Natasha is a freelance writer and author with a passion for connecting with people. She loves receiving and sending snail mail.
Letter-writing is being forsaken by many, replaced by the convenience and ease of email and text messaging. These days, everything is written in short-cuts, codes, and bad grammar. Let's face it...gone are the days when people would take the time to write and read through lengthy letters written on paper, to discover what people really had to say. Many people don't WANT to go in-depth with others, and are satisfied with skimming the surface. They may also not know how to appreciate deep and meaningful connections with people.
Give Meaning to the Written Word
Making the effort to write a letter has long been considered something personal and special. Not only were they important to receive, but etiquette dictated a timely response. And if ever you were invited to attend an event (birthday, wedding, bar mitzvah) you had to make sure to send your reply as soon as possible, hence respondez-vous, s'il vous plait, "respond, if you please," or RSVP for all the acronym-lovers out there.
Letters are also worth their weight in gold to those who would otherwise not have contact with their loved ones. At one time, relationships depended on letter-writing! Anyone alive before the digital age can attest to correspondences to family and friends who lived or worked or were deployed for the military near and far. Such letters were how they said things like...I love you, I miss you, I'm sorry, or go away/this isn't working out.
NOTE: In my generation, I remember excitedly looking forward to receiving holiday or birthday greetings and letters from now-deceased loved ones who lived overseas. It gave me such pleasure to read through their thoughts and well-wishes. Reading their letters was almost like having them here with me. In recent years, I went through many of the letters I have saved through the years, and although I contemplated not keeping them in the interest of saving space, I realized that they are a bit of history and genealogy to preserve, with years of sentimental value to me. The familiar pen strokes and quirky phrases, and interesting stamps are rather fun to peruse. I just couldn't bring myself to dispose of them, and I don't have any plans to, either!
E-mails and Texts Just Aren't the Same
Emails and texts may be convenient, but they are just not the same as written letters, and I therefore get rid of them after they have served their use. Usually, they are sent as reminders of events, as notes of thanks, or for asking questions. Hardly anything monumental. Once issues are addressed, there is just no need of hanging on to them. Accordingly, these shortcuts are forms of communication that lack individual style and imagination. You can even copy your messages to others as chain letters or "forwards" to make them even more impersonal - and who REALLY likes that? And don't even get me started on dreaded junk mail that clogs up my inbox...
Even though this has become an "instant" society of everything happening in "real time", letters should still be written and mailed to give people practice in expressing themselves, while giving others something worth waiting for. Anticipation and delayed gratification is a gift, but fewer people than ever today seem to remember that. Moreover, people should still spend quality time together - sans any digital devices. It makes you really wonder if people can or are willing to even do that anymore.
Time is What You Make of It
In the end, it all boils down to that people want to cut corners in order to free up their schedules so they can fit even more in before they have to call it a day. The less they can do with (and sometimes for) people, the more time they have to pursue something else. Is it any wonder, then, that our society is stressed out, needs therapy and several mini-vacations a month? If we could refrain from becoming completely defined by technology, we could keep our sanity in check and take pride in still doing some things the long way, just for the satisfaction of it! If we can use our brains in that way, think of the impact that attitude would have on on the job, with family and friend relationships, and community involvement!
kittu on August 07, 2011:
woohoooo! a perfect answer to my question
sadiqua on July 08, 2011:
its a nice thought. written letters can convey the feelings of the writer much better than an email. If you are sending a message to a relative or writing to a long-lost friend, opt for paper. The power of written letters arriving on your home cannot be compared to the simple click of an email reaching your mailbox.
Tammy L from Jacksonville, Texas on November 30, 2010:
I, too, have several handwritten letters from now deceased family members. I keep these letters to maintain a sort of tie to these loved ones until I see them again.
Beautiful thought. Thank you.