As I mentioned previously, I’ve been trying to walk to the post office every weekday. I’ve missed a day or two here and there, but I’ve been making a good effort to go every day. It’s not too far, and since the weather is generally nice, I really have no excuse unless I get busy with work. I never go at the same time each day, but it’s a nice chance to get some sun on my cheeks and to get away from the computer.
Yesterday was a busy day. I started working out hard in February, and it eats up a large chunk of my time now. People always use “I don’t have the time” as an excuse to not work out, and while working out is important, it is a valid point. I went to the gym in the morning, and it was a three hour outing. That’s a significant portion of my day gone. It’s worth it, and I’ve lost a good amount of weight in the past month, but you can’t deny that working out takes up a good amount of time and effort. Back to postcards… I wasn’t able to walk to the post office yesterday but stopped there on my way home from dinner out with a friend. I was in a rush to get home to prepare for EndGame and only have time to drive by the post office quickly. I even forgot my postcards to mail at home which meant I arrived at the post office empty handed. That’s never a good sign.
I was absolutely thrilled when I opened my PO Box last night to find it full! I reached into it and pulled out a fat stack of postcards and greeting cards. I couldn’t believe it! I had to rush home and didn’t have time to really look at the mail while I was standing in the post office, but I counted quickly to see how many pieces of mail I received: ten! There were ten pieces of mail! How marvelous. I was receiving one or two pieces each day on average, but I was absolutely floored by opening a full PO Box last night. The mail was from friends, penpals and Redditors from all over North America: Edmonton, New York, San Fransisco, Knoxville…! It took me two hours to write replies to all the mail that I received, and I loved every minute of it.
When I started my postcard project, the main goal was to send 1000 postcards within one year. There were three effects of the postcard project that I was hoping for regardless of whether or not I would make my goal: 1. I would be sending more personal mail, 2. I would be receiving more personal mail, and 3. I would be encouraging and inspiring others to send more personal mail. Number 1 and 2 are easy to track. Since August, I’ve sent hundreds of pieces of mail from greeting cards to postcards. I was sending maybe five pieces of personal mail per year the two years before I started this project, and I know that I am sending much, much more mail than I was this time last year.
At the same time, it’s easy to see that I’m receiving more personal mail. Before my postcard project, all my personal mail was either holiday greeting cards or the occasional postcards that I begged my traveling friends to send me. I’m receiving exponentially more mail this year than last year from people all over the world. It’s just like my mom used to tell me: I had to send mail in order to receive it. I cherish each piece of mail and am starting to brainstorm neat ways to store it. I have a handful of boxes from Ikea, but there has to be a fun way to categorize and organize all the mail that I’ve been receiving. I should probably start storing mail in the order that it was received. Thankfully, the majority of postcards are date stamped at the post office in case some are out of order. If you have any suggestions for my mail storage, let me know!
The last effect that I wanted from my postcard project was encouraging or inspiring others to start sending more mail. I can’t say for certain that I am, but I think that I am doing that. Last night, I received this gorgeous owl card from Lindsey which is a reply to the card that I sent her the week before. The card is actually made of wood which is neat. She wrote that “it was so exciting to get an actually nice piece of mail (besides a visa bill or some university alumni crap! haha).” Lindsey and I have been friends for years, and she easily could have sent me a text saying “got your card, thanks!” but instead, she took the time to send me mail. Would she have sent me a greeting card out-of-the-blue if I hadn’t sent her one? Probably not. Another example of my inspiring others to send mail is the fact that one of my coworkers signed up for Postcrossing. I genuinely think that personal mail is a precious but dying art, and I hope that if you’re reading this, you’ll take some time this week to write a postcard or greeting card. Sign up for Postcrossing, post on /r/RedditPost or simply send a card to an old friend! It will make someone’s day.