A Thank You Year

Have you ever read Reader’s Digest? I grew up reading it and would mostly read the very short and funny real-life stories in the monthly columns titled All in a Day’s Work, Life in These United States, Laugh Lines, Laughter, the Best Medicine, and Humor in Uniform. As a kid I love it.

I haven’t read Reader’s Digest in decades until a year or so ago a gentleman at Church started sharing them with me. I just give them to my mom who enjoys them.

The other day my mom shared with me an article from the June 2020 edition titled My Thank You Year. She knew this was right up my ally.

The author, Gina Hamadey, decided one day on her train commute to write some thank you cards instead of spending her time scrolling her phone mindlessly. The first time she did this it really was for a specific purpose, she sent thank you cards to a group of people who donated to a fundraiser she worked on.

Gina says, “When I got off the train that day, I was in a noticeably better mood. The next day, I wrote more thank-you’s—and felt the same afterglow.”

She experiences the effects of letter writing, the kindling of joy in her own heart! It made her feel so good she decided to keep going.

“I decided to write one thank-you note for every day of that year. I had no shortage of people I was grateful for. So I picked out a different theme for each month to keep on task.”

Not only did she write thank-you’s for real time gratefulness, like the fundraiser gifts, but she also wrote thank you’s for past gratefulness that would come to mind based on the theme.

“It was important for these months to be flexible, I decided. I would use each month’s theme as a starting point, but I’d also watch for anyone going above and beyond, regardless of whether he or she fit into the monthly theme.
So in the ensuing months, as I wrote to friends, doctors, career mentors, and parenting role models, I also dashed off missives to my husband, Jake, as well as my siblings, in-laws, and parents. And I found that doing so changed the fundamental dynamics of these relationships in small but impactful ways.”

Some things Gina discovered in her year-long adventure of writing thank you notes are things not so surprising…

  • It takes very little time… “Writing the notes wasn’t all that time-consuming: Each was two or three sentences long.”
  • It was a far better use of time than scrolling social media… “What was I actually doing when I scrolled through Facebook? […] What was I doing when I scrolled through Instagram? More often than not, I was admiring other people’s lives—their beach vacations, their chubby babies, their organized kitchens.”
  • Sometimes people really could use a note such as this and you don’t know who you will be blessing… “It turns out a lot of people are going through something a lot of the time.”

She finished her goal of 365 thank you notes just in the nick of time at the end of the year. She also said, “I admit, I fell behind more than once during the year. But I completed my goal with hours to spare.”

And in the end, she felt more gratitude than ever.

And I am sure so many lives touched. So many smiles on faces and in hearts.

What a joy!

I, too, admit, to falling way behind on my letter writing these days! But this is truly inspirational. Maybe I should focus more on thank you notes this year.

How about you?

You can read the whole article if you want to here, at Reader’s Digest.

Happy Letter Writing Wednesday, friends!

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