Hello world! Whew, it’s been a while…
When I sit down at this blog after a long hiatus like this (not the first time, mind you), I feel like I’m 12 years old, staring at a blank diary page after I neglected to write for months. I would look down at the diary and feel this huge expectation upon me. The pages saying to me: Well, where have you been? Fill me in on the past three months of your life! Surely you must have something to tell me?
And thus, this blank blog entry feels a lot like that. As though I am expected to recap everything that has happened in our lives since where we left off. Before the changes in our day-to-day lives and this amazing new adventure owning ReThreads really began. Back when I didn’t know what it was like to work 70 hours a week and we still spent the majority of our time together. As though I could just slowly turn the dial through these past few weeks and months, sharing and savoring the funny and beautiful moments, fast forwarding past the difficult ones.
But… (tell me you didn’t see this coming) I’m not going to do that. When I was 12 I picked up the diary out of the blue because I wanted to gush about my latest crush or how my best friend and I weren’t best friends anymore. I didn’t want to take on the task of bringing my diary up to speed from where I last left off. BORing. Then, as now, I had something pressing on my mind, and that’s why I came back. To share this juicy tidbit. This new passion in my life. Perhaps then, as now, I found it more suitable to live in the present rather than dwell on the past?
And so, here it is. The reason I’m back: to share an idea. It’s an idea in infancy right now, not yet a well thought out idea. But it’s still an idea worth sharing from the start. And a joint one at that. (As some of our best ideas tend to be!)
The basic premise is that we are going to spend $500 locally, on things that help grow our community and our selves. And we’re going to blog about it.
Here’s the story that led up to the idea: Due to a strange set of circumstances that nearly left us homeless, Mark and I were forced out of our most recent apartment and we received $500 in compensation for the inconvenience of having to move earlier than expected. At first we thought that the money would go a long way toward helping us furnish this new apartment and make it more homey and comfortable than the previous apartment. The last one always felt temporary to us, and thus we weren’t inspired to really make it feel like home. And even if we had been so inspired, there wasn’t much time: Have I mentioned we’ve been a little busy with a new baby in the family. Now, though I’m still just as busy at ReThreads, we’re more inclined to settle into this apartment and make it feel special, so we’ve been shopping for furnishings that feel like “us”. This would be a great way to spend our newfound moolah, right?
Right, except that home furnishings are things we would have bought eventually anyway. We’re both always keeping our eyes peeled for secondhand items to bring home that serve us functionally or aesthetically. And occasionally we buy new: we covet rare trips to IKEA like the cheap college kids we apparently still are (somewhere deep inside?). Buying furniture and artwork might be on our to-do list, but this new money won’t really be noticed if we just put it in savings and wait until the right pieces come along… That is to say, it’s like every time I receive cash as a holiday or birthday gift. It’s very very appreciated, but I don’t usually spend it on something I really want or will remember into the future. It usually just goes into the bank and ends up paying bills or some other nonmemorable purchase.
So we shifted our thinking, and wondered how else the money could make an impact in our lives, and maybe other peoples’ as well. After all, IKEA doesn’t really need our money. How can we have fun with this $500 and engage with our community at the same time?
Nearly every day it seems we learn of a cool new organization in Charlottesville, or local project that needs support, or fundraiser event that we want to attend. Or someone who could use their day brightened by a bouquet of flowers. So we decided that this is how we’re going to spend our money. Intentionally. On local products and services. Paying forward kindness. Treating ourselves to a class or event we might not have otherwise. Putting 100% of the money into the community, in a recordable way. As in, recording it on this blog as we go. What lessons will come from our $500 adventure? What new experiences will we have? What richness and beauty will we see in this community?
While we work out the groundrules of our little $500 challenge, here’s my question to you: If someone handed you $500 right now, how would you spend it? What would you do to make the world a little happier, your community a little stronger, yourself a little richer?