I wanted to write a letter of thanks this week. My friend had helped me and a text or an email just didn’t seem ‘enough’ as a way to express my feelings of gratitude. I went to Paperchase to buy some notepaper but I couldn’t find any. The shop assistant was at a loss. We hunted high and low, exchanged ironic banter about the lack of paper in a paper shop! Our paper chase eventually ended in success – I dug up one packet of note paper in the warehouse of notebooks and greeting cards. It seems we don’t write letters anymore!
But maybe we could? Writing my thoughts down, with an actual pen on actual paper, felt personal, almost intimate. I wanted the recipient of my letter to feel noticed and appreciated. I could have said all the same things in an email, but would it have been the same? A letter can be kept. Folded and unfolded multiple times, tucked in a keepsake draw, stashed in a handbag. Is it more real than a virtual message? I’m wondering if it is.
Writing things down can be powerful. Committing our thoughts, feelings, needs, wants, losses and desires to paper gives them a place in the world of things. A bucket list committed to paper is more likely to be completed than a bucket list in my head. We do this in therapy sometimes – write down what we need as if it really mattered. Writing down our dreams might be the first step to making them come true.