Email vs doing my own thing

I love to write early, early in the morning, when it’s still dark.

Right now, at this moment of typing these words to you, it’s 6.30am. It will be another hour til that blackness turns to the deepest, luminous indigo, an hour and a half til the beginning of sunrise. Delicious. Silent. And all mine.

It’s hard, though, to claim this time for myself. I get up, stretch, drink tea, and do my morning pages. After that, I’m ripe and open for… well, derailing.

Email is the one that gets me hardest, the bottomless vortex that is my inbox.

I know many folks who struggle with mobile phone/social media addiction. I read of hours, days, lost to *the scroll*, the lure of the next tiny dopamine hit, the likes, or the drama, or the FOMO.

I gotta say, that’s not me. Most of the time I have literally no idea where my phone is (including right now.)

But email? Eesh, that’s my addiction, for sure. And it’s just as much of a time suck as a phone.

I open my inbox impulsively, unconsciously, the way some folks tap that little Facebook or Instagram icon, eerily unaware of what we’re doing. I read thinkpieces about getting less email, and I honestly think “why would anyone want less email?!” It’s partly a symptom of passionate self-employment, part a lifelong love of letters and long-winded communications.

And partly a kind of abdication.

I think for me it’s about needing to being told what to do.

Another form of abdication from responsibility, right? My inbox craving is so strong every morning because it means I can give up the wheel and let someone else drive. No matter the creative desires I sketched out in my morning pages just ten minutes earler, no matter the bold declaration that ‘tomorrow will be a day off!’ made last night… it’s fine, I don’t actually have to follow through, because if I open my inbox, someone will need something for me and I will have no choice but to drop my own plans and do that instead.

What relief! What salvation! Because there is nothing so scary or so vulnerable as doing my own thing (which would be funny if it weren’t so damn true, right?)

Nothing so scary or vulnerable as taking hold of my own life, its minutes, its days, and forging my own path.

So… that’s what I’m learning to do. Slowly, tentatively, in this space I’ve made. Where will it lead? I don’t know. I just know that I need to get out of my laptop so I can begin to find out.