As I mentioned back on January 1st, my plan was to begin this year by doing 26 Random Acts of Kindness.
I did a few days worth…I bought a beautiful primrose plant for my neighbor, gave my husband a spontaneous foot rub, left a lottery ticket in my daughter’s teacher’s mailbox at school (anonymously) and then gave another on to our crossing guard, who is out there on rainy days, snowy days and everything in between. I gather that since he hasn’t left a sign on the corner of the street saying he’s gone to Tahiti, that he didn’t win big. Then, just as I was on a roll, we all got sick and here I am with only four random acts under my belt. My goal was not necessarily to do them in order, each day, I just wanted to complete all 26. And I certainly will.
But I’ve noticed something. It’s surprisingly hard to be random.
I go through my day with an agenda. Places to deliver the kids, appointments to keep, meals to make, things to do around the house, posts to write, squeeze in some exercise…there’s a tunnel vision thing going on, for sure. You go along and then, poof! there’s the day.
Yesterday, I was in one of those get-it-done moods and frankly, I was not amused by anyone who was holding me up. When I came to the post office window and it was finally (finally!) my turn, I sort of huffed up to the woman because, hey, the line just hadn’t been moving fast enough and I still have x, y, and z to do before getting the kids from school.
This woman was very nice and sweet and asked me a few questions about my packages (really, do we need ALL the questions they ask these days? Honestly. I was mailing cookies. Not weapons or explosives. I do not need the third degree, thank you very much) but then I decompressed. Something in my mind told me to slooooooow dowwwwwn. Be nice. This woman was being nice to me. Don’t be yet another one of the grumpy, nasty folks that already roam the earth. Quickly, I switched gears. We chatted a little and I left the window with a nicer outlook on my day. It opened my eyes.
But what I found disturbing was that I had to consciously choose to act that way, in that moment. To choose to return her niceties. Just to clarify: I generally do not go about my days in a huff being the type of person that folks want to stay away from. I wasn’t being mean, I just wasn’t being overly happy. I was getting-it-done.
Then I thought, why didn’t I think to pay for some stamps that the person behind me was buying? Why didn’t I go out of my way to pay this postal worker a nice complement about how sweet she had been? Yikes. Here I am trying to plan out how to be random. This can’t be good.
With some things, I think I’m random. Or maybe it’s with people who I know that I’m better at the random thing (in fact, I know this is true)…yes!! That’s it. That is totally it. With strangers, it’s a whole new ball of wax (honestly, what is with that expression?). Maybe it’s because you are out of your comfort zone. Maybe you think they will look at you in a funny way or (gasp!) even decline your lovely, random act. There’s an element of risk taking. And maybe this is the key to this whole crazy exercise.
Think outside of the little box that you run around in constantly. Open the peepers. Be aware of things beyond yourself. Take a risk. Doesn’t have to be big but maybe the payoff will be.
22 Random Acts left still to complete. I have to think about this and plan how I will be more random 😉
Have a wonderfully, random day, everyone!