I began sending joy in the form of snail-mail to strangers all over the globe in October of 2019.
It started when I fell ill and was mostly housebound due to health complications.
I had begun finding communities on the social media site Reddit.
These communities I became a member of, called subreddits, were filled with folks in similar situations as me- sick and looking to connect to others.
Finding a place to start.
This led me to discover a smaller subreddit called RandomActsofCards, whose main objective is to connect individuals all over the world who enjoy sending and receiving mail.
The subreddit is set up in such a way that allows both requesters to ask for cards, and senders to announce when they have a certain number of cards & stamps to use.
This ensures that each person and post gets answered, leaving nobody feeling left out!
My intrigue with this community quickly turned into me sending out holiday cards.
I saw folks who needed a little extra holiday cheer, whether they stayed in homeless shelters or had recently lost a loved one.
My heart ached to help them in any way possible.
Each story was unique, but the need was the same.
I saw lonely people all across the globe that I had suddenly the power to bring a smile to their face- and I didn’t even have to leave my house!
I was suspected as a hoarder
I couldn’t pass by a discount or dollar store throughout November and December without having to run in and check the card section.
The sales folks must’ve thought I was stashing them away for next season! I’m no hoarder- those cards only spent as long as it took to write a letter, seal & stamp it!
During my twice a week post office trip, I became friendly with my local post office staff.
Eventually, they suggested I begin buying stamps by the roll instead of the book! Now that was a game-changer!
As I began receiving thank you cards in return.
When I had first begun this hobby, I didn’t tell many people in my life- it felt embarrassing to be spending so much money on something that was giving me no real gain.
I’d begun receiving thank you cards in return- and by the time I’d had enough to decorate my entire wall behind my Christmas tree, I couldn’t hold my excitement any longer.
I began telling my friends and family.
They were immediately overjoyed for me- I’d found a hobby to keep me busy during this challenging time in my life, and being a day maker at the same time!
This changed my mindset on my new pastime.
My card-sending hobby no longer felt like a guilty pleasure that I spent too much money on.
I now realized it was a way for me to spread happiness worldwide while recouping and recovering.
When I let go and began to speak openly about my new interest, people in my life began to rally around me in support.
Receiving help, as I help
Whether it was someone offering up extra stamps or donating boxes of art supplies they’d amassed over time- to them, it felt like small contributions.
To me, it provided me the support and encouragement I needed to continue!
Too often in life, we judge others for enjoying hobbies that, to us, may not seem productive or worthy of our time.
In these moments, it’s important to remind ourselves that every individual is unique, and that includes what brings us joy. To some, sending mail is a tedious task. For me, it became a lifeline.
Dianna Carney is reclaiming her life one word at a time. She is a lupus Warrior, mental health advocate, eating disorder recoverer, blogger, and web designer. Click here to learn more about her work