When I was about 15 or 16 years old I literally had so many pen pals that I had to keep files on them all. (Creepy a bit, right?) I kept files to remind me of who liked what and who was who and where they lived. I didn’t want to get any of them mixed up. I regret ever throwing those files away because I now wish I still had some of their addresses. But life threw in a little curve ball and out came MySpace and YouTube and MSN and Twitter and Gmail and….Facebook!
Now, in order to get mail that isn’t a bill or flyers, I have to shop on ebay and wait a few weeks before getting a $3.00 purchase in the mail. It’s pretty sad that it has come to this.
But thanks to Facebook and one status I wrote awhile ago, I am back on the wagon and I have a penpal (sounds corny) who writes and I write to her. And no, I don’t keep a file on her, although I am sure she’d think it was funny (and creepy) if I did!
There is something about getting a letter in the mail from a friend or family or penpal that makes you feel like, “Hey, someone cares.” And to be able to sit down and have a coffee and read a handwritten (no cheating and typing it out on the computer…I want to see callused fingers!) letter, then be able to respond by using a pen and paper to write back…it’s a priceless gift hidden under a pile of dirty drama called Facebook.
Everyone (almost) is on Facebook now so, you know, we figure why waste an hour of our time writing a letter then going through the hassle of finding a envelope and then stamps and then a post office box…why all that when we can sit at ease on our computers and just tell people we care about them there? Well I will tell you why. Because it’s not the same thing. Call me crazy but when I get a letter in the mail it makes all my bad days go away (as long as the letter isn’t bad news) for awhile. It makes me feel like I am so important to that individual that they took the time out of their busy lives to think of me for more than 30 seconds.
We are lucky to have such great technology these days, but *and you can quote me on this* don’t we all feel a little bit lonely? We get older and we fall in love, get married, have kids or have careers (or both), we buy houses and cars and rack up debt. Before we know it life becomes all about the bad stuff that gets us down and we try to escape into a fantasy world (Facebook, uh hum) where things seem perfect and everyone is in one place. But we still feel empty. The letters have stopped and are now replaced by e-mails and Facebook. The phone calls have stopped and are now replaced by text messages. It’s like there is no human interaction anymore.
Facebook, by far, is one of the greatest tools we have right now. We can meet new people, see old friends, create groups, create pages, create events, chat, play games, etc. There is so much we can do and I am thankful I have a quick place to stop in when I have a few minutes. But sometimes I also feel like Facebook is the devil’s playground! Not in a bad way, just in the sense that it’s taken away human interaction in all the right ways that we NEED as human beings (especially us women who live off our emotions).
We don’t all get to go out all the time. Especially those of us with young children. So interaction through phone calls and letters (in the mail!) are sometimes just what we need to feel like we still live on Earth. To feel like we’re still human. To feel like there are still people who care about us.
We wonder why stress rates have gone up so high. Why people hate their jobs. Why people generally seem happy on the outside but so broken on the inside. We’re not there for each other (I can’t speak for everyone here but as a general quote) anymore. And we need to be. I say this *choking on a damn tear here* because I know, how can I say it, I know what happens in the mind of someone who may seem to have it all but deep down feels alone and scared and sad. It’s not good. And just one damn letter can change a whole person’s world around, trust me on this!
This may be the 1st and only post that has nearly brought me to tears. So I encourage anyone who’s reading this right now to do yourself a favor and find someone you can keep in touch with through the mail. Go through your Facebook friends and just find one person, get their home address, and send them a letter. You will see how much closer two people can become and you will feel happy to check the mail again anxiously awaiting a reply.
I have to go now, but I really truly hope that letters come back. I hope Facebook sticks around of course (I need my daily dose), but I truly hope to see the mailmen back at work delivering
smiles letters to people who really need it.