Why this shouldn’t be a challenge: an unorthodox way to slow down and connect

I am worried. And I am concerned that what we believe keeps us closer to each other is actually taking away something even greater – our ability to connect (and act) more *deliberately*. I posted this article a few years ago and am reposting it in the hopes that we can challenge ourselves to find ways to connect more organically. Here’s hoping the archaic connection mechanism of writing makes a revival!


Anyone who knows me knows I love a good challenge.  Don’t dare me to do anything unless you are prepared for me to do it.  There is excitement for me in a dare and a challenge.  Especially if it is something that seems outlandish or unappealing, even.

The new challenge I am thinking of for myself is neither outlandish nor should it seem so unappealing. But it is a bit out of the norm so I’ll probably get a few raised eyebrows — perhaps some words of surprise.  But I’m going to do it anyway. Cause I want to force myself to slow down.

Like so many, I have many days where I feel like I am just rushing from one thing to the next. There is always something to “do” and sometimes all the rushing offers little satisfaction in the accomplishment of completing a task. And when it comes to connecting with others, it can feel almost superficial.

I am happy for social media and plethora of amazing advances in technology – advances that allow us to connect, do, see and learn more — quicker. It’s fantastic! I am appreciative of the ability to “talk” to my sister through an iPad that allows me to see her all they way in Sydney Australia.

Few things make me happier.

With this ability to see and do and even connect more, for me, comes this unstated need to keep up with everything and everyone. This not only leaves me little room to chill but the connections don’t feel as solid. As much as technology helps, it also hurts my ability to slow down and that, of course, causes stress. And a lot of it.

Bad habits run deep!

We have built up many-a-bad habits. We are a shortcut-lovin’ society. Be it a faster way to cook (or eat), or a seemingly more efficient way to get a message or point across. And am afraid that just like teaching the basics of cooking to our children is being passed up by quicker, cheaper ways to eat, that meaningful connection will be reduced solely to texts and messages on Facebook.

Those modalities do have a place but I don’t want them to become so rote that we don’t really know how to express and connect in traditional, even deliberate ways.

We text, we email, but in doing those we hardly write.  We shorten words, u know, 2 save time.  And emoji – a lot.  {Not sure that’s even a phrase but it’s a thing we do so soon enough it’ll be part of the vernacular}. And while that all has it’s place, I want to share more deliberately.  Like I can by writing a letter, or a card.  {An actual card, not the electronic version}.

This is the challenge I am giving myself.

I’m going to write letters!  I am going to slow down enough to sit and write a letter a month – perhaps even twice a month – on real stationery!  I want to send my friend in Texas a letter just to say “hi”. And I want my dear friend next door to hear from me in this way, too. I remember too well the enjoyment I had when I was younger having pen pals, writing letters, and receiving letters.

As an adult, I have always loved mailing cards – writing out sentiments, sticking a stamp on the envelope, and walking to the mailbox.

Nothing slows me down more.

And the feel-good I imagine on the receiving end of it that is part of my motivation too. I picture joy and surprise of someone getting something in the mail that isn’t a bill. I’ll continue to send cards but I want to challenge myself to sit and write using the penmanship those nuns in grade school worked hard to teach me. It just feels like a more tangible way to connect.

And it truly is a lost art that I think should be revived! I think it would serve us all well to stop, slow down, think more, and express more through the written word, on paper.

Let me be clear: I’m not giving up texting or email.

I am not getting off Facebook [yet]. But I am going to add this in in an effort to force me to slow down. And allow me to spread some joy. I know that slowing down will make me more patient and more present. And the receiver might just get a boost from this seamingly-odd-these-days way to connect.

I have to say I am a little sad that this is actually a challenge.  That I’ve/we’ve gotten so far from this beautiful way to connect and slow down and spread joy. So much that I have to actually plan to do this.  But since it is a challenge, I am not running from it.

Haven’t run from one yet.

And I’m not going to start now.

Want to help me with this challenge – perhaps be the recipient of a letter from me? Send me an email {francesca@francescaverri.com} with your address and “write me a letter” in the subject line. {Yes, I am serious.} And I am going to write you a letter.  A joy-provoking, feel-good, honest-to-goodness letter.

Showing 12 comments
  • Gillian

    I love this post. I actually still do send hand written notes but this is a great reminder that I need to be more consistent with it. Challenge accepted.

  • Jean

    Nothing better than receiving a hand written note!
    Fabulous challenge!!

  • Rosemary Verri

    This is perfect. Actually I was thinking of writing to Giulia (maybe Valentina) cause I think she would get a kick out of reading – and getting – a letter. Young children 6-10 perhaps haven’t “lost” the charm of a letter in the mail…..yet! But with technology the opportunity to introduce them is slipping away…. like cursive!!

    • Francesca (www.verriwell.com)

      Writing to Giulia and Valentina would be great! And who knows how it will pique their interest in doing the same. 🙂

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My kind of resolution: not to make oneWhat to do when things don't go as planned