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New Year, New You!
The turkey has gone, even the turkey curry season is past and the tree is ready to be recycled at the tip. The fairy lights are back in the box ready for a new game of “electrocution Russian roulette” 11 months from now. Christmas is now fading from the memory and things have returned to normal.
Whilst Christmas is a magical time for so many of us, the diet of bad news we get in the papers and on the television seems to have an added poignancy in the Christmas season, something really brought home in 2014 with the tenth anniversary of the Boxing Day tsunami (can’t believe its ten years!). This year a terrible and tragic accident in Glasgow was the main focus in the last days running up to Christmas. This then got overtaken in the news by another disappearing airplane and the awful Syrian refugee crisis. By Twixmas (those days between Christmas and New Year) I was suffering from consumption of too much doom and gloom and was ready for the news equivalent of an Alka- Seltzer.
And there it was on the local News. Plink… Plink… Fizz..
It came in the form of Luke Cameron, a 26 year old chap from Cheltenham. Luke had lost a close family friend to cancer in 2013 and decided that there needed to be more to life. He resolved that every day throughout 2014 he was going to do a good deed. Some days it might be as trivial as taking a neighbour’s rubbish out, but on another occasion he paid for someone else’s petrol and quite a few strangers were treated to meals over the course of the year. On the news report he said that it really wasn’t hard to come across people who needed a helping hand without going out of his way to do so. Yes, it cost him some money (I understand about £3,000 across the year) but I suspect it was the unexpected kindness that touched people rather than the cash value of what he gave.
Of course, there were people who were sceptical about his motives and inevitably he has encountered idiots on Social Media in the wake of this story hitting the news, that automatically assume he’s behaved this way to achieve fame or personal benefit in some way. I’m sure that’s the same kind of person who believes that every charity is a scam.
As it happens, he has found a job as a by-product of his kindness and good luck to him, I say.
I was genuinely inspired by what this young man has done and there’s little more that I would like than to see this become more widespread. What really excited me about this story was his revelation that he genuinely felt renewed by the whole experience. By doing something for other people he felt more grateful for what he had. What a shame this chap wasn’t in the New Years’ Honours list.
All of which makes my New Years’ resolutions look a bit self-centred and tame. And predictably a few days into the New Year, my resolutions are already in peril (well it would be wasteful and rude not to eat up all that rich food left over from Christmas, wouldn’t it?). I think I need to make more resolutions helping others and less about trying to help myself.