Since I am turning 24, I would like you to do me 24 favors. I think you can do them all, and I think it might not be that hard, AND I think you’ll come off on the other side that much smarter. Take your time — the summer if need be — but try to do some of these, for me, cause it’s my birthday.
1. Register to vote if you’re not registered already.
2. Take time to review the candidates in your next election, which is coming this August. Primaries are happening now, and yours could be soon, or have already happened!!
Calendar of all the dates for primaries, in case you don’t live in the four I’ve lived in…
4. Tell me how long you read the newspaper or news online a day. Then double it. 15 minutes? Try 30. Check the New York Times, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, the Detroit Free Press, CNN, MSNBC, Fox (yes, because you should know how they are skewing things, lately), ABC News, BBC News, Al Jazeera, etc. Read about politics, world events, local events, sports. Just be aware.
5. Send me your favorite Youtube video. Here’s mine.
6. Find a local farmer’s market. Buy your produce from there. Not only will it taste delicious, it’ll also help support your local economy, and be better for you. AND will lower your carbon imprint.
7. Speaking of local produce, try, just ONCE a month (and maybe gradually change your thinking to always), to buy your meat organic, and free range. It’s better for the animal, for you, and for the world. (You can do this with eggs, too.)
8. READ THIS.
9. Stop eating high fructose corn syrup. (Alternatively titled: eat more REAL food.)
10. Read Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules.” Corelyn has a copy, if you need to borrow. Then, pick 10 rules to start with, and follow them.
11. Send me 5 books that you think I should read RIGHT NOW because holy crap, she’d love this.
12. Tell me what you want to know about — do you want me to write more about my family, friends? Do you want me to write more? Have more photos? Cook something fancy you’ve been meaning to try but aren’t sure how to do? Post more recipes? Let me know!
13. Tell me an issue you care about: I’ll give you a documentary to watch. Watch it.
14. Tell me how you feel about gay marriage: if you’re for it, help me fight for rights. Sign up for a list serve, read about it online, figure out if you can donate time or money to the cause, simply know what is going on. If you’re against it, explain to me why, so I can understand you, and learn more about this controversial subject.
15. Sign up to be a bone marrow donor or a blood donor. Or both (like I am!) Last year’s birthday present to myself was to become a bone marrow donor — and I’ve never felt better. Tell your friends, and have them sign up, too!
16. Recycle. Reuse. Reduce. I know some of you find recycling hard: but if God, or whoever, made this planet for us, don’t you think we should keep it nice? And, if the planet was made for all of us, don’t you think it’d be nice if we kept it nice for others? How would you feel if you a) gave someone a really nice gift and they kept it dirty, or b) knew that your friends didn’t clean their kids rooms, even if their kids couldn’t do it for themselves because they were infants?
17. Make me a playlist. Send it to me in an email (if you think I have/can get most of the songs) or by CD, or by MP3 email.
18. Tell me what you care about. Shoot me a link to your blog, or someone’s blog YOU follow because you care about what you write, or something you’ve written. Let me help you with your causes, as you help me with mine.
19. Volunteer. For one hour a month, or a week. Or one hour every four months. Just get out and do something: coach a team, tutor a kid, help plant a garden, get out politic ideas, clean up your neighborhood, walk a dog, grocery shop for the elderly, listen to someone’s story. There are thousands of organizations that will help you volunteer near and far.
20. Get up, and go! Walk, run, jog, cycle, swim. Do yoga, hikes, climbs, head stands, whatever. I want you to be healthy, because quite frankly, I really like you. And I want you to be around for a while. Selfish me.
21. On that note — don’t diet. Moderate. Dieting doesn’t do the body good, and doesn’t do your stress levels or mental state good, either. Figure out what moderation works for you. Refer to number 20.
22. Take my mantra to heart: Today’s the day. When I was 15, I cut that phrase out of a magazine, where it was part of an ad (I think for Wheat Thins or something.) I took it to heart: today’s the day. Today’s the day to make it happen. Today’s the day I finally stick up for myself. Today’s the day that I love myself, my life, and everything around me. Today’s the day I finally start working out. Today’s the day I smile. Whatever. But remember: Today’s the day.
23. Take some pictures of your life. Send them to me. Email, blog posts, whatever. Sometimes you guys are so damn quiet it scares me. I want to know what’s going on with you, and what makes you tick, smile, laugh, and cry.
24. Send me a favor to do for you. As I explained to Roman, one of my soccer players:
“Roman, can you do me a favor and get me that ball?”
“WHAT?” Blank stare.
“Do you know what a favor is?”
“OK. A favor is something you do for someone because they need you to do it to help them, or help yourself. And then, if you do a favor for them, they might do one for you later.”
“Ohhh, ok. I’ll get you that ball.” And, later, I let him play goalie…