26 Acts of Kindness On My 26th

26 Acts of Kindness on my 26th

This brilliant idea that I'm about to share with you originally spawned out of the ugly depths of disappointment – a terrain just above the even more hideous lowlands of self-pity.

If I've learned anything in my 26 years, it is that life is full of irony, and for every low point in our existence, there is the potential of something good waiting on the other side.

This situation is no different.

Each year, with the onset of cooler temperatures came the awareness of my fast-approaching birthday, followed by an internal struggle of hoping for some sort of elaborate, grand day of celebration not unlike that which you see in movies, all the while trying to reign in my delusional expectations so as to avoid disappointment later on.

Perhaps at the root of my complex relationship with birthdays was the fact that my early-most recollection of mine happened to coincide with the first day of school in Ukraine. Talk about traumatizing a child!

Another culprit was that my very first birthday party didn't take place until I was 18 – something that I was totally okay with, until a well-meaning friend noted, "Oh, that is so sad!" which made me question the sincerity of my friends and family for waiting 18 years to throw me a birthday party.

Regardless, I would dream of the day being all about me. I'm fairly low-maintenance the rest of the year, I would think to myself, so surely one day devoted entirely to me isn't too much to ask for, right?

Clearly, I was setting myself up for disappointment – not because friends and family didn't go out of their way to show me love and affection, but because that love and affection didn't exactly match some sort of great vision of love and affection I had built up in my head.

In addition to that energy-draining struggle, I would inevitably start reflecting on what good I had done with my life the previous year, and frankly, the disappointment would grow exponentially as the day of doom approached.

On a side note, I never understood the stereotypical "I'm-getting-older" woes that women often cite as reasons for not wanting to celebrate the occasion. For me personally, birthdays became a time of vast disappointment – disappointment in myself for not having done anything of significance in the past year, disappointment in others for not meeting my unrealistic standards, which, of course, resulted in more disappointment in myself for being the kind of ungrateful monster that doesn't cherish the love and devotion of friends and family simply because it didn't come in the shape or form that I had envisioned in my head.  

As years went by, it became more and more difficult to dig myself out of this vicious thought cycle – of which, might I add, I was completely and totally aware – so I began dreading birthdays altogether – until this year.

"The minute you start focusing on bettering others' lives instead of playing a victim of circumstances, your own life takes a drastic turn for the better," I would always preach at friends and family who would express disappointment over a recent life event and their inability to deal with it in a mentally and emotionally healthy way. 

Again, the irony of my ever-ready advice is not lost on me.

So I started thinking.

What if instead of making the day all about me, I would help others by intentionally forcing kindness into the world?

God calls us to love others, and being intentional in living that out seems like a wonderful way to thank Him for 26 years of life, wouldn't you agree?

Thus came about the idea of birthday acts of kindness. 

I am committing myself to 26 intentional acts of kindness throughout the month of September and hoping you'll help me celebrate by doing the same! The challenge is to go out of your way to do something nice for someone else. If you need an idea of where to start, how about helping my dear friends in their adoption journey?

Please, please, please feel free to share your own ideas as to what sort of good deeds we can all do, and be sure to come back and share your experiences with me throughout the month in the comment section below or on the FOXY OXIE Facebook page

I'll be sure to report back in a month and also highlight some of the stories that you will hopefully share with me!

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Posted in PERSONAL.

11 Comments

  1. Love this post! I totally agree that “getting older” can often have a negative feeling surrounding it and that a lot of people compare themselves to others and feel less accomplished. But, if you focus on the positive for yourself and others, birthdays can be a special time to celebrate you! I just turned 30 this year and have never felt more content with my life, despite the fact that I still have so much to achieve and I certainly do not have it all together all the time!! I think I’ve just learned to accept that and be happy :)

    • Hi Jaime, thanks so much for joining the discussion! I don’t necessarily think it’s a matter of feeling less accomplished than others – at least for me it isn’t. Thankfully, I am not a competitive person, so the idea of comparing myself to others is rather foreign to me. My issue is being a perfectionist. I am incredibly hard on myself and am extremely disappointed when I don’t live up to my own standards, as unrealistic as they may be. But hey, you live, you and you learn, right? :)

      I’d be delighted if you’d help me brainstorm ideas for acts of kindness I can do throughout the remaining days of September! Do you have any ideas you’d like to share?

  2. What a great way to celebrate your 26th birthday! Hope it was lovely, and that you have a wonderful year ahead of you!
    xo
    Siffat
    icingandglitter.wordpress.com

    • Thanks so much for your sweet words, Siffat! It was quite possibly the best birthday thus far, likely because I forced myself not to have any expectations and was rather pleasantly surprised by everyone’s sweet affections. Would love it if you’d help me brainstorm ideas for acts of kindness I can do! Any thoughts?

  3. Absolutely love this and can relate completely! I always build up these ridiculous expectations for my birthday (and honestly my life in general) but this past year proved to me that it’s really not about the bells and whistles or an extravagant Instagram upload. Such a great read, and I’ll try to keep up with that challenge!

    The Pretty Patriot
    http://www.theprettypatriot.com

    • Hello dear, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Surprisingly, you’re the first person to agree with the idea that high expectations lead to disasters. No matter how hard our loved ones try, they’ll never fulfill the unrealistic ideas we’ve built up in our minds quite like we expect them to. You would think that by now I would learn, but it’s a difficult concept to implement.

      I’m running out of ideas for acts of kindness I could do – and there are still 20 days left in September! Do you have any ideas I could add to the list?

      XO, Oksana

  4. First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Secondly, thank you for sharing all your thoughts here on birthdays. Personally, I love spoiling others on their birthdays and making them feel special, and it’s always nice when that is reciprocated, but even when it’s not, like you said it’s good to remember to be grateful that you get to celebrate one more wonderful year here on this planet! It’s a great time to count your blessings, for sure. I love the idea of spreading kindness on your birthday! What a great way to practice gratitude and pay it forward. Thanks for the inspiration, babe! Here’s to the best year yet!

    xo Lacey
    http://www.myboringcloset.com

    • Hi Lacey,

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and your sweet words! I’m afraid perhaps I didn’t communicate my thoughts very well – it’s not a matter of being celebrated; it’s a matter of building up unrealistic expectations in your head, because every time we do that, we’re setting ourselves up for failure. When we release all expectations, we are free to enjoy things for what they are instead of what we think they should be.

      On a slightly different note, I need your help! Will you help me brainstorm what sort of acts of kindness I can do? I am running out of ideas (and time)!

      XO, Oksana

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