I’ve been actively working on a bunch of websites for myself lately, and needed a lot of imagery for them. I found great images on a bunch of sites like, all for free. Professional-grade images. Beautiful – some even take your breath-away beautiful – images. For free. Just like that.

Have you noticed how much free stuff there is out there these days? Apps for your phone or computer, code libraries for us programmers, stock images, free furniture on craigslist and such… And it’s not only “stuff”: people hand out help or services for free, too.

I fear that with so much freebees out there, we’ve come to expect it. We barely notice it anymore. And yet, everything that is given out for free, cost something to the giver. It is given for free, but it is not created or executed for free. It takes time, effort, sometimes even money… And here we take it, nay, expect it and are blasé about it.

It is one of the great things left in this world that there is such generosity out there. We can’t forget to acknowledge that.

What if we considered, from now on, that anything free is, in fact, “Pay-It-Forward-ware”. (PIFware? Not very catchy – some brighter people than me can find a nice name for it) What if, every time we get something for free, we acknowledged the effort that went into what we got by paying it forward, and offering something of our own, for free, to someone else? What if we took that little jolt of joy we got from someone else’s gift, and spread it by making a small difference in someone else’s day? It doesn’t have to be anything big: let someone go first at the bank. Pay the coffee of the person behind you at your local caffeine pusher. Or quite simply, smile and say hello to someone on the street. Just bring a bit of sunshine in someone else’s life. It can take very little effort, even more so now that you’ve got a bit of sun in your day.

Let’s make freebees and joy contagious!

Image credits: Charles Glassman Kindness begins with the understanding that we all struggle | Flickr – Photo Sharing! | Author: BK (CC License)