Be in Beta

For weeks and weeks the sky has been cloudless — the hard, perfect blue of an oil painting. But not today!

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Today feels like what I had signed up for. Drizzle at dawn. Wisps of morning mist. The barest chill of a breeze, specially designed to send goosebumps skittering across skin no longer snuggled.

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I hardly need to open my eyes to know it’ll be a rainy day. It’s still darker than dark, and if I tip my head back towards the wall of windows, it’ll be there: the smell of earth after rain. Petrichor. The Pacific Northwest delivers, on petrichor.

I do what I don’t do normally: I stay in bed for a bit. Slide open one set of slats, and luxuriate in the fact that there is a). nowhere I need to be, and b). nothing I have to do. You must do this often. More often than me. (It’s such a lovely thing to do!)

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I think about this last week. Wonder, idly, what you’d have to say about it.

I wonder if you wouldn’t be able to relate. If your life has never been governed by routine, and if you’ve never had to put much thought into what it would be like to shake those shackles free.

When was the last time you felt your heart slam into your ribs? When was the last time you did something so wildly out of character, no one wound up being more surprised than you.

I’m beginning to think this is how we get un-stuck. How we go about changing the present tense to the past tense.

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It seems I have to bump up against a feeling several times in order to really recognize it for what it is. I feel like an idiot: this is stress. This is sadness. This is fear. Except what I’ve been feeling lately is approximately none of those things. What I’ve been feeling lately is bored.

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Bored! I never thought I’d see the day I wouldn’t be content to see everything just so. To feel like everything really is very manageable — contained, comfortable, safe.

It’s too safe. It has become too predictable. I want to do different things, see different things, eat different things. All of a sudden the last thing I want is any more of the same.

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All of a sudden, I feel more like the girl who ran a marathon on her 21st birthday and giggled her way through a glass of champagne. I feel more like the girl who made the difficult decision to spend some time on her own, out of a relationship. I feel more like the girl who went on 88 platonic coffee dates in NYC, in search of more close friends than she’d ever dreamed. I feel more like the girl who packed up and moved out west because she knew it would be a good experience, no matter what happened.

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It has been a good experience, despite what did happen. I’m learning what you probably learned years ago: that something in me vibrates to change — the new, scary, exciting — even as I want to back away from it. Something in me also swears that weeks are for more than work and weekends are for far more than chores. I wonder what you’d have to say about that.

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What if it weren’t so hard to add some other things in? What if it felt kind of good? Good to do something different, a little nerve-racking.

I’d like to keep adding exclamation points to where there were none before. Question marks, too. How about we fill our lives full of those?

How about we keep building our friend base, and how about we stop using the expression “out of my league”? How about we start saying yes unless there is a very compelling reason for us to say no. How about we start saying “thank you” when someone pays us a compliment. How about we accept the fact that some plans might fall through and others might never materialize, but that’s no reason not to try to make any.

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Also, also: it would be good to get on nodding terms with the fact that everyone gets rejected at one point or another. It’s one of those things; it happens. And it is often not nearly as personal as we think it is, and it is always, 100% of the time, completely out of our control. Being rejected really isn’t the worst thing in the world, if you think about it. All it really does is make you easier to relate to. Easier to approach. Easier to like.

Be in beta. Do things badly. Screw perfectionism. Good — now chin up and smile. You are a prize.

{Raindrops via @stef_krach, Rowena Crest via @robstrok, sunrise via @niki_pike, cave via @josh_hydeman, winding road via @blaineorific, hiking trail via @ngreener, Oregon coast via @mrtommyblades — all on Instagram}

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