Letter is ‘awesome’ reminder of slower pace

Day by Day:
Letter is ‘awesome’ reminder of slower pace

By LIZ THOMPSON

Mar 22, 2020
This Week News

My old printer finally spit out its last sheet of paper, just as I was attempting to print something to mail to my mother.

Yes, good old U.S. mail.

The printer’s demise was an inconvenience, but I reasoned it was about 10 years old. For electronics these days, that’s a good life.

I’m thankful it won’t end up in a landfill for another 50 years because there are ways to recycle almost anything – including old printers.

Just as my printer died, I was about to type a letter to my youngest grandson, who is deployed with the U.S. Armed Forces. He had just texted his new address. I replied that I would answer with a handwritten letter.

His response: “Awesome! Those are special!”

Being a grandmother who grew up writing everything by hand, this made me smile. In 2020, a young man thinks handwritten notes are awesome.

I told him, “You are special.”

In the early 1990s, I had a severe attack of multiple sclerosis that left my right arm and hand numb. Holding a pen or writing was nearly impossible. Fortunately, I was a typist.

It took years to regain normal use of that hand, and the numbness finally abated. I struggled to make my handwriting readable.

Then, in 2006, I broke my right wrist. After surgery, again, I had to teach myself to write legibly.

I have to concentrate to write anything of length these days, but it’s doable.

I have a letter my grandfather had typed to my brother and me around 1955. Typewritten to us then might have been special instead of the usual handwritten note.

A recent daily devotion stated, in part:

“We live in a world of instant gratification. We want what we want – and we want it now! Whether it’s faster internet speeds, ‘on-demand’ movies and music or same-day delivery for our online purchases, we live in a culture that expects things to happen immediately.

“Of course, there’s nothing wrong with fast internet connections, downloading a new release to your tablet or enjoying the convenience of same-day delivery.”

When I read this and then my grandson’s text – yet another instant-gratification tool – I realized writing a note by hand takes longer. I give it more thought because I can’t backspace or delete to fix an error or reword a sentence. Giving more thought about what we want to say is important.

My dad used to chastise us if we said something inappropriate in content or tone. He would remind us to think before we spoke.

How easy it is to spout off something in anger or even excitement and realize too late how we sounded.

It’s just as easy to shoot a text, email or tweet in a way we later regret. They’re not just words in the air but words that can be saved for a long time.

Are we that impatient to learn the latest tidbit of news that we can’t wait to talk with someone?

When we have celebratory news, we do want to shout it out. Besides, buying, writing and mailing announcements can take time, and we want to send the news now. Yet it might be made more precious sharing in a more personal way.

Many remember catalogs clogging the mailbox. We’d flip through them to see what clothes, toys or gadgets were offered.

I used to place orders by telephone. When I paid via check, the company would process the order once the check was received and cleared.

Sometimes, orders for home or business took four to six weeks.

We had to plan ahead and seldom made purchases on a whim. And yes, we used it up and wore it out.

Catalogs still exist, but brick-and-mortar stores are disappearing faster than I would like.

Now many stores don’t want checks, and some don’t even accept cash. Credit and debit cards often are the only game in town.

In these days of instant gratification, we can get used to and appreciate the convenience.

But I often yearn for a slower pace.

 

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