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You may not realize it, but for me this letter represents a momentous occasion. This is my 52nd MerryThoughts letter! Thus, I have sent out a letter every single week since this week in 2020. Yes, it is my one year anniversary!! I just happened to wonder the other day how many of these I’d written. Very timely, since it turned out there had been 51! I must have had an inkling. And having looked, I can now celebrate one year of MerryThoughts letters.

My first letter, “Out for a Walk,” can be found here. You might recall that it was about walking with my dog Miles at Grindstone Nature Area. No surprise there. That letter represents a commitment I made on that date, November 18, 2020, to write and send out a letter once a week. My son Peter had suggested the idea, and I loved it! And now look! I’ve done it for a full year. The great thing is that it has been a joy for me to do. Oh, some are easier or more difficult to write, and some weeks I find myself wondering what I could possibly write about. Sometimes there’s a bit of anxiety when I barely manage to finish in time (which, for me, means Monday morning). Still, this writing, this reaching out and connecting with you who read them, has been pure joy. A romance.

I took this photo one year ago this week.

I have said that the letters give me a purpose. Not that I have no purpose otherwise, but it’s another fulfilling thing that I’m doing. I feel lucky that I can do this, lucky that people like you read them, luckier still when people write me back. I am committed to sending one every single week and that in itself feels fulfilling. We are more alive, more connected, and more in the world when we make a pact with ourselves or another person to do a thing, I feel. While I have not liked working for others, in jobs, I do flourish within parameters I set for myself. So on most Sundays I can be found at my computer, happily writing.

When my friend Pam died at 49 of pancreatic cancer, I wanted to do something creative to mark her untimely passing. She was a gifted poet, and I admired and enjoyed poetry, so I decided that I would try to write a poem a day for 49 days. As it turned out, I did it for well over a year. Those poems are all here, too. Some of them made their way onto cards or art. They vary wildly from serious to silly, but I absolutely loved writing them. And my writing flourished within my self-set rule that I write a poem every day. Somehow, the commitment to write gave me freedom.

And I took this photo today, one year later. Similar idea!

So even though I haven’t been great at commitment in some other areas of life (we won’t speak of it), I’m pretty good at dedicating myself to things like this. And I’m here to say that these bargains we make with ourselves can bring with them many gifts. Because of this particular contract, I’ve reconnected with an old friend; corresponded with acquaintances in deeper ways; received lovely praise from many others; developed discipline with my writing (a thing I already loved to do); and been graced with the fulfillment of doing something meaningful every single week for the past year.

What fulfills you? Where do you find meaning?

“Freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose – and commit myself to – what is best for me.”― Paulo Coelho, The Zahir

“If you don’t write when you don’t have time for it, you won’t write when you do have time for it.” ― Katerina Stoykova Klemer

If you’re looking for my cards or art, you’ll find all of that on my website. And if you enjoy these letters, feel free to forward this one to anyone you think might like it. And if someone forwarded this one to you, you can sign up here to receive the letters right in your Inbox. Finally, you’ll find past letters and poems on my here.

Thanks for listening,

P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”

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