In today’s day and age, it’s easy for life to get inundated with technology: websites, evites, social media. But no matter how many advancements I see, there is nothing like the handwritten note, especially a Thank You note.
I love receiving them, but for some reason I tend to procrastinate when it comes time to write them myself.
Even though I was born in the North, I was raised in the South where Thank You notes are apparently taken pretty seriously. Still, I don’t remember writing one Thank You note growing up, and I don’t remember seeing anyone else write one. So it was never something that was ingrained in me when I was younger. Of course, that’s no excuse; just one reason it wasn’t already a habit by the time I reached adulthood.
Once I reached my mid-twenties I had a supervisor give me a stationary set with Thank You notes. I still don’t remember whether my first note went to her for giving me that gift, but it should have; I loved it. It made it easier to handle a few at a time. However, it didn’t keep me from finding the task of writing any more than that overwhelming. I try to make each one sincere, and look flawless with straight lines, even spacing, and perfectly legible cursive writing. I still have memories of the painful middle finger and ink-stained pinkie on my left hand after gripping the pen so hard and writing the Thank You notes for wedding gifts. I must have tossed out at least a handful of nearly finished notes because they weren’t up to “my standards”. And I admit the anxiety is a major reason I still haven’t sent my baby shower Thank You notes yet. (It’s horrible, I know.)
And I’m preaching to myself here, but it’s often hard to see the value in something you should do out of common courtesy when all you’re focused on is you.
The thing is, sending a handwritten note — Thank You or otherwise — shouldn’t be about you.
It should be about the people who went out of their way by giving up their time or their hard-earned money to show you they care.
It’s about putting in the extra effort to do something for someone else.
It’s a simple act of kindness and courtesy.
And that’s the timeless beauty of it.
I was reminded of that yesterday when I read Thank You notes sent to my own mailbox. A friend who had already expressed her thanks for a meal umpteen times took the extra time to hand-write a note. And her husband did too. With each word, I felt every ounce of love and appreciation, and I was disappointed that I had been so selfish with my gratitude.
So I will be making it a point to properly learn Thank You note etiquette, and send future notes sooner rather than later. I will also be getting out my good pen to finish writing all those Thank You cards I needed to send months ago, Hopefully, they will reach their recipients well before my baby turns one.