Write Letters and Send Postcards
The things that make me the happiest have an emotional and physical effect. And even more so when you do something for someone else. One of the most lasting of these things is a personal letter. Being born in the transitional time between letters and computers, many people in my generation have already shunned snail mail as a way to communicate. This makes them rare, but a very inexpensive surprise. My grandmother was one of seven children, and they communicated with a round-robin letter. From mailbox to mailbox, they would add an update on their life and send it around to the next sibling. She taught me that letters are a valuable form of communication, something she’s emphasized as her memory slowly fades.
I got into the habit of writing letters and during the times where I was most stressed, a paper due, a newspaper deadline, or turmoil, I would write a letter. Letters live somewhere between thoughts and stories. They are a confidant and a piece of yourself that you can choose to scrap or share.
When I receive a letter, especially from someone who I haven’t heard from in awhile, I get a rush of endorphins, because I’m holding proof that the friend considered me. It’s the same rush I get when someone is thoughtful or goes out of their way to help me. Most friends reciprocate with a call to say how happy they were to open a personal note rather than another bill or W-2.
I followed epistolary literature in college, often using my break from studying as a chance to write letters. Perhaps letters will go the way of Wells Fargo wagons, but I’ll single-handedly support the post office as long as my friends have addresses and my fingers can write. Letters are my personal therapy, my rush of endorphins, my connection with those I love, and my alone time—my regular serving of happiness.