Everyone’s read a million times that you get back from life what you put in. We know we need to eat well, exercise, help people, try our best at things, forgive and forget and have fun. Obviously we need to do much more than that too, and we can’t even do these things listed all the time because life is hard and we’re only human. However it’s only been the last year where I have realised how true this all is and I’m very glad it’s happened.
Three different things have led me to do good and actively be a good person in the last year. That makes me sound like I wasn’t a good person before, but I like to think I always have been. I also like to think my friends would say the same. One was nice enough to tell me on NYE that she would describe me as ‘quite fun and tall’, so I mean there’s that.
The first thing has been working for a HIV research campaign doing digital marketing and writing for blogs and websites. The overall goal for the project is develop a possible vaccine. It’s a good cause, I meet people who are passionate about it and it’s really nice to feel like work means something. I’ve done lots of other jobs which left me feeling satisfied too, and that were not for a cause like this, but it’s made me realise that if I leave this job, I want to volunteer or just find something to do where I can help others, even if it’s just giving up an hour a week or donating blood regularly.
The second has been making a real effort with friends who I know need a little TLC. I think it’s really important to be a good friend all the time, but when you have multiple friends living all over the place it becomes difficult to be there as much as you might like. I have strong friendships that are kept alive mainly on whatsapp because of distance and just not having the capacity to see each other, and I still love these friends as much as I did when I saw them all the time. Noticing that someone close to you is down or just not themselves is the perfect opportunity to step up and be the best version of you.That sounds horribly preachy, but it’s true. I know I have done this at least twice recently and I’m so glad to do it. I want my friends to know they can rely on me, because I know I will need to rely on them back at some point in the future, just like I have in the past.
The third is my mum being diagnosed with cancer. Something like that happening changes life so much that you feel a bit like you are watching yourself for a while. That’s how I felt anyway. Like I was observing me from some sort of viewing platform, going about my daily business. Thankfully, she’s doing very well and is in good spirits and that in itself makes everything a million times better. I went into autopilot ‘good daughter’ mode at first without even thinking about it, but after reflecting on everything, I know that I’ll make more of an effort forever now. I know that I can be a good support and I know that I can deal with some seriously difficult crap and still come out feeling good about life.
People do good everyday. I see it in the street, at work, between friends and family. It’s nice to notice these things, especially since people are also doing a lot of bad everyday. Watching the news in 2015 hasn’t exactly been a treat. I always feel like I want to go out and save the world after I’ve made a positive difference to something or someone and I want more people to have this feeling. Maybe everyone already does, but I think we can forget that life is a two way street sometimes. No one truly lives effort-free.
It doesn’t always take working for a charity, running marathons or taking a sabbatical to build schools in developing countries to do good. It doesn’t even have to be about other people. Even watching watching a pretty sunset from my flat makes me feel better about life sometimes, and that doesn’t impact anyone but me.
When life is good, we have to give a little good back.