I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions – I’ve never felt a big pull for that “fresh start.” I think it’s typically because I’m relatively satisfied with where I’m at – and that cliché resolutions always seem to fail. So, this year I had no intention of setting a resolution until New Year’s Day -- when I realized I needed to.
My husband and I were out eating dinner when he came up with an idea – he wanted to leave the waitress a tip equal to our bill as a great way to start her new year. “How sweet and generous you are!” – maybe should have been my reaction. Instead I felt my chest tighten with the reaction that matches my budgeting/saving/often frugal self. Prudent Lauren needed a moment to think about this and that’s when I realized that I needed to become more generous. Don’t get me wrong – I always want to help and am actually quite a softie. However, getting me to part with large amounts of money can be a struggle. So, I decided this would be my resolution – to be generous beyond my comfort zone. It started with that big tip for our waitress.
Then, I got excited – I needed to give more. So, I signed up with Kiva an organization that helps arrange micofinancing for people around the world in an effort to alleviate poverty. Essentially, you are loaning your money to others. So, I found Noeda in the Philippines who needed a loan to buy supplies to expand her farm. Then, I found Mrs. El in Cambodia who needed a loan to buy a feather plucking machine that would help her to sell chickens at market at a greater volume. I pulled out my credit card and made a couple of loans. It felt good – I loved the idea that I was giving to people in countries I had recently visited – I had fallen in love with these countries and their people. More than that, I had seen the poverty first hand. I was amazed how in 24 hours these women had their loans fully funded by generous people around the world. Once the loans are re-paid, I can lend again – what a great, sustaining idea.
Now, I don’t expect I’ll be throwing cash around at every corner. And, I fully expect to feel my chest tighten with the feeling that I must save my money – but I can overcome that for a greater feeling of giving to others who need the money a lot more than I do.