The One With 40 by 40

Last year I was blessed to be on Ann Voskamp’s launch team for The Broken Way . In this book, Ann talks about spending her 40th birthday doing Random Acts of Kindness. I thought it seemed like a great idea and filed that idea away as my 40th was rapidly approaching.

Many of my friends are already 40 and many are hitting the milestone within the next few months. As this new decade approaches, I have seen several “Fit by 40” or “Lose 40 by 40” challenges. I’m too lazy to get fit and I didn’t feel the need to lose 40 lbs, but I knew I wanted to have a Random Act of Kindness Day.

Then, I realized my birthday was falling over my kids’ Spring Break and I needed to keep these boys entertained over the Break. So I thought I would rope them in to my RAK day…and maybe make it a week. The idea kept growing, as my ideas tend to do, and I wanted to have 40 Random Acts of Kindness by my 40th birthday.

I knew this idea might be a bit too grand for my boys and I (or wallet) so I thought I would reach out and have my friends and family contribute too. So I took to Facebook and asked for good deeds for my birthday! There was one hitch to it though: the person who did the good deed couldn’t post it to social media. They could private message, email, or text me, but other than that they couldn’t talk about how kind they were since that kind of ruins it.

Through the course of the week, my emotions over this were all over the place! The boys and I really had fun making random people smile over the course of the week. It’s funny how something as simple as a cupcake or a card can brighten someone’s day. But, I did not get as many “contributions” from friends and family as I had hoped. Maybe people thought it had to be a big, grand gesture? Or maybe people don’t like to bless people if they can’t tell all of Facebook about it?

By the actual birthday though, I had “acquired” 30 Random Acts of Kindness over the week. Not 40, but not too bad. With as divisive as much of our country is right now, I am pretty happy that people were encouraged to be kind.

Plus, we did a LOT of REALLY nice things for people. We shared our blessings and brought smiles to many faces. Items were donated to Goodwill and The Salvation Army, baby gifts were purchased for women on a Mission trip, desserts were baked for coworkers, a gift card was purchased  for a mom who doesn’t get to pamper herself much, books were given away, cards were sent for no reason but to say thank you. Firemen received cupcakes, a mailman received donuts, dental hygienists received flowers, a costume was sewn for a little boy who likes to play dress up. Groceries were purchased, student lunch accounts were paid off, blankets were donated. Two people even had ice cream for dinner with their children because as they said “Charity starts at home.” A letter was written to a new neighbor from Pakistan welcoming her and her family to our country. A shopping cart was pushed back in to the store in the rain for a momma with a toddler. And I received a surprise birthday gift from a new friend.

Several donations were made to charities as well. Items were delivered to Mustard Seed Ranch. A donation was made to World Relief and Preemptive Love Coalition. A summer camp has even been paid for for a child in need at a church!  Legacy Collective even has a new member.

One of my most favorite “gifts” was not even meant to be a Random Act of Kindness, but it made my heart so full and happy that it counts as a RAK to me. I received a Happy Birthday text with a message saying, “When I turn 40 next year, I’m going to steal your idea!” And that is a trend I would LOVE to see continue!

So while I was slightly disappointed that I did not get 40 RAK in by 40, I am thrilled with how kind people were/ are. It was a great way to spend the last week of my 30s. I like to think my kids learned something over the week as well.

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