I like to do things for other people. I get a rush out of selecting gifts for birthdays or holidays for people who matter the most in my life. Chosen family, friends, etc.
I’m sure there’s a science behind it. Something about endorphins making my brain happy, and that reaction makes me relaxed and happy. I’m not a scientist, though. I’m a novelist.
I’ve been struggling with some stuff lately. The last 6 years have been a challenge, and it’s all caught up to me in a rather spectacular way. One thing my counselor has suggested is making sure I take time each week to do something I really want to do. Sometimes it’s visiting with friends that I consider family. Sometimes it’s writing, taking a bath. Or doing something to show that I care about others.
At the end of the day, how much money we have doesn’t matter if we can’t give a damn about people around us. The legacy we leave behind shouldn’t be tied to a bank account that our heirs fight over, but that we are missed. Or at least remembered with a smile.
Our neighbors had recently retired when we moved in 19 years ago. They’ve aged as our kids have grown. This summer, we started mowing their lawn because we knew he couldn’t get out and do it any longer. Okay, maybe he could but he shouldn’t!
They appreciated it, gave us a roast chicken. Their daughter and her partner came for a visit and said hello. Phone numbers were exchanged so that we could contact them if something was concerning, or vice versa.
A week later, a nut and fruit tower showed up out of nowhere. It was sent by the neighbors, as a thank you for the lawn mowing.
Today, I spent about 2 hours roasting a chicken. Now, I make a damn good lemon pepper chicken. Not bragging without cause on this. It’s one of those dishes that you start salivating from the aromas early and it only gets worse as it cooks.
As soon as it was out of the oven, it went onto a plate and got covered with foil. I then carried it over to the neighbor’s house and left it with them. I’d mentioned something about my recipe a few months back, and I knew they’d love it.
I don’t expect praise. I don’t expect another tower of treats to show up at our front door. I felt good simply by the act. By showing I care without expecting anything in return.
Life isn’t only about what we can get from others. It’s not a game where you need to keep score; not doing anything nice for them unless they do something for me first. The biggest reward is kindness itself.
We become so wrapped up in our own worlds, and COVID made this worse, that we stopped checking in on our neighbors. We stopped sending cards or letters in the mail just because we wanted to make someone know they mattered to us.
Caring matters. It’s time we got back to that type of thinking.
BB/Chan Eil Eagal Orm