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It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years since our world changed on September 11, 2001.  Like many of you, I’m sure this is one of those events that you remember exactly where you were.  I was on my way to work and had just pulled in the parking lot when the first plane hit.  It wasn’t until after the second plane hit that I realized that something was terribly wrong and I was terrified.  I remember wondering if it was going to stop?  Was something going to happen in St. Louis?

I remember crying on the drive home.  I needed to be near my husband.  I needed to be safe.  I needed someone to tell me everything was going to be okay, even if no one knew for sure.

That day and the days that followed were filled with so much anger.  Rightly so.  How could someone do that to the United States?  Why would they want to hurt us?  I still get overcome with anger and sadness the moment I see images from that day.  I am a very emotional person, so while I have a feeling that sadness will always be there when I think back to September 11th, I would like anger to not have such a big place in my heart.  I want it to feel different this year.  So, I am challenging myself and I want to challenge you.

The morning of September 11, 2001 was just another morning for everyone.  A quick kiss and hug good-bye.  Maybe, yelling at the kids to eat their breakfast.  Making lunches for school.  Checking e-mail before going into work.  Things that we do every single day.  No one could have known what was about to happen.   That’s my point.  Life can change in a second.  So, instead of feeling so much anger on September 11th, I think we should use it as a reminder to treat each day as a gift.  Hug and love those closest to you.  Every. Single. Day.

The anniversary of one of the saddest days in our country’s history reminded me why Generosity Day speaks so LOUDLY to me.  I challenge you to counter a day that happened because of hatred and anger with generosity.    I think it is important to remember that day.  To honor those that were lost.  To celebrate those that survived.

Remember, the “official” date of Generosity Day is February 14, 2012.  I say, let’s get that party started EARLY!

I blogged recently about Generosity Day created by Sasha Dicter.  You can read that post here:  https://jamiddix.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/generosity-day-2012/.

It’s been a challenging almost 3 months since I quit my full time job.  The plan was to take the kiddos to school, come home and get a quick run in, shower and sit down to do some work.  Doesn’t that sound like an awesome plan?  I thought so.  Until I realized that I can’t focus at home.  I look around and there are toys to be picked up, laundry to be done, kitchen to be cleaned and that stuff is way easier to do without children at home.  I’ve been struggling with what it means to feel valued.  Feeling valued at home is much different than feeling valued at work.  For some reason, cleaning toilets and changing dirty diapers just doesn’t give me nearly as much satisfaction as hitting all my fundraising goals did at my old job.

I’m over the whole “working from home” piece.  In order for me to be productive and feel like a functioning member of society, I need to be in a space with my colleague doing work.  And, that’s exactly what I did today.  It’s amazing the amount of work you can get down when you’re focused.

And, when the Christmas music is playing.   Yes, it’s August.  Don’t judge.

And, when I’m sipping on my coffee.

Yes, all was right in my world today and it wasn’t until my drive home that I figured out why Generosity Day is so important to me.  Other than the obvious, touchy-feely,  it’s just the right thing to do reasons, just thinking about spreading the word and rallying a group of people in the city of St. Louis makes me genuinely happy.  But, it’s more than just the warm-fuzzies.   I was feeling really grateful for my life and the work I’m doing and I just want to be able to pass that happy on to someone else and not just on February 14, 2012, but every day.  It seems to me that being generous is easy to do when you’re feeling really grateful for your life.

Today, I was feeling very grateful.

If you’re feeling grateful, pass it on.  It will make someone’s day.

Including yours.

Trust me.

Imagine for a moment, it’s raining.  You’re kiddo forgot their lunchbox.  You’re running late to a meeting.  There isn’t a parking spot near your building and you don’t have an umbrella.  You open your car door to start the wet trek and a total stranger offers you a hand and their extra umbrella.  Your morning was instantly made better by the kindness of a complete stranger.  Sometimes, it’s the littlest gestures that make the biggest difference.

Started just last year, Generosity Day was the idea of blogger Sasha Dicter.  To learn more about Sasha, click here.

What is Generosity Day?  When is it?  What does it mean?  What do I really have to do?  How much do I have to give?

Generosity Day has no rules.  Well, okay one rule.  Do something nice for someone else on February 14, 2012.  After that, it’s all up to you.  Make it easy.  Make it heartfelt.  Most importantly, make it something.

Generosity Day can be free.  Smile at someone who looks like they’re having a rough day.  Say hello.  Trade the e-mail for a real face to face conversation.  Put your dish in the dishwasher.  Hug your kids one more time before they walk out the door.  Call a friend you haven’t spoke to in a long time.  Say your sorry. Go read to a group of kids that need it.  Give that pile of clothes that you won’t wear to a charity who could use them.  Offer to take bath duty for the kids.  Get the coffee ready the night before.  Cut your neighbors grass.  Go visit an elderly neighbor.  Help someone out to their car.  Make dinner.  Offer to make copies for your colleague at work.  Offer to pick up the kids from school.  If you’ve got a few extra bucks, buy coffee for the person behind you in the drive-through.  Order an extra sandwich for the homeless guy you walk past everyday.  Make a donation to your favorite charity.  Give your time at your local food pantry.

The beauty of the day is that you get to decide.  Whatever you’re comfortable with.  Whatever you can do.  Just do it.

I think we could all agree that watching just 10 minutes of local or national news can be terribly sad.  You would think nothing good is happening in our world right now and I’m sure for some people it feels that way.   I just finished reading Walk Out Walk On by Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze.  A theme throughout the book is “start anywhere, follow it everywhere.”  Let’s all start with one act of kindness on February 14, 2012.  Who knows where it will lead?

What does Generosity Day mean to me?  It means hope.  It means for one day out of the year hope that we can all do one, just one, nice thing for someone else.  Hope that your goodwill and attitude will pour over to February 15th and to the 16th and so on.  It’s up to each of us to make our world a better place.

Stop waiting for something good to happen to you and start making good happen.

If Generosity Day speaks to you, if you want to pledge to do something on February 14, 2012, if you are interested in helping spread the word in St. Louis, let me know.  Leave me a comment or contact me via twitter @jamidix.  Let’s use the hashtag #generositydaySTL.

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