In the midst of my fledgling young adult life, full of independence (both figurative and literal) and uncertainty, I grappled with a lurking feeling. It was not unlike the feeling that you get when you leave your presentation materials behind as you trek to work for an important meeting, or the lurch you feel in your gut when, without warning, your plane drops from 30,000 feet to 20,000. The difference, though, was important; the difference was, quite frankly, that this feeling felt worse…because it was worse.
After graduating from college, I moved away from my family in Chicago to pursue a new career in Washington, DC. For a while, the newness of it all smothered the feeling, making it seem temporary and controllable. Then, something happened; the illusion of parental immortality was threatened, and (once our family reconvened in the Midwest and the chaos subsided) I confronted the feeling, and I thought. Every day I felt closer to the answer, to the remedy for this feeling. Some days occupied by this introspective reflection were more fruitful than others and, naturally, some were more focused than others. Seven months later, it came to me: where was my gratitude? I knew it was there (somewhere), but did anyone else? Of the thousands of people who had touched my life up until this point, did any of them know? They used to, I concluded. But that’s not enough.
And it is here that the Thank You Project was born. In the coming months I will work to thank one person per week. I will thank them genuinely, with a specific focus on what they’ve done to impact my life. In between my posts, I invite you to submit your own expression of thanks. Once we all start, it may become contagious, this attitude of gratitude.