Let me start with a question. When was the last time you sent somebody a letter? And I do not mean e-mail. Or a printed sheet to some company querying the bill you received. I mean, when did you last sit down with a clean sheet of paper in front of you and a pen in your hand and told somebody about what is happening in your life, how you are getting on?
I used to love writing letters when I was younger. When I went off to college, even though I talked to my parents on the phone, I would still get paper letters with news from home and write them back telling about my life. My friends studying abroad as well as the ones living in the same town would often receive my heart spilt on paper. The two years of “dating” with my husband were actually a long distance relationship with numerous letters travelling back and forth between Ireland and Lithuania. (It is nice to sometime flip through them now and be transported in time).
Fast forward 10 years and I find myself hardly ever writing a letter. Not because I have no time. But because I spend that time on other things. Most of the time, trivial ones. Somehow I have managed to get out of the letter-writing habit.
One day, wandering on the world-wide web (everyone knows what a huge time consumer that is), i came across somebody’s blog post about postcrossing and decided to sign up immediately. Postcrossing is a genius initiative to encourage people to send and receive actual tangible mail. Once you sign up, you get to draw a few random addresses of other users and send them each a postcard. Once that is received and registered on the site, somebody else draws your address. And thus you receive a postcard from anywhere in the world. Somebody sits down and gives you a few minutes of their life to pick out a postcard and tell a little about themselves. Now, in all honesty, not everybody engages into much writing. occasionally, all the postcard says is “Happy Postcrossing”. This is underwhelming. Luckily, there aren’t many of such cards. Often people will tell you about what they like, what’s important to them, a book they have read or places they have travelled. And in turn, you share little snippets of your life with the people you write to. In todays increasingly virtual and rushing world, it is a real treat to send and receive some ‘snail mail’.
Of course, ‘snail mail’ does not have to happen through the postcrossing site. You do not need to sign up anywhere to write letters to real people in your life or send a few postcards when you are travelling. It is a great gift that doesn’t cost much, only a bit of your time and attention. And a stamp, of course 🙂
I would love to hear your stories of wonderful/horrible/interesting/extraordinary letters that you have sent or received. Please tell me what makes you remember them, why they were special. And you might receive a postcard from Ireland from me 😉 I will pick a winner at the end of this month. Provided there will be any responses at all, of course 🙂