Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Deserving of praise

About a month ago I was walking through downtown Pittsburgh. It was a magnificent day. The sun was shining, there was a gentle breeze, and I was in a pretty good mood.

I was walking from my dorm to Point State Park when I decided to stop at Dunkin Donuts and get a 99-cent iced tea (which actually comes out to $1.06 with tax by the way).

I don’t like to carry change. It’s heavy, it rattles around, and I just prefer to use my debit card or paper money when I’m paying for things. (I am lucky I can be particular about how I use money, I acknowledge that.)

So I left Dunkin with my tea in hand and my change in my pocket. I decided I would give my change to the first homeless person I saw. About a minute later I saw a middle-aged man with a paper cup outside of McDonald’s--a common sight--and I gave him my change. All 94 cents of it.

I was proud of myself. I probably made that guy’s day, I thought to myself. My first instinct was to reach for my phone and tell my friends about the good deed I had done. I wanted to be praised for giving a man change I didn’t even want.

But I continued on my way and didn’t fish for praise from my friends. But then I was proud of myself for not telling anyone about my “good deed.”

What is wrong with me that I feel I need validation and praise for everything I do or choose not to do?

Shouldn’t the knowledge that I helped someone be satisfying enough?

Why do I feel so deserving of praise?

These are the questions that flooded my mind as I continued on my walk and I knew I must not be the only person who has ever wondered about this.

Sure, I helped a guy out. But I didn’t lose or gain anything by doing so. I’m not going to suffer because I gave a homeless man money. I’ll still have a roof over my head and food to eat. It’s hard for me to view what I did as a selfless act because of that.

There’s always been a side of me that wants the world to see all the “good deeds” I’ve done even though I know that getting positive attention isn’t the point of giving charitably. I think as long as I acknowledge how I feel, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be praised now and then.

For me, that change in my pocket meant nothing, but for that homeless man, it was a show of kindness and maybe a chance for a meal. That’s what’s truly important.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

I write because I want to, it's that simple

It feels good to be writing here again, I had a lot of ambition when I started this blog in September. But then my first year of college happened. It was wonderful, and wonderfully busy.

I had great opportunities to write for my college newspaper, and I was able to write for The Odyssey Online during the spring semester. These platforms allowed me to grow as a writer, but I was limited. I had to write for the Odyssey once a week, and after a while it became very difficult to write an inspired and meaningful piece.

So I quit. I wanted to take some time to think and write on my own. What I want most is for my words to be carefully chosen and thought provoking. I don’t want to care how many times my pieces are shared on Facebook. Writing is very personal for me, I feel like I am having a conversation with each person who takes the time to read what I’ve said. I want to be proud of everything I share.

This summer I am going to focus on making this blog the best it can be. I am going to enjoy my time away from the hustle and bustle of college life and write about whatever my little heart desires. I will write whenever I have something to say and I will not force myself to write if I don’t have anything worthwhile to say.

Now I’m going to go rest my feet in the grass and listen to The Lumineers’ new album for the 200th time.