Thursday, June 26, 2008

Good Deeds

I read somewhere recently that it takes 3 positive things to outweigh a negative thing. So when something crappy happens to you, it takes three positive things happening to you for you to get back to feeling even keeled.

I don't know why but this tidbit of information has stuck with me over the past few days. I debated with myself about whether this is true. Having been in some crappy situations over the past few months I can say that yes, I think it might be true.

I have been lucky in life that I rarely feel blue...but when I do feel blue? I feel BLUE. And not a whole lot can snap me out of it. But you know, I have noticed that small good things do add up and suddenly the feeling comes back that everything will be ok and don't worry about a thing because every little thing is gonna be alright.

I love that feeling.

And that is what makes positive things so important. Even going slightly out of our way for someone, can be one of those small good things that gets that person back to feeling like life is good.

For instance:

I have dealt with jerky people in my life, for sure. But can I remember most of them? No. Can I recall the exact circumstances of these situations? Not Really. But I will tell you who I do remember.

Halloween of 2003. I was 23 years old, taking the T home at 7Am, still in costume from the festivies the night before with my friend Meg. It had been a ROUGH night and I mean rough. It entailed several parties, hitch hiking, coming quite close to sleeping on the street, and assorted other ill advised debauchery. (Ah to be young again). But the fact remains that on the T ride home that morning, Meg and I felt like utter shit and looked like complete shit. As the train traveled to Braintree we complained to each other about how bad we needed coffee, but both of us had spent all our cash the night before and woe was us for dealing with this wretched morning without caffeine. A few stops before ours, a man got up and walked over to us. He laid a $5 bill on the seat next to us and said "I think the Dunkin Donuts fairy left you something." and then exited the train. Meg and I looked at each other and knew that the day (if not LIFE) would be good from there on out.

And here we are 5 years later almost and I still think about that guy and his good deed from time to time. And it really makes me think about how people do nice things in passing for others, and they have no idea how that small gesture sticks with them.

Which is not to say you should go handing out $5s to hungover girls on the train, but you never know if your little nice gesture will be the kind of thing that person thinks about years later. If it will be one of the three things that makes them forget something crappy.

Especially when they are hungover and in need of caffeine.


Suz said...

GREAT story. I love stuff like that. It's all about the pay-it-forward.

Anonymous said...

SO true!! That week I spent in the hospital last year with a blood clot? Yeah, that should be remembered as a miserable time which I am just glad is over. I should DREAD going back to that hospital.

Instead it makes me happy to think of it and I LOVE when I have to go back for follow ups because of all the great memories I have of the people who came to visit me, called, texted, sent cards, etc. I was blown away by people's kindness and I ALWAYS remember that time in my life with a smile.

Nicky said...

Oh man, I would LOVE a visit from the Dunkin Donuts Fairy right about now! Lol.

sandy said...

That's such a great story! I like that.. & it's true, it seems to be much easier to remember the good than the bad.

The One and Only Kristy J said...

random nice things from people always makes an impact...especially when you are hungover, cashless, and on a train,
good post! i really liked it!

take care

Sitcomgirl said...

I had a similar thing happen at the (now gone) Stop and Shop on Westland my sophmore year of college. I still haven't forgotten that man, and it makes me smile and think I need to do the same thing for some other college kid sometime.
Also, sorta wonder now if it was the same guy 11 years apart!!!

Lys said...

A few years ago, I have to be honest, I would have said "Pshawwww" and forgot about even being nice to anyone. This year I've seen the power of paying it forward/good karma and I just feel better if I can at least be nice to someone instead of the evil former cable *@*@# I used to be. Definitely trumps the "ugh/ick" feeling one can get from really being cranky 24/7 (which I also have been guilty of)

SassySouth said...

I've learned that life just seems to go much better if we think more about others and less about ourselves. That is really a great story! I'll remember that the next time I encounter a struggling college student!