Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Generosity 2016

There's a lot to be said about generosity. I think I was placed with a certain person because they have things to teach me about generosity. While there are some things they do that upset me, they are more radical than I am in their generosity.

When I daydream about a windfall, winning the lottery, or suddenly inheriting a decent sum of money from a long lost uncle, I often think about the debts I need to pay off, the repairs the house needs, or the new things I would buy that have been on my list for a long time. 

But I was recently reminded that giving without expecting something in return has a way of paying you back.

It's not just being nice to people, it's being generous that earns you favors. You never know when, or how, or who will help you out, so it's a game of patience and chance. Most people are afraid to play that game.

Also, I think there is a fear that people will take and take if you are giving out. Which is why you have to say no to some things and some people.

Saving up for yourself, feeling like you earned the treat, is good. Giving what you can to others to see the delight, the gratefulness, the joy in their eyes is better.

People used to say 'I've done my good deed for the day', or month, or year, but lately that phrase seems to have died off as more and more are saving up what they have against a time of distrust, war, and unrest.

But now is the time to give. Share, donate, volunteer, and provide respite. Be generous above being nice. Sure, you can hold the door for people, help a young mother load her groceries while she has a baby in a carrier strapped to her chest, or return lost wallets all day long, but you're never going to get the satisfaction that true generosity will bring.

I don't yet know where I will begin this new crusade, but I shall make it my new resolution.


Do What You Love: You

How do you do what you love?

1. Write down what you love most. Make a list, everything from favorite color to favorite hobby. Do they fit into your day in some way? Would you be happier if some of them were in your day more often?

2. Find the connection. How can you work that into your current day or your current career? Will it make you feel better?

3. Start incorporating what you love into your every day. Pin up an inspirational pic, quote, or note to yourself to remember to do or add one thing you love into your day. Then add one more.

4. If things get strained, as in, doing the one thing you love every day is counter to what you are supposed to be doing, begin to rethink your day. Is this the job for you? Is this the way you want to live? Can you make a change? Plan for a change if it is the right thing to do.

5. Take some time every day to reflect on the changes, debrief about the events of the day, and relax. Exercise is often a great way to relieve stress, but don't forget to cool down and stretch. Writing out a journal of the day's events might help you work through your emotions.

6. If your dreams are not reality, is there research you can do to learn more about how to make that happen? Google your passions. perhaps there are free webinars, information, or organizations you can join that will help you live out what you love.

Do What You Love: Me

They say you should do what you love. By loving to go to work each day, you will have a fun and enjoyable experience. You might not want to come home, except, home is where the food is.

If I could do what I love, what would that look like?

I would be a writer. I think I also would be a speaker. I would give to others, teach others, and share.

Some people know what they want. They go after it. I've always been a 'grab the bull by the horns' kind of girl, even if I got thrown down to the ground. I've entered things with gusto and confidence that I could do it, only to end up lacking. The fall from confidence to vulnerability is great and painful. Getting back up and trying again takes courage, but wiping yourself off and turning towards a new adventure is even more brave.

Life is about your experiences. It's is about people, adventure, savoring the moments, and making memories.

Living what you love would include being able to do these kinds of things in your life that make you happy and never having regrets.

I always thought I was a people person. I could read my fellow classmates and give advice about their social relationships because I'm both intrinsically and extrinsically aware of social constructs. But high school is very different from the real world. I found out there were more types of personalities out there than I could handle. I considered a life including some kind of counseling as a career, and for a while I sated this need in chat rooms with writing friends giving advice while I worked toward teaching as a career. Then, that took over my life, the website died, and the friends moved on.

I miss the social part of my life. Going to Trivia every Monday is not cozying up on the couch over hot cocoa and letting it all out to an empathetic ear.

I drown under other, stronger personalities and the weight of making decisions that are more serious than I'd ever imagined. Feeling a bit more helpless and clueless lowers my self-esteem. I blame myself.

I stopped writing, blogging, ficletizing, and creating as all my energy went into planning, staying afloat, and trying to feel worthy in a thankless environment where all I can see are my mistakes and how far I am from the goal. This is not the work that I love. This is stress.

My heart is clearly elsewhere.

Something has to change. I don't know what yet. I know that I need to refocus and re-prioritize during this break from work. I'm starting with writing. Instead of coming home and unwinding with a show or mindless facebook game, I will come home and write first. Without writing, I have lost myself.

After I organize my thoughts and write them down, I will find my focus. New motivation will come, the finish line will appear, and I will race towards it. The calendar will fill with deadlines and projects will become completed.

Once I begin writing, I will renew my energy to get back into the circles of critique and passion. I will find new friends to work with, learn new techniques for marketing, and maybe finally publish something worth reading.


I sat with my family in a booth at TGIFriday's for lunch after seeing a movie (it was a winter vacation family mini date) and I overheard a young adult gentleman counseling his young adult female friend (possibly his sister?) about income. He claimed that $60,000 dollars was the annual income you needed to be at to pay all your bills, save up some money, and save for retirement.

Mentally, I considered this counsel and snickered. First, I wagered that I was in the wrong career since he claimed to make just under that already, but after the sad wistful feeling wore off, I realized he was not taking into account supporting others. If you are SINGLE, $60K is definitely enough to feel satisfied. If you have kids, you'll be in so much debt trying to afford a larger house, larger vehicle, and feeding and clothing them, let alone school fees. He also never mentioned paying off his student loans, either. He's only getting half the picture.

I reflected on being a young adult, with half the pieces of the puzzle of life figured out. Once you finally learn all the life skills that high school never taught you about budgeting, laundry, bills, checking, loans, interest, insurance, and credit you think you have a handle on this adult life thing.

But you don't.

Perhaps this young man would have the knowledge to overcome all possible new obstacles smoothly and feel he always had life by the reigns and perhaps he always will as he learns new nuances about life. Maybe he will advance in his career and decide he needs 120K to live well, or perhaps he will be gobsmacked by a lack of 'gap insurance', or swindled by medical fees, or face any number of challenges that life has a way of hiding.

What would $60K do for me, as a one time gift, right now?

Just for kicks, I sat in the booth and mused about a windfall of this amount as I chewed my 1/2 club sandwich. I'd pay off my student loans, some credit cards that are nearly paid off anyway, re-roof the house, and sock some away for a vacation.

But that isn't very generous of me.

I've decided my new focus is to be more generous. This is my new Resolution. I'll write a post on it later.

Back to the money..

The husband and I have finally gotten on our feet for the first time. We have squeaked by this year paying down old debts and not incurring new ones. We discussed, briefly, what the next step is.

See, we both have had some rough dealings with work. I'm hesitant to say that these kinds of issues wouldn't occur in another place at another time, because they are mostly social in nature. People will always be people and people have a way of being selfish, arrogant, backstabbing, emotionally abusive, or exhausting in so many ways.

We all make mistakes, but calling our current positions stepping stones to something greater might not be one. What if this time in our lives is to prepare us for something greater? We've discussed the dreaded word 'moving' if it means that better things are out there. So far, we haven't made any huge decisions, but we've opened ourselves up to possibilities and opportunities. In this time where we desperately seek change to get away from the caustic environments of our jobs, we are still cautious and wary. We know from experience not to jump into things too quickly.

It's also good to remember where we came from and the young adult mistakes we ourselves made.