Journal Post: Weight, 175.6, Money found, 55 cents from walk, 6 cents from residual walk one to the grocery, 27 cents from residual walk two to the library. Total coin denominations found, 23 pennies, 1 nickel, 1 dime, 2 quarters. 9 glass bottles deposited.
Main Post: A recurring theme for the MoneyWalker's postings is the feelings felt when finding money. Descriptive words have included glee, satisfaction, and happiness. In one sense, it seems uncivil to find pleasure in another person's loss. Paradoxically, the larger their loss, the more glee I experience.
One resolution of any pangs of guilt is to look for ways to give things back to society. Thus, one of my activities during walking is to retrieve discarded glass containers (soft drinks, beer, and hard liquor) as I spot them on my brisk walks. It has become a systematic habit to retrieve and carry the bottle to a handy trash container.
But other things besides money and glass bottles are found. Two days back, I found a nearly full pack of unharmed cigarettes. A moral dilemma ensued. Since I don't smoke cigarettes and am convinced of their health risks, should I trash them, or give them to one of my cigarette smoking friends?
Cigarettes are five dollars a pack, monetarily a large find. To give them to someone should create dual happiness, the receiver and the giver. In a few minutes, I arrived at my end-point, a city-bus turn-around. Upon arrival, three somewhat "seedy" looking passengers were waiting. Impulsively I said, "Do any of you guys smoke?" No reply. They must have thought that I wanted to bum a cigarette. Then, I pulled the cigarettes from my pouch, and asked differently, "Does anyone want these?" A long pregnant pause followed. Finally, without expression change, without eye contact, without show of pleasure, one man slowly began shaking his head while reaching for the smokes--no thanks given, none needed.
As I speed away, I reflected on this episode and was reminded of Gretchen Rubin’s popular blog the Happiness Project and her recent post: ” Happiness Myth No. 7: Doing “Random Acts of Kindness” Brings Happiness.
She observed that people that receive random acts of kindness are often on guard, that they are likely to feel suspicious because someone is behaving in an unusual way.
Yet, in spite of the suspicions and doubt of the recipient, or even that the gift of tobacco was of dubious ethical motive, I felt good in providing the gift. Random acts of kindness such as discarding glass bottles or the random act of providing a few pleasurable moments to a down-and-out bus rider all provide a brief antidote to the occasional feeling of guilt that comes from finding happiness from someone else’s loss.
So, as you find money, join the MoneyWalker, find a way to give something back.