Shelli Mader
Hays, Kan.

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January 7, 2013
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The birthday project


Last January I had that birthday that I had been dreading since I was 25 — you know the one.

When I was in my 20s I thought that by the time I was 30 I would have my life figured out and my major dreams realized. But, at the end of December last year, I wasn’t anywhere near a lot of my life goals and I was honestly kind of depressed about it. Not surprisingly, my birthday felt sort of like a funeral for my youth and dreams.

Thankfully, after a few months I realized that 30 wasn’t the end of the world and I made the decision that I would never be depressed about a birthday again. What a waste of a day!

This summer I ran across a blog post about an idea called the birthday project. The writer — a girl named Robyn Bomar — decided to do 38 random acts of kindness to celebrate her 38th birthday. She and her family spent her day doing all kinds of little things to anonymously bless people in her community. They put dollar bills in library books, taped coins to vending machines, gave out gift cards at Starbucks, bought food for people behind them in the fast food drive through, gathered stray shopping carts, took coloring books to a children’s hospital and a dozen other things.

The post inspired me and I have been planning my birthday kindness ever since.

The term “random acts of kindness” is kind of a buzz word now — there are project ideas and causes to support all over the internet. No matter the reason — I think they are a great idea! I have been on the receiving end of a couple of those acts of kindness and I still feel blessed when I think about them. On two different occasions in two different cities, someone anonymously bought my whole family our meal at a restaurant (a $20 or $30 expense!). And each time, it totally made our day!

I like the idea of doing kindness under the radar — it removes any selfish motives (other than knowing blessing others blesses you).

As a general rule I try to be kind to people, but I don’t think I have ever intentionally planned to give someone a random blessing. So, this year I am actually excited about my birthday. I look forward to updating you on the 31 acts of kindness that I do! I hope to do things for strangers and people I know. Even if your birthday isn’t for months I challenge you to do something to help someone else this month. Amazingly, if you bless others, you feel blessed!

You can follow Shelli on her blog RoadtoRanching.com.

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The Fence Post Updated Oct 16, 2013 03:53PM Published Jan 7, 2013 08:59AM Copyright 2013 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.