It was my daughter’s 1st birthday last weekend, so I have decided to write her a letter, then keep these letters in a book. In the letter, I reminisced on the year just passed and tried putting my thoughts and feelings into a few thousand words. It was a great exercise and I plan to do this at the same time each year. Over time, I will build up a collection of letters addressed to her with a plan to leave these letters to her once I’m gone.
This got me thinking about how some of the best exercises are those with a deadline assigned to them. I must write it on or near her birthday to ensure that the letter is authentic and truly represents the timespan, not to mention that it is a nice tradition for me to uphold.
What milestone moments in your year could be letter-worthy? A birthday? An annual trip? A visitor? Even a health check-up where you could review in your letter how you have treated your body over the last 12 months – which takes accountability to a different level. It’s good to assign your letter to a particular occasion because it makes you write it in close proximity to the event.
It also allows you to look back at a year ago when this event last happened, making it quite a useful wellness exercise. Perhaps you’ll get something off your chest, or even realise a change in yourself that you would not have recognised had you never written it down.
I also wrote letters to my friend when he was serving in Afghanistan which I really enjoyed. It gave me the chance to write in a memoir style, recounting to him what I’d been up to. Letter writing is a great exercise for self-reflection while at the same time testing your writing chops with a more uncommon writing style – epistolary. So, who will you address your next letter to?