Somewhere, in a far, far away land, lives an individual who writes to me almost daily, detailing snippets of their day-to-day life, weaving stories amongst the mundane and often voicing thoughts for no particular reason other than knowing that they will be heard and understood.
Welcome to our world of what we call, ‘One-a-day’. It consists of some fun between two friends; a way to keep in touch regularly so that the already-strong friendship survives the nautical miles that sometimes can create an intangible distance.
We believe the one-a-days began back in December 2009 (by calculation, this year we will be celebrating a decade); but we seem to have lost some content between us whilst trying to keep track of the different email addresses we’ve been assigned to over the years. The idea behind the one-a-days was to email each other some information every day – whether it’s a single sentence or a long paragraph – letting each other know the happenings of our lives as we build on and live through our respective ‘lives’.
‘Why not simply send a message via WhatsApp or text’, you may ask? Or how about writing a letter?
WhatsApp and text messages comprise of sending information quickly and intermittently throughout the day. They may consist of mundane content, but do not actually contain much detail. The random, meaningful thoughts that pass through our minds cannot really be expressed over WhatsApp. (Sure, I WhatsApp my family every day; but I follow it up with a phone call to actually have meaningful discussions.) I believe in order to sustain a friendship, you would either have to try and meet somewhat regularly, or have some form of regular communication that can surpass distances and time zones. It requires effort. Keeping track of each other through social media is hardly a friendship. Strong, solid friendships can easily take off from where you last left; but regular contact is necessary especially in a time where communication is so easy and relationships so fickle.
Letters and writing letters are actually my favourite. Who doesn’t love receiving a hand-written card or letter in the post? Heck, who doesn’t love receiving post that does not include bills and leaflets? But, letters have their limitations in that they take time … time to send and receive. This ‘waiting’ has its own beauty, and is reminiscent of romance and bygone eras. It is nostalgic. Some of my most cherished treasures include handwritten letters that my parents and grandparents wrote to me whilst I was in boarding school. I only kept a few because I was not aware of their importance back then; but now they form a link to my childhood.
So, what is so special about the one-a-day emails? Well, it’s the freedom to express whatever we wish, knowing that it will be received in current time. It’s the notion of being able to write your thoughts down as they flow, without having to pre-plan. The sheer randomness of our conversations and the ability to go off-tangent immediately in the next sentence, makes it exciting and interesting to read. It’s actually getting to know each other better, even though we have already spent so much time together. It’s finding out new nuances and characteristics that we would not have otherwise known. It’s about giving us the time (and opportunity) to discuss things that matter to us – things we perhaps may not have time to discuss when we meet up because meeting up always consists of short periods, where you try and fit everything together. It’s a form of keeping an already strong friendship, even more solid.
The non-revolutionary ‘one-a-days’ … for friends, by friends.