40 for 40

Growing older used to really bother me. I had trouble coming to terms with it in my early thirties… I skipped birthdays and even held at 33 for quite some time.

But when my brother died two years ago, it affected me in ways I wouldn’t quite come to understand until recently. First of all, my brother was only 41 years old. He was married with three children and seemed to be at the pinnacle of life. He had a fulfilling career, nice house and car, and truly loved watching the Magic and Gators. Give him the TV and a beer on a Saturday afternoon, and he was truly king of his domain. He went bungee jumping, vacationed in Hawaii; he thrived on adventure. He seemed to live with no regrets.

But the most important thing about my brother–more important than anything he achieved–was his willingness to help others. No matter what else was going on, my brother was “old reliable” and would always be there when you needed help. Looking back on his life, it was this quality that he valued most: to help others with absolutely no expectations of anything in return.

So, this brings me back to turning 40, which happens today, April 27.

While I am thoroughly satisfied with my life–great husband and kid, job and home–I feel there is a bit more I could bring to this world. So, I plan on honoring my brother’s sense of giving. Instead of looking for presents this birthday, I plan on giving some. I don’t know how or what I will do exactly just yet, but my theme for this year of life is 40 for 40.

This basically means I am going to find 40 people to help during the coming year. It might be a perfect stranger, it might be a close friend, but either way I am actively looking for 40 people to help in BIG ways. And, since money doesn’t grow on trees in my yard, it means I will have to be creative how I go about helping these 40 individuals. (This comes out to roughly helping 1 person every week and a half…maybe not quite as easy as it sounds.)

Please follow along with me on Twitter, Facebook, and here on my blog about my efforts to make a difference in my world. Maybe this sense of giving will inspire you to also give to the world…maybe you already do…either way I hope you will join me on my journey.

So, here’s to 40 for 40… my birthday present to me!


Filed under family, Just for Me

10 responses to “40 for 40

  1. I think this a truly remarkable journey that you are taking on. People often forget how important it is to help others out, and rarely realize how they will end up helping themselves in the process. In this economy, I have no doubt that you will find people in need. Good luck on your endeavor!

  2. Katie Krause

    I love this idea! I would love to help in any way I can! I am thinking……….. Happy Birthday! I hear 40 is not so bad!

  3. Jodi Katherine Kiely

    What a fantastic idea! Can’t wait to hear more as the journey evolves. I know your goal is to help others, but if you find you yourself need help along the way, please don’t hesitate to ask! πŸ™‚

    • Bess, first let me say Happy Birthday and give you
      a round of applause for such a wonderful idea…
      perhaps you can find someone with a birthday every few weeks and let that be the path to your
      journey…can’t wait to watch as you take your trip…
      What a great tribute to your brother as well…

  4. Have a happy birthday. Your brother would be proud πŸ™‚

  5. Renee Watts

    You leave me speechless…….what an amazing way to honor your loving brother’s memory. If you need any help making your 40 for 40 commitments a reality, you can count on me. πŸ™‚
    GOD bless girlfriend!

  6. Kirsten Telan

    Bess – This is wonderful. Here’s to you and 40 for 40! love and blessings, Kirsten

  7. This is so wonderful Bess! Good luck on your endeavors and if you need any help, don’t hesitate πŸ™‚

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