I recently unearthed an object from my past. Now, this isn’t an important or influential object from my past by any means. Up until several days ago, I had never actually used it.

This object is a letter opener.

I got it as a free giveaway when I was in 5th grade. 5th grade was the height of my school supplies phase, (Yes, I went through a school supplies phase) during which I carried around a pencil bag named “Pencey” and was madly obsessed with any and all school supplies. So, of course I wanted all the school supplies I could get my hands on, regardless of the fact if I actually had a use for them.

The event in which I got it, along with a bunch other free pens and highlighters, was a women in business expo, at which one of the booths was occupied by my grandmother’s bank. My mother, siblings, and I went there to support her, and after getting a free pen from her, I went table to table racking up the free goodies.

I got the letter opener from the booth run by The Hearing Aid Place, a now defunct business in my hometown, which as the name implies, sold hearing aids. One side sports its company logo and contact info while the other promotes the smallness of their hearing aids with a life-size picture of one.  

As soon as I got this letter opener, I added it to my starting line-up of school supplies which I meticulously organized on my desk. But, since I was ten and therefore did not actually get any mail sent to me, I never used it.

This lack of use irks my current self. You see, I am working towards becoming a minimalist. The key tenet of this philosophy for me is that if something doesn’t provide some sort of use or bring me happiness, then I don’t own it. As the son of a hoarder, I have been overwhelmed by too much stuff for my entire life and I am so done with it. To this end I have been finding new homes for the many things that I own but which don’t give me utility.

But getting back to the letter opener, all these years later it does now serve a purpose in my life.  In January, exhausted by the lack of actual connection that social media provides with my friends, many of whom are now in far off lands, I started writing letter to friends and random Youtubers. I had written a few letters in the past, as well as the beginnings of an epistolary novel with a friend, and each of these letters was an absolute joy to write and it was an even greater joy to read the reponses to them.

So, it occurred to me that if every letter I had ever written or recieved brought me absolute joy, then why wasn’t I writing more letters?

Since January, I’ve been exchanging letters with a handful of people and let me tell you, I have loved every second of it, from writing and reading them to just happily checking the mail each day to see what it brings.

I want to write more letters, to more people, people which I might have never considered writing to. In these letters, I want to build deeper relationship with my friends, even if we are seperated by vast distances, than the occassional exchange of pleasantries on social media. I want not only to be able to learn about my friends life beyond what they post online, but to get into the ideas that they are thinking about and how these ideas are impacting their lives.

So please, write me a letter. (My mailing address is 402 Camden Ave Apt A Salisbury, MD 21801) I would love to use my letter opener more.

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