Day 12: The Unbearable Lightness of Unsubscribing

When I discovered the “unsubscribe” button, everything changed. My inbox would give many people a case of the collywobbles. For years, I have let my various inboxes bloat with a rapidity that would make even my allergic-to-mowing neighbors blush. Just as weeds left unchecked will quickly overwhelm a neglected garden, so too has my poor email hygiene drained the utility of this medium for me.

I have a friend who prides himself on having no more than two or three emails in his inbox. If it approaches double digits, his anxiety is triggered. I shudder to think what would happen to him if, in a Freaky Friday-ish switch-up, he awoke to find my current number of unread emails in his inbox: 107,433. Years of benign neglect, that most common and insidious of diseases, is what got me here. While I’m sure I actually signed up for some of the mailing lists I am on, the vast majority are spammy tripe–promotional messages that I never open from random companies and organizations which I casually interacted with once upon a time. They sunk their tick-like teeth into me and have been sucking the blood out of my attention ever since.

I know I am not alone in drowning under the ponderous weight of my inbox. One of the most effective targeted ads that the google algorithm sends my way is for a service that promises to reduce your inbox from 100k to 100 emails with a click of a button. I have been tempted to try this many times, but I am always held back by that fear that I will lose some critical email from long ago. As someone who has not kept a journal and is not a prolific poster on social media, my sent mail and conversational threads with friends are just about the only tangible record of my thoughts for the past two decades.

But deep down, I always knew that this argument for continued neglect was specious. Nevertheless, the problem seemed so intractable that I always just looked the other way and hoped for the best. The thought of deleting individual emails one after another filled me with an existential dread that should be reserved for more pressing concerns.

Finally, I decided to compromise. Instead of seeking the target of Inbox Zero, I just called a truce and accepted the glut of my earlier indiscretions. Ignoring the past, I decided to use the present to simplify my future. And thus, I began unsubscribing. While I’m sure it is patently obvious to most of my fellow humans, somehow the fact that every email from a mailing list has an “unsubscribe” link buried somewhere in its fine print had eluded my notice. These links are often buried within obfuscatory language about “changing email preferences,” but like Waldo, they are always there. Sure enough, our politicians actually got something right when they passed the curiously named CAN-SPAM Act in 2003 that required this provision.

This orgy of unsubscription has been irrationally satisfying and cathartic. With each, “We’re sorry to see you go,” message, my happiness quotient levels up. As is my wont, this experience caused me to reflect. Daunting problems and huge tasks have a paralyzing effect on most of us. We forget that piece of ancient wisdom which says “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” There is a beautiful hadith Qudsi in which the Prophet (SAWS) tells us that Allah says “Whoever draws close to Me by the length of a hand, I will draw close to him by the length of an arm. Whoever draws close to Me by the length of an arm, I will draw close to him by the length of a fathom. Whoever comes to Me walking, I will come to him running.” What many of us fail to notice is that the key to initiating this virtuous cycle is taking that first step, however halting.

When I have told people about this College-Essay-a-Day challenge, the usual response is, “That sounds like torture,” “Are you feeling alright?” or, my favorite, “Br. Hamzah, you one crazy man.” But forcing myself to write every day has opened the floodgates. I have been focusing on input for so long that switching to output has had a curiously freeing effect on me. I didn’t recognize how much the burden of my unspoken thoughts had been weighing me down. I don’t know exactly what will happen on Day 31, but I know I have to continue writing.

Unsubscribing from most email lists has actually helped me find the signal in the noise. A few mailing lists are genuinely helpful. They have interesting content with actionable items. I’ll mention a few here: Tim Ferriss’s 5-Bullet Friday, Sahil Bloom’s Curiosity Chronicle, Ryan Holiday’s Daily Stoic, and, my mom’s favorite, Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters from an American. I recognize the irony of asking people to join a mailing list after spending 800 words lambasting them, but if I ever manage to set one up, I hope you might consider clicking “subscribe.”

115 thoughts on “Day 12: The Unbearable Lightness of Unsubscribing”

  1. I have been surfing on-line greater than three hours nowadays, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.

    It’s lovely worth enough for me. In my view, if all web owners and bloggers made
    good content material as you did, the internet might be a lot more useful than ever before.

  2. I would like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in penning this site.
    I’m hoping to view the same high-grade content by you in the
    future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired
    me to get my own, personal website now 😉

  3. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was wondering what all is required
    to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a
    pretty penny? I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100% sure.
    Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated.


  4. When someone writes an article he/she keeps the idea of a user in his/her brain that
    how a user can be aware of it. Thus that’s why this post is amazing.

  5. Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your web
    site and in accession capital to assert that I get actually enjoyed account your blog posts.

    Anyway I’ll be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently

  6. Hi! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering
    which blog platform are you using for this website?
    I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve
    had problems with hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform.
    I would be awesome if you could point me in the direction of a
    good platform.

  7. Hi there all, here every person is sharing such knowledge, therefore it’s
    pleasant to read this blog, and I used to pay a quick visit this web site all the

  8. Simply wish to say your article is as surprising.

    The clarity for your submit is simply cool and i could think you
    are a professional in this subject. Fine together with your permission let me to grab your feed to keep
    updated with approaching post. Thank you a million and please continue
    the gratifying work.

  9. I am genuinely happy to read this web site posts which carries lots of useful information, thanks for providing these kinds of information.

  10. I blog frequently and I seriously thank you for your information. This
    article has really peaked my interest. I’m going to take a
    note of your blog and keep checking for new details about once a week.
    I subscribed to your RSS feed as well.

  11. Heya! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing months of hard work due to no
    data backup. Do you have any methods to protect against hackers?

  12. Finding your website made my day. Brimming with insightful content and engaging
    commentary, which is a rarity these days. cherish the energy you’ve
    put into your writing.
    Your writing style is refreshingly unique. You offer a fresh take that has sparked my interest.
    I’m eager to reading what you post next.
    I simply had to leave a comment. Your posts speak with me on a deeper level.
    If you’re considering offering a newsletter, sign me up!
    It would be a joy to have your insights sent right to
    my inbox.
    Your article resonated with me. It’s not every day you
    come across a blog that prompts you to think deeply. Eager to see more of your
    work and urge you to keep writing.
    Your article felt like a breath of fresh air. With so much noise online,
    it’s wonderful to encounter content that’s as enriching and entertaining as yours.
    Keep it up

    This syntax provides a variety of options for creating
    a positive and encouraging blog comment that compliments
    the author’s work and expresses a desire to continue engaging
    with their content.

    Every once in a while, I stumble upon a blog that truly
    stands out with its depth of insight. Yours is without a doubt one of those rare
    gems. The way you blend your words is not just enlightening but also remarkably
    entertaining. I commend the dedication you show towards your craft and eagerly await your future

    In the plethora of the digital world, it’s refreshing to come across a blogger who invests genuine passion into their work.
    Your posts not only offer valuable insights but also stimulate engaging discussions.

    Please consider me a lifelong fan from this point forward.

    Your blog has become a go-to resource for me,
    and I find myself check it often for new content.
    Each post is like a masterclass in your niche, delivered with eloquence and charm.

    Would you consider creating a subscription service or a periodic newsletter?
    I would be thrilled to get more of your expertise directly to my

    Your unique perspective to issues is truly refreshing, it’s
    highly sought after in today’s online landscape. Your ability to analyze complex concepts and
    present them in an easily digestible way is a skill that should be celebrated.

    I am excited for your upcoming posts and the
    dialogues they’ll inspire.

    Discovering a blog that serves both a mental workout and a heartfelt conversation. Your posts achieve that balance, offering a perfect mix of intellectual stimulation and personal connection. The audience you’re cultivating here is evidence to your influence and authority.

    I’m curious to see where you’ll take us next and I’m all in for
    the ride.

    After investing numerous hours diving into the depths of
    the internet today, I have to declare that your blog is like a beacon of knowledge.
    Not once have I stumbled upon such an amalgamation of intriguing thoughts that resonate on a substantial level.
    Your penchant for clarifying complex subjects with grace and acuity is admirable.
    I’m patiently waiting for your upcoming publication, anticipating it will enhance my understanding even further.

    In our modern digital era, where content is plentiful, your blog emerges as a cornerstone of originality.
    It’s a rarity to discover a platform of the web that is
    dedicated to cultivating knowledge expansion. Your eloquently written posts stimulate a desire for learning that many of us seek.

    Please let me know if there’s a possibility to sign up
    for direct notifications, as I do not wish to miss even one enlightening entry.

    Your blog is a true reflection of what passionate writing should be.
    Each entry you compose is filled with priceless takeaways and
    rich narratives that leave me pondering long after I’ve left the page.
    Your narrative is an invaluable contribution to the often noisy internet space.
    In the event you create an exclusive membership, count me as a
    committed member to join. Your work is worth following.

    I find myself returning to your blog time and again, drawn by the caliber of discussion you initiate.
    It’s obvious that your blog is more than a place for sharing concepts;
    it’s a gathering for like-minded individuals who are in search of meaningful engagement.
    Your dedication toOf course!

    From the moment I commenced perusing your blog,
    I realized it was something unique. Your skill to delve into intricate topics and
    demystify them for your audience is truly remarkable. Each article you publish is a repository of information, and I always find myself anxious to read
    what you’ll delve into next. Your commitment to excellence
    is apparent, and I anticipate that you’ll continue
    providing such invaluable content.

    Your posts serves as a lighthouse in the often turbulent
    waters of online content. Your in-depth analysis into varied subjects are not
    only informative but also extremely absorbing.

    I respect the way you combine detailed study with personal anecdotes,
    crafting posts that are equally informative and enjoyable.
    If there’s an opportunity to follow your blog or
    enter a newsletter subscription, I would be delighted to be informed of your latest musings.

    As a content creator, I’m spurred by the zeal you pour into each article.

    You have a knack for making even the most obscure topics comprehensible and intriguing.

    The way you break down concepts and connect them to wider narratives is incredibly skillful.
    Please tell me if you have any workshops or digital
    resources in the works, as I would love to gain further insight from your expertise.

    It’s not often to find a blog that strikes the perfect chord with
    both intellect and emotion. Your articles are crafted with a level of insight that speaks to the core
    of the human experience. Whenever I check your blog, I come away more
    informed and inspired. I’m keen to know whether you intend

    As soon as I started perusing your blog, I could tell it was
    something extraordinary. Your talent to delve into intricate topics
    and demystify them for your readership is truly remarkable.
    Each post you share is a repository of insights,
    and I constantly find myself excited to read what you’ll explore next.
    Your dedication to excellence is evident, and I trust that you’ll persist sharing such invaluable perspectives.

  13. We stumbled over here by a different web address and thought I might as well
    check things out. I like what I see so i am just following you.
    Look forward to exploring your web page repeatedly.

  14. Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is valuable and everything. However think of if you added some great images or videos to give your posts
    more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and video clips, this website could definitely be one of the
    greatest in its field. Amazing blog!

  15. Howdy! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website with us so I came to check it out.
    I’m definitely loving the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this
    to my followers! Fantastic blog and brilliant design and style.

  16. I have to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing
    this blog. I’m hoping to see the same high-grade content from you later on as
    well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own, personal site
    now 😉

  17. От игровых автоматов до классических настольных игр, включая опыт живого казино, здесь есть что-то для каждого азартного игрока.

  18. VIP-клуб в казино Bounty — это система статусов и уровней с растущими привилегиями для игрока.

  19. Сфера онлайн-казино активно развивается, и понимание текущих тенденций и аналитики помогает предвидеть будущие изменения в индустрии.

  20. Для всех зарубежных игроков доступны как самые популярные платежные системы – MasterCard, Visa и т.

  21. Thnks foг any other magnificent article. Where else may
    juѕt anybdy get that type of info in such a pefect
    manner of wгiting? І have a presentation subsequent week, and I am at the
    search for such іnfo.

  22. Haѵe you ever considered publishing an e-book or guest authoring on other blogs?
    I have a blog based on the same ideas you discuss and would really like to have yоu ѕhare sоme stories/information. I knoᴡ my viewers would enjoy youг work.

    If you’re even remotely interesteɗ, feel free to send me аn e-mail.

    Here is my bⅼog :: vitamin b12 rich food

  23. My spouse and I stumbled over here by a different web page and thought
    I should check things out. I like what I see so now i am
    following you. Look forward to going over your web page yet again.

  24. Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?

    you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is wonderful, let alone the content!

  25. Hey there would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re working
    with? I’m looking to start my own blog soon but I’m having a hard time
    deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.

    The reason I ask is because your design and style
    seems different then most blogs and I’m looking
    for something unique. P.S Sorry for being
    off-topic but I had to ask!

  26. Hey I know tһis iss off topic but I ԝas wondering if you knew
    of any widgets Ι could add to mү blog that automatically tweet mу newest
    twitter updates. I’ve bеen looқing f᧐r a plug-in like thiѕ foг qսite some time and waas hoping maybе
    youu ԝould haѵe somе experience with something like thіs.
    Pleaѕe let me know if yߋu rᥙn intⲟ anything.
    I trhly enjoy reading үour blog and I looк forward to your new updates.

    My blog … herbal supplements

  27. I’m impressed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a
    blog that’s equally educative and engaging, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the
    head. The issue is something that not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about.
    I’m very happy that I came across this during my hunt for something concerning this.

  28. Tại Tâm Beauty Clinic, chúng tôi xuất bản các nội dung đánh giá, bảng xếp hạng liên quan đến ngành làm đẹp, bao gồm các spa trị mụn, spa làm đẹp, spa dưỡng da,… Mỗi thương hiệu được đưa vào bảng xếp hạng đều trải qua quá trình sàng lọc kỹ lưỡng

  29. Excellent post. I was checking continuously this weblog and I aam impressed!
    Extremely helpful information specifically the final part 🙂 I maintain such info a lot.
    I used to be seeking this particular info for a long time.

    Thanks and best of luck.

    Feel free too visit my web site – martial art supplies

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *