When I signed up to do an act of kindness every day for a week, I knew that in regards to the sensitive time our society is going through, this was a vital time to consider what sheer kindness could produce. I began perusing my surroundings, looking for the perfect situation to put my kindness to its best use. But soon, I realized I spent more time contemplating what I could do rather than actually doing it. So I crumpled the list of “kind deeds” I had originally planned out and decided to step out of my comfort zone. I decided that I would spontaneously execute random acts of kindness.
The night before the election results swept over our nation, I took my roommate out for Starbucks — my treat. I had to convince myself that this fit the criteria for an act of kindness, because I have to admit, I needed to buy two more frappuccinos in order to earn 30 bonus stars towards gold. I know, shame on me.
This was the night that stunned New York City, the night that we needed comfort amidst the uncertainty more than ever. The city streets were surprisingly quiet as I walked to the fountain in Washington Square Park late at night. I sat next to a small crowd of about 10 NYU students and local residents, giving and receiving lots of hugs. It felt good, and I’m glad I was there for other people.
After my only class on Wednesday, I invited my friend over to my dorm after we got frappuccinos. She seemed dejected from the series of events surrounding Tuesday, and while I didn’t have answers or the ability to give much consolation, I had a room I could welcome her into and two ears I could lend her. I decided there was no better way to act on my kindness than to just be a good friend.
For Thursday’s kind act, I organized a pasta and dessert night for two of my friends. We walked to San Marzano and ate to our hearts’ (or stomachs’) desires. My friends seemed drained, and the extra carbohydrates were well-received. Talking things out is important, and, for us, food is alway the best conversation starter.
My Friday morning began with a call to my mom. Although I hate to label this as anything but ordinary, let alone “kind,” I have been forgetting to do so lately. It was so refreshing to have a conversation with her. I find there’s no one better to talk to about my good days, bad days and secret pipe dreams.
This week was a gloomy one, but making a conscious effort to include acts of kindness in my days added warmth throughout the week that otherwise would have been lacking. It was vindicating to be the change I wanted to see. Confronted with the sad, heartbreaking and absurd, I realized how important the universality of kindness really is.
Email Alice Li at [email protected]