Thank You Quarantine’s Origin Story

Before there was Thank You Quarantine, there was a busy world. I, like many people, was out and about trying to “do” something with my life but quietly yearning for more impact, meaning and connection. I was newly in love and yet awfully aware that romance wasn’t enough for me when these three words came all at once: Thank You Heartbreak.

What began as a 10 question Q&A series has grown into a podcast with 165 episodes and counting, which essentially amounts to 165 hours of conversation with strangers. I got what I was aching for, alright. The topic of heartbreak has very much become the heartbeat of my days. 

I’ve cried in these episodes and I’ve listened to my guest do the same. What I’ve discovered is, the details of our lives are different but our feelings and our fears are universal. The big picture takeaway? We cry for the same reasons, love with the same hope, shrink out of fear and feel lighter when we are honest about the heaviest of things. 

We are so alike. The heartbreak is when this is lost on us.

Life is full of choice, after all. The choice of whether to celebrate our similarities or exploit our differences, to launch ourselves back up or fall deeper when we’re down. The choice of whether to retreat after a setback or go in search of silver linings, to deny our hunger or honor our desire. 

If I had dismissed my yearning for more significance in my life, I never would have found what’s actually brought me to life. If I hadn’t begun asking strangers uncomfortable questions, I wouldn’t have realized true discomfort is sitting with secrets only to live an unexpressed life. And, had it not been for the nature of my questions, my guests may have never seen how heartbreak has elevated them. 

The healing effect that 10 initial questions and a raw conversation turned episode has had on my guests only underscores the value of asking greater questions because questions, ultimately, prompt us into framing our perspective and ascribing meaning to our lives. For instance, if I ask why you’re thankful for your heartbreak, you’re motivated to find a reason to be grateful. But, if I only ask why you’re heartbroken, you’re almost conditioned to tell a sob story and end there. 

Thank You Heartbreak celebrates individuals who haven’t just stopped there. And, now, so does Thank You Quarantine. In this series, everyday people—people just like you and me—answer questions they’re not used to asking themselves from an environment they’re not used to being in and in the process discover an upside to the global heartbreak we are all experiencing. 

Why go there? Well, to quote Thank You Quarantine’s very first spotlight and guest, CMO and Content Director of RunRepeat, Paul Ronto, “I found your questions intriguing so I thought I’d answer them, for you, but also for myself to understand how I feel about everything that’s going on around the world.”

Simple enough and yet self-inquiry is often a daunting undertaking. With this in mind, may we honor the guests who have let us in on their otherwise private revelations and may we remember that this series is for us. May Thank You Quarantine guide us toward feelings that strip us down and into answers that awaken us. May we learn about others through the details of their lives and notice ourselves in the universal experience that we share. And may all of this turn us into greater humans and thankful people.