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Some 1.8 million child deaths each year as a result of diarrhoea.  
2006 United Nations Human Development Report  


My Christmas List

Christmas is upon us once again.  It’s been a long time since I’ve made a Christmas list, but I’m going to ask you to indulge me nonetheless.  I’m not asking for world peace, an end to hunger, war, or cruelty.  I may be a dreamer, but I’m not completely delusional.  No, my list will be much more pragmatic.  


Let’s be honest, most of us have all that we need in life already.  I certainly don’t have all that I want and I doubt I ever will, but I have all I need.  You probably do as well.  I don’t need a new computer, I don’t need more clothes, more gadgets, or more junk.  I would undoubtedly like all of those things, but I don’t really need them at all.


I’m not about to preach about consumerism and the evils of material things.  Personally I’m a big fan of both.  You should have all of the things you want in life.  It’s much easier to buy things than it is to buy relationships, pride, or happiness, so why not enjoy the petty trinkets?


What I am asking won’t even require restraint or financial sacrifice at all.  Buy your kids more toys, splurge on your gifts, spend some extra cash on yourself.  Do what makes you feel good, you probably deserve it.  What I ask though, is that you take a look at all the things that you have sitting around your house and ask yourself: “Could someone else use this or want this?”


I live in a small apartment.  While I have a tendency to hoard things, I just don’t have the space anymore.  If anyone had asked, I would have said that I have little to nothing of value.  I wanted to do something nice for Christmas, but had no idea what I could do to help anyone.  Then I started looking around my bedroom.


I immediately saw the big jar of change on my filing cabinet.  I rolled it up and had $190 dollars that I didn’t realize was there.  In my filing cabinet I had two older cell phones and various computer parts. I opened my wardrobe and pulled out the clothes and suits that no longer fit, or I no longer wear.  Once I left my bedroom, here’s what else I found:

 

unused bedding

towels

blankets

winter boots

shoes

hats

gloves

golf clubs

picture frames

briefcase

stereo equipment

CDs and DVDs

books

dishes

cutlery

food


None of these things had I touched in ages.  I even got around to fixing an old laptop and desktop computer.  I’ve already replaced them, and all they do is collect dust and annoy me.  I’m sure someone will be more than happy to use a 3 year old laptop.


So, here is what I want for Christmas:  


1. Look around your house and gather up anything that you no longer want, use, or need.  Look hard.  Just because it has no value to you doesn’t mean that it has no value to anyone else.  Gather it up and make some calls.  Find people and places that would appreciate it and give it all away.  Not only will you make other people happy, you’ll have room for all of the crap you buy this year.  If you’re in the Ottawa area and would like a hand, drop me an email and I’ll even help.


2. Share yourself.  You have skills, talents and time to offer, and it costs you nothing.  Bake someone cookies, volunteer at a senior’s centre, help someone with their garbage, just try to do something nice for a stranger.


3. Share this with someone else and invite them to join us at One Dollar Nation.


That’s what I want for Christmas.  I don’t think it’s too much to ask, I’ve been a reasonably good boy.


Merry Christmas!

Last Updated ( Saturday, 24 December 2011 )
 
Bounty
I've been working from an office in the Little Italy section of Ottawa for just over two years now.  It's an interesting place.  We have a grandmother that likes to randomly scream at passersby in Italian, a "sports cafe" full of older men playing cards, and a crackhead that randomly charges down the street threatening people.  We also have an elderly Asian woman that used to pass by.

I didn't pay much attention to her at first.  She was just one character amongst many.  I would see her walking by with what I presume was her caretaker.  She was a tiny woman, with long hair that was pure white.  At first, she was walking.  Slowly, and hunched over a little bit, but surely.  Later on, she was in a wheelchair being pushed by her companion.  As she made her way down the street, either she or her caretaker would check all of the parking machines for money.  I used to joke to my colleagues that I was going to get a bunch of change and fill all the machines on her path.

I watched her pass by for over two years.  On the days that she was walking, I couldn't help but smile.  I was happy for her, and proud of her.  She seemed so determined and undiminished by her frailty.  I'm not sure why, but I felt attached to her.  I wanted to meet her and to learn her story.  I'd find myself glancing out the window throughout the day, hoping to catch a glimpse of her.  I'd wonder if she was walking or if she was being pushed.  I kept hoping not to see the wheelchair.   

Every time I saw her, I would say to someone: "remind me to get a bunch of change and put it in the parking machines for her".  It seemed that when I did see her, I either had no cash, or it was too late to run down and put the money in without being seen.

I'm still working in Little Italy.  I still look for the old Asian lady.  I haven't seen her in over two months now.  I hope that she's alive and doing well.  I hope she decided that the parking machines on our street weren't profitable enough, and changed her route.  I hope that she's walking, and that her companion is still keeping her company.  Mostly, I hope to see her again and surprise her with a bounty of change.  I don't know her story, but I'd bet that it would make her smile.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 20 February 2013 )
 
One thing.

Sometimes there’s just not much you can do.  It would be nice if we all had lots of money to give.  It would be nice if we all had lots of time to do things for each other.  It would be even nicer if we all wanted to do either.  That’s just not the way it is.

I learned a long time ago that what I enjoy is simply to help other people.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Never have I been in a position to do all that much.  I’m not a doctor, a scientist, a firefighter, or a teacher.  I’m just a guy struggling along like the rest of you.  I try to pay the bills and keep going.  The only distinction that I’ve tried to make in my life is this: if I can help, I will.  Nothing more, nothing less.

One Dollar Nation is the result of that.  One Dollar Nation is the dream.  In the interim, I do what I can.

I don’t have a lot of money to give, nor a lot of time.  I don’t have any special abilities or skills.  All I’ve got is the simple realization that it feels good to help.  I defy anyone to do something nice for another and tell me that it feels bad.  

I’ve never been very organized or structured.  Schedules are anathema to me.  I’ve got lists and plans scattered in every corner of my life.  The only thing that I have ever been able to adhere to on a regular basis is to do one good thing every day.

That’s it.  One thing, every day.  It doesn’t have to be much.  It could be helping a friend move, fixing someone’s computer, complimenting someone who seems down, anything.    If you are open to it, you’ll find a dozen opportunities a day to give someone a hand.  Usually, we just fail to think of it.  When you buy a new car, you suddenly notice just how many others like it there are on the road.  It’s the same with this.

Once you are conditioned to look for ways to help, you’ll start seeing the chance everywhere.  I certainly can’t help everyone, but I try to do one thing daily.  These things usually mean little to me, but they can mean a lot to someone else.  

Some time back, I came across a forum on reddit.com called Favors.  It is simply a page where people can request or offer favours.  At first I thought there would be nothing I could provide to anyone on there.  Then I came across a guy looking for instructions on installing a car stereo.  He was asking for advice on speakers.  As it turns out, I’ve had a good set of speakers sitting in the closet for over a year.  I got his address and mailed them out.  I’ve gained some closet space, and he saved himself $100.

Another user was looking for foreign coins.  I’ve got change lying around from Thailand, Korea, Japan, etc.  Done.  Another was looking for advice on getting into sales.  Done.  One guy was looking for a picture of a dragon with a bear.  Well, I have no artistic ability but some of my friends do.  Done.

I got a ticket last week for talking on my phone while driving.  After ranting about it at length at the office, one of the guys offered to give me his bluetooth phone adapter.  Done.  We all have something to offer.   A favour, advice, a smile.  It doesn’t matter.

We can all do something.  We can all help someone out.  We can all be just a bit more thoughtful, a bit more helpful, a bit more kind.  It doesn’t have to cost anything, and I promise you that it’s worth it.  

The problem isn’t that most people don’t do this.  The problem is that they don’t do this consistently.  The challenge is to make it a habit.  It’s hard to think of others when you’re struggling.  It’s hard to help a friend when you’re exhausted.  It’s certainly never fun to drag a sofa up a flight of stairs or stain a deck.  The thing is, the more you do it, the more enjoyable it becomes.

So here’s the question.  What are you going to do today?  Think about it.  Write it down.  Make a list.  If you can’t think of anything, don’t worry.  If you keep it in mind, something will present itself.  

One good thing.  Every single day.  Our motto at ODN is “a little change can change a lot”.  It’s not just about a dollar a month.  A little change can also change you, and those around you.  One Dollar.  One change.  One nice thing every day.

What are you going to do?

 

Sincerely,

Keith

 

 AlisullyJulie

Last Updated ( Sunday, 31 July 2011 )
 
The Buried Life
What do you want to do before you die?

This is one of those questions that all of us have thought about from time to time.  Myself, I've got dozens of notebooks filled with ideas, business plans and fantasies.  It's from one of these scribble filled notebooks that One Dollar Nation was born.

Like most people, my goals and dreams have changed over the years.  At various points in my life I've wanted to be different things.  Writer, businessman, politician, philanthropist, and yes, even a motivational speaker.  The list goes on and on.  

We typically define ourselves by our work.  I can't say that I ever have.  I think mostly because without meaning in our work, we don't want to define ourselves by it.  For a long time, I made a point of toying with people when they'd ask me "what do you do?".  I'd answer "I read, I write, I like to watch movies and go for long drives while listening to really loud music".  When they asked me "what do you do for a living?", I'd throw out "whatever I have to" or some such nonsense.  It was funny how much this frustrated people.  I highly recommend it.  These days, I've got two jobs that I enjoy.  While only one pays the bills, they're both meaningful to me.  Ask me what I do now and you'd be hard pressed to shut me up.

I had heard about a documentary called The Buried Life quite some time back but never got around to digging it up.  Thankfully, MTV decided to make a TV show about it.  The show revolves around 4 guys who made a list of 100 things that they wanted to do before they die and their attempts to cross off the items on that list.   Some are seemingly silly (lead a parade) while others are almost impossible (go to space).  Really, I don't think it matters.  What matters is that these guys have listed 100 things that they want from life and are trying to make them happen.  How many of us can say the same?  We always hear the same platitudes.  You only live once.  Make every moment count.  Carpe Diem.  Whatever.

When was the last time you sat down and thought about what you wanted from life?  When was the last time you let your imagination run wild?  Have you given up on your dreams of old?  Have you convinced yourself that they were unrealistic?  I hope not.  If you're still breathing, there's still time.  Maybe you'll never go to space.  That doesn't mean that you should give up on the idea of it.  I'm willing to bet that you could lead a parade if you really tried.  Make your list.  If you can only think of a couple of things to put on that list, you're either an extremely contented person or you've constrained yourself to the point where you can no longer dream.  Try to remember what you wanted when you were a kid.  A teenager.  A young adult.  I'm sure you can come up with all kinds of stuff you'd either forgotten or convinced yourself were unimportant.

Make your list.  Keep it close.  Try to do something every week towards crossing something off of it.  It's easier than you might think.  


Robertson Davies once said: "If you don't hurry up and let life know what you want, life will damned soon show you what you'll get."  I couldn't agree more.  


Sincerely,

Keith
 
Elevators, etiquette, and tragedy.

I live in an apartment.  There's certain things that I really like about living in a tiny cube amongst dozens of others.  There's also a few things that I dislike.  First and foremost, is the elevator.

Manufacturers generally strive to make elevators as fast as possible so as to facilitate your comings and goings.  It also helps to shorten the awkward time spent with random strangers enclosed in a steel box.  Whoever built the elevators where I live did not hold to this logic.

It is without a doubt, the slowest elevator still in operation.  It wouldn't surprise me if there were a group of workers in the basement cranking the thing up by hand.  It also always sounds like there are pigeons in the shaft with us.  Maybe that's how it's powered.  Needless to say, I spend a lot of time trapped in that steel box with random strangers.

Now, I don't really have a problem with random strangers.  Sometimes, I'll even strike up an inane conversation with them just to amuse myself.  I think however, there is a certain etiquette that should be adhered to in an elevator.  A short, but incomplete list would include:

*No humming/singing/talking to yourself
*No using the mirror for posing/cleaning teeth/popping zits
*Like a men's washroom, keep as much distance between people as possible
*If the elevator is already jammed with sweaty people - wait for the next
*I'm impressed that your phone works in the elevator, now shut up
*A quick "Hi" is enough to be polite, and short enough not to annoy

This morning, I spoke with a random stranger while we inched towards the basement.  We've exchanged pleasantries before, and he seems like a nice man.  He mentioned that I looked tired, and I made some weak complaint confirming this.  He looked tired as well, so I asked him if he had troubles sleeping also.  His response was akin to a kick in the balls with a slap across the face thrown in for good measure.

As it turns out, he's had trouble sleeping ever since his wife died last year.  After 33 years together, he just can't seem to fall asleep without her at his side.  As he said this, the pain and sadness in his eyes was gut-wrenching.  I was trying to decide which of us would be the first to start crying when the doors opened.  I muttered something insufficient and walked off to my car.

We've all had tragedy in our lives.  I've had people upset with me because I seemed rude - days after my father died.  I've been mocked for being drunk - when suffering from vertigo.  I've had people getting impatient in line behind me - while I counted out the change I had desperately scrounged to pay for gas.  The list goes on and on.  We all have a list like that.  We all have bad days, bad moments and bad times in general.

We all like to complain about the things bringing us down, and I'm better at this than most.  As I missed Thanksgiving, I'm not going to give you a "be thankful for what you've got" rant.  What I would suggest is simply this:

The next time you see someone who seems rude, unfriendly, too friendly, or whatever, think of the random stranger in the elevator.  You never know why someone is or isn't talking to you.  Take a moment to think about them and their troubles.  Then, be thankful for what you've got.  Even your painfully slow elevator.  :P


Sincerely,

Keith

Last Updated ( Friday, 27 November 2009 )
 
The man who saved a billion lives - September 13th, 2009

RIP Norman Borlaug, the man who saved a billion lives.  

It is estimated that agriculture scientist Norman Borlaug's work has saved a billion lives and yet few people have ever heard his name.  He received a Nobel Peace Prize and changed the world forever.  How is it possible that his life and passing is less newsworthy than a football game?  It says a lot about our culture that random dirtbags from reality TV shows are household names while this man goes unknown.  Borlaug led the Green Revolution which ultimately kept over a billion people from starving to death.

You can learn more about Norman Borlaug and his work here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/14/business/energy-environment/14borlaug.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Borlaug

http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/americas/09/13/nobel.borlaug.wheat/index.html

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIvNopv9Pa8 -Penn & Teller Bullshit! with Norman Borlaug

 

I posted an episode of Penn & Teller's Bullshit about Mr. Borlaug on facebook and above.  In the video, they call out Greenpeace and others for their opposition to genetically modified foods.  I received angry messages almost immediately.  If nothing else, Greenpeace supporters are loyal.  I admire a lot of the work that Greenpeace does throughout the world.  At the same time, I think some of their positions reek of privilege and self righteousness.  I don't blame anyone for fighting for their beliefs, but I will also continue to fight for mine.  I don't expect everyone to agree with me, just as I'm certain the people at Greenpeace are aware that people will disagree with them.  

We have been using technology to improve our food supply for thousands of years.  Is genetically modified food that different from irrigation techniques developed thousands of years ago?  Was it unnatural for people to make water go where it "wasn't intended"?  Many groups seem to think that we should not apply modern technology to agriculture and the food supply.  At the same time, they are keen to use technology to create new power sources, better ways to recycle materials etc.  It is ridiculous to promote technology as a way to solve problems in only certain fields.  Should we abandon radiation therapy because it's not "natural" enough?  Greenpeace thinks so.  Should we stick to bloodletting and folk wisdom to cure a disease when we have the technology available to cure it properly?  It sounds nice to suggest that our food should be "natural" and "organic".  In reality, "organic" farming is nowhere near as efficient as modern farming.  it's just not viable on a global scale.Yes there can be negative long term consequences of modified/engineered crops.  There are also negative consequences to electric cars, recycling programs and fair trade.  The simple fact remains that we cannot feed half of the world properly.  

Overpopulation is likely the largest threat to our survival.  Does that mean that we get to decide the fate of roughly half the world's people?  Should we massacre a few billion so that those of us left can live idyllic lives?  It's easy for us to discuss Malthusian checks, population control and the ideal food supply.  We're at a safe distance debating the merits of soy milk.  We are blessed with the choice.  Would you say the same had you been born into poverty?  Would you be content watching your loved ones wither and die before your eyes in the name of population control?  Would you comfort yourself with the knowledge that the privileged few can enjoy truly "natural" food while your life ran from your bowels?  We're very happy to preach to others about the right way to do things.  We can afford to look long term.  We have an abundance of food and an abundance of self importance.  

We should be concerned about long term effects of anything we do.  I understand that.  What I don't understand is the idea that we should withhold a meal from someone because it's "better in the long run".  Greenpeace advocates a worldwide  ban on genetically modified crops.  The same crops that have saved the lives of a billion people.  Perhaps I don't care for the planet enough, but they seem to care little for the people on it.  Give them four days without food and I'm confident they'd be more than happy to nibble on some engineered corn.  

We need solutions.  Genetically modified crops are a solution, albeit a temporary one.  I have yet to hear a viable alternative from Greenpeace.  Push for change yes, but realize that change takes time.  While that change is taking place, let's not leave people to starve.  Trying to keep engineered food aid from reaching a developing country is the height of arrogance and verges on criminal.  Is it a victory when thousands die as a result?  I'm certain a starving man has never complained about the pesticide used on his dinner.

This is urgent.  I know it might not be urgent for you, but it's urgent for billions of people around the world.  You can rant and rave all you want about the evils of genetically modified food because you have the luxury of visiting your local organic food shop and paying a premium to justify your feelings of superiority.  You have the choice.  Buy organic.  Buy local.  Buy green.  Grow your own crops if you like.  Good for you, seriously.  I'm happy that you can do your part.  Sadly, most of the world doesn't have that choice.  For you to feel justified in dictating their access to food is sickening to me.  

We need people to tackle the environmental threats facing us.  I'm glad groups like Greenpeace are out there forcing the discussion.  Now can we please do the same for the other half of the world's people struggling to get through the day?  This is urgent to me, and it's sure as hell urgent for them.  We can improve the world in nearly every way imaginable.  We know how.  We have the resources.  What we don't have is the motivation.  It's time to change that.

 
Sincerely,

Keith

Last Updated ( Monday, 14 September 2009 )
 
Intentions vs. Actions

We’ve had a good number of challenges recently.  We’re still trying to get the changes finalized on the site.  We’re having a hard time putting together a media plan.  Paypal bugs, tax returns and a host of other issues have slowed us down.  In addition, I’m working full time again.  It’s been hard to find the time to do all of the things I’d like for ODN.  It’s hard to find 5 minutes to make that phone call.  It’s hard to remember to send that email.  It’s hard to follow through.


I’ve spoken with hundreds of people about ODN.  I’ve had dozens of people recite impassioned pleas for change in the world.  I’ve been bombarded with ideas, praise and support from people when discussing this project.  We’ve got almost 700 followers on facebook and another 100 or so on twitter.My question for these people is simple.  Where is your $1 a month? 

I don’t even take into consideration those people who are determined to find a reason not to help others.  Whether it’s the “we shouldn’t meddle” crowd or the “I think charities are a scam” people; I tend to care less about them.  What troubles me are the people who take the time to write lengthy tirades to us about the problems in the world and then never sign up.  What troubles me are the people who join the facebook group and then send angry messages complaining about our monthly emails.  Instead of writing that beautiful letter...sign up.   Instead of insulting me on facebook about spam... leave the group.


To a certain extent, I get it.  We’re all busy.  We talk about something, and then promptly forget it.  We have good intentions, but don’t follow through.  I do the same thing on a daily basis.  What I don’t get however, is spending 20 minutes writing a letter and then not taking 5 minutes to actually join on the site.  I don’t get it when someone spends an hour telling me all kinds of ideas for ODN and then doesn’t join.  It makes no sense to me.


Tell me you don’t like ODN.  Tell me you don’t like me personally.  Tell me that you don’t care at all about anyone else if you’d like.  I’m perfectly fine with any of these.  What irritates me is listening to someone go on and on, knowing that I’ll never see their name on our citizens page.  
My apologies if I sound bitter.  What can I say?  I’m a bitter guy.  If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t have started ODN in the first place.  At the same time, I’m also an optimist.  If I weren’t, I wouldn’t waste my time trying to change things.  What I find really encouraging are all the people and groups that have signed up and supported us without saying a word.  I love it when I see a name pop up that I haven’t personally harassed for weeks.  It gives me hope that this will all come together.  To all of those who have done so, I can’t thank you enough.


Like I said, I get it.  I understand.  I make mistakes, I get lazy, I get busy and forget about things.  I will certainly never pretend to be better than anyone else.  My commitment to you is that I will find a way to follow through.  I will find the 5 minutes.  I will keep going.  If that means that I need to speak to millions instead of thousands, I’ll do it.  If I have to harass each and every person individually, I’ll do it.  It might not be perfect and it might not be as quickly as I’d like, but I’ll do the best I can.  I’m just asking that we all try to do the same.


I’m not trying to berate anyone.  I truly hope that this isn’t taken that way.  I’m not about to blame anyone for being busy or preoccupied.  What I’m trying to convey is that a small action is infinitely more powerful than a good intention.  Talk is good up to a point.  Beyond that point, action is required.  Take that action.  Join us, or ask someone else to do so.

Sincerely,

Keith

Last Updated ( Sunday, 13 September 2009 )
 
Young people continue to impress me - May 6th, 2009

I went to the open house at the Ottawa School of Speech and Drama on Sunday night to watch the Shout Out! group perform.  This is the same group that I mentioned several months back.  It was quite an experience.  The students wrote and performed all of the material themselves and it was...powerful.  With their parents and miscellaneous adults in attendance, they tackled everything from racism, sex, bullying, environmental issues and the pressure that comes with being a young adult.

What struck me the most about the performance was the simple truth of it.  I remember various programs that we had in school.  They were always laughable in their impotence.  The idea of teachers trying to make sense of a teenager’s world is ridiculous.  All I really remember of those programs was how much we made fun of them.  To this day, my sister and I quote one of our teacher’s talks on our burgeoning sexuality.  She began the lecture with “Spring has sprung, and so have your hormones”.  I don’t remember what she said after that, but I’m sure it involved fallopian tubes and nocturnal emissions.

The Shout Out! group spoke in plain English.  They spoke in their language, not the language of their teachers or their parents.  While the expressions and the profanity may have made their parents uncomfortable, it made the whole thing...authentic.  I was thoroughly impressed.  Not only by the content, but by the passion and talent that was readily apparent.

The Shout Out! group mentioned their support for One Dollar Nation and invited me to speak to the audience briefly, which I was more than happy to do.  In addition, they asked for donations to ODN at the door.  I’m happy to say that they raised $127.00, which will go towards the LifeStraw project.

I have no doubt that this group of young people will have a tremendous impact on the world in the years to come.  Forget that.  The $127 they raised will provide 25 people with safe drinking water for a year; they’ve already made a tremendous impact.  It was a pleasure to be their guest at the event, my thanks to the Shout Out! group for their continued support.

 I should also mention that I called my sister a few weeks ago to remind her that spring, and my hormones had indeed sprung.


I’ve uploaded a great slideshow that Jaelon from the group put together.  You can view it below, or on our youtube channel .

 

Sincerely,

 

Keith

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 06 May 2009 )
 
Time is a bastard - April 19th, 2009

Time has always been my nemesis.  I spend so much time thinking about the passage of time that I hardly notice its passing.  Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been painfully aware of the temporary nature of things.  I remember when I graduated from public school.  Everyone else was anxious to get the hell out of there.  I took my time, strolled around a bit and nearly missed my bus home.  While everyone else was ecstatic, I was sad.  I did the same when I graduated from high school.  I’m fairly certain that I was the last person to leave the school that day.  I even took a picture of my friend Fred racing out of the parking lot in his car. 

I can remember my last game of tag, my last football game, my last school dance and even the last time I ran from the cops for some act of juvenile stupidity.  Well, I hope it was my last time eluding police.  Don’t even get me started on my friends and family.  I’ve thought about every little event and marker, every bit of drama, every last kiss, every last night out together etc.  I’ve done my best to catalogue things so as not to forget what was important to me.  Nothing irritates me more than looking at a picture or hearing a story and not remembering it.  Sadly, time is a sneaky bastard and we’re forgetful creatures by necessity.  We simply couldn’t function if we weren’t.  Still, I do my best. 

I had a friend visiting me from Korea for the past couple of weeks.  I did what I could to entertain her, but April in Ottawa isn’t exactly thrilling.  I came home from Korea almost four years ago.  Four years.  It’s hard not to be struck by a fact like that when you’ve got a reminder laughing at the wrinkles on your face.  It seems I haven’t aged well.  In addition to the wrinkles, I’ve gained some fat, lost some hair and have apparently begun to walk like a grandfather. 

According to www.deathclock.com, I’ve got between 8 and 20 years left to live depending on how optimistic I am.  So...I’m going to have to go with 8.  While this is by no means a remotely accurate calculation, I think it’s a good exercise in perspective.  Time is a bastard.  It won’t stop, it won’t even slow down for a few minutes. 

I often quote the UNICEF stat that says a child under the age of 5 dies every 3.5 seconds due to poverty.  Every 3.5 seconds, some kid’s life is snuffed out because they just can’t afford to live.  Think about that.  These children can’t afford to live.  Time isn’t about to change, so we need to.  8 years would seem like an eternity to these children.  We complain because we don’t have enough time to get to the gym.  They don’t even have time to live.

I may have 50 years left.  I may have 8.  I may have a week.  I don’t know.  I do know that I have right now.  I have this moment.  So do you.  Use it.  Enjoy it.  Revel in it.  It doesn’t matter what you do, just do something.  It’s okay to waste time; just don’t let time waste you.  Eat, sleep, laugh, read, whatever.  Wallow in misery if you’d like, just do something right now.  Now is the only moment in which you’re beating time.  Time owns the past and the future.  You own now.

When is the best time to plant an oak tree?  About twenty years ago.  That way you could enjoy a nice big tree and lots of shade.  When is the second best time?  Right now.  Sorry, but I love the old school salesman closes.  My grandfather had a far more succinct expression, but I try to keep this blog PG.

p.s.  Do I need to mention that now would be a great time to join us at One Dollar Nation or to ask your friends to join?  ;)

 

Sincerely,

 

Keith

Last Updated ( Monday, 20 April 2009 )
 
Running sucks, but so does not running - March 12, 2009

If you haven’t already heard, Kathy Waters is training to run 10km on behalf of One Dollar Nation this summer.  To learn more about this, check our news section or check out her blog at www.kwat10k.blogspot.com

Personally, I hate running.  I can’t think of anything I’d rather do less.  I hated it when I was young and in great shape.  It just always seemed so pointless to me.  I played football.  It made sense for me to run if I got to hit someone after putting in the effort.  I just never saw much of a purpose behind simply running.  It was just always something you did before doing something else.  I guess I was never much motivated by a clock.  

Running is something that you always assume that you can do.  Like riding a bicycle, I always assumed that I could still do it if I wanted to.  Sadly, those days are long gone.  Last summer, I went for a run with some people.  I ran for a grand total of 4km.  Let me clarify that.  I ran for maybe 3 of those 4 km.  The other kilometre was spent gasping, wheezing, and trying not to worry about the pain in my left knee.  Within 2 minutes, my chest was heaving and burning.  After 10 minutes, I was ready to hitch a ride home.

For some of you, 10km may not be a big deal.  For sedentary people like myself, 10km might as well be 50.  I’m impressed by what Kathy is doing and proud that she’d do it in support of ODN.  We’ll be posting updates on her training, so be sure to drop her a note in our facebook group or at her blog.  Thanks for doing this Kathy, I know you can do it.

 

It sucks to realize just how far from your glory days you really are.  Time is sneaky that way.  You know how your grandparents always told you that you’ve got nothing without your health?  They were right.  If you’re not already saying it now, you will be soon enough.  I certainly never thought I’d be worried about blowing a knee out just by running.

When you’re really sick, you realize that nothing else really matters.  You can’t focus on anything else; you just want to feel better.  I spent almost 9 months with constant vertigo.  After it went away, it took me a couple of weeks just to realize that I felt better.  I remember running up the stairs one morning and realizing that I had indeed just run up the stairs.  For almost a year prior to that day, I had been slowly and carefully piecing my way up while grabbing the handrail like an invalid.  

It’s been a while since my last play date with vertigo and I’m hoping that I never feel like that again.  I’m not about to devote myself to a life of healthy living, but I’m not quite as dismissive of it as I used to be.  I suppose the time comes when you just can’t continue to treat your body like total garbage.  Time catches up to us all.  If you’re able to run 10k, I would guess that you could stay ahead of it a little longer.

So the next time you’re feeling like crap.  The next time you’ve got the flu or a bad cold.  Take a minute to think about the millions of people who feel like that on a regular basis.  We have the luxury of getting better.  We have the luxury of choosing to treat our bodies like garbage.  We have the option to live better, longer lives.  Most of the world isn’t so lucky.  

Sincerely,

Keith

Last Updated ( Monday, 20 April 2009 )
 
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