Getting the mail is a chore these days. I never really look forward to it- there’s always some anxiety attached because as an adult I just get bills and the other 80% is junk mail. It’s the same in my email inbox, really.
The other bummer for a sentimental pack-rat like myself is that most of my communication these days is through texting/Facebook messenger. Unless I want to print out these exchanges (most of which are usually just 1-2 sentence responses anyway), they’re just lost forever. Dust in the social media wind.
That’s why I love getting letters in the mail. Or even just handwritten notes. They don’t even the have to be delivered in the mail- getting them in person works just as well (I was going to include “on my car” but usually those types of notes aren’t the ones you’ll want to keep and cherish forever).
I have a few theories why snail mail trumps all other mails.
Since I was a kid, we always wrote letters to my grandparents. I’ve always been better at communicating via writing and feel like I can articulate my thoughts/feelings easier that way. Especially as a kid, I’d freeze up when people asked me questions. No one else in my family has that problem, and it was easier for me to let everyone else do the talking all the time. However, when it comes to loving, doting grandparents who want to know what’s going on in your life, this doesn’t fly.
So probably once a month, my brother and I wrote them letters and Mom would mail them out. Before we could really write, she even let us dictate our letters and we would illustrate afterwards. Actually, I still illustrate some of my letters…
In high school and college the letter writing frequency was much slower on my end, but my grandmother was very diligent about writing to us regularly. Her letters come in colorful envelopes, often with stickers of some variety. Not only is there a letter inside, but sometimes a comic strip she’s cut out, old photos, and one time I even got orange blossoms (when they were in Florida). She’s also really good about sending cards for every holiday out there.
To me, snail mail represents more of an effort in communication (probably because I used to agonize over every word I wrote). There’s a certain level of thoughtfulness- you get out some pen and paper, sit down, and dedicate your mind to writing to a certain person. Then you have to deliver it (if it’s via mail, you have to know someone’s address and look up the zip code, and make sure you have stamps). Then you have to go to the mail box or post office and send it on it’s way. It’s a lot more time consuming than texting someone while you’re just in line at the grocery store or because you’re bored waiting at the doctor’s office. You’re not just hitting “send” or falling back on emojis or GIFS to convey how you’re feeling. When I get snail mail/a note, it usually means someone took extra time and went out of their way to communicate to me, and I can’t help but feel a little special in those moments.
The other reason I love snail mail is what I mentioned earlier- most of the actual mail I get now is either junk or bills. Sometimes the junk mail is colorful and interesting-looking, but it’s no letter from Grammy (maybe they need to invest in some stickers?). My college friends and I used to write to each other in the summers, and those were always fun to get because they’d come in colorful envelopes with glitter and drawings all over them. One year for my birthday one of my friends sent a package where she’d written that she debated putting a ton of glitter inside so it popped out everywhere when I opened it up, but then decided that would result in a huge mess (the sentiment > glitter everywhere). I still have these letters and cards because as mentioned before I’m a sentimental pack-rat and have a hard time throwing away something that someone I care about took the time and effort to make just for me!
I have a few different boxes of stationary lying around- some colorful loose paper and some cards to choose from. These days I try to write to my grandparents twice a month, and they’re the ones I write to most frequently so I don’t want to send them the same card/paper every time! If I see something on sale or that looks cool I tend to buy it, so I have a bit of a stockpile going. Some of my favorites:
If you have people in your life you want to write a note/letter to, DO IT! It also feels good to write out a message to someone. For me, it’s also very relaxing and a great form of stress relief. And it’s fun knowing that you may be surprising someone or brightening their day unexpectedly 🙂
Do you write letters or notes to people?
Do you keep letters/notes people have written to you over the years? I think my oldest note is from a boy I ‘went out with’ in 5th grade who broke up with me and then asked me back out via a long note. I said no and he immediately started dating the girl who had done the note running. Middle school is fun 🙂