Happiness In Other Words
Would you like to know a little known fact about me? Some of the first things I ever loved and collected were paper and pencils and pens. Back then (early 80's), neat paper wasn't as easy to come by, and I would save every bit of it I got my hands on, from post-its to letterhead. Every once in a while, when I would have a little money, I would ask my grandmother to take me to Hallmark so I could spend it on Hello Kitty pens and maybe a notepad if I was lucky. (Hello Kitty wasn't everywhere back then either, and the only place I ever saw it was at one certain Hallmark store, which felt like a treasure trove that only I had discovered, and I wanted to swim in it, and keep it my special secret forever. Actually, until I was a teenager and set my sights on The Gap, Hallmark was the only store I ever wanted to go to.) For my twelfth birthday one of my friends gave me personalized stationery and I still regard that to be one of the very best gifts I've ever been given. There were only 25 pieces of it, with my name embossed at the top in shiny pink letters, and I only used about two of the pieces. I still have it. And I still collect stationery and note cards. I also still love pens and pencils, and good markers. Oh, and also stamps. I also had a stamp collection that my grandmother helped me with when I was in 4H, and I kept them in a green folder. I still have an affinity for stamps as well.
I'm telling this tale of me to tell you another one, of course. And it goes nicely, almost hand-in-hand, with this Gratitude thing I'm doing.
I've started this lovely pay it forward thing that I saw on Facebook, where I send handwritten notes to friends just for the purpose of sending out some sunshine via snail mail.
(Let's sidestep the fact that this started on Facebook, and then I won't have to dip into the deep pool of exceedingly negative feelings I have about it.)
I signed up to do it because I'm a big fan of getting mail, and since the invent of this here internet, my former exceptional correspondence habits have fallen nearly off the face of the earth. That makes me sad to think of because I used to write letters constantly.
I also really treasure handwriting. Pretty penmanship makes me happy, mine or yours, and the convenience of email has nearly taken it all away. There's something special about opening a mailbox and finding letters inside written just for you.
So, when I came upon this pay if forward letter party I kind of just knew I needed to do it. I wanted to do it, and it was so exciting to see so many people comment that they would like to get a handwritten note from me.
I went to the store and got new paper and markers and envelopes, I got some stickers, and a few other things that make notes happy, and I immediately got started.
I've only mailed out four so far, but the happiness that has arrived back in my days because of it is palpable. It's a joy!
This makes a good first post in this new gratitude thing I'm doing, and what's great about this, this time, is that I'm challenging myself to actually DO more than assess. Does that make sense? Rather than merely listing things I'm grateful for, I'm trying to physically do things I can be grateful for. The best thing about this though, is the reminder that the best way to bring yourself happiness is to get busy passing out happiness to others.
Some call it paying if forward, but it's also something I know to be defined as The Law of Reciprocity. In other words, you get what you give. What you put out is what comes back to you. You reap what you sow. No matter how you say it, it's true. And it works.
This is something I have known for a long time, but wow, how easy it is to forget. I'm grateful for this remembrance.
Would you like a handwritten note from me?