refocus

So I’ve decided that I need to make a change and focus more on what’s important. Last night, my sister invited me to this event put on by this guy, Reed, who was out of work and decided to give $10 a day for a year to someone and see what they did with the money. This party was the celebration of that year ending. You can go to his blog here to read each person’s story of what they did with the money. In fact, my sister was one of the recipients, so that is how she knew about the event. Not knowing too much about Reed’s story other than that he gave $10 to my sister, I was particularly moved by how many people showed up. He has even been featured on CNN, and ABC was there covering the event last night. The diversity of the crowd was particularly touching; some of the people he gave money to were homeless or Street Sense vendors and one of them spoke. I actually caught myself tearing up on multiple occasions.

I got home from the event and decided to check out Reed’s blog; and then realized at midnight that I had been reading it for almost two hours. As I was reading, it occurred to me that I definitely have not been doing enough lately to give back to my community. Why am I focusing so much of my time now on online dating? Clearly it’s getting me nowhere. I am a happy person with a lot of friends, and even if I don’t have a special someone right now; I really don’t need one. It would be nice, but in all likelihood I’m not going to meet that person online. I will meet someone out doing things I care about and doing activities I like to do. That being said, I was so moved by this guy’s story that I vowed to start doing more for the community. I’ve made the excuse the entire time I’ve been in DC that I’m too busy. Yes, we are all busy. But we make time for things we think are important. Life shouldn’t be about working 24/7; unfortunately in our culture, this mentality is pretty much drilled into our heads.

When I lived in Atlanta, I used to volunteer at a nursing home; and all I would do was visit the residents. Such a simple act, but one that made a huge impact on their lives. They came to depend on my weekly visits and we grew very close. The funny thing is that I didn’t know it would have that much of an impact on my own life. I learned a lot from them and learned how much they valued just having someone to talk to. It made me feel good, knowing I was having such an impact. I wonder how they are doing and if they are even still alive. It’s funny; if you read Reed’s blog, you see that a lot of the people on the street just simply want someone to talk to. So when I talk about giving back to the community, I’m not necessarily talking about monetary donations. Just being friendly and talking to someone goes a long way in making that person’s life better.

I emailed Reed to see if I could continue on his legacy of giving for a week, but then I realized that he’s only asking people who are out of work to do it. Regardless, I want to help out some of the people on his site; even though some are homeless, many requested that people just offer a smile and talk to them when they walk by. I now plan to make more time to give back; and I’m really thankful to have met Reed and have been very touched by his story of giving.  I hope that you guys will read his blog and will be moved to give back too.

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2 Responses to refocus

  1. Nicole says:

    One weekend morning, I went to the U Street Starbucks and there was a homeless man blocking the door. He asked me for money and when I told him I didn’t have any, he cursed me out and starting chasing me down the street yelling and threatening to kill me. I really believe that if he’d caught me, he would have attacked me. Not saying all homeless people are crazy; just be careful out there. Worst part of that story, I never got my Starbucks.

  2. Wheels says:

    I do like Reed’s concept of giving back everyday of the year. I find it sad that it’s only during the holiday season that people “remember” the less unfortunate, as people need assistance throughout the year. If time is limited, try sponsoring a child. I’ve done it for the past 17 yrs and you get to build a bond between the person you are helping. Here is the organization I go through, of course there are many others. http://www.compassion.com/

    – Wheels

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