Wednesday, 3 March 2010

29 gifts - week 1 report

A little while ago, I mentioned I was thinking of taking on the 29gifts project. The idea being - very simply - to give something every day for 29 days.

So, a week's gone past and I thought I'd update on how it's going. I've been making notes/scribbles on paper (above) which I'll transcribe below...

Day 1: I give positive comments to all the bloggers of blogs I enjoyed today. At first it feels like a cheat, especially as I am putting my link on hoping they might visit me. But when I read them back I feel a little warmer and hope the recipients do too.

Day 2: I took cakes to work but Andy bought some in too so I took mine home again... I sent a birthday message to an old friend instead.

Day 3: I have had emails from birthday friend and a blog I commented on - it's coming back to me already! BUT, I fail to give anything today :-(

Day 4: A packet of coffee for a work friend who has shared her cafetiere with me recently.

Day 5: My attention and patience is my "gift" today. Which makes for a nice dinner to end the week. Coffee-friend thanks me and there's new sweet comments on my blog - I am definitely feeling the ripples from my small actions.

Day 6: I take some bits and pieces to the charity shop. Does that count? I feel like I miss an opportunity when I chat to a lovely woman in pregnancy yoga who is due to give birth in two days time and fail to wish her good luck at the end of the class.

Day 7: Dinner cooked for sister and brother in law. I offer a DVD I've watched and don't want anymore but sister's already watched it so dinner will just have to count for today!

So, my observations at the end of week 1:

Firstly, it occurred to me that a lot of the 'giving' I was doing was plain old-fashioned politeness and it shocked me what a lack of politeness I ordinarily had. It's not 'scatterbrained' to miss birthdays, as I often do, it's rude. And it's only polite to thank kind sharing with a gift, and to thank bloggers for the enjoyment and inspiration they provide. One of the best 'gifts' I received all week was when I accidentally bumped into a woman walking down the escalator on the tube, and she turned and smiled and said 'don't worry!'. And, honestly, just that small gesture, made me smile and relax and feel more amenable all evening. And that's just politeness. It's not just me that is lacking in that - 99% of tube travellers act outright rude to each other. But that is no excuse for me to do so too.

Secondly, it was clear through the whole week that the benefit was mostly mine. Whether it was the delight of receiving my own comments through my increased commenting, or enjoying a meal with my boyfriend more through making an effort to be patient and listening, or feeling relieved at de-cluttering the shelf of the stuff that went to the charity shop. I can't be sure whether the gifts' recipients benefited but I know I definitely did.

So, I'll update in another week and see what else comes out of this experiment. One thing is for certain; this should not just be a 29-day blip in my life. Giving, in the form that it's taking so far, is not like a cherry atop a perfectly good cake - pretty and delicious but essentially just an optional extra - it's like the proper butter and eggs and other ingredients that you need to make the cake. Without it it's a hydrogenated vegetable oil and e-numbers cheap and nasty cake - kind of looks the same but it doesn't have any goodness, any delightfulness. The cake will hold up but it will make your mouth feel nasty and always slightly underwhelmed. The proper butter cake will fill you with a little touch of happiness.

I always know it's time to bow out when my metaphors are getting this dodgy...

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for being the first 'found through blogworld' blog to comment on my blog - I did a little squeal when I discovered your post.