A few days ago, I read about Gwenyth Paltrow's $29 SNAP grocery haul on Budget and The Beach, and I was surprised to find how emotionally I reacted to the article. I think the reason for my reaction is that I have no patience for "raising awareness", and I think a "victim mentality" is one of the worst mental states for a person to deal with, but I'm also keenly aware that my personal privilege should serve to make the world better for other people, not just me. So the problem is that I'm Gwenyth Paltrow.
As a result of this realization, I decided to create a new kind of challenge that I call the 99 Problems Challenge. The goal of this challenge is to help me to become a more generous spirited person (in the midst of my own mess) by identifying another person's need in the context of a relationship, and to try to address the need rather than sweeping it under the table.
Most likely addressing the need will cost a small amount of money and a small to medium amount of time. The only rules of the challenge are that the relationship comes first (ie I won't do something challenge related if it means sacrificing the quality of the relationship), and I have to identify the need outside of my immediate family. And the rules can change because this is my blog, and I only have 3-4 readers.
I got 99 Problems, but Mental Health Ain't one
My goal for the next month is two spend time with two different people who are struggling with mental health issues and to be a friend in these circumstances. I won't force them to be jolly, but I will offer to be a listening ear. To make the event worthwhile, I'll plan to cook for the friends since the load of life feels lighter around the dinner table (this is my only expected cost).
Honestly, I'm not a very good person, so being a good friend to depressed people is hard for me. I expect that I won't come back from my times with these friends feeling energized, but I also know that I'm really thankful for the friends who stuck with me through my own post-partum depression and offered a listening ear even when I wasn't talking.
I'll report back on the 99 Problems next month, and if you want to join, please leave a little note in the comment section!
I'm a wife, a mom, an employee, and a personal finance nerd who is devoted to spreadsheeting my way through life.