Thoughts on Giving
If you have read even a week’s worth of blog posts from me, you know that Chris and I are finally debt free, except our house in New York that just won’t go away. I haven’t written much about getting out of debt and what that entailed, and really, that isn’t for today’s post. But, prior to making the commitment to getting out of debt, we were giving 10% and saving 10% of everything we made. It hit us one day that that 20% was hindering us from making any significant progress in our attempts to get debt free. So, we stopped giving and saving for nearly 2 years. Or, at least, on paper that’s what we did. Money obviously isn’t the only way you can give.
Obviously, we all know that, but practically speaking, Chris and I usually thought of money when we thought of giving. And, it isn’t because neither of us ever volunteered or donated goods/clothes. That’s just how it was. And, then, an organization we both have worked for and volunteered for over the years had a campaign to raise money and support. In their materials, they mentioned they wanted people to give “time, talent or treasures” to support them. I loved that!
Time. Talent. Treasure.
Each one has equal value and weight, and not one can function without the other in any type of organization. Of course, time and talent can go hand in hand, as most talents take time to give. :-)
Anyway, we started to try to think more creatively about giving. How could we give when we didn’t feel right about giving money until we weren’t paying interest on every dollar we had (or didn’t have)? Well, we gave the time we could give and we gave our talents. We donated my services to several organizations we would’ve otherwise donated money to (or used to give to), and those services either saved them money from having to hire someone else or helped them raise money (through silent auctions or just donations). We’ve spent time and talents in numerous ways I care not to list, as I kinda think “bragging” about those things devalues the donation a bit.
But, I think the most interesting donations I’ve done, apart from blood (and my attempts to donate breastmilk, which I intend to do next time I am nursing and have excess, now that I know how to properly sterilize and store it for donation)… was donating my hair. It was something I have wanted to do for about a decade, but back when I first was ready to chop off 10-12″, they wouldn’t accept color-treated hair (now they do accept it and now I don’t have colored hair). So, around the time that Ellen was born, I realized that it had been 6 months since my last haircut and my hair was way longer than I usually liked it (by 3 inches). I just didn’t have the time to go sit in a salon leading up to my maternity leave, nor did I have the time after she was born! So, I just decided to let it keep going until I had 10 inches to give.
Folks, this wasn’t easy. No, I am not trying to paint myself as a saint for sacrificing my hair. Honestly, I felt pretty homely about 90% of the time I had long hair, as it was usually thrown in a bun or ponytail, and I did NOTHING pretty with it at all until the last 2 weeks I had it. My hair would take over 2 hours to air dry, and since my hair is very wavy/kinda curly, it takes constant scrunching or twirling to make it look okay air dried. So, usually, it was just a mess. I could use the blow dryer, but that also took a long time to do and got long hairs all over the bathroom (two things my husband does not appreciate). AND, if it was raining or slightly humid, I just wasted that time and effort, as it turned frizzy and slightly wavy. So, no, folks, I never really was part of the pretty-long-hair club that so many of you young women are part of. The sacrifice was in the waiting, not in the cutting. And, well, I am patient. I can wait.
Anyway, my whole point is that there are tons of creative ways to give to things worth giving to, even if you don’t have money… or even if you do! Writing a check is much easier for some of us than taking the time to volunteer or donate… or just be patient and wait, in the case of donating hair. We all should be searching for ways to give. Chris and I are back to writing checks to give and saving every bit we can also, but I hope that we will never stop giving our time and talents to those that need them just as much, if not more, than a check!
On that note, here’s one last picture of my “pretty” long hair (or just “pretty long” hair).
Now, get ready to laugh…
And, its okay to swoon over my new haircut, as long as you KNOW that I haven’t been able to make it look half this pretty since the day it was cut.