Look at that. February. I love turning the page in my little calendar and seeing a new month stretching before me. Selfishly, I like to look at the days ahead and see if I can plan anything for myself before the onslaught of events and activities fills up each little square of "Wednesday" or "Saturday." I liken it to the airline safety rules of putting your own oxygen mask on before helping your children with theirs. It feels counter-intuitive but is really for the best.
Also, I am happy to be finished with 30 Days of Nothing. It got grueling toward the end. When I participated in November it was freeing and helpful and worthwhile. January felt like complete deprivation. So I applaud the many friends I have that finished strong and changed their relationship with money--not to mention their relationship with our very privileged lifestyle here in the United States.
February has begun, and in keeping with my idea that I'll try a new challenge each month I have decided to give myself over to one act of kindness every day. Sounds easy, right? Well, I'm not so sure about that.
1. My family is not included. Although if you counted how many acts of kindness I perform each and every day for them, they'd number into the hundreds. But that's just part of my job. Would it be nice if I were appreciated more? Sure. But I don't sling breakfast at them and bark, "You'll thank me for this when I'm dead and gone!" in order to evoke more appreciation for all my menial tasks. In other words, I don't lord my servitude over them. It's my job and that's that.
2. I cannot include volunteering at my kids' school. I already do that almost 5 days a week, and it wouldn't be a change in my behavior. However, if there's a way I can assist someone at school that goes above and beyond my volunteer duties, then I think I can count that.
3. Some acts of kindness can be performed from my computer or with a letter. While I'd love to believe I'm going to be "out in the world" every day, leaving a trail of kindness in my wake, the reality is that there are times when my days are filled with the mundane: carpooling, school, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc., and I can't count on having an hour to "get out there" and immerse myself in public. So if I can write a letter or help out via the Internet, that's good enough for me.
I'm thinking this should be interesting. I hope I have some sweet stories to tell as a result of my reaching out more... but if nothing else I want to challenge myself to look for opportunities to see beyond myself and toward the needs of others.
*UPDATE: I just discovered that Feb. 15-21 is recognized as "Random Acts of Kindness" week. How fitting.