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A love letter to letters

Finding the underrated beauty of handwritten letters to loved ones

Cecy Juárez is a Life columnist for The Cavalier Daily.
Cecy Juárez is a Life columnist for The Cavalier Daily.

What is the worth of a handwritten letter? In today’s fast-paced world, it can feel like letters are outdated and useless. What’s the point of sending a letter when you can just text or email instantly? We can even call and video conference to see and speak with friends around the world. But despite this age of instant connection, I feel like there is still something lacking in the world of online communication.

I know this isn’t the first time I have advocated for old-school stuff, but I can’t help but pay homage to some of the world’s lost arts like reading paper books or taking Polaroid photos. I’d even go so far as to say that writing letters can be a love language of its own.

Letters carry meaning. They represent a piece of ourselves that we’ve transferred onto paper through our own unique handwriting and styles. My letters are often trademarked by scribbled-out words that I have misspelled and smudges from writing too fast. I always try to make each letter I write as special as I can to the person I’m writing to. Sometimes I’ll even include a Polaroid photo of myself as a personal touch. My final secret ingredient includes a few spritz of the perfume I wear with a cute sticker to hold the envelope shut. In the end, I’ve created a piece of myself on paper — a piece of my affection and dedication. 

It can be easy to just simply send off a half-hearted text to whoever you want. Whether it be to thank someone for a gift or to update a distant friend, online messaging is the quickest way to get the job done — but that doesn’t mean it is the most meaningful and valuable method. Sometimes, we should take a moment to come up with a way to get in touch with a loved one that will make them feel special. 

You can approach writing letters in so many different ways. You can write a letter to an old friend that you’ve lost touch with or even a loved one that lives in a different part of the world. Letters carry great significance regardless of how far away the recipient lives or how often you’ve been in touch. I’d also highly recommend writing thank you notes ー gratitude is best displayed with a thoughtful, handwritten letter. Write to your grandparents ー who’ve probably been the most isolated out of all of us for the past year ー and surprise them with a heartfelt letter about how much you care for them. You could even try sending a postcard if you’re on vacation somewhere and want to reach out to friends.

I’ll admit, I have not written as many letters as I should have. I sent a few during my first year at college, but not as many as I wanted to. I felt like I never had enough time even though if I had just set my devices aside for a moment, I definitely did have more than enough opportunities.

This coming school year, I want to try to practice what I preach and get into the habit of sending letters. It’s such a simple yet lovely way to brighten someone’s day with a unique gesture of affection. It will grant me the opportunity to take some moments to reflect on my day-to-day life and document how I have been making the most out of my time. Moreover, it’ll remind me not to take my loved ones for granted and remind them how much I care for them.