Thursday, January 28, 2010

Forever, stamps.

When I was in college and went home for summers or winter breaks, my friends and I wrote each other letters. Letters on actual paper, in actual envelopes. I went to a small Midwestern liberal arts college in a small town about six hours from my hometown. My friends also came from different parts of the country and scattered accordingly on breaks. We wrote each other about trying to adjust back to parent's rules and high school friendships. We pined for crushes back on campus. We were bored; we missed one another and the cozy nest of our small campus.

It seems terribly quaint and old-fashioned now looking back on our chosen form of communication. Email was pretty much in its infancy for much of my college years, and texting had yet to be invented, I think. No one I knew even had a cell phone during college. This wasn't during the dark ages, this was a mere 10-15 years ago.

I miss letters. I'm the one at my house who gets excited when the mail comes. It's mostly bills and solicitations from charities. I have more address labels with my name on them than I'll ever use.

Yesterday I got a little thrill over a small note card-sized envelope addressed to me. I didn't recognize the handwriting, but couldn't help wonder which of my friends had been thoughtful enough to write me an actual note.

It was a card from my hairdresser, telling me she'd switched salons.

Surely I'm not the only one who longs for real mail? I confess: I don't send texts. I'm a Luddite compared to most of my friends. My cell phone is basically for emergencies and I don't even have Internet at home. This level of technological backwardness in someone my age is a little embarrassing.

Once in a while I send a letter to a friend, a snapshot of my state of mind and what's been happening in my life lately. Usually I never hear anything back. I do hear from far-flung friends - on Facebook. Sometimes I think, did I really mail that note card? Is it lost in the mail?

I can't get angry or hold grudges about the lack of paper flowing my way. People get busy. Partners (and babies) need attention. People have stressful, time-consuming jobs (I don't, but others do.) I understand.

There's a letter I've been meaning to write for months now. A friend moved, we don't talk, I didn't come to see her on her brief last visit to town. It's an old familiar story, I'm sure. I feel badly about dropping my end of the thread of our friendship.

Maybe this wish of mine to return to the age of letter-writing is more about wanting to return to deeper, richer connections with friends. It really does get harder and harder to stay current in one another's lives.

This weekend, with the forecast threatening snow, I'm going to sit with pen in hand, get out my pretty little notecards, and try again.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day One

For a few weeks now I've had trouble concentrating. I can't seem to find anything I really want to read, which is highly unusual for a voracious reader like myself. I pick up a book, get about 30 pages into it, and get bored. I can't stomach reading memoirs right now especially. I turned the latest book back into the library and pondered what my weird mood means. I came up with this: I'm bored by other people's stories. I'm sick of reading about other people accomplishing things, or trying to accomplish things. I want to be the one creating and doing and accomplishing. I can't stand being a spectator anymore. It's taken me a long time to get up the courage to do this, to try and type something into a little box and send it out there into the world. Doesn't seem like much. But really, it means that I finally may have realized that I have something worth saying, something that someone else out there might want to read. If nothing else, I'll feel better about myself for having given it a shot.

So what is this? Who knows what it will be. I have so many things I want to do with my life: write, create, connect to God, run, dance, travel, savor the blessings in my life, be of use to others, have fun, play, have a baby, celebrate my wonderful husband, save money, bake pies, make time for friends... the list is endless. I hope that by putting down all the stuff in my brain that runs in an endless loop (I should be doing THIS, why aren't I doing THAT, what's WRONG with me?, etc etc.) I can finally put to rest my fears and act boldly. Live my life! Not too much to ask, is it?