Tuesday, January 02, 2007

YOMAD: Explained

So it’s the Year of Making a Difference, eh?


Hedy, the only reason you’re doing it is to make yourself feel better. That doesn’t seem quite right.

True. I didn’t do a stellar job of explaining the motivation behind YOMAD yesterday. And yes, making myself feel better is part of it.

But here’s the Really Big Question I’ve been trying to answer for a while now: Is everything that happens in our lives a simple matter of geography?

If I’d been born in the Middle East or Africa my life would be entirely different. I might be Muslim. Or Jewish. I might know someone who was killed because of the conflicts in my country. I might have been killed myself.

However, through fortune or fate or karma, I was born here in the Midwest and my life has been easy by most standards.

So do I just call it luck and enjoy the shit outta my good fortune as I have been?

Or is there something I’m supposed to do because of where I was born and what I have?
“New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”

Mark Twain said that.
I’m not big on resolutions. But christening a year with a particular theme seems to work for some reason.


As a reminder, I’ll make it part of my password for e-mail and voice mail. There are YOMAD reminders in my calendar. And I will meditate on making a difference when I want to motivate myself to get outta bed in the morning or do something that I don’t feel much like doing.

The other thing I like about YOMAD is that it’s open-ended. Just like the Year of Traveling Lightly – it’s going to take on a meaning and a life of its own. It will take me places I never imagined.

And that’s cool.
You’ve spent too much time watching TV, haven’t you, Hedy? You’re gonna donate to Save Darfur and Feed the Children and then blab to everyone how you’re making a difference.

Sending a check is the easiest way to make a difference, and yes, I might do that. But I wanna be smart about it so I’ll start here: The American Institute of Philanthropy.

This is a watchdog organization that helps people make informed choices about charities. They rate organizations by how much of your donation goes to actually making a difference versus how much pays for the administrative costs involved with running their organization.

It’s neat. Check it out.
But wait, there’s more.

The Year of Making a Difference ISN'T about:
  • What’s convenient or easiest for me
  • Writing a check to some charity and then writing it off on my taxes
  • Telling you what I’m up to
  • Getting credit or accolades

It is:
  • My mantra for 2007
  • About giving more time, energy and attention to my relationships, at work, and to the world
  • About making a difference because it is needed and because I can
Just like last year, I’ll keep you posted on any really interesting developments. For the most part, though, YOMAD will be more about action than words.

It’ll be about standing up and making a difference.

And that, my friends, feels good.
I am listening to: Genius of Love – Tom Tom Club
I am reading: The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
And I am: On it