This year as part of my 52 challenges for the year, I began a practice that I soon hope to transform into a tradition. Writing letters, old school style with a pen and paper. I’ve been writing one letter each month to my parents and elder brother and his family, who reside back home in India. In fact my habit has got them writing back as well! For now, this tradition in the making is limited to my family members back home in India. But I do hope to extend this new habit to all my close friends soon.
The most obvious question you may ask is WHY? In this age of instantaneous digital communication and a plethora of means and apps to communicate and stay in touch with loved ones, why would I choose a mode that is outdated and not to mention painfully slow. After all it is called snail mail for a reason. Allow me to explain.
With ever more increasing means of instantaneous communications and ease of doing so at the palm of your hands also comes a sense of being inundated. WhatsApp, Messenger, Skype, Hangouts, Viber, Wire, Telegram, Emails, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, the list is almost endless and there are so many more apps and programs that sit on your mobile or computing device notifying you about the world around you. With so many updates it is easy to get lost in the flood of information and be less aware of what you need to know or hear about close friends and family. Writing forces you to break away from the constant unending flow of updates and chats and helps focus on just one thing, writing.
When you put a pen to paper, you begin listening to what you want to say and start putting in more thought to your communication. That doesn’t mean you tend to censor your thoughts. On the contrary you end up penning your innermost thoughts which means that the person reading gets to know about your true feelings. There have been times where I was uncomfortable talking about certain events with my family in person but had absolutely no trouble writing them down on paper for them to read. Maybe it’s the asynchronous mode of communication that enables us to pour our hearts out without any fear judgment or inhibitions.
Writing a letter tells the recipient you care. It’s as simple as that. Typing on your mobile device or a computing one doesn’t take a lot out of your personal time and effort (unless of course you’re writing the next two Game of Thrones books!). The act of writing with a pen and paper is associated with effort. After all don’t we all shudder at the thought of a written exam? A physical letter is an indication that you care for the person you are addressing enough to take time out from your life to pen your thoughts and messages.
With everything from books to pictures to diaries going digital and on the cloud, there are increasingly fewer items of emotional or sentimental significance that we tend to keep with us. A Hand written letter is an absolutely great piece of history that stays with you. They’re essentially time capsules that you can unearth over and over again. Given the right amount of care, they can become treasured heirlooms that you pass down to your future generations. I know I will absolutely enjoy reading the letters from my family when I’m old and will even pass them down to my children and children’s children to read and treasure.
So there you have it, my reasons for ditching the digital and going analog when it comes to keeping in touch with my family.
Hope this post has inspired you to pen your thoughts and feelings to your loves ones.