers at the grocery store and give it to someone I see in the parking lot. Hmmm… maybe I’ll leave them for a neighbor, considering there’s a pandemic but I love the idea of just giving flowers to someone!
I really think we can do this, and I’m also excited to see how creative you guys get! I also love the ripple effect of things like this. Let’s use that bouquet example. As someone receives flowers, it may inspire them to do something nice for another person or it may simply lift their mood on an otherwise tough day, easing encounters that come up later in the day. I just love it!
I’m planning to track our progress via Instagram here. If you share a picture of your Random Act of Kindness (or RAK as the kids call it), please tag it with #RAK44for44.
Click here to follow along on Instagram.
Click here to watch my CHOOSEday announcement of #RAK44for44