Sometimes we all have a rough night, morning, month, etc — even Barbie. About two months ago, I anonymously mailed letters of encouragement to three randomly selected strangers and wrote down 15 of my favorite inspirational quotes in the letters. Hopefully, the strangers were excited, rather than extremely creeped out. Even so, I found that this act caused me a major happiness boost and reduced a lot of stress, especially as the end of my college career was approaching. Another similar item on my “Kind Acts & Volunteering” list was “Open the phone book, pick a name, and then send them something anonymously,” which I completed yesterday.
The other day, as I ventured into the Party Store to buy balloons for another bucket list item — “attach a note to a balloon and release it into the air” — I came across a bag of smiley face slinkies. Perfect, I thought. While I know the slinkies are not the most expensive gift to send someone, or some people might think, just what I need, more junk, I felt as if they fit the tone of the letter I planned to write. And it’s the thought that counts, right? I figured that even if they want to throw out the slinkies, I hope that they will at least keep the letter.
After purchasing my smiley face balloon and slinkies, I sat outside in the sun crafting my letter. Yesterday, I went to buy a large manila envelope and stamps. After placing the letter and four of the slinkies in the envelope, I randomly selected my recipient using the same system I tried last time. First, I went to a website that lists every surname in alphabetical order. Because I’d chosen people with last names falling under A,B, and C the last time, I decided to move onto D and used my very mature, efficient system of “eenie, meenie, miny, moe” to make my selection. Once I’d chosen a last name, I used the same approach on a website that lists all people with that last name and their addresses.
For the sake of privacy, I photoshoped out the recipient’s last name and address in the photos. I can say that her name is Diane, she’s from Ohio, and, according to the website she is listed on, she is 67 years old. Yesterday, I sent her letter on its way. While I sound a bit preachy, I learned a lot of the advice I included in the letter in a great interpersonal communication class I took this year and I think it is always nice to be reminded of how to deal with such an ingrained aspect of daily life: emotions.
Below is the letter I wrote:
“When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” – John Lennon.
Although I can assure you I don’t know you, I figure that everyone can use a pick-me-up or a little inspiration once in a while. I am writing to remind you that above all else, you should never forget to be happy. If you are going through a tough time right now, I want to let you know that things will get better. I recently learned that rather than viewing our emotions as a part of ourselves (i.e. “I am sad,” “I am anxious”), we should look at emotions as outside of ourselves like the weather and simply observe them. Don’t try to block out sadness or anger, but simply observe the emotions and know that, like rain, they will eventually go away. And if you are not going through a difficult time right now, I hope you look back on this letter sometime when you may need it more or show it to a loved one who may need a pink-me-up. The slinkies are to remind you to never forget the child-like wonder that comes with small pleasures. If you get a chance, start a gratitude journal: Each day, write down five things you are grateful for. It can be as simply as having a good cup of coffee. You will be amazed at the boost in happiness and change in perspecive this simple exercise provides. But this letter is not meant to be a lecture. If not anything else, I hope it at least put a smile on your face and that someday, you might return the favor and help a stranger in need. Here’s wishing you all the best!
Someone Who Cares =] ❤
Has anyone tried something similar or hopes to cross this one off his or her bucket list? I’d love to hear from you!
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