86,400 Seconds

So, today, I sent my blog link to a group of my friends. I’m kind of having a panic attack about it. Funny that I can have absolutely no problem standing up in front of a large group of strangers speaking, but the thought of a small group of people that I know, reading something I’ve written, is giving me an aneurysm.  In theory, since they are friends, they will be gentle with their feedback, right? Honest, but gentle. I wonder if this is how my 9th grader feels when she has me edit a paper that she’s written? Maybe I should be more gentle in my critique? Maybe this is why my middle kid, who had me read a paper that she wrote during her senior year of high school had such a melt down when, after I finished reading what she had written, was told (by me- awesome mom) that it seemed like she had, and I quote, “pulled it out of your butt”.  In fairness, she kind of had, procrastinating until the 12th hour and then seeing what she could make up, but perhaps I could have worded it more softly?

So if I’m being such a baby about people reading my blog, why on earth did I start one, after all, is that not the point of a blog? To have it read? I’m blaming Bob and Donald. It all started with them. Actually, I could go back further and blame a lovely woman named Rosemary, who told me about Donald, who told me about Bob. But if I do that, then I really need to blame my friend Maggie, who told me about the gym that Rosemary works at… see how blame goes? I can trace this line of blame back further than I can trace my family tree!

I am in a small group of women doing a thing called Storyline. Storyline is a book (more of a workbook), written by Donald Miller, that uses screen writing techniques and ideas from Viktor Frankl to help you figure out how to make your life more interesting, more meaningful and more worth living. It’s kind of a self-improvement, therapy, goal-setting book, and you can go through it alone or in a small group. I thought, no one wants to have therapy alone, so let me find some friends that need want therapy too, and thus, it began.

Starting this blog came from Module Six of our group. It wasn’t a plan that I have been sitting on or thinking about for a while. It literally just popped up last week. Maybe that’s why I’m so freaked? That is also why there are mistakes, or things aren’t set up correctly or connected correctly, etc. I am a brand new, newbie to the blog thing.

The inspiration for the title of my blog came from a sermon my pastor did several months ago. He said, (paraphrased), Imagine your banker called you and told you that someone loved you SO much that they were going to deposit 86,400 pennies into your bank account every single day, for the rest of your life, but the catch was, that you had to spend all of the pennies each day. You can’t roll them over like phone minutes. You use them or lose them, each day. He then told us that he knows that we would make a very conscience effort to spend each penny, every day. Even if it meant we were giving it away to someone else. We hold money in such high regard, that we wouldn’t let a single penny go to waste. He then said, you have 86,400 seconds in every single day. Do you waste them? Do you spend them wisely? What are you doing with those seconds? You don’t get them back, so what are you doing with them?

This had a huge impact on me. I already loved staying busy, I already did’t love lazy people, but the idea of thinking more intentionally about how I spend my time was interesting. It got me thinking about how I was going to spend my birthday.

For the record, I love my birthday. I celebrate all month long and think everyone else should too! But with only 86,400 seconds of my actual birthday, how did I actually want to spend it?

I came up with the idea that for my birthday eve (yes, I have a birthday eve, doesn’t EVERYONE?), I wanted spendthemkindlyto do 42 acts of kindness to celebrate my 42 years on earth. I sat down on my birthday eve, eve and brainstormed as many acts of kindness as I could think of, then I went to the internet and got more inspiration. When all was said and done, I had a list of over seventy possible things I could do, some big, some small, some random, some with planned ‘victims’, some anonymous, some not. I narrowed down my list to the 42 things that I most wanted to do and got to work. I decided to leave little card with some of the acts of kindness that said “Tomorrow is my birthday and I’m celebrating with 42 acts of kindness. There are only 86,400 seconds in a day. #spendthemkindly “. It was fun to see people who found flowers attached to their car or who had a bag of Skittles handed to them Tweet pictures of their treats with #spendthemkindly. It was fun to surprise people and see their smiles, even more fun and more common to see them try to figure out what I actually wanted from them, because surely I wasn’t just being nice for no reason. You can see a photo album of some of the things here. It was probably the best way I have ever spent a birthday, and I plan on making it a tradition.

I think we all could use a little bit more kindness in our lives. We are so rushed, busy, exhausted. We are used to other rushed, busy, exhausted people being rude to us. So used to it that we barely notice it anymore. What stands out now, sadly, is when someone extends an unexpected kindness to us. We are surprised, and often sure that there is a catch to the kindness. The thing is, in order to receive more kindness from people, someone has to be willing to be kind. So, why not me? Why not you? Why not plan for at least a few of the seconds of your day to be spent being intentionally kind to someone, especially someone who is not expecting it!

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