Though it may feel slightly alien at the moment, celebration is still a powerful force in our day to day lives.
Whether it’s congratulating ourselves on that perfect cup of tea we just brewed, basking in the joy of a memory we’ll never forget or reflecting on the special person who makes life that little bit sweeter, celebration allows us to embrace the moment and take stock of what’s important in our lives.
'Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company.' – Lord Byron
Having a proper conversation with our friends, loved ones and family has been tricky over the past year. While we’ve improvised with Zoom calls, many of us are pining for that one-on-one quality time with the people that always seem to make life better.
So why not try communicating in a different way. Let that special person know how much they mean to you by writing them a letter.
It might inspire others to take the time to celebrate the people in their lives that have helped them. And we could all do with a little extra celebration right now!
'[…]really great [people] make you feel that you, too, can become great.' – Mark Twain
Draw three columns on a piece of paper. In the first write down some names of people in your life you think deserve to be celebrated. In the second, list a few of the qualities that make that person special to you. In the third, think about some moments when these qualities have helped you in your life. From forcing you to confront something about yourself to helping you heal during a difficult time.
Focus on your feelings and memories of the moments you’ve just jotted down. Why were they important? Maybe you were a child and positive you were about to receive the row of your life only to be met with kindness instead. Did a friend offer you some light during a particularly dark period?
Try thinking about some of the scenarios below and jotting down just a few words, images or sentences that come to mind
- Is there a person from your past that helped define your personality or path in life? Someone whose support and guidance helped you when you needed it most. Maybe you didn’t even realise it at the time and weren’t able to thank them in a meaningful way.
- Speaking to them directly will allow you to be open and thank them properly for their influence over your life.
- Or why not explore your early memories of childhood or adolescence. Framing your story from a child’s perspective will heighten its immediacy and convey the emotion you felt in the moment.
- Is there something you can’t wait to be able to do with a friend, loved one or family member in the future?
- You could write your letter from that moment and tell that person all the things you are now able to do and experience with them and why you value that.
- Maybe you’d like to write a letter to your future self to help inspire some positive change in your life. Is there something you’d like to be celebrating in a year, two years, ten years?
In the now with family:
- Has there been one person keeping the family going over the past year? Maybe you and the rest of the family would like to show them what that love and support has meant by writing a few lines each and sharing it with them.
- You could start by revisiting your list of their positive qualities (patience, positivity, warmth) and assigning a couple of these for each family member to expand on.
Now that you know which moments you’d like to focus on and why they were important it’s time to start your piece.
- Decide on the perspective you are writing from. For example, are you writing a letter as your future self, praising all the things you can enjoy with that person. Or are you going back to an earlier version of yourself to try to convey the emotions how you felt at that moment? Or you can keep things simple and write from the present.
- If a letter feels intimidating or alien to you why not start with something smaller, like a postcard? Imagine yourself blissfully soaking up the sun in a foreign land and writing down a few lines to a friend. Explain how you’re feeling and reflect on a similar moment the two of you have shared in the past.
- If the images of your memory are particularly strong maybe you could capture it visually through a comic strip.
Delicious magazine commissioned three of today’s best food writers to write a letter to the cooks who had inspired them – check out Letter to my Food Hero(this will open in a new window) to see how they got on.