It’s kind of a big deal to turn 50.
Half a century.
I felt kind of relieved to be turning 50. I guess I was ready to say goodbye to my 40s.
So, I wanted to mark my 50th birthday in a special, generous way.
Peer-reviewed science shows altruism makes humans happy
I’ve read some fascinating peer-reviewed science and research that shows that generosity given to others makes people happier than generosity received. Doing things for other people provides you with more lasting happiness than when people do things for you.
We all want to be happy. We all want to feel good. But you can read all the self-help books in the world and still feel disconnected and lonely. As obsessed as we all have a tendency to be with ourselves, more and more scientific evidence tells us that the key to vibrant living is more about connecting with others. It’s something I’m thinking and writing about more these days, something I call The Best Fit. You can read more about that in coming posts.
All of which is to say, I decided that in honor of my 50th birthday I’d give 50 gifts to friends, family, and strangers this year.
I made some generosity rules for myself:
- The gift has to be something special. Not just something I could easily give away, but something I love and didn’t necessarily want to part with! Or something I purchased for someone else.
- The gift had to be out of the blue, not for someone’s birthday, or not to someone I always gift things to.
- I want each gift to be meaningful, to the receiver and to me.
50 gifts of generosity for 50 people in honor of my 50th birthday
So I gave away one of my favorite necklaces, a gorgeous one that I wore all the time, to my dear friend Jade, because she admired it.
I spent hours making a blue horse for my friend Lynn, painting love and gratitude into every (imperfect) stroke. (Horses are Lynn’s favorite animal and blue is her favorite color.)
I gave away my last signed copies of several of my books, sending them with love to addresses around the United States.
And I gave away plants.
I love my houseplants. There are many scientific reasons to have them. Besides, they filter the air and make my home feel like an oasis where things can grow and thrive.
The one in the picture above was one of my favorite plants. I gifted it to my friend Laura. I can’t lie. It wasn’t easy to give away. But seeing the smile on Laura’s face opened my heart. It makes me smile to think about how my plant will bring her joy.
My 50th birthday was at the end of July and I’ve almost reached my goal.
I feel blessed to have so much to give.
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Last update: March 3, 2023