The beginning of a new year always brings the need to make changes, set new goals, dreams and make a few promises to ourselves. Honestly, I have never been one for resolutions – sure, I have also gone through the phase of “This year, I am going to lose weight / eat better / spend less money / spend more time doing the things that I love.” but in all honesty, after the year we have just had, I have readjusted my goals and formed a list of resolutions that are truly worth sticking too.
1. Register as an organ donor
In 2016, I became an organ donor because of the passion that my best friend has for the cause. I had never done it before because like you, I thought it would take more time than it really does. To be honest, it will probably take you less time to register as a donor than it would to read the rest of this blog post. So, I am going to ask that if you haven’t become a donor already, use the time that you had set out to read this blog post and register! The idea that my organs can go on and transform the life of someone else is truly beautiful. Still in need of convincing? Watch this video! Be generous, be majestic people. Give life.
2. Donate Blood
Less than 1% of South Africans are active blood donors. I am more terrified of needles than the average person but this year, I have made it a goal to donate blood. I am going to go and chat to the friendly folk at SANBS because I am not sure whether I can donate right now, as my blood pressure is low with my pregnancy. But either way, this year I want to conquer my fear of needles and donate blood – you should too. For more information on donating blood, be sure to go here.
Minimum requirements to be a blood donor:
- You are between the ages of 16 and 65 years old, for first time donors.
- You weigh a minimum of 50 kgs (and platelets a minimum of 55 kgs)
- You are in good health.
- You lead a low-risk lifestyle.
- You consider your blood safe for transfusion.
- You have had a balanced meal within four hours of donating blood.
- You have not donated blood in the last 56 days (and platelets in the last 14 days.)
3. Commit to a random act of kindness each month
Whether you make an extra sandwich in the morning, to give to a hungry kid at a robot, or do a massive spring clean and donate the clothes and toys to a home for children and women, or make care packages for the elderly – commit to doing at least one random act of kindness each month. The world is pretty cruel, so be the light to somebody’s day and help whenever you can. This year, I’d like to do makeup for cancer patients – my gran used to go and do their makeup quite often and I always wanted to join but never got around to doing so because I was working or still in school. So this year, I’d really like to make time for doing that.
4. Pledge a Santa Shoebox
Yes, it is still almost a year away, but Santa shoebox is one of the biggest initiatives bringing the Christmas cheer to children all across South Africa and Namibia. I have read such incredible stories of children being brought to tears when they see their name embroidered on a face cloth, or how they get so excited over the things we and our children take for granted. Although it is early on in the year, why not start putting some extra cash in a jar and get your kids involved too, so that when Santa Shoebox does roll around again, you can pledge a few boxes and spread the cheer too! For more information on how you can get involved, check our their site.
5. Keep Girls in School
Nothing makes you check your privilege like reading about the girls who miss school because they don’t have sanitary towels. According to the Imbumba Foundation’s research, girls may miss up to 50 days of school annually, due to the lack of access to adequate sanitary protection. When was the last time you even checked the price of pads? I honestly just throw a bunch in my trolley and go to check-out, so when I realized that girls were missing out on an education because they don’t have something they NEED, I pretty much lost it. Sadly, our government still think it’s more important to waste money on creating flavoured condoms with silent wrappers, instead of giving underprivileged girls the sanitary towels that they need, so they have the chance to attend school and change the world. Luckily, there are people with some brains and they’ve partnered with Dis-Chem to bring the One Million Comforts campaign which has bins to collect sanitary towels at all Dis-Chems. So next time you’re in store, be sure to buy a pack or two of pads and drop them in one of the collection bins!
6. Give back to our furry pals
Whether it is buying an extra bag of dog food or donating your time to the local dog shelter, be sure to give back and show some love to our furry pals. I know it’s tough seeing animals being neglected, but there are organizations like the SPCA who are working so hard to nurture and take care of animals, but they can’t do it without our help!
7. Organize a food, clothes or blanket drive
I think that a lot of the time, we don’t do these sorts of things thinking that no one will get involved and what difference will your ONE blanket do. Don’t always think SO big – start small. Contact your inlaws, parents and some close friends and tell them that in autumn, you’ll be collecting blankets, clothes or canned food for the poor, and that if they have anything to donate, to please drop it off. One blanket means one warmer person, in the cold season! Don’t underestimate yourself and the difference you can make. We live a life of excess, so get rid of the bulk and help turn around someone’s day.
8. Educate yourself
Read more. Even if it is just one new thing each week, take some time to learn a little more about the world that we live in. Find something that interests you and spend the time researching it – ask questions, connect with likeminded people. Don’t be scared to learn something new! It’s the best thing I could have done in 2016 – I dedicated some time each week to read about the thing that makes my brain tick, I listened to Podcasts about things I didn’t think would interest me, I was inspired by people who I didn’t know existed and I learnt a lot more. Do it. Do it for you.
9. Don’t be an a-hole
2016 made it pretty clear that we all have our own challenges and problems. It’s about time that we realize it’s not a competition to see who is worst off, but rather a time to see how we can help each other, collectively. Pause and listen to your friends when they speak – listen with your heart, be compassionate, try to understand people. ALL people. Even that guy in the office who always seems so damn rude. When I was a kid, I used to come home in tears because a guy in my class would wet himself and poop himself on purpose, causing a massive distraction in class. I was a proper nerd and to me, school was (and still is) for learning. My mom told me to try and understand him, that maybe the kid was going through something at home and that maybe he needed the attention. Months later, it came out that his mom was an alcoholic and his parents would fight a lot, and that his actions in class were his call for help. Life is pretty rough to each one of us and we’re all just trying to figure out how to swim, so don’t be a kak person – love fully, recklessly, put your heart out there and be present because you never know just how much a stranger may need to see your smile, today!