Sometimes there are days when I feel like I don’t have two pennies to rub together. On these days, I am haunted by the green-eyed monster, envious of my friend’s fabulous vacations, admiring the beautiful wardrobe of a co-worker or wishing I could spoil the Husband with a fancy dinner out. When the wanting and wishing gets so strong that psychoanalysis would diagnose me as an entitled brat, I have to take steps to remind myself of how lucky I am.
One of my favorite ways to remind myself of my comfortable place in the world is to give back. Whenever I’m having a blah day, I look for ways to do something small for a stranger, someone not expecting it. My favorite is paying for the person’s Starbucks behind me in the drive through. It reminds me that no matter how broke I feel, I can find money in my pocket for someone else, which means I’m not really that bad off (and I’m caffeinated, bonus).
While the Starbucks treats for strangers can cheer me up on an ugly Monday morning, I realize it doesn’t benefit someone who is really in need. And while you all might start following me through the Starbucks line in the off chance I’ll support your caffeine addiction, I doubt you are in any real need.
So the internal conflict began, how do I give back in a small way that is still a meaningful contribution?
Around this time, I saw this New York Times article and the journalists interviewed on Oprah.
I was inspired.
I have since been sponsoring a women’s education through the organization Women for Women International.
From the organizations website “Our Theory of Change: Women for Women International believes that when women are well, sustain an income, are decision-makers, and have strong social networks and safety-nets, they are in a much stronger position to advocate for their rights. This philosophy and our commitment to local leadership builds change and capacity at the grassroots level.”
This is something I did purely for myself, putting my money towards my values, not towards what is the new style, technology or product. I never anticipated writing about this or even sharing it with my friends, but how than could I expect the message to spread to those who have similar values. So, I hope you have the chance to read the article, check out the organization, or at least enjoy giving an unexpected surprise to someone in the near future.