Hello 40…the birthday project…

A few months ago I found something called The Birthday Project. A woman Robyn Bomar decided that when she turned 38 she would spend her birthday doing 38 random acts of kindness. I was impressed with this idea. Forty is a big one…or so everyone keeps telling me. :) I thought about doing 40 random acts of kindness on my 40th birthday and then came to the very large conclusion that I am far too lazy to do that. So I figured that I would do 40 random acts of kindness this year. I hope to continue this each year as I get older, adding one extra act a year. Seems doable. Hope it is.

Today I turned 40. I got up with a little dog breath in my face and I knew it would be a good day. A quick trip to the gym as I have this weird thing about exercising my heart each birthday as a “gee thanks for still working heart” kind of thing. Then I had my breakfast donut (pink with Sprinkles) and got off and running (okay…not actually running).

I already did my big birthday thing on Saturday. My hockey peeps were kind enough to throw me the ultimate birthday party for me…a mini hockey tournament…in my honor. Not a lot of people get to say that. To say it was fun is an understatement. As I am sure you can tell from the photo (MDP went as Underdog and I was just dressed as Birthday Girl…there was a “Superhero” theme…superhero being loosely interpret). Nonetheless, since I already did the celebrating and my birthday is on the ever so exciting Monday I decided I should start on my Birthday Project.

I drove about 15 minutes south of me to find a less than great neighborhood and went to the Safeway there. I kind of stalked people trying to figure out who I was going to help. And then there she was. I woman who looked a little haggard and had five children tugging on her, saying “mom” about 50 times, and circling her as she pushed her cart down the way. I got in behind her at the check-out lane. She was buying the staples: bread, eggs, cheese, peanut butter, cereal. The kids were trying to convince her to let them have candy and she said no. She knew the cashier and they were talking and saying that she had just got off working the night shift. She went to pay using her EBT card (food stamps). I told the cashier “I got this, I will pay for her groceries”. Both the cashier and the woman looked at me and said almost in unison “are you serious?” And I said yes. I whispered to the mom that if it was okay with her each kid could pick out their own candy bar if they liked. She smiled. The kids picked out there candy bar and I got a whole lot of thank yous and quite a few hugs. It was only $63. Which I don’t mean only because I’ve been poor enough to know that $63 can be a whole bunch. But I mean only in the fact that the outcome was sure greater than the income put towards it. The woman asked me why I was doing it. I told her it was my 40th birthday. She said “aren’t people supposed to give you stuff on your birthday?” and I told her that she just did. She didn’t get it. I didn’t need her to.

I still have a full day ahead of me but so far it’s off to one heck of a birthday start. So hello 40…I welcome you with open arms!


  1. Happy Birthday. As someone who’s been through hard times and depended on food stamps, your random act of kindness must have meant the world to her. I’m a bit ashamed that I had a “poor me” birthday moment when I didn’t ge the perfect gift. I wish I had thought of giving myself a gift of helping others. Maybe next year I’ll do better.

  2. Happy birthday! Love the Birthday Project – and good on you for act number one.

  3. I read your blog all the time, but have never commented until today because 1. your story brought tears to my eyes and 2. wishing you a Happy Happy Birthday!! seems to warrant a comment.
    Have the best day and congratulations on your Birthday Project! That’s amazing. :)

  4. I was just about to email you to let you know that I got the dog Pack and my poodle says THANK YOU (sorry for the caps but he was really excited)
    If you don’t mind – id like to join you on your fabulous 40

  5. wow that’s really really sweet of you to do!

    Happy Birthday! Welcome to the 40s. :)

  6. Awww you look so cute in your outfit! I hope you had a wonderful birthday and good luck with the other 39 kindness acts.

  7. Way to be inspirational!

  8. Happy belated Peabody. That’s such a wonderful idea and a wonderful story. You’re awesome.

    And here’s a tip that I use for my own birthdays. No matter what day of the week your birthday falls on don’t let anyone celebrate it until the following Friday :). I call it my “Officially Unofficial Birthday.” It drives everyone crazy :).

  9. Collette says:

    Happy Belated Birthday! And thanks for making me think (and cry–but in a good way).

  10. Happy belated birthday! And like so many of the other commenters, I would like to steal this idea. Such a lovely way of counting the blessings that pile up with each passing year. :)
    Love that you started the day with a quick workout and a doughnut with sprinkles. :)

  11. Oh that’s perfect. May the love you spread come back to you ten fold. <3 Happy Birthday Peabody!

  12. Weepy! So weepy! That was fantastic! I’m turning 40 later this year and I am inspired! Thank you so much!

  13. Um Peabody? You rock. Happy belated birthday. Hope you don’t mind, I shared the link to your post to about 6,350 of my favorite people. I think they’ll love it as much as I do! :)

  14. That is awesome and so are you! I wanted to be part of the birthday project too- but time & money didn’t allow it this year. (And I must admit- probably a bit of laziness too! LOL)

    I love your idea of spreading it out throughout the year. I think you’ve gave me an idea for next year! Thanks!

    BTW- Good luck & have fun with the remaining 39- I hope you share those on your blog as well b/c I’m looking forward to reading them!

  15. Tiffany B says:

    I came here for a cherry recipe not tears! ;) Love this Peabody, what a beautiful gesture and gift that you gave. Enjoy your year :)

  16. I shed a tear at this post, and your kindness! That’s inspirational, and shows how doing something so small for each of us means the world to somebody else.

  17. What a wonderful idea! My birthday is tomorrow…I will have to do the same! Thank you for the inspiration!

  18. Someone in my hometown did this on their 30th birthday. She rented a van and all her friends went around with her while they did 30 nice things for people. Really great idea. Proud of you for doing this and yes, the reward is so much greater than the income spent.

  19. OMG that made me cry.

  20. Wow, you just brought tears to my eyes. Good for you for just doing that. I am about to celebrate my 27th birthday and will not probabl make it to complete 27 acts of kindness, but I am certainly going to do my best with what I can accomplish. This idea is so great and I hope more people jump on board.

  21. happy belated birthday! Way to make the world a better place. good luck on your project. :)

  22. What a wonderful idea! I just checked in on your blog after a little while and I just wanted to say congrats/best of luck with the move, and also the peanut butter s’mores bars and butterscotch swirl cake things look Uh-mazing!

  23. I was away on vacay and am catching up on your posts. Happy 40th…it’s not so bad here in the 40s! I enjoyed this post so much…such a nice thing you did!!!!

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