The New Year had me thinking a lot about goals, values, ambitions, motivations, life, and how excited I was to wear my new fuzzy socks. With all the talk of “look how far you’ve come in a year” and “can you believe that was only 1 year ago” I found myself even more reflective and nearly bubbling over with blog ideas – two of which involved writing about goals and values.
At my old job, we had a list of working norms – kind of like guiding values – and each day at our morning huddle, we would say what working norm we were focusing on that day. I loved that idea. I mean, obviously, in theory, you were living into every positive attribute every day you walked into the office, but how nice it was to really put your heart and soul behind one guiding value each week.
For this reason, I’ve decided to dedicate a new series of “Res” posts to my own kind of working norms – my own mini-resolutions. You don’t have to buy into any of these. You don’t have to make your own. But maybe at some point, it’ll make you think about what it would look like to radically change your life one week at a time.
Res 4: Do Something (.org)
I read a really good quote yesterday by the Roman poet and philosopher, Lucretius Carus:
The fall of dropping water wears away the stone.
I liked the premise. I liked the idea of a small action that can snowball into something bigger. It reminded me of the very origins of The Smile Project. Were it not for continually daily posting of “Happiness is” statuses, this whole movement would have never been formed. And look at it now.
It’s pretty obvious that our country and our world are hurting right now. There’s war and poverty and division. There’s denial of basic human rights. Racism is popping up in horrible ways and at times it’s easy to just feel completely defeated. Worse, though, is the feeling that nothing matters.
I made a post yesterday about how in 2017, I was going to try to complete as many campaigns through DoSomething.org as I could. As some of you remember, DoSomething.org is a nonprofit organization that aims to get young people involved in social change initiatives. The first campaign I really jumped into with them was a national clothing drive competition. My tiny college placed third nationally and in one month collected 20,126 items of clothing.
It was amazing.
I went on to be a marketing intern for the organization from January – May 2016. I will forever be blessed by the friendships I made in that time.
But this is more than that.
I made my claim of completing campaigns and then went back to the news, where I watched my fellow human beings have their rights taken away from them. I read articles about refugees and saw side by side comparisons of those “Never Again” situations that seem to be happening…again.
And I began to wonder if anything actually mattered.
I could do a campaign here or there but when you literally feel like the world is standing on broken stilts, does it even matter?
My answer is yes.
Call your senator. Write your representative. Thank your mayor. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Donate old cell phones. Complete a DoSomething.org campaign.
… if for no other reason than to remind yourself you can.
At a moment when they world seems so volatile, it almost seems insensitive to think, post, or act on anything else. But maybe this is when we need it the most. When things seem the darkest and the most hopeless, maybe that is when we need someone to remind us what light is.
Stand up. Speak up. Act out. And do so in whatever way makes the most sense for you.
On the grounds of accountability, I am keeping my promise. Below find information on some quick campaigns that you can complete in a few minutes from wherever you are in the world.
Reminder: no act of goodness is ever wasted.
Here are some easy steps to get started:
The Issue: Every day, 96 African elephants are killed by ivory poachers. If this continues, they could be extinct by 2025. That’s awful.
The Action: Go to the 96 Elephants website and urge Craigslist to stop allowing the sale of ivory!
The Issue: Female athletes receive only 4% of sports media coverage. That’s INSANE.
The Action: Let’s get educated on some of our fierce female warriors. Here’s an old article about Billie Jean King. Enjoy!
The Issue: Paper and plastic make up almost half the waste in landfills. Also, Americans only recycle about half the aluminum cans we use. We can do better, people!
The Action: Designate a box, can, bag, etc. in your kitchen for cans, cardboard boxes, and other recyclables. Bonus points if you regularly take it out.
The Issue: Do you know how hard it is to work when you feel unappreciated?
The Action: Thank someone who makes your life easier. Whether that’s your landlord, the custodian at the gym, or the security guard on your college campus, write them a quick thank you. Better yet, have everyone in your community sign it.
The Issue: Americans lose $5.8 billion AND produce 8.7 BILLION pounds of carbon pollution annually JUST from leaving unused devices plugged in. That’s a problem. Friendly reminder that climate change is real.
The Action: Make all your roommates mad by unplugging unnecessary energy vampires. Leave a cute note, though, they’ll thank you later.
The Issue: Wildlife rangers protect the earth and all her species. I’m upset with the way the current administration is approaching the rights of Mother Nature.
The Action: Write a thank you card to the rangers who are fighting the good fight every day. Thank you cards can be addressed to: Ranger c/o World Wildlife Fund, 1250 24th Street NW, Washington, DC 20037
The Issue: By age 17, 78% of women say they are uncomfortable with their body.
The Action: Give them a little boost of confidence. Enter, the mirror message.
The Issue: Cardiovascular Disease is the number one killer of women worldwide. Something as simple as knowing your numbers can help your loved ones understand their risk.
The Action: Encourage your moms, dads, aunts, uncles, neighbors, and basically any human being who you love to take a date night pit stop at Rite Aid or Walgreens. Most drugstores have FREE blood pressure screening machines. The more you know.
The Issue: This one is especially important to me. 70% of people with blood cancer will rely on a complete stranger for a life-saving bone marrow donation.
The Action: At this point, my health doesn’t allow me to put myself on the National Bone Marrow Registry. But if yours does, it’s time to sign up. They send you a free kit to swab your cheek and you’re done. If you ARE a match, you could literally save a life. That’s amazing.
Resolution #4: Do Something
It’s easy to let the scale of problems overwhelm you to paralysis. It’s easy to see everything that is wrong with the world and wonder how you can have any action. The campaigns I have featured above from DoSomething.org not only take mere minutes, but can start a snowball effect, not just in their results, but in your own psyche.
By taking even a minute to unplug your computer charger after your battery is fully loaded, not only are you helping the earth (I’ll say it again: climate change is real) but you are reminding yourself that even the smallest actions can make a difference – for Mother Nature and your utilities bill.
You matter. Your voice is important. Like Lucretius said in my opening quote, dropping water wears away stone.
Keep doing your small repetitive actions – even if they seem unimportant.
If I had stopped posting Happiness is on day 12, I wouldn’t even be writing this. It may seem insignificant or insensitive in the moment to think about anything other than the horrible hurt that is breaking our humanity, but at times like these, even the smallest actions can add up. Remember that.