Wow, I slacked on sharing my experience of GISHWHES with the world. I think because it was one exhausting, overwhelming week, and then I had to start back to work. So I joined GISHWHES on a whim. If you don’t know what it is, it has to do with Random Acts of Kindness. GISHWHES makes you step outside of your comfort zone and do some crazy things, but also some really great things, around your community (and world).
I was going to wait until next year when I had some friends to possibly join with me, but what if something happens and I can’t next year? It was about $18 to join as an individual and I would be assigned a team. I was okay with that. I would be talking to new people, and it would be scary and exciting.
So our team leader, Story (what a cool name by the way), contacted us all and setup a Facebook group so that we could all stay connected. Let me tell you – I was pretty much glued to my Facebook account all week – constantly checking my messages and the group posts.
It was great getting to know everyone, and the group that had participated in GISHWHES in prior years were great at putting together a Google Doc so we could claim our “items” or tasks. Let me tell you – some were crazy. I realize that you couldn’t see the list unless you had joined, but some required you to be in San Francisco for a water balloon fight at a certain time. Story took a picture of herself on a boat, with a goat, eating green eggs and ham. There were almost 200 crazy (and some not so crazy) tasks to complete. I was lucky because I didn’t have to work, but I also didn’t have as much support as I had hoped.
I was hoping my nephews would be in town to do some of the crazy stuff with me, and help film me, but they had gone home. My parents were a huge help, though. They helped set stuff up for me and filmed me. Also, my friend Josh really helped me pull off a couple of crazy stunts.
One of the greatest aspects about GISHWHES was that it really helped to keep me busy and not let anxiety and depression set in. Well – there was anxiety sometimes about the tasks, but it was more excitement than fear. GISHWHES pushed my boundaries, and I plan to partake again in it next year. I know that next year I only have room to push myself to the limit and push my boundaries even more. I have more room to live and grow.
Another amazing thing about GISHWHES is that they claim some people make lifelong connections with complete strangers. I didn’t really know if it would happen with me. I hoped it would, but I didn’t count on it. It did happen, though. One of the participants in my group is a 17-year-old girl from Utah. She wants to be a professor one day. We seemed to have a lot in common, and she shared some really personal parts about her life with the group for the sake of an item.
After the competition closed, I received messages from Charlie, the participant I just mentioned. We made small talk, and got to know one another, and shared our fears and anxieties. It has been about two months since GISHWHES has ended, and we still talk almost daily. She is someone I feel I can trust, and who gets me. And on the bad days – I feel like we met for a reason. There is a reason I came into her life, and there is a reason that she came into mine. There is so much negative in the world, and I have felt so lonely with my friends moving away and getting new jobs, that it’s so nice to have someone to depend on you, and feel like you can depend on as well.
So for anyone out there who has considered GISHWHES, you should do it. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You don’t know what you’re capable of, or whom you may meet. It’s not just some stupid event where people sit around and come up with crazy things for you to do, no, it’s charity work, too. I went to a local nursing home for some items and actually – my mom suffers from multiple sclerosis and dementia – so some of the tasks were to make a playlist of some of their favorite songs and play it for them. I did that – for my mom with dementia. I played her the playlist and she sang along. I could see in her eyes she was some place else. She was traveling back to those memories and those songs. It also required doing one good deed a day, so I made gifts, and I bought a stranger a lemonade at the fair.
I cannot wait until next year to partake in GISHWHES again. I am going to work harder, better, and be prepared. (It can take a lot out of you mentally and physically.) Misha Collins and his team was great. Misha and his team would provide live chat updates, and encourage us through Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail. It sounds silly because it was going to thousands of people, but it really helped push me along some days. GISHWHES was one of the best weeks of summer, though. Nothing can compare to time spent with my family, but this was something new, and I am so glad that I decided to push through my fear and do it.