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When was the last time you wrote a letter? [guest post]

Geschreven door Wouter op

21st century. 7am.
The alarm goes off. I open my eyes, turn off the alarm and I immediately grab my phone. I start checking emails, texts, several social media accounts, watch videos, read some news… I send my roommate a voice note to inform him that we finished the milk.

Then I leave the house, go to school. Check the calendar on my phone to see in which class I have to go, text a classmate asking if she is already there, send a message to my parents saying that I have arrived. I wonder why this one friend still hasn’t responded even though her last access on Whatsapp has only been 10 minutes ago.

By around 12pm I have sent and received an average of 80 messages already.

What is the content of these messages? Nothing essential. Maybe 2 out of 80 would have actually been necessary.

So now I’ll ask you to jump back in time with me. When phones still did not exist and people used to send letters and postcards to each other. They posted them hoping that they would have found their way towards the intended receiver, and, armed with patience, they waited for a response.

They used to receive a letter with a frequency of maybe once or twice a month, they had to make fit all the events that had happened in the past weeks in a small card or in the back of a postcard, attaching a dried flower or some photos.

It sounds like an unimaginable scenario for today’s generation. However, it has been the case until around 25 years ago, when mobile phones became a common possession (even though, talking about first models, there was the possibility to send messages, but not to make use of internet).

Let’s be real: using our phones is quicker, cheaper and easier. But then why do we all say that “we wish someone would send us letters”?

So, let’s go together through some Pros of sending letters:

It is more personal.
There are many little things that we can find in a letter that we miss altogether with phones, such as perfumes, the thought that the other person actually touched that letter, being aware of the time spent to write it (and therefore, time spent by the sender for the receiver).

It is better at transmitting a message or a feeling.
For example, judging by the handwriting how the sender was feeling. Also, when you send a letter you usually include longer descriptions of things, compared to a quick text, making the descriptions more detailed.

It helps you practicing your grammar and handwriting.
Everyone is aware of how grammar is being destroyed by the internet, and people’s good calligraphy usually ends up being forgotten right after school. Letters help you concentrate on how you’re formulating your phrases (because deleting an error is not as easy as on your phone) and on using a clear calligraphy, so that the receiver will be able to read what you wrote.

So today, instead of sending a text to a loved one, I dare you to pick up a pen and write a letter for them.

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