Do you love to receive letters in the mail?
Not bills or junk mail or packages containing items you ordered, but…notes. Cards.
I love “snail” mail – the ol’ postal service delivery.
I’ve always had a love affair with the mail. My granny’s kitchen was my literal home on earth. I didn’t live with my granny, but her kitchen was the most predictable place in my life while I was a child. I knew where the tin of buttons was. I sat for hours beside my granny’s sewing machine while she made, well, everything including clothes for my Barbie dolls. (How she had the patience and dexterity for that, I’ll never understand.)
I watched the mail delivery every day I spent at granny’s house. The mail person (always men until my teen years) walked from yard to yard. We knew them by name. There was always a hello.
Mail delivery was an event, part of the social fabric of my granny’s community, part of the fabric of connection that wove that feeling I loved so much then and now. Feeling home.
So, yeah, I love the mail.
For years, I was pen pals with a girl I’d gone to school with in 2nd grade – a family member of Laura Ingalls Wilder, actually. She and I kept in touch for years after I moved away to another state. When I was in high school, my aunt signed up to do letter writing with deployed military and I got involved in that, too.
Pen pals were a big deal for me from the ages of, say, 8 through my college years.
Then came email…and there went snail mail…retired for the “convenience” of electronic communications.
But I’m bringing snail mail back!
This year, I’m running an experiment. Rather than sending cards for birthdays and holidays only, I’m sending out cards at random times during the year, no strings attached.
This gives me an excuse to buy adorable note cards and colorful stamps and find a nice seasonal quote to include.
Sending these notes out snail mail gives me a sense that I’m giving someone a gift along with the bills and the junk mail.
For all of our connection avenues, I often feel isolated from charmingly warm, slow, human connections.
Earlier this year, I decided to remove myself from most “social” media. I don’t support the companies and the impact they are having on our world, frankly. I realized that I don’t feel connected to people online, not in any way that was substantial.
So…I quit the easy route, the eyeball food.
I’m replacing “scroll and like” with “write with love.”
What surprised me when I started this project was noticing how much my brain wonders whether I’m being awkward. Do people want to receive these notes? Do they then feel obligated to reciprocate?
Then I remembered that I do this not just for the recipients but for me and for the community I want to live in.
Less clicks. More conversation.
I want to give this gift to my family and friends, yes.
I also want to give myself the gift of this experience. The writing in gel pens, the applying of stickers. The child-like delight at making something with someone specific in mind.
I want to live in a world where the mail might contain a surprise from someone caring about someone else.
From that perspective, it’s definitely worth surfing my occasional feelings of awkwardness to create this experience.
Perhaps you, dear reader, might be inspired to start a notecard campaign of your own.
Make a pen pal. Make a dozen.
See if it helps you live with less stress and more fun. 💌📬💖P.S. I invite you to fall in love with the “Less Stress, More Fun” podcast. Subscribe today! Each week’s episodes offer smart, fun ideas to reduce stress and boost your sense of playfulness.