To Whom it May Concern

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?

1 Comment

  1. It would have been my mother’s 114th birthday yesterday had she lived beyond her 67 short years. It is a day which always puts me in a reflective mood. Despite having a day filled with Ukrainian guests and music-making with Scottish and Ukrainian folk-songs played and sung, I found time to phone my older sister, whose husband recently died after months of illness and disability. My younger sister was away, she seldom stops travelling.
    I miss my mother a lot, she was the sort of constant presence who was felt even when we didn’t speak for days. I saw a photo of her at my wedding a year and a half before she died, and wondered how I did not realise how ill she was. She died having left all her affairs in order, bills paid, invoices for lessons given sent. Perhaps that is why my affairs are always in a state of chaos. Unconsciously I believe that becoming organised will mean my life is drawing to an end.
    But mainly my mother was kind, and in that I hope to be more like her.
    Well I won’t swell my reminiscences to several thousand words, but perhaps I should mark her day with some writing on the theme of kindness, each year.

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