Letter 30

January 16, 2020

On procrastination

It’s incredibly appropriate that I waited until the very last minute to write this. Like, if you’re reading this right after it went up, I probably just finished writing this ten minutes ago. Even now, I am doing my very best to avoid writing this by doing other work instead. I would love to say that we draft this newsletter days before we send it out (and sometimes we do!) but more often than not we are scrambling to put it together the day of. You never stop procrastinating, even as an adult—even when the thing you are procrastinating is something like doing laundry or making plans with a friend you haven’t seen in a while, instead of the kinds of things you avoided doing in high school, like math homework and studying for finals. When I was a kid, I thought procrastinating meant I was lazy, or a bad student. I didn’t learn to recognize it as a symptom of anxiety until later. (And listen: sometimes it’s both. Sometimes I very much am just lazy.) The only thing I know for sure about procrastination is that it isn’t the big, scary monster it sometimes feels like; everyone procrastinates, it’s fine, we’re all fine, and it will feel so much better once you just do the thing you’re avoiding.


I’m very critical of myself, blame myself for a lot of things that are maybe not fault, suffer from depression—I’m not great at getting things done on time! Leaving school has given me a different perception of time, truly, and the types of tasks I put off, and why I’m putting them off; starting an assignment was always such a chore, but putting away my laundry is, too, deep-cleaning my room, grocery shopping, all of the above. Nothing is as bad if you just start. I create my own time and deadlines now, and instead of working towards a degree I’m working towards my health. I don’t want to put off cleaning my room because then the dust builds up and my lungs hurt, my lungs hurt and I don’t want to clean, the vicious cycle. I put off writing poems until I feel better. I end up doing almost nothing at all, mechanically going to work, coming home, brushing my teeth, going to bed. Procrastination means something different, less risking a grade and my sense of achievement and more something more severe, but I am doing it less. I am sticking to some schedules, following through in some ways. It feels better to know I can.


We recommend

📽️ Hustlers

I started this movie about ten minutes before the Golden Globes were over, feeling exhausted as I normally do while watching the Golden Globes. While the Oscars nominations didn’t fix that (Jennifer Lopez robbed! Uncut Gems robbed!), movies are still good! Halfway through, my roommate and I looked at each other and said, “Perhaps this is the best movie ever made? Perhaps, favorite film of all time?” The needle drops are magical, Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu are so fucking strong, the supporting cast is brilliant, and just throughout you feel the thriving competence! Motherhood is complex! Fuck the systems that harm you! Women!!!!! Oscar for Lorene Scafaria!!!! It’s available to rent on a few streaming platforms, but I’m probably gonna go get the DVD to put into my non-existent DVD player.


🎮 Pastel Nintendo Switch joycons

This is a very tentative recommendation, because it involves voiding the warranty on your Switch, using tiny screwdrivers to take apart your joycons, messing with the tiny, fragile pieces that make the joycons work, and somehow putting it all back together again properly. I did it, and it took two tries, but it turned out great and now I have a very cute, pastel Switch. Proceed with caution! Do your research! Find tutorials to follow along with! (And probably only do this if you have a backup pair of joycons, lbr.) Oh, and here are the joycon shells, backplate, joystick caps, and button replacements that I used.


🎙️ My Year in Mensa

I’ve recommended Jamie Loftus’s work a few times on this letter, but here we go again! On January 1st she dropped a 4-episode podcast series about her year in the Smart People Club? Eugenics society? Mensa! It is, expectedly, hilarious, but it’s also a really interesting history, truly riveting because you fear for her safety, and a nice dive into people who think differently than you that, spoiler, doesn’t end with you being told to sympathize with people who want to cause you harm!


🎶 Listen to Animal Crossing music while you work

Or while you’re not working, whatever, that works too. This website plays the Animal Crossing soundtracks from whichever version of the game you want on a constant loop, changing the music depending on the time. Personally, I prefer the original Gamecube soundtrack for maximum nostalgic vibes.