Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Journey Has Ended - Entry #36

My one-year odyssey is over.  Fini.  Complete.  During the past twelve months I have handwritten 366 notes and letters (the extra card was for good luck).   I began on May 25, 2012 with a note to John Kralik, author of 365 Thank Yous:  The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life, and the inspiration for my year-long Writing Project.  My final letter, bookending this undertaking, was also to Judge Kralik, giving him a snapshot summation of the journey just concluded.  My spreadsheet of recipients ran the gamut from close friends and family to the man-on-the-street.  There wasn’t necessarily any rhyme or reason to all my choices.  Sometimes they were obvious—people I work with on a day-to-day basis—and sometimes they were not—a composer of a recently closed Broadway musical or a helpful hotel manager.  I occasionally panicked—“Egads!  Who will I write to today?!”  Sometimes I was lazy, but in the end I stubbornly carried on to the Writing Project’s denouement. 

Looking back over “The 365” there were some notable stats.  Twenty percent (71 people) were professional staff within the University of Connecticut, both at my regional campus (Waterbury) and the main campus at Storrs.  Another 20% (74 people) were colleagues within the New England region and elsewhere around the country.  Friends and neighbors accounted for 15% (52 people) of recipients.  Interestingly, I wrote to less then 20 family members (5%), which also included first cousins.

I realized much about myself over the course of this adventure—perseverance, being more open and honest, and understanding the consequence of setting bar-raising goals.  More importantly, through the Writing Project I have discovered the simple, yet substantial impact a handwritten piece of correspondence can have on an individual.  Here are some excerpts from cards I received that highlight this assertion:

I’m inspired by your commitment to personal notes—really a lost art.
WOW, I just got a wonderful letter from you!!  Thank you for the thank you!!  It is letters like yours that make it all worthwhile.

It was so nice to receive a card from you today!  You are right, we all don’t take the time to sit and hand write notes to each other.  I was so happy to get yours, I had to write back.

There is something very unique and special about noticing and appreciating those in our lives…It was a thrill to receive your hand-written, lengthy note.

My next blog post will be my last.  I have collapsed all I have experienced over the twelve months into a list entitled “Ten Things I Learned From Composing Handwritten Notes.”  I hope it will provide some guidance and advice for individuals looking to begin their own Writing Project, no matter its breadth or scope.

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