Connecting the Old Fashioned Way


This weekend a group of friends from college came to campus to visit Merle and I. Because most of my friends moved away after graduation, I don't get to see them very often, so whenever I do, it's a real treat. I get to hear all about their exciting (and sometimes not so exciting) post graduation lives in far away cities and see how their personalities have developed outside of what we affectionately call the "Penn bubble." What I love most during these brief visits is hearing about what is happening in their lives that matters most to them. Not that I wouldn't want to see them more frequently if they lived near by, but with the people I see all the time, we focus on talking about the usual day to day stuff, the inconsequential. When you have not seen each other for months, you are forced to only talk about what is really important, the big things going on that carry you through good days and bad days. By the end, it feels like no time has passed since the last time you spoke.

It is for these same reasons that I have started periodically sending handwritten notes to friends and family. With handwritten notes, you are limited to the space of the card, which forces you to pair down what you write. The fact that snail mail takes days to arrive also makes you want to look at the superstructure of your life when writing, because if you focus on an event at the level of a single day,  your thoughts and moods surrounding it are  gone before the letter even arrives. It also feels more personal to hand write a letter than send an email. It requires a little extra effort and there is a layer of tactile interaction between your hand and the paper that your pen pal ultimately receives in their hands. The notion of physical interaction by way of letter may be far fetched, but in the digital age, isn't it nice to have some communication that isn't through a computer screen?

My letter writing supplies: pretty envelopes, a random assortment of blank cards, and a book of stamps

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