This week’s episode of Reply All talked about Email debt forgiveness and interviewed a couple of people who had a startup with an interesting mission. The mission to answer Emails (like letters) of people who were unable to do so themselves. These emails were emotionally draining (to the original receiver) and they recruited someone else to help them write. Usually the emails fell into two categories: weddings and something really emotional like family/ friends etc. Not sending RSVPs (by a certain time) was a sure shot friendship killer. And this amused me.
I invited a select group of people to my wedding and a few of them never responded. Of course everyone has things to do and it did not make a dent in my joy. We had plenty good people and celebration around. But I did think and discuss how a single line could take so much time to write. And I did feel that those few non-responders who I had considered in the friend group, were no longer there. And it was ok. But I hadn’t realized that I wasn’t alone and it seemed to be a pattern elsewhere too. Oh well, I wasn’t the only one being targeted, after all.
These days when I need to clear out my head, I walk in the forest behind our house. I don’t necessarily forgive or think of anyone in particular but I let go. Just in time for me to reach my own Email pile. Shinrin-yoku (Forest bathing) is a Japanese stress management technique that many claim has benefits. On exhausting or exhilarating days, I go to the forest to let it seep in.
PS: If I accumulated an Email debt, it’s because I don’t want to respond or I prioritized differently. And then it got too late. April 30 is the International Email Debt Forgiveness day, it’s the email you didn’t send and now you can, without apologies.