Day 18: Throw out old bank statements

“Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.”

So says the infamous “wear sunscreen” speech from Mary Schmich, who originally wrote the piece as a column for the Chicago Tribune (I think).

The subject of love letters came up the other day and I remembered fondly that one of the best love letters (if not THE best) was one I received my junior year of college from a boy that was one of my dearest friends, but who I’d had a crush on, off and on over the years since the night we met at a campus party my freshman year of college. Our friendship had been a good one – we hung out regularly, talked quite a bit, emailed all the time, and at some point, he decided that his feelings were maybe different.

His timing was fantastically rotten as I had started seeing someone not long before (spoiler alert: that relationship fizzled after several weeks as relationships are wont to do when you’re 18, 19 years old).


In the midst of all of that, he had written me a spectacular letter.

It was handwritten in that delicious, fabulous way letters were before we all became tied to our iDevices (I’m not criticizing – as I type this, my iPhone is on my lap), several pages of ballpoint scrawl, front and back side of the page.

His words were the lovely and simple sort – full of kindness and attention to detail – detail upon detail that he culled from years of knowing me. And even better than a letter full of compliments, it was beyond the typical “You’re a nice kind of person” letter, but the quirky things he noticed were things that showed that he really and truly had paid attention over all of these years.

I kept that letter for the longest time.

And then I lost it.

And when the subject came up the other day, I wished that I still had that letter. Not out of any sense of mourning for what might have been (I’m actually decent friends with his wife who is AMAZING, also – politically and spiritually we could not be anymore extreme opposites than we are – it would have worked and of that, I have no doubt), but because it would be nice to read what it was about 18 year old Sarah that stood out to someone. See how 18 year old Sarah and 36 year old Sarah were similar and how I’ve (hopefully) grown since then.

(Dang, that was half my life ago. Sheesh.)

In 2011, I encouraged y’all to write a love letter to yourself. I wrote one to myself.

Without a doubt, it was one of the most difficult posts to write – it took me over a week. It seemed unnatural to bestow any kindnesses upon myself and I measured each word and thought over and over to determine if I truly wanted to put that out there, if I was saying things that people would read and think, no freaking way could that even be true, as if their opinions mattered anyway.

When I was 18 I read his words and not even a single ounce of me thought I was undeserving or unworthy. I took those words at their face value, believed them to be true and was certain he meant them.

I don’t think I was particularly more well adjusted then, but maybe I was because how well adjusted is someone who assumes every kindness is a fabrication?*

I wish I still had that letter so I could remember what kinds of things it was that made a boy get out a pen and paper and sit down and give me his words. Is that funny, that I don’t remember all of the words but just the way it made me feel? Because I don’t remember the words, I do remember the feeling and ugh, does anyone even write love letters anymore?**




*Not EVERY kindness. Most of them though because surely you’re just saying it to be nice.

** They’re probably all texted now. “U R so GR8.” *gag*



About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.

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