I'm participating in the CIBC Run For The Cure this year. I'm not going it alone but running with a team made up of comics from around Toronto. When my friend Ian asked if I'd like to join the team and run for cancer his timing couldn't have been more perfect. I'd been feeling low - still no job, summer turning to fall, closer to another birthday and so on - so it was great to be presented with an opportunity to do something for other people that would shift my focus off my "mohills that seem like mountains" problems.
Now here's the thing; I started training to run the 10K today and I'm HORRENDEOUSLY out of shape, I knew I was out but didn't realize just how far. I have no doubt that my muscle memory will kick in and I'll be slow run/fast walking the 10K with no problem by October 4th.
That's not the problem, the problem is that I've shifted the focus of running back to me. Running for breast cancer research is now a secondary thought "Oh yeah, the cancer, right. But more importantly I'm going to start losing weight and looking better." My chartitable intentions have led me back to my vanity goals.
Does everyone have this problem? Do we as a society and as individuals ever just do a good deed without the thought of what we get out of it? The good feelings, the sense of satisfaction, the bragging rights, the tax write-off, the free lunch...
Day to day good deeds may not be noticed at first but the more you do them the better you feel - provided you're not doing them out of spite or to show off, because when no one notices you'll get bitter and resentful in a big hurry as the attitude and actions of an ex-friend will attest to.
Maybe it's not such a bad thing to do good deeds for slightly selfish reasons. You feel better, they feel better and they'll want to do a good deed for someone which will make that person feel better and they'll go on and do two good things for people and those two people will do good for four good people and I think you get the idea.
If you want to do something nice and feel good about it, feel free to donate to my run here: https://www.cibcrunforthecure.com/html/p.asp?t=3629350&l=1