Birthday Challenge

This year I turn 33 years young and I actually couldn’t be more excited. Though it’s a strange time in the world and I recogonize that I won’t be able to celebrate with close friends and family in my own backyard, I have realized I am privileged enough to do anything I want to celebrate this year. Have you heard of the Jesus year? It’s suppose to be the year that you turn 33. It was the same age Jesus died and the year he grew in popularity as well. Even research show that older adults say the best years of their life were in their early 30’s, usually their 33rd year specifically.

This year, 2020, has been wildly unpredictable and still remains this way for the unseeable future. However, it has given me a chance to really reflect on a lot of things about our world as we have known it. Personally, I have spent the last year and a half, before the pandemic hit, consumed in motherhood and trying to navigate life that revolves around a tiny human. It’s been challenging as all parents already know. And it left my husband and I pretty isolated as well, especially with a move to a new city with no friends or family upon our arrival. So, as we were finally settling into parenthood and ready to emerge in the world again, Covid-19 hit.

As we have been avidly practicing socially distancing since early March, I have realized a lot about my freedoms, restrictions and privileges. (I want to go deeper on privilege in the light of recent events, but that will come in a separate post.) I’ve always had the freedom to do most anything I have wanted to do, but I often felt restricted by motherhood or fear. These two things run in a lot of different directions, so I will try to stick to one lane. Motherhood, especially without a lot of help outside of your husband who is the sole provider, leaves you to tend to all things baby related. Your fiends without babies don’t understand why you aren’t around as much and your friends with babies are usually just trying to keep their heads above water as well. When the day is done and baby is asleep, you and your partner are exhausted. What more can you add to your plate at that point? Even going on a date in the beginning is an exhausting thought. Before the baby, I was too afraid to try things. Living in LA, I had so many opportunities to do almost anything I could have ever wanted and I barely tried because of fear.

All of this to say, now I have NO CHOICE but to sit home and face the facts. I can no longer enjoy a swimming pool with my son this summer, sipping wine at a local winery with a new friend or enjoy visits from our family. These realizations of how much freedom I have always had and have now lost, have made me open my eyes to so much more. I am upset about minuscule things, while others are likely grieving losses such as death of parents, friends or coworkers. People have lost graduations, showers and dream weddings. Some people are at home without anyone at all. People are worried about rent, food and their health. All of this makes me want to do more. Yes, I want my privileged freedoms back but I have no idea when that is going to happen. And in the meantime, people are suffering and that breaks my heart. It tears me up to think about. And because I am privileged enough to be in position where I am at this time, I want to do for others. I want to give to others. I want to inspire others to do the same. I want to make someone’s day. I want to see people simile in the face of this fear and in the face on this time of uncertainty.

So, for my big ‘Jesus Year’ 33rd birthday, I am doing 33 acts of kindness in hope of spreading love, kindness and happiness among my community. The challenge is that 33 acts is probably too much for one day and will have to be spread out. The other obstacle is to do certain things in a pandemic which brings its own kind of challenge. If you look up ‘random acts of kindness’ as inspiration, you will find most acts involve going out in the public and interacting with people. Though it is challenging, I am up for it and have created a list for the things I want to do. I also want to encourage you, my reader and fellow member of society to follow this journey as I update you on my exact deeds and also encourage you to donate to one of the few chosen charities as support for my acts.

If you would like to help me celebrate by donating to a cause dear to my heart, I have chosen ‘A Little Help’, ‘The Giving Spirit’ and ‘ Black Mamas Matter’.

A Little Help is a Denver non-profit organization that helps older adults in the community thrive with help from volunteers.

The Giving Spirit is an Los Angeles based non-profit organization that assemble and distribute survival kits to kids, women and families living on the streets.

Black Mamas Matter is a non-profit organization that drives advocacy, research and culture shift for black maternal heath, rights and justice.

I once remember as a server,long ago, this huge party sat for a 6 year old’s birthday celebration. They told me that she, a 6 year old, had requested NO GIFTS but instead asked for money to donate to a charity for her birthday. I couldn’t believe it. I mean, if a 6 year old doesn’t need gifts and recognizes that others need more than she does, why can’t we all do that? I was inspired by her gesture and am using that inspiration here to hopefully inspire you as well. If you would like to celebrate with my by performing an act of kindness, please tag it with a picture and #clean33 so I can I follow the celebration as well.

With love,

LAB

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