Saturday, April 17, 2010
Letters from Home
I've caught myself thinking more than once in the past several weeks (shocking, I know) about networking websites and some obvious losses that society has taken as a whole. Don't get me wrong- facebook, gmail...they're all great. But because of them, we are living in such a dynamically different world than we were as little as 5 to 10 years ago. And I miss it.
I remember the days when I'd call my friends, several times a week. I'd call to chat, catch up, ask advice from, etc. And I'd get those phone calls back. But what is the point in chatting, when you have gchat? Or catching up, when you can read their statuses? And advice? Well, I could definitely still use that.
And the one I miss the most. Letter-writing. During my Junior year in high school, I had a best friend who lived in a different area code than I. Do teenagers today know what that means? She lived long distance, and I got punished/money taken from allowance if I called her and talked longer than 10 minutes each week. The obvious solution? Letter-writing. I wrote her a letter every single day that year. And she did as well. It was so beautiful. I still have that shoebox full of those letters and photos, and the last I heard, so did she.
Writing letters to friends when I was in high school and college solidified the friendships that I still have today. There is something that can be said for another person who is willing to sit down and take an hour out of their day and write to YOU. The time it takes to write a letter, the patience it takes to receive one in return, the penmanship, the white-out, the photos included, even the $0.41 sacrifice; all of these were proofs to my adolescent self that someone cared enough about me. And how fun it was to prove that I cared enough in return.
I found an old shoebox the other day. It was filled with old letters that I must have collected that were dearest to my heart. There was about 20 years worth of letters from my grandparents, now deceased. Another 20 years from my other set of grandparents. There were cards from friends and family alike. I sat there and read each one of them. Then I made a scary discovery. They stopped abruptly in late 2005.
In late 2005, I signed up for Facebook.
I don't regret using social media sites, and I will continue using them (though not as much as I have been). I want to somehow find that balance again between just "keeping up" with people, and truly showing loved ones that I care- something other than a "poke" or a "like". It will be hard, because, like I said, I already know how these people are doing, I see their statuses. Likewise, they know how/what/where/why I am doing.
All I can really say, is thank God that Facebook was not around when I was in high school / most of college. That shoebox in my closet would be empty. I wouldn't have known what my grandparents were doing in Florida. I would have never been taught that lesson about having my allowance taken away. Most importantly, I wouldn't have ever gotten a letter from my brother...