So then, let’s have a quick reminder of what on earth I’m talking about…
At the beginning of the year, I read this article about sending letters instead of Tweets, and it got me thinking. I thought it was a lovely idea; I LOVE receiving mail, and I think other people do too.
So, I bought 400 stamps (before they had a price increase!) and set about sending a piece of mail every day this year to reconnect with friends, send thank yous and hopefully make people smile.
What I have learnt.
Well, firstly, the simple act of blogging this was a lot more time consuming than I had thought. And, because it’s quite a personal thing between myself and the recipient, it didn’t receive nearly the same sort of internet traffic as my Year of Gratitude last year. These things combined made me a little less motivated to blog in a timely fashion – it’s much more for me to look back and remember my year than to engage readers, so there was no real urgency to do it week by week in ‘real time’.
And actually, sending the mail itself has been time consuming. I handmade quite a few cards, and although most of the notes were short and sweet, even just choosing who to write to, or remembering to visit the post box (hopefully) before the last post was a challenge! There’s a postbox at the end of my street, and I can’t tell you how many times I drove to work and cursed as I passed it as I realised I’d forgotten my letter to post!
I think that time-consumption is the main reason for my disappointment over this project. People have very busy lives, and often I didn’t hear a reply from my letters. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not why I was writing to people (although receiving exciting post is brilliant) but it was difficult sometimes to even know whether my card/letter had arrived safely. There’s no instant gratification to a letter, and in a world where everything is instant and you get annoyed when a text takes more than 10 seconds to be received, it’s hard to be patient and trust that what you sent has arrived at all.
I did get replies, of course. I got texts, Tweets and Facebook messages to say thank you, and I did get the occasional snail-mail response too. My thrill and delight at reading those postman-delivered replies made me realise that this project was a worthwhile one; even if people didn’t reply, I’m pretty sure they smiled when they got some mail the same way that I have been doing on those occasions. 🙂
In fact, I once got a message saying:
“Hey Tessa. Someone… handed me a card from you yesterday – thanks so much it was really nice of you! Made my day.”
And it reaffirmed the point of all this – to make people happy.
I’m glad that I carried on with this project this year. Not only did it give me an excuse to buy lots of cards (I have a slight addiction..!) but I have reconnected with some old friends, written to some new ones, and hopefully spread a little joy.
I learned from my 2012 that Gratitude is a powerful tool for happiness, and I found that with this too. I am grateful for all those who I wrote to, whether they replied or not, and I am very appreciative of the Royal Mail (and other postal services, world wide!)
Say what you like about the cost of a stamp or the speed of delivery, but the Posties have done me a great service this year, and for that I thank them.
Please do keep in touch, and thanks for reading!