Day 32 – #joyfulgiving366 – transformative giving

I spent most of the day sleeping due to jet lag. Yet I still managed to continue with my joyful giving quest.

As I didn’t get up until 2 pm and was feeling a bit groggy and disorientated for a while after that, it was a short day. After waking up, I went shopping to get some groceries and then my boys came back from their Dad’s place. I don’t really do souvenirs as such, but I bought them some winter clothes that Neil and I had bought for both of them (bought at Carrefour on special) and some chocolates (bought at the supermarket in Spain). I was proud that they were happy with their clothes, although they liked their chocolates more.

Then in the evening, I gave away two items via the Buy Nothing Project.

I bought the skipping rope in Taiwan maybe eight or nine years ago. I might have used it once. I forget. My ex bought the hand grips around ten years ago. I think. He was so excited to buy them on special, but I think he has used them only once.

I discovered both of these objects in a random drawer while I was searching for something else. My first thought was “maybe I’ll use them”. My second thought was “honestly if I haven’t used them now, I probably never will.” They were taking up space for no good reason.

I posted them on my local Buy Nothing Project group on 9 January. Someone wanted the skipping rope, then changed their mind. Then there were no further takers. I put them back in the drawer and thought I might drop them off on my next trip to an op shop. Then suddenly, on my way back from Spain, someone put a message on the post saying they wanted them both.

I’d gifted things before to this lady. She still uses a large jar I gave her. I had used it at our wedding as part of the lolly buffet, but as the glass lid had broken, it couldn’t be used for storage. She uses it as a vase. It is a unique shape, but I’m guessing that without the lid, most people would have thrown it out.

It turns out this lady is an academic who types a lot, and she wanted the hand grips to help with RSI. We had a lovely chat about slow giving – and about her fascinating area of research. She is a long term Buy Nothing Project enthusiast and was originally in a Perth group that was an early part of the movement.

“For me, the Buy Nothing Project has been transformative,” she said. “In the past, my community was all centred around my kids’ school. But when they grew up, there wasn’t really much else there. It’s not just the stuff, but also the friendships and connections that you make.”

Her experience really resonated with me, and did her unique story that I would never have stopped to listen to if I had just dumped stuff in the garbage. Nor would I have had that exchange, if my impatience to reach my #joyfulgiving366 quota, I had made this a fast gift requirement.

Canberra and the fires

The sky was an eerie orange all day today, with a spectacular setting sun visible through the smoke. The Orrorol Valley fire continues to burn, although has been mostly contained today.

It’s a difficult time for many in Canberra. We can see the smoke and at night, we can see the flames. For many people, it brings back memories of the devastating 2003 bushfires. And many Canberrans were at the Coast or had family or friends at the Coast, who were affected by the New Year’s Eve fires.

Neil comes back today (Thursday) into high heat and high fire danger conditions. I’m both happy to have him home, but also wary. He’s in the RFS so will likely to out in the heat and smoke. I know he’s sensible, but I’m also concerned that his health after the heart attack is not 100%.

Have you ever struggled to give things away, only to find out that there was someone who really wanted the item? Have you made friends through community groups that focus on giving?

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