Thank You Line
by Sharran Srivatsaa
It was 5:07am. I was in line at Starbucks.
My heart was racing.
There were seven people in front of me. I guess I hit the 5am Club rush.
My heart was racing faster now. My palms were sweaty. I was nervously looking around the coffee shop. I was even unknowingly fidgeting in my pocket like there was something missing.
What could be missing? It was 5am.
Nobody was even awake… apart from these seven crazy people in line ahead of me. And the barista, of course.
So I gathered myself and took stock. I had my wallet. I had my car key fob. But it felt incomplete.
Then, I realized, I was missing my phone.
My nervous system had no idea how to process the fear of being away from my iPhone.
I had probably just left it in my car which was about 27 feet away.
Since I had no screen to look down at, per usual, I looked up only to see every single one of the seven people in line ahead of me on their phones.
Heck, even the guy in the Adidas tracksuit (vintage… all red with white stripes on the sleeves) who was talking to the barista, placing his order, was actually looking at his phone. C’mon dude.
Is this what we have become? I know I’ve probably been guilty of the same thing.
We can’t even wait in line at a coffee shop for 2 minutes without checking our email and stressing out about how much spam we get… and we get a feeling of insane joy when we delete the very newsletters that we actually subscribed to in the first place. Its absurd that we (think we are being extremely efficient when we) delete the same marketing email from the same people every day but we cant bring ourselves to unsubscribing from them. Nuts.
Or how fast can we scroll through Instagram. We don’t even wait to look at a picture… it scrolls like a slot machine and we heart random photos. Most of you might not have even made it this far in this text because our attention spans are so short.
In fact, we can’t sit still even at home, so we keep looking at our facebook feed and wonder who all these people are that we are friends that we are not really friends with in real life (but we are too lazy to actually unfriend them because what if…)
What I realized was that the entire time I spend in line at a coffee shop (or your açaí bowl place or whatever you are into) can be used in a much more elegant way.
Now let’s not get carried away.
When I say elegant, I mean with my phone. Not without it. (Incremental improvement > withdrawal symptoms)
I am not referring to being present and mindful. I am not referring to actually lift my head and look around and smile at anyone.
I am definitely not looking to say hello to anyone or even make eye contact. I still want my phone.
I still want to pull it out when I am waiting in line. I know you do too.
But I want to do better than delete spam, do an Instagram slot machine scroll, or wonder why I have friends in facebook that I don’t know.
So I think I figured it out… for myself.
I decided that every time I am in line anywhere, I give myself 100% permission to take out my phone and send messages of love, care and gratefulness to people in my life.
Now, we all know that gratitude is an important part of our lives.
Everyone says gratitude this and gratitude that.
People even say things like, “I woke up this morning and crushed my gratitudes.”
Huh? What the heck does that even mean.
Recently a guru told me: close your eyes and step into your gratitude.
Seriously, come on.
I have tried it. I am not that evolved. I don’t know how to do it.
I know I need to keep trying. I know I will get better at it the more I practice it. But, I really don’t know how to physically or psychologically do that… yet.
But, just like you, I stand in lines from time to time. It used to be a stressful experience for me… but not anymore.
I have fully committed to the “Thank You Line” strategy.
Just give yourself the same permission I gave myself.
Give yourself 100% permission to take out your phone and send messages of love, care and gratefulness to people in my life… whenever you are standing in line.
Give yourself the gift of the “Thank You Line”.
Next time you are in a line, send someone a message of gratefulness.
Send your Mom a selfie… she doesn’t even need a caption.
Send your spouse a cool emoji. It will freak them out, in a positive way.
Send your teammate a message that says… “I appreciate working with you.”
Don’t let the line stress you out ever again.
Give the Thank You Line a try. You will love it.