Tuesday, April 26, 2011

christie's venture with philanthropy... and lack of shallowness

so i've been thinking more and more about my life's prioritizations and have come to the conclusion that i want to be a bit more philanthropic. now that i am done paying off my student loans (huzzah!), i feel like i can have a lot more flexibility in terms of my spending patterns and behaviors. don't get me wrong, who are we kidding? it's not like i lead this high maintenance kinda lifestyle who'll be dropping cash like... well, i don't know like what, but you know what i mean, right? i mean, im just not one of those people that needs a lot to be happy!

as such, ive been so pleasantly surprised to see how my bank account has been steadily increasing over the past few months. please, it's not like it's this exponential rise to richness and glory. at the same time, it IS noticed enough that i feel like i want to just DO something with it. and trust me, the idea of a shopping spree is so not along the lines of what i had in mind... can i help it that i find shopping to be one of the more boring tasks ever invented in life? sigh. what kind of girl am i? i know, i know... but oh well.

anyway, so a couple of weeks ago, i was really thinking long and hard about what i should do with the money that would otherwise be going to my student loans. okay, by long and hard, i mean i was thinking about it while i was waiting for my bus... but whatever, you get the idea. anyway, i had an inkling that i wanted to start taking a more active role in philanthropy, primarily by just starting to donate money to charitable organizations which totally have a tug at my heartstrings type of feel, you know? hahaha. (if you know me, just picture me clutching my heart like i do when describing everyone that i "adore"... which is, quite frankly, the majority of people i encounter. but whatever.)

anyway, i started mentally narrowing down the list of organizations of which i am aware that would spark my interest in warranting some significant monetary contributions. but then, i walked into my neighborhood grocery store and came across one of my favorite homeless people... this man is ALWAYS at the same street corner in my neighborhood. but he never really asks for money- he just is always so polite and friendly. sigh. tug at heart strings type of moment, if you will. it was while i was in that grocery store that i was just kind of like, you know what? why NOT just give some money to my homeless man friend on the street corner? i typically wouldn't do this, because i'm all about just getting homeless people some food, since you never really know what they could be using this money for, but whatever. i was having a moment. so, in a grand act of charity, when i walked out of the grocery store, i (slightly awkwardly, since i dont really know how to approach a homeless man who isnt blatantly asking you for money) handed him ten dollars. sigh. his smile and simple "thanks so much, lady" was TOTALLY enough to melt my heart right then and there.

so that's how i decided to start my philanthropic journey, folks... by just giving money to INDIVIDUALS who simply seem to be down on their luck. it's that whole personable factor that makes me feel so much warmer and fuzzier than i otherwise would if i were just donating it to a large organization.

well, that's all well and good but practicality started getting the better of me and i started second guessing just how well i can "read" people. i mean, this methodology worked fine with this particular homeless man, because i see him basically everyday and he is just the most consistently polite, discreet individual EVER. however, i mentally told myself that i can't just keep on randomly handing out cash to every homeless person i see. i mean, that's not the most effective way to begin my philanthropic sojourn, if you really think about it. this is the renewed lightbulber of a moment that i came to this weekend.

but then... well... okay, so i was in a different neighborhood this morning so of course, of COURSE, i had to hit up the local starbucks. i mean, when in rome and all that, right? anyway, so there was this homeless man standing on the street corner, and he totally held the door open for a slew of starbucks customers that were simultaneously entering and exiting the place. and it was that simple gesture that already warmed my heart, right? but then i walk by him to slide on into the 'Bucks when he greets me with a simple "hi, young lady"... and since i had already developed warm and fuzzies for him by seeing his kind gesture earlier, i gave him a small smile (normally, i dont really make eye contact with people i dont know) and said "good morning"... to which he responded with... "thanks for the beautiful smile, young lady".

UMM!!!! so much for aiming to not really give money to random homeless people anymore. you KNOW that as soon as i left starbucks this morning, i nestled a nice little Andrew Jacksoner into his hand. lksadjflksjdflkjsadlkfjsdlkj!

okay, so i got a little carried away. but... well, who are we KIDDING here?! he complimented my SMILE! HELLO!! you KNOW if i carried a benjamin around, he would have TOTES gotten it as well...

yup. that's pretty much the end of this story. no lessons learned, no words of wisdom to pass along to you... just... another instance of winning me over by complimenting my smile...

on a side note, just to clarify... i'm not shallow!! hahaha. sigh.

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