When I was young(er), I always dreamed of having a pen pal. I don’t know what implanted that notion in my mind, but something did, and it stuck. I would imagine having someone, maybe from some exotic land, as my pen pal, and that we’d write very interesting letters to each other. I must have been around ages 9 to 13 then. And always, invariably, my “potential” pen pal was always a girl about my own age.
The dream never materialized, and I never did have a pen pal. So whenever I did write letters to my school friends during the summer vacations, I’d make them worth the while and go on for pages and pages! This was before the time the internet and cell phones took over, and even though we did telephone each other, writing (and receiving) a letter had its own charm. It still does.
Somehow, the desire to have a pen pal diminished as I got older, and finally vanished. A few years on, the Internet became a lot more accessible to everyone, and I discovered social networking sites. That discovery stirred my childhood desire. I was excited to ‘meet’ new people! However, that enthusiasm was short lived, as “Wassup, how u doin gal” really were not up my alley. I abandoned that long-forgotten mission and dream once more.
Now, many years on, I’m not concerned about having a pen pal any more. As you grow older you realize the many dangers hidden in a seemingly nice world. I wouldn’t write casual letters, especially with my home address, to other people I don’t know. I’m more skeptical, more calculating, more prudent, more careful. And you have to be, in this world where dark, unfathomable deeds happen on a daily basis.
My childhood dreams just make me smile now. The innocence is irretrievable, and not fit for survival in the world we live in.
And of course, technology has taken over. Letters are passé; no one seems to want to take the time to write a letter, and mail it by post, which in all is a dearer and more time consuming process than sending an email or an sms. That makes letters so much more special!