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Life Lifters (282 posts)
What constitutes a life worthy of being remembered? The amazingly prolific author, short filmmaker, and project-inventor Amy Krouse Rosenthal, made this Thought Bubble video about dealing with the whopping question of how to be remembered in the way you want. The graphics of this video are quirky and charming, but her overall message is what sent chills through me (good ones!), because Rosenthal provides an actual plan of action for how to best live a life worth living, despite our stress and anxiety and to-do lists. Watch and learn:
As she says in the video, "A society is actually fueled and propelled by kindness. There's a sort of economics to it. " She's not asking a lot of us, just an awareness of the people around us, and the little ways you can share some kindness and make life a little more pleasant for everyone around you
If the you haven't run off on a random-acts-of-kindness rampage by now, check out Amy Krouse Rosenthal's super-inspirational website, where you can read about her many books, hear her 7 Notes on Life, learn about her wonderful ongoing project The Beckoning of Lovely, and even make a wish.
Pass It On: Living Kindness
The 60-Person Kindness Chain
Here's an uplifting idea for some retirement travel: take an elevator to outer space.
Life is too short to spend it tottering around like a tipsy geisha. Advice to help you become to queen of your own life.
For when you need a reminder that the world is a wonderful one.
The Life-Lifter: This teenager with cancer is about to go on the date of his life with a world-famous country singer.
New Yorkers have a bad reputation for being a touch, shall we say, on the grouchy side—swearing at taxi drivers, grumbling about tourists and high rents and slices of pizza served an instant too slowly. Not so Anthony Pisano, whom The Gothamist dubs The Nicest Man in the East Village. Pisano has lived in his East Village apartment for 30 years, which is packed with a fascinating trove of antique treasures—a curio-hunter's dream (and a minimalist's nightmare). When the weather is nice, he stands outside his open door and invites people in to check out his stuff. What could seem like an oddball hoarder situation is tempered by what Pisano says about his experience welcoming people into his home. Pisano notes that many senior citizens feel "discarded" or lonely, but that he has found a way to stay connected with people, which gives him "a lot of beautiful feelings." And you have to hear his story of how he used his apartment to bring a quarreling couple together. He really is the nicest man in the East Village! In fact, he just might be the nicest man in all of New York City. (He's certainly the most trusting.)
Men! What are they thinking? We can't always answer that, but we'll be posting our favorite glimpses into their world in this space every Thursday.
* Writer David Foster Wallace would have turned 50 this week. The Awl has compiled a fantastic list of things you can read if you'd like to mark the occasion. (The Awl)
* Come on, baby, don't you want to go... President Obama got bullied into singing Sweet Home Chicago at a concert on Tuesday, and it was very charming. (Videogum)
* Irving Wardle explains everything an 82-year-old man needs to know about Zumba. (More Intelligent Life)
"And what more can you say about books? They're the greatest things ever, and everyone should have more."—John Locke, a designer who's turning New York City phone booths into guerrilla libraries. (The Atlantic Cities)
You know how sometimes you just don't know what to say? It's bad enough on an awkward blind date or nerve-wracking job interview, but what about when you really need to say just exactly the right thing and somehow...really...can't? To wit, my friend's toddler was recently diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Whenever I am around them I find myself avoiding the subject with cheery ferocity or else saying things like, "Wow, that sucks." Or, equally idiotically, "How are things going? What can I do?" I mean, it does suck. And I do wish there were something I could do. But really what they want is for their kid to not have cancer, and although I am quite powerful in many, largely imaginary ways, I can't seem to do anything about that.
Then I happened upon the site Jokes 4 Miles, and it occurred to me that perhaps there is a tiny thing I can do, a small way I can offer a touch of light into the terrible darkness of this illness. Here goes...Knock, knock. That's right, according to this guy, (aka Miles' dad, aka the father of a boy battling brain cancer), telling a joke--or singing a song or sharing a trick--is something we can all do to help out.
I love Miles' dad's retro TV host sensibilities, but what really gets me here is when Miles himself speaks up. Seeing this good-natured teenager tangled up in IV wires and hospital bed business, makes the whole thing very, well, real. While most of us can't imagine what this family is going through, or what we could say or do to help, everyone can record a joke. It just might help Miles to smile on a down day, and it definitely reminds all of us how to deal with adversity—with humor, song, and stupid puppy tricks.
Visit Jokes4Miles for more information, and to see some of the jokes people have sent in already.
"I really wish somebody had told this to me..." Advice on creative work from a master storyteller.
Roasted red potatoes. Creamless mashed potatoes. These crowd-pleasing side dishes are tastier (and healthier) than cheese fries. Promise.
Some snowy beauty for a mundane mid-winter pick-me-up.
The Life-Lifter: What a way to say "thank you": A woman adopts a cat, and just a few hours later, the cat saves her life.
The most beautiful thing you'll see today: an enchanted world of fairy lights. Er, fireflies.
Someone wants that Christmas sweater. Clean out your closet and help others all at the same time.
And the royal puppy's name is...
"We were very tired, we were very merry": It's the birthday of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. Celebrate by reading her poems for free, here.
Each man carries so much on his shoulders. Even if he's made of plastic.
The Life-Lifter: I'll take my daily act of kindness of a scoop of ice cream, please: Customers "pie-it-forward" at this Illinois diner.
Selling Girl Scout Cookies is no joke: As the St Paul Pioneer Press reports, the top cookie sellers are going out door to door every night of cookie-selling season, determined to sell as many Do-Si-Dos as they can. Selling the most cookies earns a Girl Scout a special "Cookie Diva" badge and rewards like an iPad or even a trip to Ireland, but for Kyla Gronau, the #1 seller of The Girl Scouts of the Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys council (she's sold over 12,000 boxes of cookies in her day), it's about much more.
Kyla has cerebral palsy, which has always affected the way people see her. As she told the Pioneer Press, "I want to be looked up to. All my life, I've been down here. All my life, I've wanted to be up here (pointing up). I feel people have looked down on me because of who I am. Now, girls want their pictures taken with me." Here's a girl with some grit--and if there's not a badge for determination and stick-to-it-iveness, well, maybe there should be. (via MSNBC Photoblog)
A New Girl Scouts Badge Celebrates Happiness
The World's Oldest Brownie Earns a Badge
Girl Scout Cookie Lip Balm. Mmmm.
Yes, you should buy those pretty shoes. Really, it's good for your mental health!
Red fingernails have their place, but they don't reveal much about your taste in film now do they? Movie-inspired manicures.
As this baby chick knows, sometimes the best hiding place is the one closest to your enemy. Also, the snuggliest.
Why girls are so obsessed with boy bands, and why it's not that big of a deal (according to a former super-fan).
The Life-Lifter: This quick-thinking hero-mother jumped aboard a runaway school bus full of children after the driver had a seizure.
I don't think it's just the relocation exhaustion that made me get weepy when I read this New York Times story of Chain 124, "the longest chain of kidney transplants ever constructed, linking 30 people who were willing to give up an organ with 30 who might have died without one." The chain began with a Good Samaritan named Rick Ruzzamenti, who decided rather impulsively that he wanted to donate his kidney to someone in need. As the article reports, the donation chain's "momentum was then fueled by a mix of selflessness and self-interest among donors who gave a kidney to a stranger after learning they could not donate to a loved one because of incompatible blood types or antibodies. Their loved ones, in turn, were offered compatible kidneys as part of the exchange."
In other words, a wife who wanted to donate a kidney to her husband but couldn't because they were incompatible for whatever reason, donated a kidney to someone, and in return, her husband eventually would get a compatible kidney from someone else. The organization needed to make this whole thing work makes my head spin, but the Times site has a great interactive feature that helps explain how the swapping worked. And the article is a must-read for the story of the National Kidney Registry, which makes donation chains possible, as well as a detailed description of how the transplants happen.
I love this story for the super-charged Pay-It-Forward mentality, and for the reminder that there are people who will be this generous. But I also love it for the reminder of how interconnected our lives are. Aren't we all links in a chain of sorts? Whether it's donating a kidney or something smaller, like sharing a smile or lending a laundry card, we can all do something today to inspire someone else to be kind, too.
The last link in the chain of the 30 interconnected transplants, organ recipient Donald C. Terry said to his doctor, “'Is it going to continue? I don’t want to be the reason to stop anything.' 'No, no, no,' the doctor reassured him. 'This chain ends, but another one begins.'"
4 Small Acts of Kindness To Try Today
Stories from Oprah's Pay-It-Forward Challenge