Thirty Before 30 Update: Number 19

30 Before 30 List
The Final Thirty Before 30 List

19. Pay it forward: This is one of those goals I feel like never ends. I originally put this on my list because I wanted to repay or pass along the kindness that was given to me during the trials of 2011. It has taken on a slightly different spin. I decided not to do random acts of kindness where I bring cookies to firefighters or pay for the coffee of a person behind me in line.

It’s a little more complicated. First, I started using method products. After reading their book, I felt even more confident that their products have a significant impact on the environment and that the company is honest. These products cost significantly more than the store brand or value brand of their counterparts. I still have the mindset of the poor college student I once was and usually buy the cheapest product as long as I’m not sacrificing efficacy, taste, quality, etc.. But, then I thought, why should I save 40 cents on a bottle of hand soap and then turn around and make a donation to an environmental organization working to undo the waste I’ve done with my inexpensive purchases?

Hand soap (this bottle has been refilled with a different scent.)
Hand soap (this bottle has been refilled with a different scent.)
Laundry soap dispenser and refill bag.
Laundry soap dispenser and refill bag.

I’m not saying I won’t ever return to buying the cheapest cleaning products out there or that I will never donate to an environmental cause. It’s just that since I am able to afford these more pricey products and I know they’re better for the environment than their counterparts, why not?

Here’s an aside: method’s copywriting is ah-mazing. I’d love to have that job, but then I’d worry I’m not clever enough to carry on the legacy their copywriters have already created. (“Gentler than a thousand puppy licks.” Seriously. You’re killing me! This is what copywriters dream of in portfolio school–okay, it’s what I dreamed of and still do.)

Also, for a good year now, I’ve been volunteering with my local council of Girls on the Run helping their marketing committee and volunteering at their 5K races. Nothing has been more fulfilling. I dare you to participate in one of their 5Ks and not be impressed with all of the girls completing their first (!) race. Or, if you stick around until the very end, I dare you to not cheer on the last girl to cross the finish line and feel warm and fuzzy knowing that with a supportive coach, peers, running buddy and bystanders, a young girl can accomplish anything she sets to. It’s impossible not to be proud of those girls. The great thing about this program is that all girls can participate. No matter the background of the girls, they all benefit from the lessons learned during the 12 weeks of training and what they learn will serve them throughout their entire lives.

I plan to continue volunteering with GOTR and making more conscious purchases so I can really put my money where my values are. I’ll also be on the look out for new ways to pay it forward.

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