The extra-sized white envelope inside the mailbox was a surprise. The name and address were handwritten and the post stamp indicated the letter had travelled all the way from Italy. Who gets handwritten mail any longer? If I think of all those letters I penned in my youth, to friends, lovers, family, I become a touch nostalgic.
I recognized the handwriting on the front at first glance – you are not friends with someone for over 30 years without absorbing certain details on an intimate, visceral level even if, these days, the bulk of our communication is carried on through e-mail. Inside, one of my oldest and best friends, lovingly folded a full page of Repubblica, an Italian daily, with a black and white photo of a famous person I used to have an enormous crush on and whose face is now being used to advertise jeans. I smiled, remembering a time when life’s difficulties comprised nothing more than balancing a checkbook (perpetually empty) and getting over a heartache.
I tacked the photo by my desk at work, certainly not because the crush still has merits (and, sadly, the object of my old desire is no more) but to remind myself, while I slog through e-mails, recipes, whining staff and the like, that life is too short even if you live to a hundred and that dreams, no matter how silly or improbable, are at the heart of our existence, the driving force behind who we are. Impossible or unattainable are not adjectives we should ever ascribe to our dreams. The point is not whether they become true or not but what we do, along the way, to try and reach them. The process will transform us and, sometimes, will transform our dreams too.