The year of being good

Michael Boylan's picture

First off, this is not in response to not getting what I wanted from Santa Claus for Christmas. I understand that there is really no room in Santa’s sleigh for a vending machine full of Hostess’ Suzy-Qs and Drake’s Devil Dogs. Besides, it is important to be careful what you wish for. You wish for a mega-supply of delicious baked goods and you get something else, like a huge gut. Or worse.

No, my decision to fill 2008 with good deeds was just to make myself more aware of the simple ways that I can help people. I’m not looking for better karma or publicity or glory, although it has given me my first column topic of 2008, I’m just looking to do things that can help out my fellow man.

Initially I planned on performing one good deed a day but unless you count the small stuff, like holding doors for people and complimenting others, it was never going to happen. To be clear, I still will hold the door for people and say nice things, but I was doing those things anyway, so I really won’t count them.

My first good deed was emptying all the change I collected into one of those large jars collecting for someone in need. The grand total was only a little over a dollar, which would only buy this guy a burger, but I told myself not to get discouraged. The way to think about my meager contribution was that it may prod the next person in the gas station to give what they have and so on. And then, who knows what the collection jar buys? Maybe it changes the person’s life in a profound way.

The next thing on my list was to get off my duff and give blood. It is absolutely crazy that more people don’t donate blood and I hope that a few people who read this decide they can take the minor discomfort and the brief amount of time to do this. Giving blood will definitely have an impact on somebody. If you have ever been in need of blood or know someone who has, you know that is the truth. There are blood drives all over the county seemingly every week and there are critical shortages for some types of blood. I hadn’t given since high school and after reading the announcements in our paper recently I started to feel guilty.

I am a relatively healthy guy and there was no reason not to give, so I rolled up my sleeves, literally, and went to a blood drive last week. It was practically painless, fairly quick and I got to have free juice and cookies afterwards.
It will not be 15 years before I give again.
My most recent good deed has also benefited my wife and I, at least in terms of closet space. My wardrobe had grown very old and, in some cases, ill-fitting. It was time to purge and donate to Goodwill. But we didn’t just stop at clothes. We hit Colin’s toy chest pretty hard and before anybody raises the alarm, remember this kid just got inundated with all sorts of new toys this Christmas. Ahh, to be almost three and to have so many doting relatives.

So, 10 days into the new year and there is some new blood, some new (new to others, anyway) clothes and some new hope floating around out there. And all it cost me was some spare change and an hour of one afternoon and half an hour over the weekend.

I’m not sure what else is on tap, quite yet, but I see this as a year long project with very little limitations.

Two things I am interested in doing soon are donating cell phones to soldiers - we have a bag at home that you put an old cellphone in and toss in the mail - and donating old shoes to There is a collection box at the gym I go to, so after a little research, I think I will be donating some shoes I rarely wear anymore.

Let’s use the comment section of this blog for other ideas of ways people can do nice things for others. If I am ever to get back on a nearly daily pace, I’m going to need a lot of good ideas.

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