Hope that something pure can last, hope that something pure can last
We used to wait, we used to wait, we used to wait
- Arcade Fire, We used to wait
For the last year I've been decluttering ruthlessly, sentimentality out the window in search of a simpler life. I thought I had been through all of it until one weekend my mother presented me with two plastic tubs from the attic. One full of books. The other full of letters. Piles and piles of letters.
When I sorted through the letters, it raised so many emotions. It is odd to know that I have lived on the cusp of a societal and technological revolution. It hardly seems revolutionary now, but looking back I can see it.
I've had one foot in both worlds. Growing up all I knew were letters and the telephone. I didn't touch a browser until I used Netscape in college. Now, I have a blog, all sorts of social networking accounts and communicate mostly via email.
When I was a teenager, cell phones were practically non-existent. People paid premium for long distance and the internet wasn't around either. So letters... letters were the way we communicated, words hand-written on paper, slipped in an envelope and mailed. Friends I met at summer camp, pen pals, boys who might have liked me or who I might have liked. We wrote letters. Lots and lots of letters. The letters in this photo are probably only a tenth of the letters I once had. Just the sight of them fills me with bittersweet emotions, memories, childhood, gone.
I'm a huge fan of Arcade Fire, and their album The Suburbs (so pleased it won the Grammy)! It feels as if it perfectly captures my generation, looking back to a slower time that is long gone now. Does every generation feel this way?
When I heard the story behind the song "We used to wait" - about the lead singer as a teen one summer having a long distance correspondence with a girl he had a crush on, waiting, desperately, eagerly for a letter to come from her - the feeling of resonance was intense. I remember what it was like to wait for letters to arrive. I don't know if the generation that follows me will ever know what that's like.
There's something about that emptiness, that slowness, that boredom of youth that I miss. My life feels so full now - full of ideas, thoughts, goals, chores. Sometimes I want time, space for something wild and unexpected to emerge from my imagination.
Maybe it's time to go off the grid and live like savages for awhile. :-)