I read an article in the recent GQ about Greg Garcia, the writer behind "My Name Is Earl". During the writers strike, he went and took a job as a cashier/janitor at an LA area Burger King. In the article, he is quoted as saying that he didn't do this for any pompous, noble reason, like trying to understand "the people". He did it just because it was something different, and it was an experience he was interested in having.
That's pretty cool.
I started doing things differently recently, also. I consider myself a lucky individual, since I love what I do for a living, and there is no shortage of work. But I admit I can get caught up with success, and the need to make more money, get more/new/better stuff, etc. The desire to progress, compounded with the joy I get from doing what I do, can lead to some marathon sessions on the computer. Not healthy, for a number of reasons.
That said, over the past week, I've had a few small experiences that have lead in a direction I've always thought about, but never actually went in. That would be the path of charity. This week I donated to the American Cancer Society.
I've blown way too much money on crap and excess, and then I bust my ass to make more money, just so I can do it again.
Work/waste/rinse/repeat. A vicious cycle.
Once you start giving money to charity, it's like a switch in your brain gets flipped. We all KNOW that money shouldn't be the goal in life, but that is a hard ideal to embrace everyday. What making charitable donations did for me is help me realize that money is something that helps us live, but not something that we live for. It helps break the cycle.
How does that help me day to day? Well, if you don't worry so much about money, it's one less source of stress in your life. Now, I may still work a lot, but at least I know I'm doing it because I love it. When I have kids, they will definitely learn about charitable giving at an early age.