03 September 2013

the 29 project; or how a birthday is an inspiration for kindness

we could all use to be a bit kinder to each other. There's no suggestion here that we all have the time or wherewithal to be Bill & Melinda Gates or that we occupy the platform George Clooney or Brad Pitt use to their charitable advantage. In far simpler ways, we could all use to be a bit kinder to each other.

Hold a door, help a stranger, take a tiny bit of your day to brighten a friend's day. Not because we are looking for thanks, but just as a moment of kindness. We could take a moment for ourselves. Say "no, I have to do this for me." I'm not talking about weekly expensive facials {though, that certainly isn't the worst idea of me time}, but what I mean is carving out a bit of time to think about strangers and how you impact them. Think about your actions, think of a little way {or a big one} you can be kind to family or friends and to yourself.

I had a lovely birthday party, and a lovely birthday. It's tradition in my family, especially because we never know what will walk into the door from day to day in the store, that on a person's birthday, if nothing else, that family member need not do the dishes or cook unless he or she wishes to do so. On my birthday, I ran off for an espresso & gelato lunch, picked up a movie for us to watch {is there a better birthday than The Great Gatsby & blackberry martinis?}, and bought a couple new pieces of clothing.

That bit of time to myself got me thinking. I turned 29, and while I am valiantly attempting to throw away the societal timeline of what a woman has to do before 30, I do think a bit of self-thought is in order. Hence, The 29 Project. Every day until I turn 30, I will attempt to do a kindness for strangers, something for family or friends, take a moment for myself, and take a single photograph that encompasses something about that day.

It's been a week. I've failed entirely for a single day, and I have not managed to check something off the list everyday. But, this is not about making another to do list. The 29 Project is about reordering one's thinking, taking the time to think about the little things. I'll be posting a short note here each Tuesday, letting you know how I'm faring and to see how you're doing as well.

The 29 Project has also inspired me to increase my correspondence. We don't write letters anymore. We send texts, or post on Facebook walls or tweet each other. Maybe, we write emails. That is not a letter or a card that is physically delivered. It lacks a bit of the thrill received when holding something another person held, reading their handwriting, feeling their love. As a personal part of The 29 Project, each Wednesday I'm writing a note to a friend I do not get to see often. This is not about getting mail back, but about sending a bit of myself out there.

With this in mind, I am encouraging everyone to get involved. I post my daily pictures on Instagram with #The29Project hashtag, and will begin to tweet inspiration {@VMRvictoria} for my little helpfulnesses with the same hashtag on Twitter. I've also begun a Pinterest board with each of the daily photos. There will be 365 images there when I've done, though I hope that I won't need the reminder at the end of this year. Personally, I'm also keeping a notebook with a daily log, just to see what comes from The 29 Project.

Join me, even if you do not talk about it, in a reorganization of thinking. If you'd like to join my correspondence, send me your address {vmrvictoria@yahoo.com}. If you want to join The 29 Project, tweet or Instagram with the hashtag, or simply take a bit of time for others and for yourself. Less than five minutes is enough.

"Be well. Do good work. Keep in touch." - Garrison Keillor

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