Paying it Forward in a Post-Parking-Meter World
Recently I was running a particularly soul-sucking round of errands and parked my car in a metered spot. I paid for the meter’s maximum amount of two hours, but my errand only took half an hour. Now, usually I would have been happy to leave a meter with time left in it and, particularly on a bothersome day, would even add quarters for the next person. It’s largely selfish, really, because then the rest of my soul-sucking errands are cheered a bit by the thought that maybe I made someone else’s soul-sucking errands a tiny bit less soul-sucking. But guess what?
My city has made the switch to muni-meters—those robotic-looking machines where you pay on a credit card and receive a receipt that you then place on your dashboard. Good news if you’ve run out of quarters, but terrible news for the parking meter pay-it-forward phenomenon. I actually hung around for a minute to see if someone else would park there so I could hand them my time-stamped receipt. Alas, no one did, and my extra $1.50 slipped right past would-be parkers and into the pocket of the city council—or whoever it is. This does nothing for my soul-sucking errands. Next stop, drug store. Sigh.
And you know what? It’s the same on the freeway: I have a friend who used to always pay for the toll of the car behind her but admits that since she’s switched to the automated E-ZPass, she’s abandoned the practice, whizzing through as a laser anonymously zeeps her toll-paying pass. Not to get too Andy Rooney here, but these days, even doors open themselves! How’s a person supposed to perform a daily act of paying it forward if the world’s going to be so darn automated?
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” —William Arthur Ward
“The way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.” —Charles Schwab
How did you find the energy, Mom
To do all the things you did,
To be teacher, nurse and counselor
To me, when I was a kid.
How did you do it all, Mom,
Be a chauffeur, cook and friend,
Yet find time to be a playmate,
I just can’t comprehend.
I see now it was love, Mom
That made you come whenever I’d call,
Your inexhaustible love, Mom
And I thank you for it all.
By Joanna Fuchs
I’ve dreamed many dreams that never came true
I’ve seen them vanish at dawn,
But I have realized enough of my dreams, thank God,
To make me want to dream on.
I’ve prayed many prayers when no answer came,
Though I waited patient and long;
But answers have come to enough of my prayers
To make me keep praying on.
I’ve trusted many a friend who failed,
And left me to weep alone;
But I’ve found enough of my friends true blue,
To make me keep trusting on.
I’ve sown many seeds that fell by the way
For the birds to feed upon,
But I’ve held enough golden sheaves in my hands
To make me keep sowing on.
I’ve drained the cup of disappointment and pain
And gone many days without song;
But I’ve sipped enough nectar from the roses of life
To make me want to live on.
I were to say
I love you and
I do love you
and I say it
now and again
would you say
would you see
the world revolves
Maureen N. McLane
Bierbaum, Tim. Keenly, Billy. Milhiser, John. Miale, Anthony. Officer, Robert. The Importance of Kindness. Video. 00:02:12. April 24, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1KCzrTg9ic.
This video on YouTube shows a beautifully illustrated true story about the importance and necessity of giving and receiving kindness.
“NBC 10 Interview.” ABetterWorld. Accessed February 20, 2018. http://abetterworld.com.
The interview on NBC is of a budding company named “A Better World” that has a wonderful cause. The interviewees talk about the game they have created to spread generosity and positivity in the world.
Shear, Amy. “Paying it Forward in a Post-Parking-Meter World.” Modern Kindness: 9 Day-Brightening Stories of Generosity. Oprah.com, March 27, 2012. http://www.oprah.com/spirit/modern-kindness-stories-of-generosity/all#ixzz57gRTQdKX.
In this article, Shear talks about the lost generous practice of “paying it forward.”
Winter, Kevin. Ellen DeGeneres. January 7, 2016. Getty Images, Upworthy, Los Angeles.
This photograph shows Ellen Degeneres at the People’s Choice Awards, proving the beauty and power of kindness.
Ludwig, Trudy. The Invisible Boy. Alfred A. Knopf, 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okAJ62ia63Q.
This is a video of the book, The Invisble Boy being read out. Ludwig has written a heartwarming children’s book on the importance of kindness. Being a big fan of children’s books, this particular source struck out to me.
Fuchs, Joanna. “Everything Mom.” Poemsource.com. Accessed on February 20, 2018. http://www.poemsource.com/mother-poems.html.
Fuchs has written a touching poem expressing gratitude towards her mother.
Homayun, Omaid. “How a Simple Act of Gratitude Changed One Man’s Life – And Can Transform Yours Too.” Forbes, September 13, 2015. https://www.forbes.com/sites/omaidhomayun/2015/09/13/how-this-simple-act-of-gratitude-can-impact-your-life/#43e5a4315c3e.
Omaid praises the book A Simple Act of Gratitude by John Kralik in this article and describes how it altered his life.
“Three Good Things, A Small Gratitude Exercise for a Large Boost of Happiness.” Happier Human. Accessed February 20, 2018. http://happierhuman.com/gratitude/.
This webpage gives the reader tips on exploring happiness by following a few exercises on gratefulness.
Alicia Keys and JayZ. Empire State of Mind. Released October 20, 2009. Young Guru, Oven Studios and Ann Mincieli, Long Island. MP3.
This charismatic song is the true description of New York City and its endless possibilities.
Fukuda, Marty. “5 Reasons to Dream Big, Even When You Think You Have No Business Doing So.” Entrepreneur, January 11, 2016. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/254798.
Marty gives us reasons to keep on dreaming, in this well-written article.
Bridges, Jeff. Dream Big: Engineering Our World – Official IMAX Trailer – Narrated by Jeff Bridges. Video. 00:01:59. February 6, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huVNsT8BIM8.
This is the trailer of the movie Dream Big: Engineering Our World, which was made to create awareness in the world about the exciting and mind-blowing work of engineers. It inspires viewers to dream bigger and bigger. There is no limit to our dreams.
Unknown. “Steadfast Heart.” Happy Publishing. Accessed on February 20, 2018. https://www.happypublishing.com/blog/3-inspirational-poems-on-courage/.
An anonymously written poem describing the importance of dreaming courageously and icessantly.
Motivation Blog. Accessed February 20, 2018. http://www.motivationblog.org/if-your-dreams-dont-scare-you-2/#.UPiEROhrRD1.
This image is self-explanatory. It is rightly created by coming a quote on dreaming big, with a picture of New York City in the background.
Black Eyed Peas. Where is the Love?. Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group, TUONO MUSIC % SOUTH HUDSON MUSIC, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC. MP3.
This beautiful song was written in a collaboration of amaizng artists. It explains the lack of love in our world, with terrorism and conflict everywhere. It is a wonderful song for creating awareness and realization.
Jessie J. Price Tag. 2010. Dr. Luke. MP3.
Similarly, Price Tag is a song about spreadig positivity and love in the world. It emphasizes on the importance of being happy over materialistic values.
Wolpe, Rabbi David. “We Are Defining Love the Wrong Way.” Time, February 16, 2016. http://time.com/4225777/meaning-of-love/.
In this article, Rabbi David explains how we have been perceiving love wrongly. He writes that love is actually an action and not just a feeling.
McLane, Maureen. “Syntax” Poets.org. Accessed on February 20, 2018. https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/syntax-0.
A poem on love, in which one person is equivalent to the other person’s world.
“Sustainability Skills and Education, SusSEd.” Green Impact Sheffield. Accessed February 20, 2018. http://www.greenimpact.group.shef.ac.uk/wordpress/about/sussed/.
An initiative taken by the University of Sheffield to educate staff and students on the topics of environmental, economic and social sustainability.
Coy, Allice. “Buckingham Palace Open Its Doors to Sustainable Fashion.” Women’s Wear Daily (WWD), February 19, 2018. http://wwd.com/fashion-news/fashion-scoops/buckingham-palace-opens-doors-sustainable-fashion-1202574916/.
An article on the celebration of the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange at the Buckingham Palace hosted by the Dutchess of Cambridge. Each look at the show was made on the basis of sustainability.
“Seven Forms of Sustainable Fashion.” Green Strategy. Accessed February 20, 2018. http://www.greenstrategy.se/sustainable-fashion/seven-forms-of-sustainable-fashion/.
A webpage identifying seven forms of sustainable fashion like secondhand & vintage, on demand & custom made and green & clean.
My five selected values are generosity, gratefulness, dreams & ambition, love and sustainability. I feel very strongly about these particular values. Generosity is the goodness and kindness around you. Gratitude, in connection to generosity, is about being thankful for all the good things. Dreams and ambition are two powerful values possessed by a person. They define your goals and dedication. Love is what life is all about. Without love for yourself, or for others, there is no meaning to anything. Lastly, sustainability is a rising value of concern. It is out of love for our Mother Earth. These values are interconnected in several ways. That is one of the reasons I chose these specific ones.
From the research I conducted over the past week, I learnt so much more about myself and how I perceive these values. The diversity of the world has produced many perspectives on different values. My understanding of certain values like love and generosity has been altered after reading and viewing the various informational sources. I never thought about the emphasis on monetary connection with the word “generous” until this week. Everywhere I saw posts and images regarding generous donations or generous payments for others. It’s become all about the money, and that is disheartening.
These values are very close to my heart because they are what I live by. My upbringing taught me the importance of being kind to myself and to others, showing gratitude and appreciation, dreaming fearlessly and with tons of courage, loving whole-heartedly and living green. Sustainability however, is not just about the environment. We need sustainability in our social, economic and moral lives as well.