46 for 46

In approximately 46 days, I will turn, well, 46.  There it’s out.  That means you all have 46 days to get my mailing address and send a gift! Oh, wait, did I say that out loud?

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Oops, that’s not what I meant!

What I meant to tell you is that I read something last week that made an impression on me.  From a blog I follow, called Kind Over Matter and whose tagline reads: ‘touching the world with kindness, inspiration, gentleness and love”  authored by a variety of writers, came an email with the subject line  “how giving gave my birthday meaning”.  Knowing that I am just mere days away from turning a new number, it caught my attention.  I am not one to shy away from birthdays for fear of more wrinkles, aches and creaks; I believe that age is a state of mind. But I do approach a birthday with an appreciation for and an interest in looking at what my life means, to me and to others. Cake [lava cake to be specific] and presents are always welcome, but not required. Wine, on the other hand; is most definitely required. I’ve heard that anti-oxidants are good for anti-aging…

When Random Acts of Kindness was a novel idea, I was an early adopter, intrigued by the whimsical and yet positive impact of reaching out to others in unexpected and unnecessary but delightful ways. I may have actually paid someone’s toll booth fee on at least one occasion. It also reminded me of a memorable experience from college, when all my friends and I were broke and had had our fill of Top Ramen and mac-n-cheese.  A lasting impression was made on me when one of our friends invited a large group of us out to a nice restaurant – and paid  – for a fantastic meal for everyone. He shared that in his culture, it’s the custom to give to others in your life on your birthday, to return the gifts of friendship and love.  So, the more I considered this notion of a giving birthday, the more captivated I became. The blog post illustrated how one woman completed 35 acts of giving to celebrate her 35th birthday, and because this is me we are talking about, I have to take this literally – naturally  – as much as I appreciate the random nature of things – and have 46. Right? Right.

I have been quietly pondering this possibility, considering the different sides of ‘signing myself up for this’ and on some days, I am fascinated, and on others, intimidated. I have a lot in front of me at the moment;  this is my busy season at work, a big presentation to prepare for later this spring, and so on. And then I remind myself: we are all busy, everyone has too much to do.  And each time I gave myself permission to let it go [after-all, who would know?], I found myself coming back to this idea. In my mind, the challenge has been presented, and frankly, I think it’s probably necessary, something I may even need.

So, here we go, we are doing this.  Yes, you heard me correctly. We.

I was tempted to go about this quietly, not say anything, in part because that makes sense to me and in part because it’s often just how I do things.  It’s counter-intuitive to me to make it my mission to share and then tell everyone about it. But then I realized: I would not have learned about this possibility if someone else hadn’t talked about it. I would not have been inspired if someone hadn’t taken the opportunity to be an inspiration.  So, I convinced myself that sharing this is OK and again, because it’s me, put my own twist on it, and ask you for help.

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Remember the WE that I mentioned earlier?

This is where you come in and where YOU and I become WE.  I want to let myself be nudged, and turn the turning a new number into one of giving, and I’d like your help.  My goal is to somehow give in 46 ways to mark 46 years and I need your ideas for how to give, what to give, and to whom.

Let your brains fly   – WWYD – What would You Do?  Think of ideas – from simple, sentimental, and silly, to as fun, crazy and  ridiculous as you want.  Some can cost money, and some shouldn’t.

I will make a list of our ideas…a combination of yours and mine..and over time, as I complete them, share how it goes with you. We are in this together after all.

And for those who might be wondering, my word for 2013 is…

give.

And yes, I am intimidated. And fascinated.

“We make a living by what we get.

We make a life by what we give.”

Winston Churchill

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22 thoughts on “46 for 46

  1. ITIL is most definitely coming to be a lot more essential in today’s IT businesses around the globe. I understand that, in my experience, it does not constantly go 100 % to strategy – however thats the factor why Itil is only a framework I suspect.

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  2. How about a Gratitude Challenge? The challenge is to bring more love and happiness to your life by expressing gratitude to at least 1 person a day, anywhere in the world, for any reason, for 30 consecutive days by sending a real greeting card with a heartfelt message. What a priceless present to give to others ~ and yet you get back even more! Happy Birthday to you! Send me your address via email and I’ll make sure you get a sweet card to start your birthday off right! ❤ http://www.socgratitude.com/126830

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  3. LOVE this BonBon…wow. And the feelings that ‘giving on your birthday’ invoke are wonderful. I make it a habit to send my mother a birthday ‘thank you’ card on my birthday, and they make us both feel great, but must admit, none so much as the first one. Your heart continues to take my breath away…so blessed to have found you and the wonder women you surround yourself with! Awesome…xoxo

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  4. Bon, I am SO loving this idea! I think it’s wonderful and brilliant (much like yourself!) and I especially love that it came to you from a “nudge” from last year’s word! I’m going to start thinking about ways to give and will be messaging you on fb in the coming days.

    About your 2013 word: it’s such a beautiful one! And yes, I can see how it would be intimidating, but I think it’s going to be a challenge in a good way. You had asked about my word earlier … in a nice little bit of serendipity, it turns out it’s kind of the younger sibling of your word … I had chosen “care”. I can see these words working together in all sorts of fun ways! xo.

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    • Amb, thanks so much, so glad you are digging this idea! I think it’s going to be a blast and a challenge for sure. Send me your ideas…I am still working on the list of 46 and need some more items!

      And of course, you would choose the younger sibling of my word…perfectly serendipitous! I am thrilled you chose a word, have you seen it in action in your daily life yet? I am still ‘getting acquainted’ with GIVE but when I am mindful of it as my companion, I see little opportunities everywhere to lead with that…. good thing I have 11.25 more months to get better at it! 🙂 Cheers to GIVE and CARE! xox

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  5. Hooray for you….LOVE it. Ideas: At Ben’s school: tape little pieces of candy to the bottom of the kids’ desks. Or attach notes on a tree….., Leave a single flower on someone’s doorstep, leave a nice note on a windshield of someone’s car, make a voice quilt for someone (check it out on-line), frame a favorite picture for a friend….

    will keep thinking

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    • Thanks Tiff!! Great suggestions – Ben would love that, and do I tell him??? 🙂 I can’t wait to check out the voice quilt thing, very intriguing! And yes keep thinking..text me your ideas! Thanks for stopping by here…! xoxo my friend!

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  6. Of course it is GIVE! 🙂 I know you will come up with a wonderful 46 ways to give, have fun and celebrate life! On hubby’s birthday we went to a local food bank and gave them a donation of cash to use as needed. The sweet gal teared up and said..”Now we can buy the meat for our Christmas baskets….” That heart “nudge” that you listen to will tell you what to do and when. Random and planned….I’m guessing your socks will be blessed off! Love it, Ms. Bon Bon! hugs ♥♥♥

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  7. This is SUCH a cool idea, Bonnie, and I just know it’s going to make this birthday one for the record books! Here are a few ideas:I sometimes I pay for a large coffee at the shop I frequent (in addition to my own cuppa joe), so that the next person who orders a large coffee is surprised with a freebie. Give a friend that’s stressed out a gift certificate for a massage. Call your local radio station and dedicate a song to someone. Make up a photo album for a friend. Ask a girlfriend to join your for a mani or pedi and pick up the tab. Call or write a favorite former teacher and tell him/her what a difference he/she made in your life. Pick a week and each day give a random stranger a compliment. Let someone go ahead of you in the bank/grocery/whatever line. Ohhhh, this is going to be SUCH fun!! 🙂

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    • Lori, I LOVE your response! I love that you are on board..and there virtually! You gave me some really great ideas..and inspiration for even more. Thank you for totally getting your head around this! I am working on a list…and looking forward to sharing it soon. 🙂 xo

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  8. 46 reasons to celebrate!

    Monetarily – children’s foundations are always a great thought if you want to help (starlight foundation, make a wish foundation).

    Volunteering is also a great way to give back to the community and you may have a shelter where you can spend a day making food or selling second hand goods.

    Plant a tree – this is a great way to ‘give back’ to the earth 😀

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    • Yes, 46 reasons to celebrate! I like both of your ideas, though I want less emphasis on the monetary giving…to show how we can give in daily ways, all of us, without having to dip into the wallet. Maybe a few…we shall see! The list is currently under construction…should be fun to see how it rolls out soon! I like the plant a tree idea…and even if I can’t do that at home, I know there are several organizations that help facilitate that. 🙂 Thanks for the great ideas!

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  9. I have loads of ideas – message bombing was great fun (remember when I wrote post it notes and plastered them in different places?). I’ll never know the result, but it was fun to tell arbitrary recipients that they were fantastic, or wishing them a good day, or just a smile…So many ideas running through my head…Bringing a flower to your favorite barista at Starbucks (I know you have an affinity for the place)..Sending a thank you note to that friend who surprised you yesterday…more on email…I love that you are going to do this and I love how good I know it’s going to feel…xoxo

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    • I Love all of your ideas and message bombing will definitely be on my list, currently a work in progress to be revealed soon! Yes, you know my love for Starbucks, it’s a daily ritual that brings me some peace and comfort. Any and all ideas welcome…I am anticipating this adventure with great joy and I know you will be along for the ride! 🙂 xoxo

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  10. When it comes to giving it doesn’t have to be materials, it can just be ACTIONS which are powerful and impact people. If giving something like money is necessary you will know, given the person and situation you are in. For example; giving money to your friend because she forgot her purse at home. I checked out that other web site you referred to, way awesome! Also, you blog is great, and well written. So Happy B-Day in advance, and just a little note: I’m currently 32 and I can’t wait to be 40, why, cause I want to be that confident, stable know herself woman I am becoming. Age is really a mindset! I agree – cheers 🙂

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    • I totally agree, actions ARE powerful, and I hope to create a list of 46 actions that give to others in ways that matter. I am glad you liked the other website I referred to, there are many good, thought provoking posts that come from their site and I am often inspired and encouraged by Kind over Matter. I would say, enjoy the journey…from 32 to 40…so much good and fun in between, and there is no going back! Don’t rush it! To me, 30 was the golden age and if I could, I would return there in a minute. Savor it – You are that confident, stable know herself woman now 🙂

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