A couple of weeks ago I dropped my daughter at college. It was a bittersweet moment. On the one hand, she was achieving everything we would have wanted for her and growing into an excellent and independent young woman. On the other, it was a big loss to have an empty seat at the table - and to think of a major part of our parenting journey transitioning to something a little different.
As I tried to give her the space to meet people and explore her new playground, I realized there was still so much that I wanted to say … and some of it included things I wanted her to remember that I said. Things that didn’t need to be communicated this second, but this year.
I ended up buying some stationary and writing a letter. It felt great! I think it was also appreciated, though maybe the really powerful thing is in the long game after the habit has kicked in and maybe we get in the habit of writing to each other.
Since then, I have started writing letters to a lot of people that are important to me. Watch out, you might get one!
I have written letters prolifically at various points. First, when I was in Japan in 1987 and we didn’t have email or chat. Then again when my future wife was on a semester abroad.
I realized I love writing letters and it helps me get my ideas out of my head and hopefully convey them to other people in a medium that they can digest. There’s no reason you can’t do it in an email, but I think a lot of people don’t have time to really read email and do you keep email and go back and read it to remember something important someone said? Sure, you can. But do you?
I owe a nod to a few people including both my grandfather and my brother who have very good writing habits. Also, my friend Reuben who puts pen to paper to write thank you notes. I laugh a bit when I think about the old school mathemeticians and scientists who collaborated often through very slow correspondence.
In a moment where every company wants to have your time, bring you to their platform, use your content to better advertise to you - I would argue writing letters on paper and using the mail is downright subversive!
Anyway, I will be doing more of this and I’m excited about it so I thought I would share. If you’d like to get a letter, shoot me an email! ;-)