Why Don’t We Write Letters Anymore?

“Snail mail”.  A term that we have come to affectionately use for a form of communication that no longer meets our expectations of immediacy in a modern age. In a society of social media and immediate gratification, it fascinates me that so many love to receive a hand written note.  It speaks as evidence that though, as a society we are progressive and modern, there is something in our hearts that craves the sentimental and heartfelt.    Having witnessed so many of my friends excitement upon receiving a hand written missive from a friend,  I have to wonder why so few participate in this ancient activity.  A letter is such a simple gesture and  consumes such a little amount of time to compose.  The only requirement being a pen, paper, and 50 cent stamp, it seems sad to me that as a society, we are allowing this pastime to fall to the wayside.

I do admit that I am not surprised.  Modern society is so consumed with immediate access and keeping ourselves busy.  We are forced to allow simplicity to absent itself from our lives.  American society in particular is so concerned with the latest controversial tweet or snapchat story that people have forgotten to observe the tiny miracles of everyday life.  We are so busy staring at our phones that we never stop to watch that bright autumn leaf flutter down from its mother oak tree.  We don’t see the gentle quiver of a kitten’s nose as it takes in the sweetly intense scent of a rose for the first time, because we are too busy keeping up with the Jones.

I do not pretend that I am not guilty of these crimes against simple living.  However, I do feel keenly that this lifestyle is wrong.  Oh so very wrong. And it was this desire to return to the timeless beauty of simplicity that began my letter writing.  I was amazed at the intense pleasure I felt whenever I checked my mailbox to find a small bundle of words awaiting me.  The best part is, it is not a selfish pleasure.  Communication is a selfless act, and a letter is no exception.  It is both a pleasure to speak one’s thoughts, as well as to receive another’s.

I think that many people do not write letters because they fear there is no one who would enjoy this sort of communication.  I encourage you to ignore this feeling, for in my experience, it is simply an insecurity.  Letter writing may be old fashioned, but that does not equate to it being unappreciated.  And even in the event that you have no friend’s who would enjoy such a gesture, there are always opportunities to take a pen pal in a different country, or to write a soldier who has been deployed.  In the end, there is really no excuse to ignore this beautiful, timeless pastime.

In closing, I hope you are inspired.  If I have achieved nothing else, I hope that my words have encouraged you to take a moment for the simple pleasures of life, if not to sit down and write a letter.   When you leave, please remember, that just because something is uncommon, it does not necessarily follow that it’s value has lessened. In all honesty, more often than not, rarity indicates a deeper value.


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