As you may well know, I am very interested in the world of life coaching, I’m like a sponge when it comes to this stuff, trying to soak up as much as my mind will allow, which isn’t actually that much at the moment sadly.
Anywho, I belong to a little group on FB which is only for my coaches previous clients, they’re a lovely bunch of people in there. Everyone genuinely seems to want everyone else to do well, for them to ‘get there’ wherever ‘there’ is. Its a place of total empowerment, honesty, bravery and kindness, and I bloody well adore it.
Over Christmas a lady in the group suggested pen pals for 2017. What a marvellous idea! You see, while I am typing this out on a keyboard, and whilst I know this will appear somewhere on the web, I feel its hugely sad that we’ve lost touch with the art of actually hand writing a letter to someone.
For most of us, the only things that come through the letterbox these days are bills, and far too many of them. Unless its a birthday or Christmas, there’s hardly anything nice to pick up off of the mat. So how refreshing it would be to see an envelope without a window, and a stamp instead of a franking label?
There’s something hugely personal about a handwritten letter for me, it means that real care has been taken, thought and consideration have gone into it, and its a snippet into someone else’s world, which for me is always fascinating.
There was a bittersweet feel about this for me. Many years ago, like almost 30 years ago, I asked my Nan if we could be pen pals. I didn’t get to see her that much, and felt like it would be something that I just shared with her. She was over the moon to be asked to do this, she would have been about 73 at the time, and loved the idea of getting to know me via letters. To my shame, and this is still something I bitterly regret, I think I wrote her one or two letters at most and then I got bored. Nan would bring it up fairly often as I got older, and I’d just look a bit sheepish and change the subject. I let her down, because I was only 8 and didn’t see the importance of it all, I didn’t get how much it meant to an old lady who just wanted a better connection to her Granddaughter. That’s something that I cant ever make up to her now, and so I knew if I was going to do this it would be done properly.
All those that were interested paired up, some people asked for more than one pen pal. I’d be totally up for that apart from lack of time and energy, and I didn’t want to let anyone down by being ‘the shit girl that never responded’.
The lady that I joined letter writing forces with is a total sweetheart, I follow her blog, I love her posts in the little FB group, and I felt that this could be a really cool thing to do.
So, we agreed first of all that there would be no pressure on the frequency of the letters, both of us felt that it needed to be genuine, and not a forced ‘letter a week’ type scenario. We would right when we could, and not hold each other to ransom if a reply didn’t appear immediately. Like the rest of the world, we are busy people and both have responsibilities.
I was pipped to the post (no pun intended) as a letter came through the door about a week later. I was so excited to read it, to see how our written relationship would start. It was a wonderful letter, full of insights into her family, her busy life, and into who she was. I was thrilled to see a few well chosen and well placed swear words, and laughed openly several times as I read it. Then I re-read it, and read it some more. It felt like a real privilege to be allowed in to someone’s world, someone who apart from our connection on social media, was unknown to me.
What touched me the most was a card that she had made me as well, that’s the one at the top of this blog post. I’ll keep the message inside for myself, but needless to say, I was pretty blown away by it. She didn’t have to do that, but clearly our interactions had struck a chord with her. I had lifted her spirits, and helped her just by being myself, and by being genuine, and in turn she had done the same for me. I have high hopes for this ‘project’ if you will, who knows, it could be the start of an awesome friendship.
I have written back, and I totally enjoyed the process too. I zoned out, I didn’t look at my phone, I didn’t think about the next thing I had to do, I was ‘in that letter’, in the moment with it and what I was writing. I had a message to say it had been received and that she couldn’t wait to read it. Just seeing that made me smile.
So, if there is someone you haven’t spoken to for a long time, and you’ve been thinking about getting in touch with them, maybe write a letter instead of sending a text. Unless you’re like me and keep all texts (yes, its odd I know) then that text isn’t going to last very long, it’ll disappear along with all the others, deleted, or lost, or dropped down the loo, it may not even get noticed. But a letter, a letter is different, its a keepsake, its for them, or for you, its deeper, more meaningful, and I bet it’ll really put a smile on someone’s face. It’ll hurt, I mean seriously my hand was bloody agony at the end of it because I’m so out of practice. The world we have moved into is based on keystrokes and not joined up writing. That aside, its so worth it. Something that is so simple, and that’s the beauty of it. Completely unfettered by modern life. Its stripped back and basic, which is something that I for one sorely needed.