As we ploughed further into the New Year it became very apparent that I had forgotten something: I had no New Year’s Resolutions. I found myself constantly questioned as to what exactly it was that I had resolved to improve about myself for the New Year. This was extremely troublesome for me as I have always appreciated the symbolism of the New Year’s Resolution.
We may not always stick to them, in fact, the chances that we’ll even remember what they are by April are slim, but as a new year begins, everything that came before it can be filed away in the past, leaving you standing at the precipice of the future, with all the potential for positive change that comes with it. With this in mind, I set about thinking what I should adopt for this year as my new mantra. I settled on a simple one that I feel has greater value than we may at first give it credit.
Carry out Random Acts of Kindness
As simple as it sounds, carrying out random acts of genuine, selfless kindness is not always easy, and doesn’t always go exactly to plan. I remember on one occasion being approached by a man who was obviously down on his luck, asking me for some money for a sandwich. As is my custom, I offered to buy him the sandwich, and headed towards the Prêt à Manger behind us. Before I could take a second step, he stopped me and said ‘Oh, umm, no, I don’t want a sandwich from there’. He was obviously a man of discerning taste. I asked him where he would like to go and he muttered in reply that it was somewhere very far and I didn’t have to bother coming. I explained that it was no problem and that I was more than willing to follow him anywhere. His reply to this was to give a half-strangled cry of ‘Look, just give me the money, please!’ Cold realisation dawned on me. ‘You’re looking to buy illicit substances, aren’t you?’ I asked, hurt. He opened his mouth wide, as if to protest, but said nothing. An awkward moment passed between the two of us and then, with a defeated look on his face he trudged off, likely to dupe the next unsuspecting passer-by. Hopefully I can still reap the karma points for trying.
I was more than willing to follow him anywhere
Despite this momentary set-back, I was excited for my next opportunity to do something truly and selflessly kind for someone. I firmly believe that when we do things like buy that homeless man on the street a warm meal, or help a struggling mother to carry her shopping bags to her door, or even just give a kind word to someone who clearly needs a pick-me-up, the reward we gain is immeasurable.
Cleveland Amory, an American author, once said that ‘What this world needs is a new kind of army – the army of the kind’. That, I think is a beautiful image. I’m hoping that this year I’ll find myself a soldier in this army and that I see you marching alongside me.