“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”
– Abraham Lincoln
I met a woman today who is getting ready to turn 40. She told me that so many people waste a ton of money on milestone birthday parties. Instead, she wants to use her money to help herself and others in a way that will have a lasting effect. For the 40 days leading up to her birthday, she is going do something different each day. Since she is a triathlete, she is running a couple of full and half marathons, and bicycling in a 100 mile event to challenge herself. On the day of her actual birthday, she hopes to run 40 miles. On days she is not pushing herself, she gives time to others. She has set up shoe donations so that one day she can give 40 or more pairs of shoes to the homeless. On another day, she plans to take 40 balloons to the park to give out to all the children.
Wow! What if each of us did this every time we had a birthday? What if in the days leading up to that special day each year we did something momentous? What if we combined service for others with challenge to ourselves? Think what each one of us could accomplish. And think how memorable our lives would be by the end of our time here. Imagine even further what the world would be like if we taught our children to do the same thing. At 5, kids could pick five things to do. At 10, their excitement and planning would be that much greater. And by adolescence, we’d have raised a generation of generous adventurers.
Certainly it would be a huge challenge just to fill the days the first time you planned this. It could take another whole year to come up with the plans for the next birthday. Let yourself brainstorm. What would you have on your list? Think of all the things you would love to do in this lifetime. Could you make them part of your birthday celebration? And what have you always wanted to do for others? That would be a great place to start.
And lastly, there’s not a better way to have more self-confidence and to feel stronger than to successfully challenge yourself or to help others. I know I feel better whenever I do either. So what are you waiting for? If you have a great idea, share it here. Let’s help each other come up with our list before the next birthday rolls around, and one more forgettable day slips by.