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Who can you thank?

I have postage stamps hanging from a clip on my refrigerator. I put them there so I would see them often. For a LONG time, I kept them in my billfold, tucked safely away. And I never saw them, and very rarely used them.

When I see these stamps, I picture letters my Aunt Joyce and I used to exchange with each other. She was my favorite aunt, and I still fantasize that I was her favorite niece. She lived in California, and I lived in Kansas City. I didn’t see her nearly often enough. When I would get a letter from her, it was almost as good as a Holiday. It was a Holiday for me. These letters over the years created a special bond between us.

There is power in a handwritten note. They can bring us back to earlier times and they can make someone’s day. They can evoke childhood memories, or the remembrance of a job well done.

The age of the Pen Pal

Depending upon your age, you might remember having a Pen Pal. I remember a project in elementary school, where we wrote a note to another student, in another state, with the hope that we would receive a note in return. I don’t remember if I received one or not. Regardless, I do hope the person who received mine liked it. I remember having fantasies about being able to meet the person…even go visit them on summer vacation. Oh, I was a dreamer!

Fast-forward a few (many?) decades to the age of the computer, texting, and long forgotten handwritten notes. It’s just a memory for many. But I, for one, am seeing the resurgence of the handwritten note. Recently I received a text from someone (you know who you are) I had met at a networking event. They asked for my mailing address. I was happy to provide it to her, not knowing what I might receive. It was a Thank You note. And it was very heart-felt and genuine. And I promised myself that I would make it a regular habit to write at least 1 weekly handwritten note. And, I did not do it. I have yet to do it. Why? Because I think about it at the wrong time. And I’ve never written in my monaplanner© “send personal handwritten note to ________ this week”. Until now. Are you the lucky recipient?

When was the last time you received a handwritten thank you note? How did it feel when you opened your mailbox to see an envelope with a handwritten address? Did you shuffle it to the top, and set the bills, coupon packs and a postcard for a “FREE DENTAL CHECKUP” aside? Did you carefully open the beautiful envelope, so as not to risk tearing the prized note inside? Did you know who it was from before you opened it, or was it a total surprise? Those. Are. The. Best.

You might a bit like me sometimes…nostalgic for the “good-ol’ days” and hopeful that some of our habits and rituals will return. They will only return if we each make a habit of it. What will you do?

The power of handwriting

There is a tremendous amount of research about the power of handwriting. This topic has even appeared in a past blog post of mine. If you follow the monaplanner©, you know I’m a huge advocate of handwriting over pounding keys on a keyboard (which I am doing now, btw). Our memory is better when we write instead of type. Our recall is faster and more accurate. Yet most of us still fail to do it.

In fact, a recent study states that 1 in 3 people have not written ANYTHING by hand in the last 41 days. 

Most states don’t teach cursive writing anymore. How will this generation read a handwritten birthday card from their grandparents? How do they learn to sign their name? I’m really curious about that.

As I sit here typing, I have my monaplanner© beside my computer. It’s how I organize my thoughts and projects. Yes, paper and pen (a Sharpie fine point pen, to be exact). When I write, I feel like my brain is getting lighter…like I’m freeing up space to think, instead of remembering.

I do remember when my Aunt Joyce got a computer (yes, it was a Mac Powerbook) She used it for email, and I’m not sure what else. I think she knew that if she wanted to stay in touch with her nieces and nephews, she would have to give in to electronics. But I still continued to receive a handwritten birthday card, until she died a few years ago.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept:

So whose day will you make when they open a handwritten note from you sometime soon?