Christmas Eve is in exactly 6 days. Which means, my birthday is also in 6 days. It is a royal pain in the ass and everyone always tends to forget about me because birthdays this time of year tend to get lost in the shuffle and excitement of THE HOLIDAYS! Instead of wishing people to remember my birthday, my wish this year is that we can remember those who are not as privileged as us and give back.
Growing up, I’ve been very lucky to have a very loving and supportive family. I’ve never really asked for much, yet, I’ve still been given bountiful opportunities, support and always birthday gifts. Usually my birthday consists of birthday dinners with friends and another with family, followed by a night out at the bar. I won’t lie, usually I don’t pay for a thing, because let’s be honest, that is usually just what happens on birthdays. We’ve come to accept it is what it is.
But something shifted for me this year and I’ve come to realize just how much of my life I want to spend helping others. I’ve had amazing opportunities, I’m privileged to be able to have the experiences I have had. I went to overnight summer camp every sumer as a child, I went to a Big 10 university and got a fantastic degree, I graduated without any debt, I lived & studied in Florence, Italy for a semester, I’ve been to 24 countries already, I backpacked for 4 weeks through Europe, recently went to Tanzania just to pursue a volunteering dream, and I have a loving and supportive family. This list goes on but in the end it comes down to the fact that I’ve had a lot of opportunities.
I know that while I have had all these opportunities, there are many out there who only know a life of war and poverty, of struggle and hardship. A life I really don’t know much about. When I was in Africa, I saw people drinking from the same stream water that they bathed in. I saw rusted flimsy roof tops and people walking miles upon miles just for water or to provide for their family.
When my friends do a marathon for a cause or to remember a loved one lost, I’ll donate to their cause. When disaster strikes, whether it was the Tsunami in Japan or Hurricane Sandy, I give money to the Red Cross but I’ve never actually shown up on the doorstep ready to make a difference myself. That is until I went to Tanzania. I had a life long dream of volunteering and making a difference so I went to Africa, to actually DO something, not just pay for change, but to DO it. I started Tweetup for Change for this reason, too. And I am proud to know that I accomplished that. But I don’t want it to stop there.
So this year, I am doing something different. I am continuing my efforts to make a difference, to make it part of my lifestyle rather than just a thing I did once.
And that is why, this year, my 28th year I want to start it off by giving back and helping others. I am pledging my birthday for a cause that gives 100% of what it raises and uses it to bring clean drinking water to those in need. I am pledging my birthday to help Charity: Water.
This year, I am committed to raising $1,000 dollars for this cause. I realize I am not physically giving anything up, I’m not giving $1,000 of my own money. I’m asking you, my friends to help me. I’m asking people instead of buying me drinks on my birthday, to take that money and put it towards something that actually matters.
That is the best birthday gift I could ask for.
Here is a link to my birthday Charity: Water page.