Loved this! When you write “I have another working theory that you know you love someone when each new weakness uncovered no longer changes how you feel about them,” I’m reminded of a great quip from my favorite author to the effect of: it means nothing to me when someone tells me they love me because I’m handsome, or smart, or because I make them happy; everyone loves those things. It means something to me when my wife says she loves me even though I’m stupid, ugly, and make her miserable. That’s love, that means she sees me clearly and loves me anyway, that’s real, etc.

That always cracked me up but also feels sort of true.

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Dec 26, 2022Liked by Jasmine Sun

This really touched on a lot of experiences I remember going through in college (and still today, to some extent)! I still recall and occasionally experience the momentary crises of, "But I'm not good enough at my hobbies, and I've got so much time where I'm just indulging in sameness rather than expanding my mind!" Some of it was driven by the people I chose to surround myself with, some of it was the culture I found myself in, but one thing for sure is that it was exceedingly detrimental to my mental well-being and doubly so during the pandemic. We don't all need to excel all the time, always.

And, unrelatedly, "or that there’s some universal rubric of icks that all women should watch for, lest they tragically end up with a toxic, genetically modified, pesticide-laden man" was excellent and cracked me up.

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Dec 26, 2022·edited Dec 26, 2022Liked by Jasmine Sun

There is a joy at the freedom and feedback of language at different epochs of our lives. The unbearable indecision of life in youth waywardly turns and becomes the vague familiarity of having less real choices to make, and oddly, there's a stark comfort in that, as if we've done this all before.

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As a college student who feels paralyzed with those trivial decisions you mentioned, do you have any advice for replacing "I should" with "I am" when I don't yet know what follows "I am"?

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May 5Liked by Jasmine Sun

The word for this is 'satisficing.' Optimizing for happiness or even efficiency or best outcomes is arguably not rational. 'Good enough ' or 'satisficing' gets you more of what you are actually going for more of the tome.

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Beautiful post.

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Jan 15Liked by Jasmine Sun

Such a thoughtful piece!

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“I’ve even managed to avoid picking up any new Bay Area hobbies—no climbing, woodworking, or 5am hikes.”

This made me laugh. Pretty much all my hobbies (that I choose over and over again). Love the whole piece!

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Jan 1Liked by Jasmine Sun

Love this!! Brave and insightful! Keep them coming!

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Dec 28, 2022·edited Dec 28, 2022Liked by Jasmine Sun

"Perhaps growing up means choosing the same thing over and over again. I’m free, boring, and happy right now—and isn’t that enough?"

I love that line. The beauty of a "boring" life is so overlooked.

"I think it’s because I’ve finally learned to put away that ideal—to replace the words I should with I am when I can. "

I think this is part of maturing and with that, trusting yourself and being secure, i.e. knowing what you can and cannot accept, and whether someone/society's advice actually works for you. Unfortunately, I am still more like your previous undergrad self, and still find it difficult to choose something for myself rather than what other people tell me is right. I guess I'm still trying to develop my voice.

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So beautifully written, as always. This paragraph resonates with me in particular:

“This approach rejects the cult of consumer churn: fuck dating apps that encourage you to shop (and drop) partners like trying on clothes, fuck treating places to live like baskets of amenities you can nomad through, fuck choosing your favorite coffeeshop based on 5-star Yelp reviews instead of wherever you had your first breakup or job offer or college acceptance, year after year after tedious year. It’s an antidote to the dumbest forms of cancel culture: the idea that people are irredeemable after they made a gay joke in sixth grade, or that there’s some universal rubric of icks that all women should watch for, lest they tragically end up with a toxic, genetically modified, pesticide-laden man. Perhaps Gen Z is less into cancel culture than our millennial forebears just because we’re sick of having to denounce every fave we’ve ever loved. Kill all your heroes, and you’re left with none.”

Being a college student or new grad in 2022 is being used to the excess of options. There’s always something, somewhere, someone new awaiting, it might appear as though nothing is worth cherishing

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>>"Sometimes, repetition emerges from desire, the feeling of I need to binge everything this person has ever made. But more often than not, it stems from curiosity and familiarity—not with the object, but with its maker."

There's also something new that comes from circling back when you're a different reader, at a later time in your life when the world's left you dinged and dented into a new shape. I'm certainly finding that with fiction authors like Ursula Le Guin, whom I used to love for her imagination and Big Ideas and fantastical magicks and all that, and now I appreciate her quiet championing of the everyday in her work, in particular the women she puts into her fantasy stories who don't want to Break The World With Mighty Deeds, they just want to keep it patched up enough so everyone can get on with the more important task of actually living...

And of course, writers go through those journeys too. They write with the time of life they're writing in, and that's another layer to discover later in life when, for the umpteenth time, you slip back into their work like it's a fraying pair of old slippers, but discover instead that it's more like a pair of magical walking boots, ready to march you out the door in a whole new direction...

>>"both creeds can easily morph into a relentless, uncritical quest for self-optimization over self-esteem."

This is perfectly said. So much of it (disclaimer: I am Very Very Old) feels like yet another self-deluding crusade for perfection in a world that is always and will always be messy and non-optimal. And with people (ourselves included) who will be part of that mess. It's like: "I'm preparing to do the work in the best way possible" stretched out until the opportunity to do that work (in a necessarily imperfect way) is gone - a bit like revising for exams where every day you fuck up yesterday's revision timetable so you spend the day making a new, even crammier one (that HAS TO WORK, you yell at yourself)...

Hooray for the non-optimized life. Because at least it's attainable?

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It's beautiful the way you recount how 2022 went. We all need repetition and slow times to realize what we value the most

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