If you search the internet, you’ll find that there is a “national day” for almost everything. Sure, it could seem like overkill, but really, it’s a reason to celebrate the little things in life! If you didn’t already know, June 1st is National Pen Pal Day. What does this mean? It means it’s time to break out your pens, your stickers, your stationary, and get writing.
You might wonder why you’d want to celebrate National Pen Pal Day and I’m here with 5 reasons for you:
Here at GenTwenty we are passionate about finding the best for ourselves and doing the best for ourselves. One thing we’re huge advocates of is self-care.
Taking time out of your day, away from your phone, email, screens, and sitting down to write something to someone you love is definitely self-care in our book. For those of you who subscribe to the Five Love Languages school of communication (I do!) letters are a great act of service, gift, and word of affirmation all wrapped into one.
You can’t get very far without friendship. When I’m feeling lonely or far away from friends who live in different states, I sit down at my desk and write a little note or post card to pop in the mail. It makes me feel good to think about my friends, and I know they’ll be excited to receive mail that is both thoughtful and not a bill.
I will write a short note just to say that I’m thinking of them, or sometimes I’ll write a long one, letting them know some updates or telling a funny story. Sure, I could text or call and relay that instantly, but it’s different in a note. It’s different and better.
If you like to be creative but don’t have it in you to paint, draw, or scrapbook, creating a beautiful letter could be the perfect outlet for you. Not only are you using your brain to communicate through your writing, but you can decorate your stationary, or make your own stationary, and spark a little joy from creating something tangible.
Snail mail—I love that term because I picture cartoon snails with letters on their backs chugging along) is a great way to stay connected. Sure, it’s slower, but it can help you practice patience and gratitude.
There are other ways to be a pen pal than sending letters to friends or family, and one way is by becoming a pen pal to a prisoner. There are programs that help connect people, such as the Prisoner Correspondence Project which can be a thoughtful way for you to donate your time to helping someone, but also gaining for yourself more perspective and connection as well.
5. Global Understanding
Did you ever have classroom pen pals? I never did, but some of my friends did, where their whole class would write letters to another class in a different country, learning about their community, their schools, their lives, and gaining a larger global perspective.
There are organizations that still do this! You can help your classroom become pen pals, or some organizations even allow you to sponsor your pen pal if you’re looking to donate financially as well. There are so many resources out there, and a few I’ve found are educatorsusa.org and children.org.
Do It For The Memories
My absolute favorite pen pal to write with is my grandma. She is 86, sharp as a tack, and the kindest woman I know. For as long as I can remember, I’ve received cards from her and my grandfather on every holiday, large or small.
Recently while I was moving, I came across BOXES of cards I’ve saved. Some with notes like, “October 1993, Dear Marina, thinking of you this halloween. Hope it’s a fun night trick-or-treating, we love you! Love, Grandma and Pap-Pap.” I have saved every single note from her and my grandfather, which may be some people’s nightmare if you’ve ever seen “Hoarder’s, Buried Alive” but I can’t part with these little pieces of her heart.
Now, we write little notes to one another less often, and not for the holidays. My favorite is to send her funny postcards from my travels, even if my travels are just me going to my local supermarket and picking out the goofiest card I can find.
Who do you like to write to? How do you practice Pen Pal-ship? Are you celebrating National Pen Pal Day?