As a child I used to love collecting stamps.
I still have my trusty, battered but precious, Stanley Gibbons Improved Postage Stamp Album for all the World’s Stamps. It brings back pleasant memories of saving pocket money and buying bags of stamps from all over the world from the classified pages in the Exchange and Mart, then waiting for them to arrive by post.
Some of the countries listed on the pages no longer exist but the stamps that are attached to the pages show that they were there once and important.
I still collect stamps.
Yes, I’m one of those people who enjoys looking at these special little pieces of paper with patterns and prices on them. The Royal Mail Mint Stamp collections are some of the more interesting new additions to my collection. I am particular about which ones I get. Not every new batch of stamps produced finds its way into my Stanley Gibbons Album.
I think the immense range of stamps that are produced around the world is a bit like the people that we have in our lives. They vary in so many ways but they all have a reason for being there. Just like the stamps in my book.
The edges of the stamps (unless mint condition) are often ripped, frayed and worn. If the stamp has been used it has marks all over it, showing where it was posted from and when it was posted. Strangely these marks all make the stamp unique and special. They tell their own story of the character and journey of that stamp. So it is with people. Like the mass produced stamps we have so much in common but we also have our unique marks and journeys to make. Our individual origin and destination is special.
The best thing that I have discovered is that we have a choice, each day, about our destination. We have the privilege to direct parts of our own journey.
The front of the stamp tells us a lot about what is popular, important, interesting or relevant at that time. People are so similar, they show you their faces but to know more about them you have to take time to know their history - where they’ve come from as well as where they’re going. Only then do you begin to appreciate the joys of your unique group of friends – and yourself.