Week 2 (January 8-14): Send a Thank You note.
I send out a lot of thank you notes over the course of a year, and I know I still don’t send enough. That’s why you’ll probably see the Thank You theme pop up again in 2018. You’re welcome.
If you haven’t sent out your post-holiday thank you notes, now’s the time to do it. Maybe that means sending a thank you for a gift you received, or to a party host for throwing that fun New Year’s shindig, or to the pet sitter who held down the snow fort while you hit a tropical beach over Boxing Day. Or drop a note to your favorite record store, book store, diner, bartender, hair stylist, or running coach. I bet you won’t have any trouble thinking of thanks that you should be sending.
Last week I said I’d share the story about about the time I wanted to cry, stepped in dog shit, and then checked my mailbox. Don’t get too excited because it’s not a life-changing kind of story, but it’s a true story nonetheless.
Early last month, I had a wicked case of the Can’t Help Its, which is what my mother called it when I got the blues, battled depression, or was otherwise in a funk when I was a kid. Ah… I remember those childhood days, years before I was diagnosed as depressed and I’d occasionally walk around crying. I couldn’t tell anyone what was wrong, other than I felt so incredibly sad and I needed to cry. Classic Can’t Help Its.
Back to that day in December: As I recall, I’d had an uneventful, run-of-the-mill kind of day, and I think the Can’t Help Its started when I was at a store after work, and I saw all the holiday displays, Christmas decorations, and families shopping together. As I drove home, my mood started plummeting and I had an overwhelming urge to call my mother, who died 15 years ago, and/or to start sobbing. I decided I’d wait until I got home and then I’d have a nice good cry, maybe for a week or two.
I held back the tears, arrived at home, and got out of the car carrying my bags. Then as I walked up to my front door, I looked down and realized I’d stepped in dog shit, which I had smeared across my cute porch. I dropped a few situationally appropriate f-bombs and knew I’d have an extra hard cry once I got inside my house.
I unlocked the door and, before walking through, I reached into my mailbox and pulled out three pieces of fun mail. I’d received a couple of letters and a hard cover book sent by a friend.
If my life had a soundtrack, this is the part when you would have heard the needle drag across a melancholy Vince Guaraldi track as the Chordettes kick off Lollipop. I fully expect my life’s soundtrack to be a bit weird like that.
With fun mail in hand, I kicked off my shitty shoes, strutted into the house, dropped my bags, and plopped down on the couch to read letters. I’d lost the urge to cry, and for the rest of the evening, I was over the Can’t Help Its.
Then I wrote back to my friends and thanked them for writing. There are lots of reasons to send thank you notes, and the joy of receiving mail is one of them.