Back when I was 29, I remember stumbling across an article on line, “30 things to do before you’re 30”, and having a last minute panic as I realised I had never played the ukulele, been to Thailand, or even perfected the art of a cheese soufflé. And as 30 came and went, I promised myself that by the time I hit 40 I would have a list so long of all of the amazing and impressive things I had done in my third decade.
Only, I’m 39 tomorrow and I’ll be honest with you, that list doesn’t have many entries. And whilst I’ve been busy giving birth and raising children, and I’m so proud of how far I have come in the last decade, sitting here now, scrolling through “40 things to do before you’re 40” posts, I’m realising the odds of me mastering Taekwondo, or even just winged eyeliner, are pretty unlikely.
So instead I’m ditching the list, I’m scrapping my plans, and I’m switching it up. Instead of trying to do 40 things for my own benefit, I’m going to do 40 things for others. Because the truth is, I’ve got a pretty wonderful life for the most part. We have four healthy children, a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, a fridge full of food, and we are fortunate enough to enjoy countless opportunities, none of which I take for granted. So over the next year I plan on spreading a little kindness by helping others and hopefully, in just 12 months time, I will be sat here telling you that doing all of these selfless acts were far more rewarding than skiing in the Alps, horse riding at sunset, or slaving in the kitchen trying to master that soufflé. At least, that’s the plan…..
1. Gift a copy of your favourite book to a friend.
2. Donate to the women’s refuge.
3. Leave a sticky note on a changing room mirror to tell someone they look beautiful.
4. Leave cold bottles of water for the dustbin men or postman on a hot day.
5. Put out/take in your neighbours bins.
6. Cook an extra portion of dinner for someone who lives alone.
7. Pay for an extra coffee in the coffee shop and ask them to give it to the next person that comes in.
8. Add something extra to your weekly shop to donate to the food bank.
9. Bake a cake for an elderly neighbour and send them a slice with a teabag.
10. Take a hot drink to a homeless person.
11. Sign up to be an organ donor.
12. Support small businesses, and encourage others to do the same.
13. Let someone go before you in the queue.
14. Leave random ‘open me’ envelopes with kindness notes in public places to make others smile.
15. Give someone a genuine compliment.
16. Leave the pound in the shopping trolley next time you shop.
17. Create a care package for a new Mum.
18. Forgive someone.
19. Offer to babysit for a friend.
20. Send someone flowers.
21. Volunteer your time.
22. Donate money to a worthy cause.
23. Teach someone something new.
24. Reach out to an old friend, share your favourite memory together.
25. Donate your talents.
26. Run a 5K for a good cause.
27. If an old person strikes up a conversation with you, always talk back. You might be the only person they talk to that day.
28. Offer to help a Mum with a crying baby.
29. Buy a friend a bottle of wine and share it together.
30. Be kind to someone who has shown you unkindness.
31. Organise a fundraiser.
32. Ask elderly neighbours if they need something from the supermarket.
33. Send someone a hand written letter.
34. Gift someone a lottery ticket.
35. Offer to walk someone else’s dog.
36. Donate clothes to the clothing bank.
37. Ask someone how they are doing and really listen to their reply.
38. Promote your friends businesses, projects, and plans.
39. Smile at strangers.
40. Ignore negative voices in your own head. You deserve kindness, too.