I love receiving post.
Inside me, awfully close to the surface, is that small child who would run down the stairs to check if the post had arrived. I knew there wouldn’t be anything for me, but I had to check. I memorised how all the different sorts of letters looked so I could tell what was inside. I could sort out what you needed to open just by looking at the envelopes. I’d be absolutely thrilled to receive a birthday card in September even though my birthday’s in May.
I’m still like that. I still race down the stairs, and feel bereft of my treat if it’s a bank holiday. I get all excited when an eBay order arrives after I’ve forgotten it’s coming. Companies like Qwertee, who put little packets of Haribos in all their t-shirt orders, make going through the post even more fun to me.
Receiving post validates me emotionally. Someone out there cares. Someone out there know I exist. When I have days with my chronic illnesses where I struggle to leave the house, it’s a tangible link with the outside world. It doesn’t have to be much at all – I collect postcards, and try to hang on to little things I’ve been given by friends. My parents will insist on getting me pastel pink birthday cards though. Ouch.
Yes, I do have friends. I don’t demand they all send me things in the post, though I love it when they do. Mostly my contact with people is emails, messenger apps, texts and phone calls (though telephone contact is ever more scarce these days). Online contact to me feels very useful, but not exactly tangible. Although I need it and utilise it, it will never be the same as receiving a physical thing.
Frequently now I hear people (or read their Facebook!) saying that sending cards is bad for the environment. I don’t deny this, and perhaps I am being selfish, but I need to think in terms of my health and what works for me. I don’t send as much post as I’d like, mostly because I’ve been blessed with a fairly illegible hand, but when I do I try to use recycled paper and expect recipients to recycle what they don’t keep.
Who can honestly say they do all the right things all the time?
Answers on a postcard,