A Day of Kindness: 22 Acts of Kindness for My 22nd Birthday

Today I completed my 22 Acts of Kindness project. Here’s a list of all the things I set out to do.

  1. Give flowers to residents of the senior living center down the street from me
  2. Buy coffee for the homeless man, George, who always sits outside of Peete’s Coffee
  3. Write letters to my past teachers, thanking them for inspiring me as a student
  4. Give get-well-soon presents to kids at the Stanford Children’s Hospital (I bought them each a lollipop, smiley face stickers, and a keychain)
  5. Leave a “treasure” (a smiley face pop-up toy) hidden on the play structure in the park for a little kid to find
  6. For one day, pick up all the trash I see on the street
  7. Provide gardeners with apples and water
  8. Leave happy notes on the windshield of parked cars
  9. Help someone at the grocery store
  10. Surprise my dad by making dinner for him
  11. Give kids at the pond bread to feed the ducks
  12. Write inspirational quotes with chalk on the sidewalk of downtown
  13. Give thank you cards to the garbage men
  14. Leave sticky notes with inspirational quotes on the mirrors of a public bathroom
  15. Feed a parking meter that’s about to expire
  16. Give a dog at the local animal shelter some love
  17. Pay for the order of the person behind me in the drive-through at Starbucks
  18. Give a compliment to 22 people on the street
  19. Drop off donuts at the fire station and thank the firemen for what they do
  20. Give everyone in my family a coupon which they can redeem for a favor
  21. Give stickers to kids in the park
  22. Write a letter to an old friend
  23. (And number 23, just for good luck) Clean my mom’s car

As with any project, there were pros and cons to the way I went about completing this.

Pros

  • It took me out of my comfort zone a bit
  • Starting off the day with the intention of doing as many good things as possible put me in an amazing mood, especially once I actually started the project. I found myself wanting to give everyone on the street a hug and to thank everyone I passed for no reason at all.
  • I met a bunch of people I otherwise wouldn’t have met and made a lot of them smile

Cons

  • Creating a list of things that needed to get done within a specific timeframe made doing some of them seem like a chore. After a few hours I started getting tired and wanted to just spend the day outside enjoying the sunshine, rather than running around so that I could check things off my list. I feel like acts of kindness  should really come from the goodness of one’s heart, rather than out of a competitive spirit which was the only thing that kept me going after a while. I felt I had created a mission for myself and I had to complete it. I think a better way to go about doing a project like this would be to write up a list and then post it somewhere you’ll see it every morning. This way, the list will serve as a reminder to be kind and it will be in the back of your head. I think it would be much more productive and much more interesting to let life present you with unique opportunities, rather than on creating a list of things that you think you should do. Opportunities are everywhere and as long as your eyes and your mind are open to them, you will be able to take advantage of them.
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