When I was kid I used to love going to the mail with my mom to check it. I always had this hope that I’d get something in the mail. I never did but occasionally near my birthday I would or once a month I’d get my highlights book. But other than that, I had no reason really to think something was coming for me. Now that I’m grown all the mail is for me but it’s not the kind I want to get. Yet I still find myself opening it thinking that maybe today I’ll get a check in the mail or a letter from a friend that’s nice and long. So I decided that I should. I wrote myself a letter. I talked about the kids, what I was afraid of and how things were going. I wrote of how much I loved my family and what our plans were. And I mailed me a letter.
When it arrived, I had forgotten about it. But when I sat to read it, it was strange to see my life in print, to read it like it was another person, to see it examined in such a matter of fact way. And it made the little things I worried about seem trivial. I found myself wondering, ‘Will she make it to Disney? Will her writing get published? I hope the kids are doing okay and that they’re happy. Will the teen get her driver’s permit on the first try? I decided that getting mail was good. I decided that writing my life was good.
When I was angry about something I wrote it in a letter and I mailed it to my “good friend”. When I received her letter in the mail I laughed at how trivial it seemed, what I was angry about. So I wrote her so. I noted at how people can come to their own conclusions and can learn and grow on their own. I reminded her of the great things she had in her family and her sense of right and wrong. And I sent it to her. My letters became unexpected notes to learn and grow by. Because what we mail is important. We don’t mail letters that are boring about cleaning out our finger nails. We write what we find to be the meat and potatoes of what’s going on. We reserve the US Postal service for only the important things. So what I get in the mail, I know I must read. Information from the past me to the future me, with perspective and distance, to stop and ponder. Are you feeling confused? Do you need an answer, need to make a decision? Want to create and can’t find the subject? Ask yourself in a letter. Mail it and see what happens when you open and read it. Your answer comes, in the mail. Need to deal with something later and afraid you’ll forget? Send a reminder to yourself in the mail on a postcard. And tell yourself how much you love and miss you. Tell yourself how much you love spending time with you and how funny you are. Wish yourself was here. Are you here? Be here now, checking the mail and fully aware that you are here. I dare you. Watch the transforming power of letting future you solve your problems, answer your questions and be your therapist. She’s full of wisdom and she’s funny. I miss her, do you? Don’t worry, you’ll see her in a few days! Why not write her and tell her so?
Sometimes, my kids get into it! They make a picture or drawing or write their name and tell me something “secret” and sweet and we mail it. They look for it to come in the mail. When it arrives, they grab it and say “Open it!, Open it!” And it always makes me smile to see their writing or pictures, I remember sitting at the table, their making this. I see my future when I find this piece of paper and remember their smiles as they see me read it now. What a great record, what a great time making them, what a great time finding them in my mail box! Dad needs his own. Grandma needs hers and my kids need theirs. Time to buy more markers! And time to write me a letter telling me about how much I love these letters from my kids!
Teresa Bondora counsels others on the realities of losing weight, and support in the sciences. Check out her book and web site online at www.HowToTeachScience.com