Show Notes:

Every Day, Getting Better Podcast – Season 2, Episode 1
Gratitude with Gina Hamadey

Gratitude with Gina Hamadey – Gina is the author of the book, “I want to thank you”.  Gina and Ryan talk about the book and explore ways that we all can show more gratitude in our daily lives.

Purchase Gina’s book:  I Want to Thank You by Gina Hamadey

Visit Gina’s website and subscribe to her newsletter:  https://www.ginahamadey.com/

How to Write a Good Gratitude Letter – by Gina Hamadey, published in the New York Times

Listen to Season 2, Episode 1 – Gratitude with Gina Hamadey

Episode Transcription

Ryan Wakefield
Welcome to everyday getting better. I’m your host, Ryan Wakefield and today’s podcast is about gratitude. What better ways to talk about gratitude than to share the set with Gina Hamadey. Gina joins us to talk about her new book titled, “I want to thank you.”

Over the course of 12 months, Gina wrote 365 letters and joins us for a candid conversation about what she learned in the process.

This is the first episode of season two of the everyday getting better podcast and upfront. I want to take a second Thank you, our listeners for being here from the beginning. And joining us for today’s episode.

Gina, thank you so much for joining us today here at everyday getting better. I want to set the table for our conversation a little bit and and just tell you where our podcasting journey has been in the last year. The last episode that we recorded was early on in the spring kind of mid pandemic, and it was actually about crisis leadership. And honestly, it was episode I think everything it really turned out well. And after that, I hit the pause button, literally and figuratively, because I really just felt like the you know, the COVID. And the negativity around everything was dominating the conversations. And it wasn’t something that I wanted to talk about, because I didn’t want to focus on on negative, just the negative aspects of life at that time.

Gina Hamadey
Right.

Ryan Wakefield
So you are the first episode of season two of our every day, getting better podcast.

I’m really excited for that. Because your your book has really gave me an opportunity to pause and reflect at actually the wonderful, positive things that happened throughout the last year. And the moments that maybe we took for granted that now you know being removed from them, we get to look back and really realize that there was some special things that occurred within our family and our communities that, you know, hopefully we never get to experience again, but really need to go back and reflect on them. So that’s kind of where we are getting started today. So thank you so much for being the jumping off point of season two. We’re really excited for it. And I’m just so glad that you’re here with us today.

Gina Hamadey
Oh, well, I’m thrilled to be here. And thank you for giving me that that background. I’m honored to be the first one and I totally hear you it was a really strange, the tone is really hard to find as somebody who makes content, you know, you didn’t want to

I don’t know, I kept thinking about everybody who’s losing family and friends. And how could I post a picture of the book I’m reading? I don’t know, it’s like we’ve even doubt and kind of figured it out. And in those moments, I think it was really difficult to find that the right tone.

Ryan Wakefield
Absolutely. I just I really agreed so so on the tone let’s I want to talk about your new book.

Gina Hamadey
Yeah

Ryan Wakefield
It is absolutely. Wonderful. So I your full disclosure about halfway through it. Okay, but

Gina Hamadey
I appreciate that you’ve read it. I’ve spoken to so many people who haven’t, which is fine to

Ryan Wakefield
Verbatim I actually have written Holy shit, it’s an amazing ride. so far. I don’t I’m not I don’t swear on the podcast too often. But I have laughed, I have cried. And most importantly, I’ve stopped so many times with, you know, just epiphany moments that have just gotten me thinking about my daily action. So showing you some gratitude from the beginning. Thank you for, you know, just the just the ride that I’ve been on so far. It’s you know, a, you know, I view it as an adventure as an era as a journey as a ride. It’s been so many just the range of emotions that have gone through. So kind of the first thing I want to know from you is what are the reactions that you’ve heard from people that have received the book? And were they the reactions you expected? You know, now that you’ve, you know, close the project out in or are on the, you know, the publicity tour?

Gina Hamadey
Let’s see, well, first of all, I’ll say any reactions are so welcome. And I feel like now that I’m, you know, I’m a first time author here, so I’m seeing it for the first time on this side. I mean, I’ve been a journalist all my life. So I certainly have put things into the world. But I feel like people are hesitant to reach out to authors, they don’t want to bother them or something and I’m here to say, if you like this book, please bother me. You know, it’s like I’m, I love to have that conversation with people just to hear not that I’m not that I need or want flattery but for some things, but I love to hear what you know what is moving to people or what made them think and it’s sort of my absolute favorite thing is to get into that conversation. So what have I heard so far, I’ve heard a lot of While this is making me feel really good as I’m reading it, I feel really good like I, you know, it’s a nice thing to go to bed with, I read a chapter and I sort of feel nice and happy, and I go to bed and that feels great to me. I’ve heard some I can’t put it down, which is like one of my favorite compliments. For sure. I’ve heard a lot of surprise, I feel like people pick it up. I don’t know, I’ve heard a lot of people are surprised, maybe at what it is, I think because you know, there’s a little bit of like a, for lack of a more positive word. It’s like a little bit of a gimmick, maybe. And I’m sure there’s a better word for it. But, you know, I sent through engine 65 notes in a year I wrote about it. And so maybe people are thinking, a lot of people just think it’s those 365 notes in a book. You know, or that maybe? I don’t know, I’m not sure what people expect. But I certainly put everything in this book. I’m very personal. I really don’t hold back I’m, I really sort of let you know me. And I was, I don’t know, I feel like I was super, super honest and vulnerable. So I feel like people are surprised maybe at I guess how deep I go. Maybe

Ryan Wakefield
I like that, you know, it’s the last part, you you hit my, you know, my prejudge my preconceived notions and my reactions right on the head. I mean, I initially kind of took it to I anticipated it to be kind of a Hey, look, what I did book, you know, I wrote I wrote 365 letters, you should be proud of me for doing that. Instead, what I found is an absolutely beautifully written, vulnerable book, you use the word of single yourself, but if you were you were so vulnerable, in the stories that you share, and you just put put the stories out there and the pages so beautifully for everyone. And I absolutely didn’t expect to how to book. You mean, and even as I reached out to my community to, to source some questions, because it’s one of things I want, you know, our listeners to be able to, you know, have we be a medium for them to ask questions. So when I got that question, you know, how would I start something like this, and I was really happy to reply back to that person and say, ironically, that’s really what the book is about is if you want to go on one of these journeys, it’s really it’s, it’s laid out there for you to do that. But I mean, was, when you started, you started your project, did you start the project with the book idea in mind, or did the book idea come later, down the road of the letter writing campaign?

Gina Hamadey
So when I had the idea to send 365 notes in a year, I’ll just tell that story quickly, just to give that context. So I wrote, yeah, I wrote, I had a batch of thank you notes to write in January 2018, two donors have a fundraiser, I ran for city harvest. And as I was writing them, I felt this very specific, undeniable, pleasant, lovely feeling that I, you know, I wrote 31 notes over the course of the month. So I kept feeling it. And it became more and more apparent. And at the end of the month, I was reflecting on that and thinking I had, I did not anticipate feeling, you know, writing thank you notes to feel so pleasant. It’s not one of these people that have like, a meeting these people now that treasure their thank you note writing over their life. I’m like, I didn’t hate it. But it wasn’t something that was a big thing for me. But the way it made me feel and the focus that it gave my brain just felt so good that I wanted to keep it up. I’m vaguely thinking about this on a train ride home from the consulting gig I was doing. When I realized I’ve written 31 notes. It’s January 31. So this whole concept came to me, I feel like we get this maybe once in our life. We’re like a concept. This whole concept came to me in this little neat package. And because I have this, I have a background in journalism, I was traveling her food and wine and I were to Oprah Magazine, and Rachael rays magazine. So my brain kind of sinks in these little in like a content calendar is what a brand would call it. Right? You know, so I, the whole thing came to me very quickly, which is if I’m going to write 365 notes in a year, here’s how I would do it, I would seem it by the month, I just did charity with January that’s already done. So I need to think of 11 more themes. And you know, each month I’ll sort of tackle that in a in a different way. And I’ll figure that out as I go. And I’ll write a list of the people at the beginning. Not that, you know, so that all came to me super fast. And because I’m a writer, I did and because and I should say and because I was on the lookout for a project. Like an a, like a gratifying kind of personal work project because I had been doing a lot of content marketing for brands, which I actually really enjoy and love more than I thought I would. But I mean, you know, it’s not like awful when you’re doing work for other people. versus yourself. Wait, wait. So I had an especially actually, as I, you know, as the year turned to January 2018, that was sort of one of my resolution intentions, like, let me find something to write for myself, even though I’m busy. Even though I have two little tiny kids, I need something. So I don’t know that I thought of it as a book. I mean, there was maybe a part of me that was like, wouldn’t that be cool, but I definitely didn’t say, I’m gonna do this as a book, I thought maybe some essays for medium or something, you know, let me, let me just start this and see how it goes. And I want to turn it into something I want to write about it in some way. Maybe an essay, you know, maybe a story for Oprah Magazine. And probably a little, little voice in the back of my head. Like, maybe it’s a book.

Ryan Wakefield
You do have a story that was published in the New York Times about about gratitude. Was that? Did I see that correctly? I’ve not read it. Okay.

Gina Hamadey
Yeah, it’s, it’s how to write a gratitude letter. So that like, if, if any of your listeners are, you know, looking for that sort of first step, if you just Google my name in New York Times how to write a gratitude letter comes up. And that’s really like a good one page, like, you just want to write one gratitude letter, see how it feels, that’s a pretty good

Ryan Wakefield
price. And we’ll link to that in the show notes. I saw it when I was when I was doing some of my research I saw I have not taken a chance to read it yet. So when you you have the idea, and how does it start to come to form? And how do you set the tone for really what you’re wanting to share? You know, from this journey with your readers?

Gina Hamadey
Meaning like, how am I starting to write the notes? Or how do

Ryan Wakefield
you mean, you kind of unpacked how you’ve got to the point in your writing, you’re writing the letters. And as the book idea comes to mind, I mean, you have to figure out what the tone of that book is. And it really it really, and we’ve talked about it already. It The tone is such a light and refreshing, you know, tone. And I really, I I think I would struggle to be able to take a you know, a series of letters and weave it like that. I just really am impressed with how you did that. So I’m just curious of how you how you initially set that tone.

Gina Hamadey
Thank you so much for saying that. It’s so nice. Yeah. So first of all, I was lucky because I thought maybe I’m going to write an essay about it or something. I thankfully, I took a picture of every note that I wrote. So as I said, I got to the end of the year, I did the whole year without writing really anything about it. Toward the end of the year, somebody who I had written to wrote an article about it in a cup of joe blog. And as that was happening, I started a new Instagram account, just kind of saying like, oh, I’ve been doing this. I’ve been doing it kind of secretly announced, FYI, I’ve been doing this. And at the end of the year, once it was totally done, and I felt like wow, that really was an amazing year. And I have a lot to say. And I I feel like it could be a book then I I sort of I started writing a book proposal. It was I mean, it’s I don’t know how interesting this is to people first, like the mechanics of this, but I’ll say quickly in cases,

Ryan Wakefield
it’s actually it’s very, it’s very interesting. I love to go with it.

Gina Hamadey
Yeah. So I wrote up a book proposal, I reached out to a couple agents that friends of friends kind of connected me to one of them was kind enough to share some book proposals with me, which is so helpful, because those are really hard to find. And in fact, if anybody asked me, I give them my book proposal, I’m like, I, I mean, I could almost like I think, even thought, I’m actually just thinking of this now, I almost would put it up on my website. It’s sort of like, Who cares? Like, why is this like a secret? Like, if anybody wants to use this, and help them write their own proposal, I’m happy to share it. So I was, you know, I looked at a couple of proposals that were sort of similar to this book. And I started thinking through it, because some, you know, it’s, there were so many ways that could go, I could just some people were like, maybe you just, you know, publish all the notes. I’m like, how could that be interesting, you know, so I wanted to put it into context, because I had each of those themes. You know, every month, you my career mentors month was so different from my friend’s month, which was so different from the month I think my husband every day for a month. I sort of I knew that I wanted each chapter to tackle each one of those months. I know there are a lot of these books out there that are like a year of whatever, right here

Ryan Wakefield
with the writing prompts and things like that, you know, for even for our boys, I know my wife’s got a couple gratitude journals for them. You know that I think they start out well intended, and then they quickly collect dust somewhere.

Gina Hamadey
That’s what I always say about gratitude journals. And that’s what I always feel about the difference with writing. Thank you notice that there’s a little feedback Not that I did that. In fact, I very purposely sent these out as gifts without any expectations. But of course, you do get some feedback, which sort of helps keep the project going instead of just writing it in the gratitude journal. Anyway, long story short, mate, wrote up a proposal, sent it out, got a lot of feedback, wrote a second book proposal. took another month. And just all this time just thinking, you know, one agent said something really helpful, which is I want to be able to, like learn the lessons that you learned without, I don’t know, like without having to like, sift through. So then I organized it the way I did with every chapter pulling out a benefit in a lesson and a surprise.

Ryan Wakefield
Trying to ask, they didn’t have a great way to phrase it. But that organizational piece was like I said it, it sets the tone, really easy, you know what to expect. And it really sets the tone really well. So so it was, you know, I like I like that great feedback that you got from the agent to do that. It sets things up wonderfully. So I’m gonna spend the next hour just praising your book, because I’m on such a high for reading it right now. So hopefully there’s room.

Gina Hamadey
It really feels good.

Ryan Wakefield
Yeah. So I initially again, didn’t expect to have images in there. You have very beautiful, simple images in the book.

Gina Hamadey
Oh, yeah, the illustrations. Yeah. The first

Ryan Wakefield
one that you see is on the dedication page. And I, when I started to crack the book open. I don’t know why I expected the dedication page to be another, you know, really special. Thank you gratitude note, and you kept it so simple. Was that was that intentional?

Gina Hamadey
What for Jake Henry and Charlie? Man?

Ryan Wakefield
It’s just so with the heart below it? It is it is so I don’t know if it was, I guess I’m just curious, was it intentional to leave it just as simple and pure as that and not turn it into one more thank you note,

Gina Hamadey
you know, the acknowledge I have an acknowledgments page at the end, where I get like more specific, right. So I guess after writing that, I was like, No, it’s just, it’s just, you know, it’s just to my family who was so wonderful with me while I was writing this, you know, just gave me so much grace and time. So yeah, I did. I did keep it simple. Thank you book. It’s true. I could have like gone on and on.

Ryan Wakefield
Yeah. Well, again, as I you know, you you prejudge and you know, it’s in the mail coming to you, I gotta, for those listening was able to get a pre release copy. And, and so you kind of start, you really build the anticipation of what it’s going to be before you open it. So it was a fun process. So one of the quotes that you have, at the beginning, I want you to unpack a little more for us, because I think it really helps sets the tone. You use the term, you know, you know, in the your expectations you set for yourself, give everything and expected nothing in society. wheeze maybe a little backwards at times where we expect a lot but often don’t give. So share that share that just that that theory with is that you know how you came to that realization of what you wanted to do with the project?

Gina Hamadey
Yeah. So in my very first month, I mean, technically it was February, my second month, but my first month was accidental. Okay, so my first month, intentional month, February was to the neighbors. And I started by writing out a list of neighbors on a spreadsheet. And I very quickly realized that one of those columns would naturally be a reply, you know, did they reply, what did they say? And I erased the spreadsheet. I was like, I’m, I’m gonna I will keep I opened up a Google Doc. And I wrote a list there. Because I didn’t want I didn’t want that stress on my mind of, did they get it? What did they think? Did they think it was weird? Why aren’t they responding right away? It’s especially at the volume I did, you know, at that volume that I have my output, it just would have been so much pressure on me to think, I don’t know, I just was like this. I had this indication. And I feel like over time, I can articulate why it was smart. But at the time, I had just an impulse, that that would be a bad idea. And it wouldn’t be good for me. And now that I’ve been through it, I think why that is a good idea. There’s a few reasons. One, this was my This was my Thank you Here what I called right, it’s nobody else’s Thank you Your time. So it’s totally unfair to put an expectation on somebody else, to respond in kind and expect them to be in the same mental and emotional place that I am, you know, and want to sit down and write something or, you know, so that’s, that would be unfair, first of all. Second of all, you know, people have I’m not I’ve never read that love language book. But you know, this is like my love language for this year. Right? And like other people have other ways that they express their feelings. So, you know, it just it just felt unfair to them and unfair to me to feel to to have that expectation and then be immediately disappointed. If I send 30 notes. Of course, they’re not going to all right 30 letters back so it’s like, you’re just guaranteeing disappointment when instead if I expected nothing. Any response that came back any little selfie that said, This made my day just felt like a gift. So that was like a such a win. And the other thing that I’ve definitely only realized now after it’s all over, is, you know, something like this brings up feelings and people, like, for example, my friend Susan, who was a career mentor, I wrote her a really sweet note. And she only recently apologized for never replying. And I told her Truthfully, I didn’t even realize it, because I was so good at this, give everything and never think of it again, only, you know, treat all the any sort of responses a gift. So first of all, I didn’t know that she hadn’t responded, because I was so good at that, right, you know, following my own direction. But second of all, she said, You know, I received it at a time when I was wasn’t feeling so great about myself wasn’t and wasn’t feeling like the things that you said were true. Or at least, I didn’t feel like I was being, you know, I mean, listen, we’re in magazines, this is a magazine mentor, like everybody is struggling in magazines, obviously, you know, so she was feeling low in her career and at a low point. And so that brought up those feelings for her. So that would have been hard for her to kind of, it would have wouldn’t have been honest for her to write back, a peppy gratitude note in return. So she sort of she kept it. And she kind of sat with those feelings. And then she was able, more than a year later to express that to me and tell me that it did mean a lot to her, but that she couldn’t quite accepted at the time. You know, so it’s like, you just don’t know what people are going through? And how could you expect anything, you know, when when it’s purely a guest. And I wish that there were more I don’t know, even like with emails, like, I wish that society was a little bit less seconds of a response, you know, an email has a timestamp. Right now, I’m dealing with this, because so many people are reaching out to me and saying that they, you know, my old college roommate and three paragraphs about how much he loved the book. And it’s like, there’s a timestamp on it. And I’ve always competing, you know, things, and it’s like, it’s a stress in the back of my mind, and I am going to respond to her. But I wish that in general, our society was a little bit more like that, of like, just giving these things and not assuming that if you don’t hear back or don’t hear back right away, or don’t hear back with a three paragraph email, that it was like unappreciated, or,

Ryan Wakefield
sure, and even, even in no text messages now with read receipts, you know, you can easily look and say, well, you you read that message. And you’ve not replied to me in the psychological warfare that that happens between those. So yeah, we definitely, you know, ironically, that you talk about the technology because, you know, that was, you know, kind of put the phone down moment on the train is really what, what almost seems like it sparked this for you. And even in that you talk about how just that simple act, allowed things around you to slow down. And you as a parent, myself, you talked about in the book, you’re at that phase with your children, where you don’t want it to go faster. And so I think you really can appreciate that slow down aspect. But, you know, society we do, we go so fast. And even in the book, you talk about, you know, the social media, you know, the epinephrine hit the brain gets from the notifications and everything. I think that that concept of slowing down, and and just trying to figure out how we slow down more as a society, maybe people writing some more letters and expressing some more gratitude will will spark even just those moments of pulling out of their devices, and in showing other ways to show appreciation.

Gina Hamadey
Yeah, I mean, for me, I, it’s like, at the end of a long day, your phone and your Netflix, or it’s not like I burned them, like I definitely still use those things. But they sound better sometimes than they feel, you know, like, especially, you know, in those train rides, where I had almost an hour to myself in a quiet car, with no child on top of me like it’s, it’s Heaven, right. But I was spending it naturally, as many of us do on my own in my list in my email in my feeds. And it’s a frenzy. And it’s, you know, something about sitting just with a paper and pen and focus. It’s like, my brain was just like, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. This is exactly what I needed right now. I never would have known it, you know?

Ryan Wakefield
Yeah, it’s interesting. So, let’s, I want to get into some almost logistical questions about the book. Yeah. You know, 365 notes, 12 months, 12 themes. Do do the 12 things resonate as much with you now, as they did or, you know, do you have any buyer’s remorse and think, oh, man, I could have used you know, October to write about something different. I don’t I don’t know what October is a generic compare. Listen, I don’t know how to read out my head. So Oh, God, let

Gina Hamadey
me think if I would have any do overs, you know, I don’t think so. I don’t think so. I mean, there was one. I’m not sure if you’re there yet, but there was one month that I scrapped because it wasn’t working. Okay, so not there yet,

Ryan Wakefield
but I will be soon.

Gina Hamadey
Yeah, it’s June. So in June, June, topic was home. And when I got there, I was like, what’s the home? Like, what am I, you know, I just couldn’t make it work. And I tried all months to make it work with different writings from, and I just couldn’t. And so I just scrapped it. And I just moved on to July. Okay. And then I stuck myself with a makeup month. So I actually ended up writing 30 notes in the last two days of the year, to make up for it. So, I mean, I just, that’s one that I regret, but it was I mean, you know, it was just part of the thing. And it was, it was just a good lesson too. And like, I don’t know, it was just a reminder. And throughout the year, I kept coming up against this thing, which is, you know, I don’t know, like so many things in life, you could find an obstacle that will stop you. But why, you know, it’s, it’s why, you know, like that could have just derailed the whole thing, because I could have just kept trying to make it work and it wouldn’t have been wouldn’t have and then months would go by and then then I would have been the woman who wrote, you know, 120 notes in spot in five months and said, you know what I mean? And it’s there were so many things like that, like so many questions kind of boiled down to like, what I see is like these unimportant things, not to be dismissive, but it’s like people get caught up in their handwriting they get caught up in, I don’t think I know how to say this, right. And it’s all stuff that basically, the stuff that you’re thinking of on this ends, is, the person on the receiving end isn’t thinking about any of that stuff. So once you realize that simple facts, it’s easy, because you’re thinking about God, I don’t I don’t, I wish I had nicer stationery, my handwriting kind of sucks. It’s not pretty at all. And I want you know, I hope they can even read it. got somebody else could be writing this more beautifully. I don’t even I’m not even that great of a writer and like, you’re thinking about all this stuff. And you’re kind of making these decisions, and second guessing whether they’re the right ones. And the person, on the other hand is just thinking, what a wonderful gift amid all my bills and Restoration Hardware catalogs. Like there’s a gift in here for me,

Ryan Wakefield
I get a wait, I am to get a handwritten letter is is such a rarity. I mean, I think we honestly, in our, you know, if we look at the people in our circles, you know, probably in one hand, you could you could name the people that write handwritten letters on a regular basis. Right, you know, I think, you know, two that come to mind, really, you know, in my and I, and they’re the things that we keep, we don’t keep emails, maybe maybe people print emails or kill us, or we don’t keep them. But those handwritten cards, you know, for whatever the reasons are the ones that that we do tend to keep into saves. So it’s interesting. You You did a project in a believers month two with photographs. Can you want to share that idea? Briefly? I have never heard of that. And I didn’t even realize that you could use a photographic postcard. Yeah, but now I’m tempted to try it. Just because it was such

Gina Hamadey
a unique idea. Yeah, so you know, so at the top of every month, I didn’t really I plan out the whole month in the sense of the whole year in the sense that I brainstormed a bunch of topics and kind of slid them into their month. But then at the top of every month, I would kind of look at it and think what’s the best way to go about this? What would my list be? What am I really writing about? What the How do I think a friend, right? Because it’s not just it’s not just I choose friends, and I choose 30 of them, and write to them about nothing. There’s the challenges of Thank you. Right? So what am I writing to them about? What am I thanking them for? And the friends month was a tough one at the beginning to plan out because I don’t know, it’s, there’s something about thinking neighbors sort of easy, because I thought your neighbors are kind of always doing your favor, if you’re lucky. You know, maybe they’re lending you something or you know, our neighborhood stores. You know, they’re nice to my kids is easy, right? If that was easy, and it was two or three sweet sentences. And it was like just a great exercise and lovely. And then friends it was like, that’s different. Like you’re not thinking friends for favors for what like somebody people I’ve been friends with for decades. Like, what am I thinking? What kind of favor Am I thinking important? That’s not really what it’s about. Right? So, once I remembered one of my, somebody used to work with Rachael Ray magazine, my old boss Miley, she used to send her Christmas cards were a picture just like a printout, you know, flimsy picture that she would cryovac and write it on the back of the photo and just send them out like that. I always thought that was just cute. I don’t know. I just thought that was a cute idea. So I remembered that and I went to my little local mail store with like, all these things like how do I do it? Like do I do I put up anyway, so he kind guided me through it, I bought like a four by six mailing labels in a, like a roll of four by six mailing labels. And I just stuck them on the back of four by six photos, there’s a little overhang and I just wasn’t what I’m saying is it wasn’t very neat, you know, like it. Sure. And you explained that in the book a little bit too. So keep going. I love this. Yeah, there’s a little art project, and I’m not an artist. So it’s not like it was like these beautiful, you know, artifacts or anything, it was just, but there were, you know, cool old photos from when I was in high school and college and whatever. And middle school and you know, reinforced with a mailing label, and then that’s a postcard, you just, you know, slap a postcard stamp on there. And what was nice about it was that, you know, it takes some of the first of all postcard takes the pressure off because you just can’t You can’t be wordy, right, you have three sentences Max,

Ryan Wakefield
you limited space,

Gina Hamadey
you have limited space, and then I have something to write about for my friends the picture, you know, and I started each one almost the same way and that is a little tip, which is you know, I didn’t generally write these one a day literally, I usually batch them up in like five or eight or 10 and kind of sat with them for an hour and did it over a lunch period or something like that. I say lunch period like I’m still in school.

Ryan Wakefield
It works.

Gina Hamadey
I’m not a teacher I don’t have lunch periods anymore, but I apparently I do in my mind. So I would start almost the same way which is remember when we were young and carefree you know because I guess that’s what I was thinking about at the time that these are people that I used to spend all my time with hours weekends, you know, trip days, and now we’re just so busy. When’s the last time I seen them? I don’t know it’s been years. But I guess I just wanted to reestablish that connection and tell them that I still love them and think about them. So I sort of would start with that sentence get specific for a sentence or two something about the picture what I remember you know and just end with you know, basically so grateful for our friendship right kind of thing

Ryan Wakefield
I love it was so creative pens and paper you know there are people that have their you know their special stationery I’ve got my you know everyday getting better cards that I that I use when I’m when I’m writing to people my my sister I don’t know where she gets it from but has the most awesome stationery always tell me what your pens and paper journey and I know the same thing with pens I know people that are obsessive about their their writing tools to the to the point of it’s an unhealthy hobby

Gina Hamadey
you know, God it’s funny, I was just before this I was looking for a pen and I think sort of like all downstairs now so it’s like I have to remember that’s the Oh, I might have to actually like run down and get them because I feel so strongly about them. It’s the night the pens that I used in magazines and I I’ve tried so many times I’m like looking in drawers over here to be like if I was any way over here are they all downstairs? Anyway, I’ll get there but so I happen to love I studied abroad in Florence and I love these Florentine before and classic Florentine print like that read and kind of that classic print. So I did splurge on some of those that you can get through Etsy and crane actually makes them too I splurged on some of those and in the beginning I would go to my local stationery place called measure twice and get some of those but at this volume, it was just too much like anything was too expensive. So this is another one where it’s like okay, if I I don’t know it’s like I could buy into this but like I need to spend a lot of money on personalized stationery or really nice stationery and cards and like you know $3 times 30 times 12 that’s a lot of money. Yeah, so I just bought it a target this like American Greetings, like 100 pack of like basically colored index cards,

Ryan Wakefield
like the rainbow pack of all the different colors. That’s the the Wakefield family uses those her birthday cards for when they always go to birthday parties. They’re wonderful.

Gina Hamadey
Yeah, they’re wonderful. Yeah, and now I bought a second pack for my boys because they also they use them all the time and you know what, that’s fine so I guess you know for some people like some people aesthetic for really important my sister it’s like I think she could never ever buy that and use that because it everything has to be so beautiful. For me it just wasn’t the point so there were months when I use those and then you know for my career mentors month when those were longer and it wouldn’t have fit on a little card so I did by you know i splurged for my career mentors, but I guess my point is go down that rabbit hole if you want. But don’t let it be a deterrent. Sure that to me, it’s not what matters. You know?

Ryan Wakefield
What about what about penmanship? I can see that being a roadblock for a lot of people and and probably You know, I’m sure that you know, the general consensus of people who have not seen your letters and I actually saw some on the today shows piece, probably think that you have the most beautiful penmanship in the world to write.

Gina Hamadey
It’s not great. I mean, that

Ryan Wakefield
kind of a hot mess, which made me feel a lot better about mine. But again, that’s the vulnerability in the in the, in the principle of, you know, you know it you know, I’m doing this for you, not for me, so it really doesn’t matter how pretty it is. But talk to us about penmanship.

Gina Hamadey
Yeah, yeah, I’m so glad you said that. Yeah, it’s I To me, the point is to express your personality. So my handwriting is very unique to me. And it’s mostly legible. So I would always rather use it then type something out in print. Some people do that, though. And that’s like, there’s no problem with that. If you’re truly illegible handwriting, sure, typing on computer printed out and send it like fine. But I feel like it just goes into what I was saying. Which is, you have a hang up about your handwriting. Nobody else cares, as long as they can read it. And in fact, it just shows your personality, like perfection is boring. It’s so boring, you know? And like, Okay, if you could write in calligraphy and if you have like the creamiest most beautiful stationery like, it doesn’t, you might be impressive, but it won’t be more meaningful. Right? You know what I mean?

Ryan Wakefield
Absolutely, I preface and I believe on I put we posted a blog post today where we shared the third our today’s show story and just the short, you know, like maybe a little six minute video with you where they actually show people holding up the letters. And, and I believe if I’m remembering correctly, one of the one of the ladies one of the letter says, I saw the handwriting instantly knew and knew it was yours. I mean, so it’s kind of a unique, the uniqueness that we all have. I mean, I you know, vividly know my father’s handwriting and there’s people that we know what that penmanship looks like. So, you know, it makes it unique. It’s, it’s, it’s a wonderful thing. How about the way you ended your letters? Do you have a specific way that you would sign off your letters or? Or everything?

Gina Hamadey
I don’t I love those like i when i read, I’m not like a student of, I don’t know, historical letters or anything. Although I can imagine going down that rabbit hole at some point. I do love how they used to sign them like so specifically like yours in. You know, I don’t I don’t know her suity or whatever. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But no, I just listen, probably mostly probably, like, I love and miss you for people I know. And otherwise, like, excited to see soon. I don’t know, I didn’t I didn’t have a signature move.

Ryan Wakefield
Okay, two more questions that I have from the book. And then I want to kind of do some rapid fire, you know, with our community questions here. Early on, you compare, you know, the word gratitude and you use it you say it’s, you know, it’s become more of a platitude. You know, is there a term you like to use more, you know, for your adventure specifically than than gratitude.

Gina Hamadey
So, do you could I, can I read you that? I know you’re not there. But do you mind? Could I read you from the last chapter? Oh,

Ryan Wakefield
absolutely. Let’s let’s dive in. I love this. Okay.

Gina Hamadey
Okay, hold on,

Ryan Wakefield
let me took a lot of self control for me to not jump to actually I started reading even late this morning reading really, really fast. And I made myself just close the book, because I started skimming and I didn’t want to cheat myself for it. So I’m excited to share a little bit head force.

Gina Hamadey
Okay, the word gratitude once graded on me, I avoided it when naming this project. Now I fully embrace the word as I have so much else that’s vulnerable and embarrassing and uncool. Basically, so basically, I mean, yeah, and gratitude has that like, hashtag blessed thing, which I think I was really allergic to, and really didn’t want to be associated with, like, you know, like, I just didn’t want to be associated with with that world of like, I mean, I think on Instagram, people are saying, toxic positivity, right is like, a thing right now. So I just didn’t want to be associated with like, gratitude, you know, like, in a cheesy way. So I have now embraced the word gratitude. I think it’s, it’s, there’s no better word. I mean, I call it my Thank you here instead of my gratitude here, for that reason. But I’m good with the word gratitude. We love made up.

Ryan Wakefield
I love that. This is a really weird segue. In the neighbor’s section, you, you talk about waving and I want to kind of set the question up a little bit, because I love this concept, but one of my very first mentors, you know, anytime you would, you would ride with him, you know, especially through a neighborhood specifically his own but a neighborhood. You know, his rule was, you always have to wave at people you see walking down the road, you know, and you that was just, you know, that was just the general rule. And it’s kind of now become a family rule as we pull into our small subdivision here

Gina Hamadey
in New York City, right.

Ryan Wakefield
I know, I’m in Montana. I’m in small town America.

Gina Hamadey
So you’d be you’d be a psychopath if you live in New York City, so

Transcribed by https://otter.ai