Writing letters is a lost art. With technology at our fingertips, handwriting letters and sending them in the mail has faded away. Instead, people type emails and text out messages. Now, I’m not saying that emails and instant messaging are bad, but there is something really special about getting something that is handwritten from a pen for you and only you.
Technology can be spread like wildfire and things can end up wild if in the wrong hands. Letters are in hands that are treasuring that piece of paper or cardstock. Being able to smell the paper, feel the folded creases, and try to decipher scribbled words is a lost language because we cannot have that over a computer or phone. We live in an age where everything seems so staged and so easily accessible. Things like letter writing, that are not as easily accessible as hitting the send button, are the things that are fading away.
I have had a pen pal for a while now and each time a letter comes in the mail from her, I get really excited because she wrote that specifically for me and took the time to do so. It means so much more to me than something I can delete on my computer. I have kept every letter in a little mailbox I have and each letter is a moment from both of our lives in which we have shared together.
Not only is it nice writing to her, I actually write out what I feel, how my week was, or how my day panned out. I have never met my pen pal, but she knows more about me than most people because there is something we do in this world: we hide behind screens, phone apps and edits. Writing a letter is completely raw, but also something we can hide behind through erased mistakes and scribbled out words we messed up on.
Letter writing isn’t much different than writing an email or text message, but, for me, writing is much more real. I feel as if I don’t have to hold back what I’m saying because I know that she’s the only one who is going to read it and also because words spill out of my pens faster than they spill out of my fingertips.
Not only is it neat to get letters, it is also fun to send them. There is something uniquely special about putting stamps and addresses on an envelope, licking the seal and waiting for the person to receive it. Though I don’t see the post office becoming extinct because people order and shop online, the more we send letters, the more it helps other people maintain jobs.
Try something new, something that is often called “back in the day” or “vintage” or “so hipster.” Try writing to someone. Whether it is a family member, close friend, old friend, or someone you have never even met over social media, try picking up a pen and some paper, write a letter or a card and send it off.
Not only will you feel good, but it is always nice receiving something unexpected in the mail. So the next time you want to send a lengthy check-in email, try sending a letter in the mail instead and see where it takes you. For all you know, you could be exploring new moments in time with people you never thought you would.