• Feel Good Friday (The Naked Water Edition)

  • written by: Matt Madeiro
  • published on:

Welcome, one and all, to the inaugural edition of Feel Good Friday. (Let’s all gloss over the fact that the first go-around involves potential nudity.)

What’s the big idea here?

Make Every Day Count exists to answer a single question: “What does it mean to live well?” And how to live well, by extension, which might prove most difficult by far in our wild, wacky, oft-stressed modern lives. I’ve been chewing on my answer for a few months, now, and prepping something fun for when I debut it, but I’d like to kick things off here with a sneak peek at the ‘formula’ that has quickly come to shape how I live my life.

You need just a few things to live well. One of the most important, by far, is kindness.

Kindness to yourself, sure, but also to others — to every wild, wacky, oft-stressed human being kicking around this same globe. Our relationship to the world (and those who inhabit it) is one of the most important we can try and cultivate, and it’s also one of the easiest.

You can smile more. You can say a few positive words. And you can make each and every day count by giving back to the people and the planet that we may otherwise take for granted.

I’d like to celebrate that. And I’d like to start, now, by devoting each Friday to a cause worth supporting — to a person worth every ounce of kindness we can offer.

I’d like, lastly, to introduce you to Sarah Kathleen Peck.

What You Need to Know

Here’s what I know about Sarah:

  • She enjoys handstands.
  • In person, she slings out both wit and incredible warmth with the speed of a hummingbird in flight.
  • She’s a student of life: always curious, always moving, and always open to the lilt of the planet’s rotation.

That’s fancy speak, I guess, for saying that she is someone I’ve come to greatly respect over these last few years of blogging. In light of this, I wasn’t the least bit surprised to hear of her next big adventure: raising $29,000 for charity: water, and doing so with the promise of a pretty spectacular swim.

In her own words:

Scott Harrison talked about the power of $5000 and how it can change an entire community of people’s lives forever: one source to clean water can mean all the difference.

For my 29th birthday, I’m hoping for a huge goal: I’m hoping to inspire 1000 people to donate just $29 to the cause. $29 for my birthday is the same amount as a fancy bottle of wine, or a few drinks at a bar, or a meal out with friends. So here’s what I’m asking: don’t buy me a present, but donate a little bit to this big dream of mine instead.

Put another way, I’ll need 290 people to donate $100.

I’m not sure if I can do it — it’s a crazy goal. So here’s some extra incentive: if 100 people donate $29, I’ll pitch in my own $1000 to the cause.

And if there are 1000 people who donate $29 (or we get to $29,000 some other way!!), I’m willing to do something crazy: I’ll swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco wearing nothing but my birthday suit.

If you want to donate more than $29, dude, I’m game if you are!

That’s right. Water, y’all.


Mostly, though, I’m impressed. And as someone once dubbed the “half-naked blogger” by the Twitter community at large, I feel it’s my personal responsibility to support the cause of full or partial nudity everywhere possible.

Jokes aside, I think charity: water is a project worth supporting. Another piece of my upcoming “How to Live Well” formula is in having gratitude, and here—perhaps better than anywhere else—a little perspective goes a tremendously long way.

As someone lucky enough to be born an American, water is a commodity I’ve never had to twice think about. Gleaming bottles of the stuff line every convenience store and market in the country, and I remember spending young summers dancing around sprinklers in the Texas heat.

Not everyone has those memories. Not everyone has access to one of our most basic needs. charity: water has made waves (hardy har) trying to fix that in a way I can’t help but respect: with great transparency, showing you exactly where your dollars are spent, and in using private donations to cover its operation costs so that every dollar the public contributes goes straight to a community in need.

What You Can Do

Without propping myself up any further on the preaching box, then, I’d like to ask all of you to celebrate this first edition of Feel Good Friday by throwing a few coins onto the pile. You can donate $29. You can donate $290. You can donate a dollar, even, and I think the end result will be the same: you’ll make a difference.

You’ll be using the gift of kindness to make an impact on the world around you. You’ll be using that same gift to make Sarah’s 29th birthday one that she’ll never forget, too.

If that isn’t living well, I don’t know what is.

Have a cause you’d like to see featured in upcoming Feel Good Fridays? Let me know!

And one more thing: if you donate to Sarah’s cause, let me know either via email or in the comments below. I’ll send you a free copy of Happiness Is, my eBook about gratitude, that you can read on your Kindle or regular computer.

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