Two little words that I heard quite a number of times today, but also found myself saying a lot. I brought some cake to work claiming there be no occasion at all, but some knowing that it was my birthday yesterday.
So there were a lot of thank yous from everyone for the cake. I found it almost embarrassing. It didn’t cost much at all, but it was nonetheless quite nice cake, mostly cheese cake and some brownie bites and coconut macaroons.
I didn’t want to make a big deal of it, especially since my birthday was yesterday. I sent out an invitation to everyone I wanted to share this with, which was all of my team and then some others, and told them that I wouldn’t be hanging around and everyone could just grab something and get back to work.
Well, it didn’t quite work like that. I was waylaid in the kitchen as I was setting up. I couldn’t escape, I got two birthday cards, one from Team Italy, one from Team Germany. I even got some more hugs and more birthday wishes, all very sweet and all those above mentioned thank yous.
I kept saying: You are very welcome.
I meant it. And why not? Maybe it was just a small thing and a nice occasion for everyone to get together for a few minutes, have a break, satisfy that sweet tooth and me trying to be inconspicuous.
We should have that more often as it is.
Anyhow. As I was returning to my desk, marvelling at the thanks that had been given, it occurred to me that we don’t say thank you enough. And that we don’t appreciate it enough either.
Hearing it as much I did this afternoon, I appreciated it and maybe because I heard it so many times so unexpectedly, I appreciated it all the more. I was more aware of it than I would ordinarily have been.
Saying thank you and meaning it are two different things. Acknowledging thanks and really hearing it are also two different things. We should aim to always mean it and really hear it.
It seems to be such a small thing, but it can make somebody’s day.
And maybe we shouldn’t be so blasé about it either. When I’m helping someone, because it is my job to help them, I always tell them no thanks necessary. But I’ve frequently found that they actually meant it and all I should be doing is graciously accept it and tell them “you’re welcome” or “no worries” or whatever it is I find appropriate in that moment.
A lot of people on Facebook and elsewhere wished me a happy birthday yesterday and today. Come to think of it it would have to have been over 60 people, easily. I’m surprised by that number, but every single one of them made me smile.
It doesn’t matter that it was Facebook that reminded them. We know too many people nowadays to remember everyone’s birthday. What matters is that they took the time to say “happy birthday”.
I said as much on my Facebook status at the end of the day and thanked everybody to let them know I appreciated it. It does mean a lot. It affirms our connections, however frail they sometimes become, however long it has been since last we met and even if we might know that we may never meet again, each with our own life and dreams, worries and sorrows and little joys.
Now and then, here and there we connected enough to take a moment to let the other person on their birthday know that we wish them all the best.
Whatever I may be grateful for tomorrow, this is what I am grateful for today and which is why I am giving thanks to everyone, who thought of me.
You’re the reason I feel never alone.