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A simple act can result in a ripple of change

We live in a world where things can change in the blink of an eye. Sometimes it’s something we’re expecting to happen. Other times, however, the world and the change that comes with it seems too much or too fast.

We do our best to ignore headlines and social media, but their impact is everywhere — often leaving us lost in a sea of news and gossip that doesn’t always need to be made into a big scene. It’s easy to forget who we are and why we do what we do.

For me, it’s all about moving forward and staying true to what I know. I’ve found that small acts of service or love don’t just create a reaction in the moments when they happen. The impact of a simple smile, wave or kind word is felt long after the good deed is done — whether the reaction is big or small. That’s why writing is more than a habit of simply putting words on a piece of paper.

I never think of my job as “work”. I rather look at it as an act of service because I don’t just write for myself. It has always been about helping others to feel comfortable talking and interacting with me. It’s my way of giving back to my community in many ways while still doing what I can to help others.

That was the goal all along. Things started falling into place when I achieved that goal, but I realized this was about something much bigger than myself. Writing is a way for me to be an example for anyone who has a dream. Not only that, but writing gives me the opportunity to leave my mark on the world.

It’s admittedly difficult not to think in those terms, given the recent news of the fatal helicopter crash in California that killed nine people — including NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter.

I think it’s even more difficult to not strive to be the best I can be, especially when I have a platform on which to do so. I don’t remember feeling this way after something like this. Nor do I recall having such a strong feeling to continue to reach for the stars. There was just something about this helicopter incident — particularly Kobe’s passing — that genuinely made me stop and think about what I’m doing for the people around me.

It’s one thing to do something because you want to. It’s a completely different story, however, when what you do impacts others. I often don’t even know the people who read my work, but it puts a smile on my face to know they care enough to support me. It lets me know that I must be doing something right. Most importantly, I’m reminded that the kindness I put out into world always comes back to me in some way.

That’s a lesson we all need to pay forward — and we can start by listening, helping and doing what we can to make someone’s day. A little kindness goes a long way!

Erin Kelly, 34, was born with cerebral palsy in Korea, and lives in Altoona. In addition to this column, she also writes for online publications The Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, Upworthy, and Real Talk Magazine. Email her at WriterWheels28@gmail.com.

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