An intellectual grab bag!

On settling, listening, and some good meatballs

Kinsey Grant
April 01, 2022

Hi there! It’s been a pretty bonkers week, so let’s do the thing to do when it’s been a bonkers week: Return to the kind of comfort content that makes you feel grounded and good. Today, I’m bringing back the Intellectual Grab Bag (abridged version). Read to the bottom for a recommendation or four :)

The Intellectual Grab Bag: Friday Vibes Edition

On having a sense of place

Part of the reason this week has been so particularly hectic is because I’ve been moving. You know that specific phase of moving during which the unpacking has dragged on for days and the boxes appear to be actually, literally multiplying? And you’re like, “in what world did I think we would need two lemon-sized citrus squeezers in case one broke?” That’s where I am in the moving process.

I’m complaining because I hate untidiness and nothing about moving is tidy, especially when you’re combining all of your things with all of the things that belong to another person. I’m complaining because I’m tired of stepping over the unused shoe rack to get into the kitchen and I’m complaining because there’s really no perfect place to put our knock-off Eames chair in the living room.

But really, I have no reason to complain. Really, I’ve never felt more content in a physical space. I have finally found myself settling, and not in the “oh she’s settling” way. In the “oh she finally feels as if she has two feet on the ground for the first time in months or maybe years” way. My last apartment always felt more like a stopover than a home—it was never really furnished well and I disliked how dark it was. I think in some ways it was the perfect metaphor for my life over the last year.

I was constantly flitting about—quitting a job, starting Thinking Is Cool, pivoting Thinking Is Cool, making decisions emotionally, pivoting Thinking Is Cool again. I felt unfocused and uncentered, and I grew anxious that my presence, both in the real world and the online world, reflected that chaos and instability.

But one year of never really slowing down later, I’ve slowed down. Settled. Settled into a bright and comforting home. Settled into a loving, peaceful relationship. Settled into a work/life balance that feels right. Settled into a version of Thinking Is Cool that’s fulfilling. Settled into myself.

My personality will always be a little bit frenetic, and I’m okay with that. But finally, I have a sense of where I belong. And as hard as it is for me to believe, it’s right here.

On getting comfortable being uncomfortable

I usually only call myself a “content creator” in a very tongue-in-cheek way. It’s not a label I particularly enjoy, given it’s been misused to the point of losing all semblance of definition. But when I strip my massive ego from the equation, I can see that…yeah, I’m someone who creates content for a living. I’m a content creator.

Lately, I’ve found myself in this warped version of content creation—one in which I’m not actually being creative at all. I’m just being a content creator. Cosplaying as one, even. Regurgitating the same shit everyone else is thinking. I’m posting because I feel I need to in order to stay relevant. Or to keep up with my peers and the people to whom I’m compared. Or to feed some nameless, faceless algorithm.

“You need to post,” I wake up and tell myself, suddenly taking on every quality I’ve never wanted.

Feeling that urge to constantly contribute—to have a take on everything all the time and to have it publicly—has led me down a path I’m not all that fond of. I feel it when I’m too preoccupied with participating in “the discourse.” It’s like I’ve lost the ability to really, honestly, thoughtfully dissect information or stories or ideas, largely because getting in on a media cycle means being the first to chime in with a hot take.

This isn’t new, but I’ll say it anyway: Being the first doesn’t make you the smartest or the most thoughtful. Being the first just makes you the first. 

For me, being the first (or second or third for that matter) has cost me a necessary layer of complexity in what I want to accomplish. It’s uncomfortable for someone who is, as much as I hate to admit it, a content creator to stop, think, listen, reconsider, and actively not spew what’s more likely than not an unoriginal “take.” It’s uncomfortable to not post when the internet tells you it’s all you’re worth.

But I’m going to do it—slow down and reconsider and maybe not say anything—anyway. Because Thinking Is Cool was created as a response to the flash-in-the-pan “take” commodification I grew so weary of in a previous life. I’m committing here and now to avoiding falling into its trappings again. Because this space and this community is about thoughtfulness and the slow, purposeful pursuit of it.

I hope that works for you. I think it’ll work for me.

That’s all for today’s Intellectual Grab Bag! Thanks for reading! 

Okay now that we’ve gotten the wavy big brain stuff out of the way, some fun recs:

  1. I know it’s a bit gauche to recommend your own content, but I *did* post a new YouTube video that I think you’ll love. It’s a more thoughtful, nuanced exploration of the concepts of champagne socialism and public hypocrisy than anything I’ve posted about the matter. Watch it if you’ve got a spare 20 minutes and you want to learn about something new! Here’s the link to the video and the link to subscribe to my channel for the first look at a very interesting new format I’m testing next week.
  2. I can’t stop listening to Charli XCX’s newest album. And as an aside, when I Googled “charli xcx crash album” to find the right link, I came across this episode of the NYT’s Popcast that looks really interesting.
  3. The recommendation trifecta is always something to watch, something to listen to, something to cook…so here’s what I made this week that was very, very good: Molly Baz’s minty lamb meatballs with charred cabbage and tahini sauce from her incredible and perfectly titled cookbook, Cook This Book.

Alright! That’s about enough thinking for the day! Have a wonderful Friday and a wonderful weekend and don’t miss me too much because I’m off next week for a real vacation and I most likely will not be sending an email (I will however be posting a YouTube video because content creators never sleep…wait…)

Xo,

Kinsey

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What if we all stopped to think a little harder? To have conversations with each other? What might the world look like? I’m Kinsey Grant and together, we’re gonna find out.

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