Among all my cookbooks there is an old notebook which I will never part with. It contains my Mom’s recipes which she wrote by hand, in alphabetical order, over many years. The notebook was not alphabetical but she made it so by carefully cropping a few pages for each letter.
I love that recipe notebook with its dark blue vinyl covers, the occasional oily page and the chocolate stain here and there. I can almost hear my Mom’s voice and smell the flavours of each recipe. There are no photos, but the handwriting tells stories. Some recipes were written in a hurry, with words bumping into each other; others were carefully written, with words luxuriously lining up one after another.
I also have letters that my parents wrote after I left home to study and then moved away to build my life. Some of them had a recipe or two which my Mom thought I’d try for a taste of home. Every now and then I look through them and pick out a couple from the pile – slices of life written by people I loved and now miss immensely. The handwritten letters are a gift of their presence; their voices, laughter, surprise, all packed up in row after row and page after page of life-as-usual back home.
I never strayed too far from handwriting much of the stuff I need in life – be it letters to people, short messages to my boys when I run out of the house, notes when I research a topic. I know too well that my brain would be severely affected without my hand giving shape to thoughts.
When I write things down, I remember them better and I feel more committed to them. I wrote about this before, but from the perspective of raising children. Today’s children are printing rather than writing cursive and even printing is, depending on the school/teacher, not a daily activity. I often wonder whether that has something to so with the perceived and increased lack of attention, or lesser ability to focus, that we see in children. Plus, the typing on phones and laptops. Most young people do it at an amazing speed yet the question remains: at what cost?
I have no answer for that yet, but I was provided with a few good pro-handwriting arguments by a podcast I listened to yesterday. You can find it on Spotify under Inside Strategic Coach or online. Here’s the web link.
There are two things I gleaned from it:
- That once you extract a thought from the ‘thought soup’ you isolate it and thus take it from subjective to objective. Simply put, once written down, a thought can materialize into action. You are less emotionally connected and the thinking is clearer towards A cool little idea, no?
- That you should not write anything negative (least of all send it to someone.) The focus should be on the positive transformation you are hoping to see yourself achieve. Powerful. I went through purging through writing after my Mom passed away, and then again after my Dad’s passing. I purged my sadness and dark thoughts when I went though various tough times, but I never read what I wrote. It felt necessary to write, but it never felt necessary to read. For a reason.
The takeaway I want to consciously apply: Write three things you want to see happen. Every day, three things. No matter how small or insignificant (a subjective matter), as long as they cause transformation and a better you to emerge, then small is where the start is. When you take yourself seriously, so does your brain, and off you go. A successful person, according to Dan Sullivan (see podcast above) is (I am somewhat paraphrasing here) ‘someone who is able to continuously take thoughts and put them outside of themselves, and through successful action achieve results, and do that over and over again during their entire life.’ I like that, as streamlined as it can get and leaving much room for personal touches.
Growing. Becoming. Transforming. Word by word.