After a weekend of pampering I decided to switch gears and spend my actual birthday not so focused on me. See blog post - 33 RAKs for 33 Years. This was a pretty great experience. I highly recommend it.
My goal was to complete 10 (item #82 on my 101 in 1001 list) . . . but I was on a roll and made it to 21.
Here's the rundown, with a few notes & observations at the end.
1. Volunteer your time -- First thing in the morning I spent 2 hours volunteering in Anna's classroom. Loved it. Can't wait to go back.
(Yes, she easily knows the number 7. I had a stack of numbers 1-100 in my hand -- I randomly placed a few down and they had to identify the number, as well as the number that comes before and the number that comes after.)
2. Give someone a compliment -- One of the girls in my Primary class is also in Anna's 1st grade class. Her hair was especially cute that day and I complimented her on it. As well as lots of "great job!", "you're so smart!", etc. type comments as I drilled the kids one-by-one on their numbers.
3. Tuck happy notes in car doors wishing people a good day. I prepared a few notecards with inspirational quotes I had found on Pinterest, and planted these in car doors on my way into Target. I'm sure no one was watching, but I felt so conspicuous! Probably because it was my first out-in-public RAK of the day.
4. Leave happy sticky notes on a public bathroom mirror. I was in a hurry to get out of there, hence the blurry photo.
5. Mail a box of candy to someone. As a note, it took way more stamps than I expected it would. But that's okay . . . how fun would it be to receive this in the mail!
6. Donate clothing to Goodwill
7. Buy a giftcard for groceries and hand it to the person behind you in line. I stopped into Albertsons for a few items and picked up a $10 giftcard. But there wasn't anybody behind me in line. So I decided I would give it to the first person I saw on my way out of the store. I ran into a lady who was getting her cart and checking the grocery ads. I asked her if she was on her way into the store. And then I said that I would like to share this gift card with her -- it is my birthday and I'm celebrating by sharing with others. The look of surprise on her face was priceless. And it was all I could do to keep from tearing up as those words came out of my mouth. She gave me a hug and I hurried on with a "have a great day!". Best moment of the day.
8. Drop off a new stuffed animal to the fire department. Well the front door was locked, so I had to just leave this guy with a note.
9. Smile at everyone you see. This exercise made me realize just how much I don't do this on a daily basis. Bad Shannon. A good reminder to fix that, because it feels good.
10. Drop coins on the playground for children to find while they play. Can I just say that this was the funnest thing ever? Just imagine how excited some kid is going to be when he finds all this loose change.
11. Pick up trash. After leaving the kids school that morning, I noticed a trash can that was spilled over and instantly I thought "I'm going to clean up that garbage!" This was my crazy moment of the day. So I went to Target and bought some plastic gloves. From a distance I thought that I could easily return the can to it's spot and clean up the mess. But it wasn't going anywhere -- too heavy. So, instead I gathered trash into plastic grocery sacks, tidying up the area so it wasn't as unsightly and preventing trash from blowing around until the professionals could get there.
12. Leave diapers & wipes on a changing table in a public bathroom. No photo here, I was in a hurry because I thought I could hear a kid outside the door saying, "Mom, I need to go!"
13. Leave a small treat with a note of thanks for the mailman. The next day we got a note from him that said, "Wow, thanks!"
14. Write a letter to a friend or family member and mail it (the old-fashioned way)
15. Hand out balloons to children shopping with their parents. Anna was my helper and she loved it. One man with kids said, "Is there a catch?" No, we just want to share balloons with friends.
16. Hide a dollar in the kids' toy section at Dollar Tree
17. Tape change to vending machines.
18. Call or check in on someone you know is alone. Got to talk to my Grandpa Blain.
19. Be a friendly driver
20. Look your children in the eyes when they talk to you. Tried to be more engaged and present when the kids were home from school.
21. Leave a note and/or treat in your husband's car/wallet/briefcase/office so he finds it during his work day. I tucked a card into his bag at the end of the day so he could find it the next day at work.
NOTES / OBSERVATIONS
- To actually complete 33 in one day . . . holy moly, that would take a lot of planning and advance preparation. I was happy with what I accomplished, seeing as I had just returned from California the day before and was doing this on the fly.
- Sometimes I felt like a stalker -- like that one time I had to hang out in the bathroom stall until the other woman left so I could place my post-its on the mirror. Or when I had to sit at a picnic table and "check my email" until the woman with her 2 girls left the playground so I could scatter loose change. Yep, stalker-ish.
- I found that throughout the day my mind was constantly thinking of more and different ways I could perform RAKs.
- And anytime that I wasn't actively involved in a RAK I was antsy, feeling unproductive, and had this desire to get to the next thing.
I think this experience taught me that when you start the day with the goal to help & brighten the day of others, you will find opportunities to make it happen. Pretty cool.
See the original list of of 33 RAKs for 33 Years (as well as a printable PDF) HERE.