Gratitude Project

Christmas 2009 thank you noteMy mother was a stickler about thank you notes when I was growing up. My sister and I dutifully sat down and wrote thank you notes after every birthday and Christmas. I now have friends and family who often insist it’s not necessary to send them a thank you note for various acts of kindness. I can’t help myself. I feel like an ungrateful wretch if I don’t send a note of some kind.

I’ll be honest: I’ve streamlined the process for big events. Sometimes each card doesn’t have a personal message. But if they lack a handwritten note, they have a super cute photo of Monkey Boy, so I’m not a total derelict.

This week, a friend posted a link to a story on NPR about a man who wrote a thank you note every day for a year. He wrote a book about the change it made in his life. I started thinking, “I could write a thank you note every day.” Then I wondered, could I? Do I have 365 people to thank? That’s a lot of people. So I sat down and began making a list. It took less than an hour to hit 365. I’m going to keep adding to the end of it. There’s nothing that says I can’t keep doing this as long as I want to. So I’ve begun my Gratitude Project.

Christmas 2008 Thank You noteMy biggest fear now is sticking to it. I’m good at planning this projects. I sometimes putter out in the middle. The unfinished knitting projects upstairs are testament to that. But I’ll never know unless I give it a whirl. I’ve organized a calendar out of the first 365 people. (Some of you are rolling your eyes right now. Of course, there’s a calendar and a spreadsheet.) I’m going to start with the names to whom I did not send a Christmas card. Then I’ll go from there.

I don’t have an expectation this will change my life in the way some people think of lives changing: there will be no fame or fortune from my Gratitude Project. I hope telling others “thank you” will lift their spirit a bit. I pray the acknowledgment of friendship or a job well done or a kindness shown to me or my family or just acknowledgment of being seen will matter. But the thing I hope most for is a change in me: a more grateful attitude.



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5 responses to “Gratitude Project

  1. That sounds like an amazing idea.

  2. rachel reynolds luster


    What a great idea, and it reminds me that I’ve been meaning to send YOU a note for sometime thanking you for the piece about Meme that you sent. It was so sweet of you to not only share your memories of her sense of humor with me but with everybody! Love your blog and your spirit.

  3. I think it sounds like a wonderful man. I would have to begin with our postman…what an incredible job he does, through the cold. It is a requirement to do thank you’s at home as well. I love your photo thank you’s…

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