Opinion: The battle against my email is simply unwinnable, so I am giving up

I don’t give up easily. In fact, I pride myself in fighting the good fight, in tilting at windmills, in forever pushing the boulder uphill like the mythical Sisyphus. Some battles however, are unwinnable.

My fight with email is one of them.

I no longer believe I can tame my inbox. I’ve surrendered. I’ve succumbed. I’ve come to accept — finally and with reluctance — that Inbox Zero will not happen anytime soon, maybe not even in my lifetime.

It wasn’t always so. I clearly remember the advent of email, the wonder of it, how this form of communication, so quick and accessible, would transform our lives. Like so many of my friends and colleagues, I was delighted with its promise. Way back in the late 1990s, the last thing on my mind was that this new technology would become an albatross, a reminder that there will always be something pending. Something I cannot master.

So, yes, email was transformational, but the price of convenience turned out to be steep, proof that the simplicity of modern life often serves as a disguise for unexpected complications. A wolf in sheep’s clothing.

For example, if I don’t check my email regularly, my inbox balloons into the hundreds in spite of spam filters and my zealous unsubscribing efforts. Overwhelming, this onslaught. Surprisingly stressful, too. It feels like a perpetually uncompleted chore.

Though I’ve managed to establish a control system of sorts, it doesn’t work as well as I’d like. For every email I delete, a dozen others pop in to take its place. What’s more, though I try to ignore that red-circled number on the right-hand corner of my smartphone email icon, it always seems to draw my eye and my curiosity. I hate to admit that I’m one of those people who scrolls through her email while waiting in a checkout line or sitting at the doctor’s office.

As if by not checking in I might miss something important, news so consequential that I might regret ignoring it.

But here’s the hard truth: Most of my email is junk, plain and simple. Titillating junk, but junk nonetheless. And yet…and yet. Those electronic missives can be addicting if you’re not careful.

Here’s a sampling from a recent day:

Breaking news: Miami Dolphins trade….

Summer Black Friday’s Best Deals

Let’s Make Memories! Graduation Gift Cards for Unforgettable Celebrations!

Elon Musk Reveals Shocking Secret

Your Ultimate Self Defense Solution - 70% OFF Today!

Anya Taylor-Joy Wears Jil Sander (Who is Anya? Who is Jil? And, why oh why should I care?)

By the way, these subject-line descriptions don’t include other tasty tidbits from my email buffet. I receive emails asking for political donations, emails begging for signatures on petitions, emails reminding me of expiring subscriptions, emails selling shoes, swimsuits, sofas, guns, houses, and pretty much everything I don’t need.

How about the dangerous phishing emails from “companies” warning that my credit card has been compromised or that my electric (or cable or cellphone) bill is past due? All fake. And let’s not forget the official-looking money requests from Nigerian princes and foreign banks that inform me I need to claim an inheritance.

All this flotsam is annoying, even dangerously so. Worst of all: the staggering number of spam emails makes the truly worthy ones — from friends, from family, from newsletters I follow — all that much more difficult to find. Junk buries the fun notifications, like those from our family friend Noel who specializes in the funniest jokes ever.

But enough about my email fatigue. Sometimes it’s necessary to throw in the proverbial towel and move on. Sorry not-sorry, my once-beloved email, but it’s time for me to cool a relationship that at its best, was very one-sided.

Ana Veciana-Suarez writes about family and social issues. Email her at avecianasuarez@gmail.com or visit her website anavecianasuarez.com. Follow @AnaVeciana.