The lost art of the handwritten note

Let's not let letter writing become old-fashioned...and outdated! All it takes is 5 minutes to sit down and pen one to someone!

Today, a rainy dreary day, I sat down to write a handwritten note. Why this is memorable: I haven’t penned a note (that wasn’t something pre-printed off Snapfish, Kodak Gallery, or some other card printing site—or jotted in an e-mail to someone, which I don’t really consider a real “note” at all). It was to my grandparents, who—at 93 and 95—still eagerly await the mailman and have never had (and don’t want to have) a computer.

In our fast-paced world, this is an anomaly; we’re all connected via high-speed WiFi and mail is saved for catalogs (mostly unwanted ones, which end up in the recycling bin) and credit card solicitations. When was the last time you received a note from someone? If you did, your first thought would probably be: “Is their computer broken?” or “I wonder if everything is okay?”

Even stores like Papyrus showcase all the beautiful cards and notes you can send to someone, but how many of us pick ones with words already in it…so we only have to sign our names with a hastily written sentence or two?

With so many avenues open to us to communicate with others, it’s amazing how much we’ve really lost touch with the art of COMMUNICATING…writing thoughts long-form and in sentences, not in text format or 40 characters or less, which allows for more stream of consciousness and emotions. In a nutshell, it allows for depth.

Call me a bad mom, but I never really encourage my kids to write thank you notes when they receive a gift. I’ve always thought it faster to just pick up the phone and say how much they loved the present. So they aren’t really being trained in the art of writing a letter. This is definitely going to change moving forward!

And for me, I’m making it a new goal to jot a note or two to people (including my grandparents) moving forward. Even as I get more and more knowledgeable about everything digital, it’s important not to lose sight of just how much more meaning this form of communicating has—particularly for those who may not be connected. (And for those of us who use the ‘ol excuse: who’s got the time? My answer is: put aside the BB or iPhone for just 5 minutes and make the time!)

Valerie LatonaAbout Valerie Latona
As the former editor in chief of Shape (the active lifestyle magazine) for 5 years, I personally spoke with a lot of women (thousands over the years, from around the nation) and what I found is this: it's not easy to stay healthy, to get (and stay) fit, and to stem the weight gain tide (and even the tide of disease) that inevitably happens to us as we get older.