I would like to say thank you to a professor for a conversation we had when I was not in a good place. However, this is > 2 years ago now. I also have not been in touch, so I'm not sure he will remember.
Lastly, I will need a reference at some point in the future, and I am going to ask this professor.
I am worried that saying thank you now will look like I am just getting in touch because of the reference (which I will possibly have to ask for in already a month or two).
Could it be interpreted this way, and should I maybe just leave this now? I am worried it will look very fake and like I am only emailing now to secure that reference. At the same time I would like to say thank you, which I was not ready for before.