I used to be a slightly less decent person.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a bully (aside from the time in year nine when me and my gal pals used to affectionately refer to a lad in our science class as ‘dolphin boy’ – so I’d like to send an open apology to you now, if you’re reading this), I wasn’t particularly manipulative or conniving, I was just, well, a bit involved with myself.
I’ve mentioned this before in tit bits here and there, but my childhood and teenage years weren’t the easiest.
And because of this I grew into a young adult with a bit of a victim mentality. Not so much a WOE IS ME, SAD HANNAH, POOR HANNAH but a mentality that said well if I picked myself up out the gutter and made a decent life for myself than why the heck can’t the rest of you?
Perhaps I lacked compassion or empathy.
I was too busy giving myself a pat on the back for my own successes to appreciate that in other ground-breaking news, the world doesn’t revolve around me.
I was constantly judging complete strangers for not having the drive to do the things they wanted to do most. And admittedly I’m still not great at handling people who think the world owes them something – I stick by the mentality that if you want something, you should go out there and get it, rather than sit around moaning about how unfair it is that you don’t already have it.
But last year, something inside me shifted.
Maybe it was getting older. Maybe it was finding myself, for the first time in my life, in a personal environment where everything felt safe and secure. Or maybe it had something to do with my time working on the internet and witnessing how idiotically horrible strangers can be to each other.
Whatever it was, it made me realise that the world is far greater than just me and my needs.
It made me realise that we have a choice in this life and that choice is this: we can either look out for number one, or we can do our greatest to help each other, to lift each other up, to support each other.
Because life is hard and painful enough without us turning our backs on one another. We live as part of a generation that doesn’t know their neighbours, doesn’t speak to fellow commuters on public transport and often doesn’t reach out to people in need for fear of the way it will be taken.
So, we can look at the world from our own shoes or we can try and look at the world from other people’s shoes from time to time too.
In December I tried to do something decent for someone else every single day. Instead of staring at the ground when a homeless person asked me for money, I walked with them to McDonald’s and bought them a hot chocolate. Because that 99p and those three minutes mean nothing to me – they don’t make a dent in my bank balance or the time I ‘should’ be spending writing blog posts, but I like to think they brightened those strangers days if only for a very fleeting moment.
I gave unused beauty products to women’s refuges (soz brands if you’re reading this, but I was never going to keep all 20 lipstick shades), I gave stuff to charity shops, I donated to people’s JustGiving pages and I said bless you to strangers who sneezed on the train.
I’m not writing this to be like LOOK, GUYS, LOOK, I’M AN ALRIGHT HUMAN BEING SOMETIMES, I’m writing this because it doesn’t take much to think about other people. To make little differences in people’s days and people’s lives.
I think showing kindness is truly one of the greatest things us human beings can do, and we shouldn’t sit around waiting to get caught up in some adrenaline-pumping national disaster to jump to action.
We need to be nicer to each other and we need to think more about helping each other – not just ourselves.
So the point of this post is to encourage you to vote. You can register here, and you have until the 22nd May.
I’m not going to tell you who to vote for because this blog isn’t a place for me to push my ideology on you. But it is a place for me to tell you that your vote matters, it really, really matters.
I also think it’s vital to stress the importance here of thinking about more than how the parties’ policies could affect you. To think about the bigger picture, about people from different classes, different backgrounds and even different countries.
If you’re feeling a little bit snowed under and overwhelmed by who to vote for and the different policies, there’s this quiz which I found helpful to help match your personal beliefs to a party, and this one which lets you read policies without knowing which party they’re for until you’ve chosen which one fits your ideals best.
OH and if you’re a uni student, this website will tell you whether to register at home or at uni to make your vote count most.
Come on ladies, lets go make a difference.