Day 370: Reasons why snail mail freaks me out

Almost 200 days ago, I wrote a post called Why I’m Anxious Today (E-mail, anybody?)

Since I wrote that post, I’ve made a change.

(cue drum roll):

I’ve performed a hyphen-ectomy on the word “e-mail.”  That is, I now write it like this: “email.” This may be a small, irrelevant change to you, but that’s an example of something I like to tell people: “Every change, no matter how little, counts.”

Admittedly, that’s not a GREAT example, plus it’s a digression away from my title, today, which is NOT about email, but rather about …

(cue drum roll):

Snail Mail.

I confess: Both email (with or without the hyphen) AND snail mail make me anxious.

Today, I shall expound on the anxiety-provoking qualities of snail mail for me, these days.*

Reasons Why Snail Mail Freaks Me Out

Reason #1:  There’s way too much of it.

This applies to both email and snail mail. As a matter of fact, I just checked that earlier post about email, and #1 was the exact same phrase with the exact same punctuation!  What are the chances of that?

I guess the amount of snail mail which arrives and accumulates around here is REALLY** making me nervous, because I’m trying to distract you (and myself) with (1) rhetorical questions about coincidences and (2) inviting you and me to go into the past.

Okay, so back to The Here and Now …. that is, the amount of snail mail there is in my life, today.

I would take a picture of the amount of mail there is, in my immediate vicinity, as I write this post, but … I have some shame about that. So I won’t! You’ll just have to imagine how much mail there is — opened AND unopened.

Okay! Now, I assume that the amount of mail you are picturing right now has to do with … your own feelings, thoughts, and experiences about Snail Mail.

Actually, you know what?  Forget your experiences. I am going to reverse myself, right now, and CONFRONT MY SHAME about the messiness of snail mail in my life. In other words, I shall take a photo, right here at Blogging Central.  Hold on ….



Here’s something interesting about that photo:  Blogging Central has looked much neater in previous posts, like here, about a month ago:



And in case anybody reading this post is thinking — regarding that first photo — “Gee, Ann. That doesn’t look like THAT much mail!” … let me show you another photo, from the Here (actually, upstairs from where I blog) and Now:



Hold on, there’s more:


One more:


Okay, here’s my dilemma, at this point in my post.

I’ve started a list, about reasons why snail mail freaks me out, and I don’t want to add another entry to that list. I think this might be enough. Which leaves me with a list …. of one. But, hey!  It’s my blog post!  I can do what I want!

So what is my major point, in this List-of-One post, today?

What do you think?

(pause, giving you space to think about what this post means to you….)

Now, I’ll tell you what I think: I think this post is about shame regarding my organizing my external environment, including how — when I try to get better about something —  it often looks and feels worse (at least for a while).

I am letting go of shame, though, in general, and as I try to get better organized about snail mail.

I’ll tell you one thing that’s helping, right now, with snail mail organization  …..

Throwing more away.

(New) Rules About Throwing Mail Away

I shall throw mail away if:

  1. It came before a certain date AND
  2. It’s not important.

What gets in the way of that?

Judging what’s important.

That can be challenging, for lots of reasons, including the fact that so much snail mail has a strong opinion about its own importance. For example:



Guess what?  I just threw those away.

Thanks to people who are organized about mail, those who are not, and …  I guess that includes everybody.  Wait!  I also want to thank you, especially, for visiting today.


* I say “these days”, because snail mail has changed, over the years, Including what we call it. Before email, snail mail was just “the mail” (in case you don’t remember that).

** Ka-ching!  I now owe more residuals to The Culture Monk, who uses REALLY in his title, every day.***

*** At least, for now.

Categories: humor, inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 56 Comments

Post navigation

56 thoughts on “Day 370: Reasons why snail mail freaks me out

  1. snail mail is just annoying. A few years ago I used to lament the fact that writing old fashioned letters was going away and it made me sad…..but now…I can’t even imagine how I could respond to snail mail letters if people contacted me that way. I barely have enough time to go through my emails. Infact, I have emails sitting in my inbox that were sent to me more than a month ago by readers and I still haven’t responded…….so if I were to get a hundred snail mail letters I think I would cry…..or id have to hire a personal assistant to read em all……enough complaining from me I guess…..and yes; you and the Huffington Post owes me big time for stealing my “really” 😉

  2. When I look at your photos with all those letters by snail mail, then I mind my time with a heavy depression. I was not able to open any letters, just to look at them maked me sick.
    I received an offer from a friend and did open all together with her, then I was not alone with all that s… !
    After I opened all of them, we read all important and saved in one stack and throw the rest to the fire owen.
    I must say, that I did feel so much better after this. Maybe you can get a little inspiration too.
    Good luck.

  3. I, for one, find your desk to be incredibly well organized! I fear you would recoil in horror should you catch a glimpse of my space, which looks like a vortex has passed through. But I receive so few real, authentic letters (as opposed to junk mail and bills) that I prize them.

    • I figured that different people would have different reactions to my “mess.” This reminds me of something I considered saying in my post today: I wouldn’t judge your space, I’m sure. I only recoil in horror from my own stuff.

      And, thank you for using the word “prize”, in that context. That helped me a lot today!

  4. I hear you.

    Is that a new avatar? Looks like you’ve grown a red beard. All over, sort ot.

    • I’m a tiger, who can see quite clearly. Great to see you here, with your very cool avatar.

      • It rather makes sense, now that you explain it. Tiger in spirit, personality, Chinese horoscope, or some combination thereof?

        I’ve aways thought the compass rose was rather symbolic of guidance in life and other things. As I am a 3rd generation RCAF navigator, navigator1965 was a natural username and the compass rose the obvious choice for my avatar.

        Let me know if you’re ever bored and need something to read. I’ll fire you an advanced .pdf copy of my non-fiction manuscript, which most test readers seem to think is a very gripping read. No strings, no worries if you’re not interested.


      • I explained some things about the avatar change in yesterday’s post, here, but I like your questions, too. Perhaps tiger in spirit and personality. Not Chinese horoscope, though. My son is a Tiger, but I (I’m proud to say) am a Dragon.

        Thanks for explaining your avatar, too.

        Regarding your manuscript: My problem, right now, is that I am reading NOTHING but blog posts these days and I am most certainly not bored (too much to do, actually). However, if you want to send it, I would be honored — I just can’t guarantee when I would get back to you about it.

      • Ann, please fire me an email at and I will reply with a Dropbox link to the manuscript. 99.8% typo/error free at this point. No rush, all on your own time, including never. No need to proof read, critique, or provide any feedback at all if you’re not inclined. If you are, that’s fine too. Negative opinions are as welcome as are positive ones.

        One little warning: when you do read it, it might be somewhat addictive. 94,000 words, and I’ve had some readers complete it in either one or two days of intense reading. One comment was “I literally could not put it down.”


      • Will do.

  5. You do get a lot of mail, I only get roughly 1 or 2 a day and all advertisement goes straigt in the bin. I just end up with the odd bill or anything I have ordered.. As I do most on line and paperless I like it that way. You seem to have a much bigger fan club than me.. 🙂

    • I love your positive perspective, Ute, as usual. I am also trying to be more like you, regarding putting things straight in the bin. And I am moving more towards paperless, too. I will get there!

      • As I find I have a too cluttered office … I have to be ruthless…. The big clearout comes soon when I get a new 3 drawer filing cabinet to replace the 4 drawers now… challenge come on… 🙂

      • I love the way you invite that challenge!

  6. I only occasionally use snail mail. When we lived in Spain in the 90’s I wrote letters home to various people almost daily, but email would have been better. I saw a guitar in the background. Who plays?

    • I got that guitar because I wanted to start playing again. However, it’s an electric guitar, which I’m not used to. These days, Michael (my bf) has been playing it.

      • I noticed it’s a Gibson 335 style body, which are great all-around electric guitars. But if you normally play classical or flamenco guitars, electric guitars don’t quit do it:)

      • I was hoping to become cooler and play an electric guitar. That guitar is not quite as cool as Gibson, though. But it has a great sound and it’s red!

      • Red is definitely cool, and if it plays and sounds great that’s all you need. Rock on!

      • Back at you, Timothy!

  7. Haha — so glad to know I’m not alone in snail mail angst!

    I currently have a stack of mail in a pile on the floor beside my desk. It was on my desk but I thought it would be better off on the floor which is one step closer to the door…. and thus, the garbage!

    I must tell you though that reading this post has made me feel so much less shame about my disorderly conduct when it comes to my personal papers and such. I thought I was alone and didn’t want anyone to know I can be such a disorderly mess! 🙂

    Thanks for the inspiration, and the healing!

  8. Oh man, I let unopened mail just pile up sometimes and then I go through it in one shot and about 98% ends up in the trash!

  9. Wonderful post Ann. I hate the snail mail poop! So I got a “No Junk Mail” sticker and that reduced the poop considerably! Now I know that the snail mail is mainly bills. So I guess the office (and elsewhere but that’s a secret!) is ok. I’m OCD in the office anyway so I have to clear my desk regularly. It’s sad really, but there you have it. Bare spaces thrill me. The thought if filling them up, then the itch begins and I have to clean them off again. Now I;m piling up filing cabinets, but a change in ‘careers’ may change that. (I doubt it).
    There’s nothing for it Ann, just Enjoy. Life’s too short. Read a book – I would 🙂 Bless Susan x

    • Wonderful comment, Susan! I love “snail mail poop,” and basically everything else that you said, especially your conclusion. I will do my best to enjoy. All your good thoughts, back at you in return.

  10. This is totally off the subject, but I love that cute little owl in the pictures holding your papers. 🙂

    • I don’t think that’s off the subject at all! I was hoping somebody would notice that. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  11. My son brings the mail in and piles it on the entry table in the plate there just for that purpose. Every couple of days I gather it all and take it to the kitchen and open the pantry door where my recycle bin is kept and I go through and stand there and drop the junk in the recycle bin, open the bills/notes and start two stacks, one to be dealt with and one to be shredded, and only keep what I need (usually just the bill itself as I pay it on line and don’t need to keep the envelope). Then the stack goes into my “to be dealt with pile” and I pull the stack out on my bill paying days! I pay the bills and file the cards. I have found that if I don’t stay on top of it then I’ll get a larger stack that makes me feel overwhelmed.

    • Great advice! It helps to hear how other people have dealt with this issue. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

  12. I am quite amazed at the comment by Owls and Orchids that by putting up a No Junk Mail sticker, now she just gets mostly bills. Imagine the angst of the postal carrier who would have all that non-delivered junk mail piling up somewhere if we all did that. Pity. My best suggestion for you, Ann, is to be honest with yourself at the first sorting of all snail mail. No maybe’s allowed. No hedging. Do I need it or not. Yes or recycle bin. My next best suggestion is to designate one hour every week that will be snail mail hour. You won’t fret because you know exactly when you’ll get to it. Have a good rest of your Sunday.

  13. Please accept the ABC award! you are quite deserving, welcome to my circle!

    • Thanks so much for this honor! It means a lot to me, coming from you.

      • welcome to my tribe Ann!

      • I love being part of your tribe, Linda! I should tell you that I haven’t been “picking up” awards — that is, doing the tasks and passing them on. I am truly grateful that you thought of me, though. Your regard, readership, and comments are all awards for me.

      • Hi Ann,
        I did not know, but that is okay. I really wanted to start the new year with sharing my new found blogs and the people behind them:)

        xx Linda

  14. Excellent post, and so well written and mostly a lot of fun. It is so funny that right now I am in a transition from e-mail to email (the former still feels correct for me, but less so than before). I do like the owl as well 🙂

    Cheers to a great ’14 for you! Take care Ann!

    • So wonderful to see you here! Thanks for this comment. I wish you all the best for 2014, and look forward to seeing you soon.

  15. Pingback: Day 371: Something to look forward to | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  16. We yet so much what I call Junk mail through our letter-boxes from Mr Postman, that I now can take one look at the envelope and my x-ray vision scans it into the bin to recycle paper.. I wonder how much paper is wasted these days in such advertising mail we get..

    I have a draw which mine gets hidden until about every 3 or 4 weeks I go through what hasnt been filtered to join the recycle bin via the shredder….

    Here’s to a Happy New Year.. xox Sue xox

  17. Hi Ann 😉
    Panic !! Normally I get about one letter a week …… no junk mail at all !! I have recently asked my readers from all over the world to send me a Valentine card, mainly for the stamps to give to a Spanish friend. Eeeek !! I might get two letters a week now !! Overload !! 😉 Ralph xox 😀

    • Always great to see you, Ralph. How the heck do you manage to get no junk mail at all? I love the idea of the Valentine cards (and the rest of your comment).

      • I don’t know why there is no junk mail for me. Probably because I’m an Englishman living in Spain puts them off 😀

      • There’s a scenario that’s beyond my reach, since I’ll never be an Englishman. But Spain sounds great!

      • QED !! That’s why you get junk mail then 😉 hehe

  18. I am getting less snail mail but it still seems to stack up and need to be sorted every couple of weeks. I get so many emails it would be impossible to read them all.

    • It’s very overwhelming, isn’t it, Jenny? Thanks so much for reading and commenting … it always helps to realize I’m not alone!

  19. Pingback: Day 612: Not the only one | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  20. Pingback: Day 655: How to freak less | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: