"Thank you" may be the hardest words

In Week 33 of the The Great Wake Up our challenge was to hand write a letter to someone we appreciate, telling them what we appreciate about them.

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How can it be harder to write a "thank you" than to just say it? I guess because letters take more time, both to write and to read, and there is a permanent record of the communication in black and white, with no tone of voice or facial expressions for context.

You'll have gathered I found this one tricky, and not just because of my appallingly unpracticed penmanship...

The recipient was an easy choice, though. A lifetime ago at university, I had a professor who really believed in me. He encouraged my some-what unusual perspectives and interests, and always had time to talk things through and build my understanding. He had my thesis bound for me, because I couldn't afford that on my student budget, and gave sound guidance (even if I didn't always take it - still sorry about not taking that that internship and figuring out my transport issues). He also gave me the best career advice I ever had - the only person I can think of who didn't prevaricate with "you can do anything" but came right out with "you'd be great at this". And he was right; I'm finally doing the job he recommended all those years ago and I love it.

So I've posted a letter sharing my appreciation of the insights and support he gave me. Given how clearly I still remember his advice and support, appreciation feels like a bit of an understatement... His belief in me was, and remains, a challenge to live up to in my professional life; I want to be as good as he thought I was. It's been a long time, and it will probably feel like a bolt from the blue (I'm just hoping not too stalker-ish...), but Chris is right. It's right to let people know how much you appreciate it when they've had a profoundly positive effect on your life.


cat lover, wife, designer, analyst (the spreadsheet kind...), friend, sister, daughter, writer, consultant, lover of beauty...


Go to the profile of Jacqui
over 5 years ago
I absolutely understand your choice. One of the reasons I recently went to my school reunion was to say thank you to the then head. I remember his support then. Isn't it amazing how positive words at the crucial time can have such a long lasting effect?Lovely post Vanessa.
Go to the profile of Mark Cuddy
over 5 years ago
As always I love reading your post and this is no different. Lovely, just lovely. A bit like Educating Rita but without the alcoholic tutor, ahem. Superb, thanks for sharing.
Go to the profile of Fiona Dolben
over 5 years ago
wow, lovely post how marvelous you remembered him in this way- if only all teachers were like this and realise they have the power to influence us in such a positive way. Let us know if he answers you back :)
Go to the profile of Vanessa
over 5 years ago
Would be lovely to hear from him, Fi... Thanks, all!
Go to the profile of Sarah-Kate Goodwin
over 5 years ago
What a wonderful idea Vanessa. Its easy to forget the people who influenced us in earlier years and sometimes we are oblivious to the impact people have even made. Sounds like your professor went above and beyond his duties, he must have seen a unique talent that he was desperate to encouarge.x
Go to the profile of Vanessa
about 5 years ago
Just a little update - I did hear back! So lovely to get a response from someone who made such a difference in my life :-)