Friday, January 1, 2016

1: Recapping 500 letters

I'll start off 2016 by summarizing 2015: it was better than expected.

I finished the goal I set for myself back in January, to write 500 letters throughout the course of the year. I started off last January with pens blazing. I wrote over 60 letters to people. Most all of them went to different people.

I realized that writing a full page letter to people got tedious. I didn't write all of them on 8 1/2 by 11 stationary like I had originally planned. I bought lots of postcards. I bought a Pixar box full of illustrations from various movies and sent those out. It was easier to dash off a quick note than to rack my brain for some deep thought to send to someone. I'm guessing people appreciated the thought however it came.

I don't really enjoying buying souvenirs. I find that most stuff like that just ends up in a junk drawer somewhere. Since I have moved what feels like a dozen times since college, I've learned to keep my crap to a minimum. I like postcards because they are specifically for someone else.

Being that I went to Colorado three times this year, I probably sent more postcards from there than I did from Minnesota.

I was curious to see who I got letters back from. I would estimate that I got maybe 100 letters over the course of the year. It's probably what I expected. I found that if you sent me at least one letter back, you'd probably send another over the year. I also realized that if you replied to one of the letters, I'd be more likely to send you another one.

I didn't mind that many people didn't return notes. Some thanked me with text messages and others with social media posts. I'm thinking back to all the letters my grandma sent me and how many I never acknowledged or returned. She just kept going. Unless the letter got lost in the mail, it's a good bet that one it gave the person at least a few moments of happiness.

I realized I probably repeated myself a lot in letters. A lot of times it was just about my job or that I was looking to go back to the cities. Sometimes it felt superficial, but I think the act itself counteracted the content of the note.

Am I going to continue to write letters? Yes. I probably won't write 500 of them, but I plan to always have a sheet of stamps handy.

I really liked connecting with some people as pen pals. A big thank you to my friends Jordan, Josh, Jer, Cara, Allison, Maggie and Sydney for their multiple letters this year (Sorry if I forgot anyone!). As well as to my family members: Aunt Betsy, Aunt Jane, Amy, Joe, Andrew, Melanie and Jonathan for their notes.

Which brings me to this year. Writing is my passion. Whether I do it for a living or just for fun, it's a big part of me. So my new year's resolution for 2016 is to update this blog once a day with a 500 word post. I'm going to call it my column. I miss having my column from the Independent, so I'll do my best to replicate it here. (I also have a physical goal to log 500 miles running, but I'm not going write about that as much because I HATE reading about people lauding their physical accomplishments.)

So, here's to more reading and more writing.

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