By Kali Postin
I have heard it said many times that, although we are more connected than we ever have been in terms of accessibility, the world is more unconnected than it ever has been in terms of humanity. Ironically, as we become more physically isolated than previously imaginable, we are finally able to take the time to create and maintain these connections.
While there are many ways our interpersonal connections can be formed and nurtured, the ageless craft of letter writing is my favorite. Since the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, I have made it a priority to send out at least five hand-written cards per week. The original purpose of my letter writing was to remind family and friends of my love and gratitude for them, even if we had lost touch over the years. Being reminded of someone’s appreciation for you feels good, and I felt that putting a little more “good” into the world was one of the few things I could safely do to boost morale.
If you are anything like me, after a few letters you may struggle to come up with ideas for whom you should write. In an effort to continue my pursuit of spreading joy, I decided to create a list of the types of people I could write. Here is what I came up with:
- A current or former teacher.
- Someone who has helped you through a difficult time.
- A neighbor.
- Someone whose name starts with an M.
- A health care worker.
- Someone who has inspired you or been your role model.
- An active or retired member of the Armed Forces.
- Someone who shares a birthday month with you.
- A government official—local, state, or federal.
- Someone who is brave.
- A childhood friend.
- Someone who never fails to make you laugh.
- An athlete you admire—professional, collegiate, or local.
- Someone you miss.
- A classmate or coworker.
- Someone you want to befriend.
- A celebrity you admire.
Rather than following down the list and checking recipients off in order, I suggest writing each on a slip of paper and drawing from a jar each time you write a new letter. Feel free to flex your creative muscles and add your own categories to the list. If you are lacking creativity, fear not! Each of these categories can match more than one person in your life, so you are able to reuse the prompts!
As I receive messages or letters back from those I have written to, I have come to realize this small gesture I offered to bring joy to others is bringing just as much joy to me! I encourage you to partake in this small act of kindness by reaching out to those who may need a little extra “good” in their life right now. Set an attainable goal for yourself and reserve a few minutes each day that can be dedicated exclusively to letter writing.
Do not pressure yourself to create the perfect card or feel the need to write elegantly—do what you are comfortable with, douse it with love, and know that the recipients of your kindness will appreciate every effort you make to keep in touch in a non-contact world.