An Open Letter to My Village: An Exercise in Gratitude

The myOptions Team

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Not sure who they are, and also not sure if open letters are still a thing, but whatevs...I’m going for it.

Gratitude doesn’t always happen overnight so if you’re not feeling super sappy and ready to proclaim your thankfulness to everyone and their mom, that is totally fine. The beauty of a thank you is that it’s never too late. The power of a good thank you can go a longgggg way. It can be the bright spot in someone’s day or that little push they need to conquer a tough week.

As a former college admissions counselor, I kept every thank you a student wrote me. Personally, I kept a bulletin board in my office of all of the handwritten notes I’d received and a folder in my email for all of the kind emails. These were super refreshing to look at during a long day or when a not so nice message came my way. I am sure that other professions do the exact same thing. Gratitude is a universal love language that any human in any role can appreciate.

If you’re ready and feeling thankful, I have a challenge for you. Take a nice long walk, lay in bed, listen to some music, whatever gets your wheels turning...and think about who’s in your village – who has helped shape who you are today? Recall those little sayings or moments that have resonated with you. Once you have brainstormed who the members of your village are, think of a way to thank them. It doesn’t have to be all at once, and it doesn’t have to be your classic handwritten thank you note; a thank you is meaningful no matter what form it takes.

Here’s some gratitude inspiration to get your heart flowing. P.S. feel free to use any of the words below if they work for you too.

To my parents:

First and foremost, thanks for teaching me how to talk, walk, and function independently, also mad props for putting up with me as a pre-teen. As I grow up, I have come to realize I am becoming more and more like you each day, and I’m 110% okay with that. Also, thank you for sacrificing so much by making it your life goal to strive to give me a better life and more opportunities than you ever had for yourselves.

To my teachers:

I most definitely did not peak in high school. My teachers assured me that was perfectly okay and gave me hope for the future by assuring me some of the greatest moments of life hadn’t happened yet. Thank you for continuing to be there for me even after I graduated from high school. What a special experience it has been to become “real life” friends with some of you.

To my first post-grad bosses:

Thank you for teaching me how to “adult” both in and out of the workplace. You each have provided me with awesome examples of who I want to be when I "grow up."

To my college roommates:

You are the souls that made that crappy apartment seem like paradise. There was no better feeling than knowing when I crossed that threshold I had everything I needed. Whether it was an ear to listen, a word of wisdom, a good laugh, or food, you always had my back. What I would do to go back to that place…#nostalgia

To my alma mater:

You are the place that forever changed me for the better by broadening my perspective both in and out of the classroom. Meeting my husband there was a sweet bonus too.

The list could go on for days and will continue to grow. Remember to throw kindness around like confetti, but TBH kindness is easier to clean up, so stick to that and do not be afraid to share your joy and love with others.

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