Letter 29

January 02, 2020

On gratitude

I spent a lot of time thinking about gratitude this year, actually recognizing it as a tool in my life for the first time, actively practicing the act of feeling grateful and letting it transform the way I think and feel. I wrote down the things I am grateful for, and thought about those things, instead of dwelling on what hurt me. I won’t list all of those things here, but I will say that, above all, I have felt the most grateful for the feeling of home that I have found in my life. Finding gratitude has made me happier—that seems like such a simple way of putting it, but it’s true. Here is a simple thing to do that will have an impact on your life: think about what are you are grateful for today, write it down, say it out loud, commit it to memory, recognize it. Do it again tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, etc.


It’s the first day of the year & I’ve seen a thousand wrap-up threads full of people’s accomplishments. I have very little to link people to besides this letter as an object of things I have finished, and I am okay with it. I almost said I didn’t accomplish anything, but that is not true—I wrote a thesis, I was on a slam team, I graduated, I got a job, I was honest with my feelings again & again & again. But really, I am really, truly thankful to be surrounded by an immense amount of talented people. I toyed with doing a gratitude thread, just publicly thanking the dozens of people who made me feel safe & loved in 2019, but it felt silly; I can just tell them personally! In the last year or so, I’ve gotten into the habit of telling people when I think of them even if we haven’t spoken in a while, generally checking-in by text, etc. I’m not sure if the practice has improved any of my relationships but it does feel nice to feel free telling people they are on your mind. I want to continue this, push it further. I’m grateful for my friends, but I want to be specific with it, and everything else moving forward. Tell people you love them!!!!! It’s so so good!!!


We recommend

🎥 Little Women (2019)

I feel bold recommending this without having read the book nor seeing any other adaption, but folks! This movie was a warm hug but also not like, necessarily comforting. Maybe more like a solemn “yeah,” a nod, and a pat on the back. It was beautiful. I am in love with every cast member. I think about Greta Gerwig and all of the discourse her name carries (just ask if you don’t know, lol) almost constantly these days, and since seeing Little Women my thoughts have been basically all positive. If you were on the fence about seeing it, go have fun! Cry a little! Yearn for poofy skirts & leather bound-books!


📖 Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

Full disclosure: this book destroyed me. I feel like I am the last person on earth to read Conversations with Friends, but I would feel silly not mentioning it in a newsletter about things I love, because I truly loved it. It’s exactly as good as everyone says, and as soon as I started reading it I could feel all of my friends laughing at me, because it felt like it was engineered in a lab to be exactly the book I needed to read. Maybe it’s exactly the book you need to read, too.


📺 The Mandalorian

I saw The Rise of Skywalker the day it came out and it was awful, for reasons I do not need to get into right now, but personally the worst part of my viewing was perhaps 3/4ths of the way through when all I could think was, “Wait…maybe all Star Wars are bad? Have I been caught in a nostalgia loop since the earlier 2000s?” But no! Star Wars is good, camp is good, etc etc. And this show! Reinforces how much I love that franchise! It gives a nice look at places in the Star Wars universe without it always being life-or-death and, strangely, explores a very healthy father-son relationship. Pedro Pascal is so good!!!! And he’s in a big hunk of metal suit the whole time!!!! I WILL die for The Child!!! Watch it on your brother’s Disney+ account.


📽️ Welcome to Union Glacier

A little over a week ago, I was reading The Abundance, a collection of Annie Dillard essays, and the final chapter was a bit from Teaching a Stone to Talk about Antarctica. Something about the way she wrote about antarctic exploration and expeditions made me hungry for more (isn’t it fun to get suddenly very into a niche topic like this?) and my boyfriend recommended this documentary about Union Glacier and the small team of people who work there. I watched it on a cold day in my apartment, feeling cozy on the couch with a cup of tea, and I loved it. And please, if you have any of your own recommendations for Antarctica-related content, send it my way.