Writing thank you notes has become a full-throttle addiction for me. And no, I don’t need a 12-Step program. Just more blank postcards, purple pens, gold stars and stamps. Gracias.
I usually remember to write a note — or pick up the phone — when somebody’s done something really lovely, for me.
- Thank you for the gift.
- Thank you for the flowers.
- Thank you for the opportunity.
But lately, with World Gratitude Day just around the corner, I’ve been reflecting on all of the people who make my life tremendously awesome in subtler, less tangible, non-gift-and-opportunity-oriented ways.
And most of those people? I’ve never, ever thanked ‘em. Not really. Not out loud. Not in writing. Not even in my own mind. That’s got to change — because they deserve unbridled expressions of gratitude, too.
Here are 5 people I’ve always forgotten to thank (until now).
(And I’m willing to bet that you might’ve forgotten to say “thank you,” too.)
1. The garbage collection guy (or gal).
Once a week, hours before the sun cascades across the horizon, my diligent local garbage collection guy (or gal — I don’t even know!) drives a monstrous truck across town to clear thousands of sacks of filth from streets, sidewalks and alleyways ... for me and thousands of people like me.
I usually grumble when I hear the truck — why does it have to be sooooo loud? ugh! — and then sink back into my pillow, annoyed by the disturbance.
Good grief. Never again. Thank you, thank you, thank you, garbage collection friend.
How to say thank you: Next collection day, I’m going to haul my butt out of bed at the crack of dawn, and greet my garbage-gathering friend with a hot cup of coffee, a sweet breakfast treat and a big smile.
Honestly? I may only do it once in my life. But it could change someone's whole day.
2. The first person who ever said YES to hiring me (for a job I really, really wanted).
Her name was Jen. She’s now a dear friend. She saw potential in me and hired me for my very first “real job” in public broadcasting and communications, and her vote of confidence changed my life and career.
I’ve enjoyed countless dinner parties and coffee dates and inspiring email exchanges with her since then — but I don’t think I ever looked her straight in the eye and said, “thank you.”
How to say thank you: I’m going to record a Vocaroo message for Jen. (It’s like a voicemail, but delivered to your inbox!) And since she’s an environmental crusader, I’ll send her a zero-waste Kiind gift certificate while I’m at it.
3. The last band that changed my life.
Music is my pulse, my sanctuary, my world. I’m rarely not listening to music. And yet, like most fans, I assume that my favorite musicians are “too fancy, busy and famous” to need validation and encouragement.
Um, not exactly.
The last band that changed my life? Rhye. Their sultry, broken-open-hearted lyrics and smooth grooves carried me through a major break-up, this summer. I need to show ‘em some love.
How to say thank you: A simple “thank you” tweet — like this:
A big, glorious THANK YOU to @Rhyemusic. Your album, "Woman," has been the sultry soundtrack of my whole summer. Please keep making art. ❤
— Alexandra Franzen (@Alex_Franzen) September 17, 2013
They’ll see it, and new fans might discover their music, too, thanks to my public love-note. Done + done!
4. My yoga teacher.
For all the downward-facing dogs ... for all the Kirtan chants ... for all the loving, hands-on adjustments ... for all the love, period. I salute you.
And at the end of my next 90-minute Hatha session, I won’t just slink quietly out the door with my mat tucked under my arm. I’ll stop. I’ll stand in front of you. And I’ll say thank you.
How to say thank you: I don’t know a single yoga teacher on the PLANET who’d scoff their nose at a chilled bottle of kombucha tea and a selection of raw-vegan-gluten-free chocolate truffles. Just sayin.
Shocking inward-turning plot twist! I honestly can’t remember the last time I said thank you to myself. Without giggling. Or feeling like a supremely narcissistic weirdo.
And yet — I do an awful lot of things every single day to make my own life (and others) tremendously awesome.
Hmm. Maybe it’s OK for me to receive self-gratitude, too.
How to say thank you: A heartfelt list ought to do the trick. Starting with:
- Thank you, Self, for writing this blog post and coming through on your publishing commitments.
- Thank you for the lovely shower, for saying nice things to yourself, for taking a few extra moments this morning to light a candle and savor your coffee.
- Thank you for striving to be a slightly better human being, every day.
- Thank you for being YOU.
Who are 5 people that you’ve forgotten to thank? Same as mine? Or different?
Make a list in the comments. Or better yet — just go say THANK YOU.
Need a little gratitude-spiration?Check out Alexandra’s list of 50 ways to be ridiculously, shockingly generous — and feel ridiculously, shockingly good. And submit a true story for her World Gratitude Day story-contest. You could win some major love, including a $500 donation to your favorite charity! Entry details = right here.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com