Monday, December 31, 2012

Day 366...

My Inspiration: Then and Now

 "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
 -Ferris Bueller

The above quote comes from one of my favorite movies of all time.  It also perfectly encompasses how I feel after this whole year and how I will live my life moving forward.  My emotions are going crazy right now thinking that the year is over.  I am happy and proud that we were able to complete all 366 acts without missing a day.  I am saddened by the fact that it is over.  I am shocked by just how quickly the year went by.  I am excited to see where 2013 and beyond takes my family.  This year we have suffered through the loss of loved ones, the arrival of babies, new friends both here and overseas, and old friends and family returning to our lives.  These random acts have allowed me to connect with people across the United States and the world, and it has made me realize that, while there is more kindness around us than I could ever have imagined, there are still more opportunities to make a positive impact in people's lives.  Throughout this year, I have been asked 4 questions more than anything else: "Which random act is your favorite?" "What are you going to do on January 1st?"  "What are you doing with the dime per follower?" "What is going to be the 366th act?"  I have either played coy when asked these questions or flat out said that I wouldn't answered them.  Well, it's the last day, so I guess I am going to have to answer them.

"Which random act is your favorite?"

I have the hardest time answering this question because, honestly, it is extremely hard for me to pick just 1 act that is my favorite.  I compare it to asking a parent which one of their children is their favorite.  It really is impossible to pick for me.  Acts that really stand out for me are Day 8, Day 14, Day 213 , Day 235 and Day 330.  But honestly, although those really stand out, I still cannot pick a favorite. 

"What are you going to do on January 1st?"

This is probably the question that I have been asked more than any other.  Usually I just jokingly say "Sleeping in" or "I'm going to turn into a jerk and do 365 Random Acts of Unkindness," but that isn't the truth.  Here is what I can tell you as to my plans as of now.  I need your help.  While I won't be doing a different random act of kindness each day, I don't want the idea of everyday kindness to end.  Therefore, 366 Random Acts will become an open forum for people to send their acts of kindness.  They don't have to be different.  They don't have to be grand.  They just have to be kind.  So let's have 'em.  Whether you are doing a random act yourself or have had one done for you, send your stories of kindness to 366RandomActs@gmail.com.  The reason that I cannot commit to doing a different act each day is because I am going to be doing something different that I can't confine to a year.  Starting in 2013, I will be doing a different act of kindness in each of the 50 states.  I am guessing it might take me a couple of years to complete all 50, but you will be able to follow here on the blog.  In advance of traveling to a state, I will put out a call for everyone's help, as I want the acts to be huge.  So be on the lookout for the first State of Kind.

"What are you going to do with the dime per follower?"

As of now, between all the social media outlets that I have committed to donating a dime per follower, the random acts community is near 10,000 people.  Thankfully, this doesn't count the nearly 450,000 people that have visited the site this year or else I would be broke.  When this journey first started out, I figured that I would find a charity to donate the money to at year end.  However, I have found so many incredible charities that I have donated to throughout the year, it would be impossible for me to pick just one.  While almost $1000 is a good amount of money, I want to make sure that it goes towards something where a life or lives are truly impacted, and I'm not sure a few bucks here and there really would.  However, I think I have found a way that it can go towards something truly positive.

"What is going to be your 366th act?"

The money from the dime per follower pledge is actually going towards my 366th act.  My whole year was inspired by my daughter.  Seeing her face while she played around on the ground 1 year ago today gave me the idea because I knew I had to change the world around her in a positive way.  Now, I see her running around the house, playing and talking up a storm, and she continues to inspire me.  But another question people have asked is "What are you going to do for your future children?" and I was taken aback because...well...what the hell am I going to do for my future children?!?!  Then I had an idea, and like any good husband, I got permission from my wife to start to turn this idea into reality.  My 366th act is going to be for Isla, but it is also going to be for my future child.  That is because Day 366 will be my future child.  For my final random act of kindness, my wife and I will begin the process of adopting a sister or brother for Isla.  We will be putting the dime per follower pledge towards the adoption process, so we have each and every one of you to thank.  I felt as though this was the best way to use the money to truly impact a life.  I know I made it a rule to do my acts on the day I posted them, but you'll have to forgive me on this one.  It will definitely take a little longer.

So there it is.  366 Random Acts of Kindness.  I want to thank everyone who has made this possible;   my daughter, my wife, my family, my friends, my nanny who is family now, my boss and coworkers, and all of you.  This has been the most incredible year of my life, and none of it would have been possible without all of the love and support of have received from all corners of my life.  While this is the end of one journey, it is the beginning of another.  Please continue to spread kindness.  We are going to be the change that this world needs.  Let's start now because as Ferris says, "Life moves pretty fast."  Danke Schoen.

33 comments:

  1. Wow Ryan, I am blown away. I can even find the words to expresss how truly inspiring you are. Just know that I (along with thousands of others, I'm sure) am excited follow you on your next two journeys. Best wishes for a healthy, happy new year!

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  2. Blown away, as the previous commented stated, sums it up. There are people who talk and people that do. Nice work!

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  3. Thanks for sharing this year with us ... You have made me a better person! Happy 2013.

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  4. Incredible! Congrats and let's all keep the giving up! :)

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  5. I'm in tears. What a grand finale and beautiful beginning at the same time!

    Glad to hear you will be opening your blog up to others' stories of acts of kindness. I just found your blog a little over a week ago and started my own yesterday after being inspired by a random act someone did for my family. Here's the blog: sparksofkindness.wordpress.com

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  6. Wow! Thank you so much for a year of inspiration and heartwarming positivity :) I can't wait to see what opportunities 2013 has to offer in the way of random acts. I'm definitely going to join in, and I'm so glad your blog is continuing.

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  7. Applause, applause! Thanks for sharing your kindness, Ryan! Happy 2013 :-)

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  8. Wow! What an awesome final act of kindness. I'm not gonna lie - got a little choked up when I read it. Congratulations on the past year and good luck with #366.

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  9. Ryan: Thank you for what you've done and what you've inspired others, including me, to do now and in the future. As an adoptive parent, I think your plan is God Sent. Always remember the child He will send you, He chose for you two. Raising caring, confident, competent children can only result in changing our world for the better. Onward! Joanne

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  10. I have been inspired and enjoyed your blog so much. Happy New Year!

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  11. Ryan, thanks for reminding people to be kind to one another. I really enjoyed following your blog all year and look forward to your future acts.

    Goodluck on the adoption. God bless you & your family.

    Happy 2013!!!

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  12. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us this year!

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  13. I find a happy irony in the fact that you end your 366 day journey of December 31, 2012 and I will be starting my 365 days on January 1, 2013. I believe 100 % to be the change you wish to see in the world. Wish me luck as I start my adventure!

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  14. thank you so much for your inspiration and kindness to so many people/ You have made me think about my own life and I have pledged to spend 2013 focusing on the positives and looking for ways to help others. I have passed you message on to many others and I look forward to your new adventures. All the best for a wonderful future for you and your family!

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  15. A great year of kind deeds. Thank you for sharing. My findings at the end of our own year of charitable deeds was a bit darker: I was disappointed that people around me didn't seem to step up. The neighborhood, which was nice as suburban neighborhoods go, remained pretty anonymous.

    But I know we, too, inspired readers. And, if nothing else, we helped a lot of people, our community, and taught our children something about the ease with which we can make a difference in other people's lives.

    (You can see my blog here: http://charitabledeeds.blogspot.com/2008/12/year-of-living-charitably.html)

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  16. I love you! You have changed my life and made me aware how good it makes you feel to "pay it forward" although I feel I am " paying back" for all the wonderful things that have happened to me throughout last year.

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  17. This is just...incredible. After all the negative news that engulfed as at the end of 2012, to see this restores one's faith in mankind.

    All that, and a great Ferris Bueller quote to boot!

    Rock on.

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  18. Thank you so much for doing this, you did one for me once, I was so honored. I mean, I'm still flustered about why would you pick a 14 year old girl's suggestion and do an act of kindness because of it? And the fact that you actually took time to read all that I wrote shows how big of a heart you have.
    http://www.366randomacts.org/2012/05/day-127-wore-orange.html
    Thanks once again, this was a bright spot in my year to read your posts!
    ~July A. Emmance

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  19. You are amazing! Your family is lucky to have you. I love that you have chosen to adopt a child, kids deserve parents like you.

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  20. You made us all better people this year, thank you so much for everything that you did in 2012, and for adopting! One child will be very lucky to call you, Isla and your wife family!

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  22. Anne CJanuary 11, 2013 9:34 AM

    Thanks for your inspiring blog. I love random acts of kindness and do them whenever I think about it. I am definitely doing it much more now, after reading your blog.

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  23. I just spent my day reading through every Random Act of Kindness you blogged about. I wish I had seen this a year ago and followed you! I found it so heart warming, thought provoking and inspiring. I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for ways I can contribute my own Random Acts of Kindness from now on. Thank you so much, hope your 2013 is just as special.

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  24. First of all...Isla is probably one of the most adorable little girls I've ever seen, and second, thank you so much for sharing your year with everyone. I have been following it since the end of January (2012) and I am so grateful for being able to read this and get ideas of little things to do for people. Isla, your wife, your family, and your friends are so lucky to have such an great role model and all around person in their lives. Thanks again for sharing your great year!

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  25. A blog initiating 'random acts of kindness'is tres cool because it is so worthwhile. My home on the planet is in need of countless acts of kindness.

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  26. the truth is we live actually for one another...so kindness should be an act to be exibited by all...stay renewed and refreshed @lifeassured.blogspot.com

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  27. Awesome blog, love all your ideas and your initiatives to make this such a huge success. I had started doing the same thing this year , "Good Deed A Day" and within no time I was running out of ideas, that's when I found your blog and got really inspired with tons of your ideas. I have used some of your ideas to fill in my good deeds for the day. Thanks a ton for being my inspiration and very proud of you that you could carry it out so well.

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  28. Hi Ryan,

    I am very inspired by what you did and share the same passion for spreading kindness. I work for a social network for philanthropy based out of Denver called SoRewarding.

    After reading your blog, I wanted to let you know about a campaign to spread kindness that we have started called the “Kindness Wristband Movement”. We created this wristband movement with the intention of having people give their “kindness bands” to others when they engage in random acts of kindness. These wristbands can then be tracked using a unique ID code on www.SoRewarding.com by every individual that the band is given to. This feature allows each person to see what acts of kindness their band has been involved in and where in the world it has traveled.

    We are getting some real excitement from individuals, companies, school and organizations across the country and I think that what you have done really aligns with our mission to spread good deeds and generosity. Check out www.SoRewarding.com to learn more about the Kindness Wristband Movement or shoot me an email (kellie.b@sorewarding.com)and I would happy to talk to you about this idea more.

    Spread kindness!

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  29. May God bless you Ryan for being such an amazing good Samaritan. Your good deeds truly warmed my heart and showed me that there is still good in this world. You reminded me of a small act I did by helping a poor orphaned young man who had a heart disease and needed surgery. I sent him my prayers and an amount of money that I managed to spare, and sent his contact details to my friends so that they help him too. I remember that I was so happy that I made life a bit easier for somebody. I often smile at people without thinking much about it. But your ideas and initiatives make me want to be a better person. Thank you so much for being who you are. May God bless you and your family.

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  30. I'm so excited for your family! When you make it to Utah, give us a shout out!

    Alissa
    inspiringapeople.blogspot.com

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  31. I really like that comment about stop and look around you! I think appreciating the daily sunrise is what brings a smile to my face. To find how I am inspiring my world to think along these lines.

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