10 April 2013

Today is my 100th post! 

When I started the blog, I wondered how, if at all, it would change me. Join me for my first State of the Causes & Effect Union as we look back on the first 100 days of my blogging.

Here are five ways writing and giving money every day has changed me:

*I feel much more connected to the world. For the last several years, I’ve adopted a “we’re all in this together” stance, but I don’t know if I really felt that way until I started Causes & Effect. Almost every day, I’m writing about something that has happened on the planet that day. It can be a big global event, one person’s story, or just what has occurred in my life, but it’s all part of a bigger picture that unites all of us.

*Not only do I feel more connected to the world, I feel more connected to individuals. Whenever I’m tempted to think I’m writing in a void, someone reaches out from out of the blue to comment on a post or the blog in general. Sometimes it’s someone I knew previously, sometimes it’s someone I didn’t, but the result is the same: a humbling sense that in its own very small way, Causes & Effect is sending a little, tiny blast of optimism and good will into the universe. 

*There’s so much good out in the world. Even though my daily giving is often based on some atrocity or some injustice, every day I find an organization that is dedicated to righting some wrong or to making the world a better place. Instead of focusing on the darkness, this blog focuses on the light, and that has made me do the same.

*I’m happier. I’m very lucky in that I’ve never been prone to any kind of long-term depression, but I’ve definitely had bouts of feeling blue and of feeling very alone. But now, part of every single day is spent thinking about how to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem (as trite as that sounds) and whatever issues I may be facing that day are set aside to focus on something much, much bigger than myself. Study after study shows that philanthropy is good for one’s mental state and my own one-woman focus group has definitely borne that out.

*As I wrote in my initial post on Jan. 1, I wanted to change my relationship with money and become a little less of a cheapskate. That has definitely happened. I’m much quicker to pick up the check or to not worry if I’m paying more than my fair share at a group dinner. When I’m writing a big check, whether it’s for taxes or for a car repair or some other charitable cause above and beyond Causes & Effect, I feel no anxiety about it. I’m cherishing the sense of abundance that this project has given me. I feel taken care of, with a general sense of wellbeing. I may be spending more than I used to, but I’m trusting that if I keep working hard and putting one foot in front of the other, it will all turn out OK. 

And for the first 100 days, I can say it has all turned out far better than OK. 

Today’s $10 goes to one of the first charities I remember supporting when I started donating money decades ago: Doctors Without Borders. Like firefighters rushing into a burning building, the doctors and nurses of Doctors Without Borders risk their lives going into places the rest of us would flee from. It’s always been one of my favorite organizations. 

Thank you so much for continuing on this journey with me. Occasionally there are days where it feels like a burden to have to write every day, but the vast majority of the time, it feels like a blessing...and part of the blessing is knowing that I’m not doing this alone. Thank you for that. 

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100 down, 265 to go 

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