The tradition of hand-written letters is in jeopardy of extinction. In a world of electronic mail, texting, and direct messages, we’re able to communicate with one another in an instant. An email from an old friend might surely make you smile, but faster is not always better. Today’s world of immediacy leaves little time for thoughtful, personalized correspondence. And with tools like spell check, it’s possible we’re paying even less attention to our messages as we compose them.
Envision walking to retrieve the day’s mail on any afternoon. Typically, what lies in wait are bills, circulars and credit card offers, though on a good day, perhaps there’s the latest edition of a well-loved magazine. Now imagine discovering a brightly-colored envelope, boldly standing out amid the pile. It’s addressed to you; your name appears in actual handwriting, not pre-printed on a mailing label, or run through a printer. Maybe the envelope bears an American poet or famous choreographer–something other than the American flag or Liberty bell–something that makes you stop and take notice. As you turn the envelope, there’s a hand-stamped return address; you slide your finger beneath the envelope flap to reveal a vibrant note card. You open the card to be greeted by words from a friend or family member, and take pause to carefully read the words that have been written just for you.
I find such joy in the simple task of sending notes, especially when it’s for no reason at all but to send a note. This month, find a moment to sit and write a letter to a friend. Be thoughtful with your words, write them with care. Enjoy the friction between the pen and paper, the art of shaping letters. Show them you’re thinking of them and take pleasure in knowing you will have brightened their day with your unexpected written gift.
This month, we’re serving up bite-sized advice from experts in different fields to help us all make life a little brighter, more creative and more efficient for 2013. Think of this month as a chance to connect with yourself on a deeper level, get closer to what makes you happy, and take control of the balance in ‘work-life balance’ for yourself this year.