It’s funny how fast time goes by. It seems like just yesterday that I was unemployed and embarking on my year-long journey of giving $10 away to strangers. For those of you who have followed this adventure in giving you know for me it wasn’t about the money. Sure I needed the money and it might have been foolish to give away $3,650 while being out of work, but it was about something larger. It was about community. It was about kindness. It was about hope. And it was about the stories – the stories of a community of strangers that allowed me into their lives.
But it was also about time and how we choose to spend it. I discovered that we control very few things in our hectic lives but in the end we have the most control over our time and how we spend it. Last year I chose to spend my time volunteering at least once per week with a different organization. You can read about this amazing year of service here.
But what now? Many people have written to me asking what I will do for 2012. Well, there are lots of things in the works…most of them are much less public than the endeavors of the previous two years. Here’s a look at what is keeping me busy in 2012.
Spending time with loved ones – Life is too short. I know that sounds very cliché but it’s true. Don’t forget to stop your busy life to spend time with those you care about. In the end, that’s what it’s all about.
Giving away stuff – I have too much stuff. Others need stuff. There seems to be a simple solution to both of these problems and I will give away one item per day. I’m not writing about this journey – not yet at least, but I am keeping tabs on what I give away and where it goes. Should be fun and should help me reduce my clutter.
Volunteering – I met a lot of phenomenal organizations last year through the Year of Volunteering. Although I may not be sharing those stories with you as regularly as I have in the past, the volunteering continues!
Writing – 2012 will be a year of writing for me. I will occasionally write here on my blog as well as on other websites where I am a contributor like AARP, but most of my writing will be focused on creating a book about the Year of Giving experience. It changed my life – and inspired so many people that I have come to realize that many others could benefit from learning about the experience and getting to know some of the truly inspirational individuals I met along the road.
Giving money – People ask me all the time if I still give away $10. I don’t do it every day and I have stopped journaling about this, but a ten spot finds its way into a stranger’s hand pretty regularly still. I also actively continue my Lend a Hand program…you too can help with this by making a $10 donation. Check out the link at the upper right hand side of this page. In addition to my individual kindness investing – I of course support several organizations that I care about.
Working – I am fortunate to be able to make enough money from doing what I love. In addition to my writing, I am working in two areas right now. About half of my time is spent connecting high impact donors to some of the world’s most important conservation work. The rest of my time is spent building a boutique consulting firm that focuses on two areas. The first is helping corporate citizens create social value in the communities where they work that improves their profitability. The second area is around storytelling. Now this isn’t the kind of storytelling that starts out “Once upon a time…” but rather helping nonprofits and corporations utilize the basic fundamentals of storytelling to more clearly communicate their message. I’m in the beginning stages of this venture – if you know of an organization that might benefit from this please be kind and give me a shout!
Public speaking – The Year of Giving has touched millions of people and I enjoy sharing the story with people from all around the world. If you’re tired of cookie cutter speeches that put you to sleep faster than a double dose of Benadryl, let’s talk.
Wow…this was a long post. Enough for now…thanks for being a part of this. I am so thankful for all of the support and friendships that I have made.