I have become addicted to giving. I'd like to say I do it because it benefits the greater good or some such nonsense, the truth is I do it because it gives me a high. I went from bankruptcy to rich ... okay rich to me, the Rockefellers are not adding me to their Christmas card list or anything, but compared to my life before: I'm loaded. The thing about going from 'rags to riches' is that you get used to the rags mentality - breaking it is not so easy as one would think. It's certainly not as easy as I would have thought.
When we hear someone has won the lottery and then profess that they will 'continue to work', as say a secretary or a janitor, we all balk. But the reality is that we humans are oftentimes crippled by our habits: even the confining hell of a 9-5 job. Likewise when one suddenly gets a pile of loot dropped on them from the death of their perhaps not-so-beloved family instead of going wild with the cash buying themselves jewelry or Manolo Blahniks they opt to do what they did when they were broke: spend the money on others instead. Somehow it seems less extravagant to me to donate wads to charity than to buy myself things. And yet the high is virtually the same.
There's a wonderful website called Donors Choose that allows you to browse teacher's proposals for things they need (or want) for their underprivileged classes. You find the one that appeals to you and donate some $$. Well... for a self-proclaimed internet shopping junkie this is like the holy f-ing grail. I feel like I'm shopping, yet I'm actually donating to a worthy cause. And while it is ultimately very satisfying to know that I paid for some trumpets for a class in the Bronx, in actuality it's a way for me to get used to dropping cash without feeling guilty or fearful that the debtors' prison is swinging open its doors for me. I recommend it to everyone who can afford to make even a $10 donation. Lord knows our schools are in serious trouble, they were in serious trouble when I was in school a million and a half years ago - now it's just worse. Plus it's a great stepping stone to buying myself those Manolos.