So for my first post on here, I’ve decided to post about something that has only been a part of my life for over a week, but has moved me forward into being a better person and making a better world. But perhaps I should start my post back in 2012.
Two years ago, I graduated and finished my full time education in the ‘conventional’ sense as it were, gaining a 2:1 in English Literature, Creative Writing and English Language Teaching from Hertfordshire University. What I didn’t realise at the time, at nearly 23, was that real life now began.
In between doing voluntary writing work for my journalistic ambitions with AMAZEPOP magazine and also my own, short lived music blog Brits Go Pop , and pursuing but then deciding against a career in teaching (in this country anyway), I was applying for job after job, getting tons of rejection letters that, if you stacked them all up could probably be made into a small tree, and getting down to final threes or twos for interviews for different roles and graduate based schemes and just missing out.
That period after graduating was an isolating and tough time for me, watching all my friends doing well, and worrying and wondering when or if I’d get my break or start in life, which without the support of those closest to me in my family, I don’t know if I’d have survived. I’m quite a spiritual person as well, and I feel like praying and being in and around my church community, which has been a lot of the foundation of my life from being a kid to now being an adult, kept me strong (and still does).
In April this year, my drive and ambition finally paid off and I’m now in my first full time graduate role, working in insurance, and for the first time in a long while, I’ve been able to start making some small plans, earning a proper living (and saving for some pipeline aspirations) as I start to lay down the stepping stones of my career.
I do feel very fortunate and very lucky given the circumstances – after all, I, along with thousands of others, graduated into a pretty miserable UK economy, with a recovery that seems to be benefiting the greedy, selfish and arrogant, and leaving those struggling in our society struggling even more under a government that has left our country in the worst state it’s ever been in.
I can’t pinpoint exactly when, but I think it must have been the start of this year when one day, I switched on the news over breakfast and after just 30 minutes, I felt saddened and frustrated. Surely, I thought, this can’t be the way society, let alone our own country, is heading? And I know the media – newspapers, TV, radio – are there to deliver the bad stuff as well as the good. But I just felt there was no balance anymore. I felt that we were becoming so free of compassion and inhumane, a society without hope or faith or good will.
And the more I thought about it, the more I even considered my social media timelines of an average day, and how awful they were to read. So that’s when I decided to do something about it – to be the positive change and force for good, and to make people happier. I made the resolution to make sure I posted something positive on Facebook and Twitter everyday – whether it was an inspirational quote, a cute or funny picture of a puppy or kitten, or a YouTube video of a happy song or a funny clip (an excerpt from a favourite sitcom or a sneezing panda are default mood boosters for me).
And I noticed it was making other people happy too, who’d Tweet me or message me to tell me so. And that therefore, I was making a change and making the world a better place, even if it was in a small way.
Which brings me to about over a week ago. One Monday night on Instagram, one of my dearest friends from uni, Amy Warner, posted a picture of a cute message written on a brightly coloured Post-it note she’d found on her evening train home, bearing the hashtag #5actsaday.
Curious, I duly seeked out this hashtag, and found out all about 5 Acts a Day, an initiative to perform random acts of kindness (a concept I’ve been in love with, but never had the bravery to do since watching one of my favourite films as a teenager, the critically acclaimed ‘Amélie‘ starring Audrey Tautou), and about the amazing woman who started it, Primrose Kaur Pangela – I won’t retell it here but I’d read her inspiring story of how she started the initiative and it moved me so much I decided to take part (I hope you too will read it and be inspired).
‘5 Acts a Day’ does what it says on the tin – to perform five simple acts of kindness a day, and to be the change you want to be in the world. The most effective of these is to leave, as my friend Amy found, the brightly coloured ‘kindness cards’ in public places – on the bus, in a coffee shop, in the office lift – wherever you feel kindness is best spread.
I’ve been writing and leaving my kindness cards on my morning commute for a week, and I enjoy the lift, the feeling of excitement it gives me knowing it may have made someone happier so much, that I intend to keep on doing it! It is after all, making me a happier person whilst making a difference to making society a happier one. And that is the most beautiful thing of all with ‘5 Acts A Day’.