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Monday, October 3, 2016

Currently: September 2016

 Adjusting to life in the suburbs and a new routine. After a summer of lots of travel (I didn't spend more than a week in one place for all of July and August), September has been a long deep breath in some ways. The biggest change, on a practical level, is a commute that can be almost an hour long. The upside is that I have lots of time to listen to podcasts (current favorites are Invisibilia, More Perfect, and Keepin' it 1600). The downside is that it's no longer realistic to make it to Bar Method in the mornings. But after a couple days of bemoaning the fact that I could never exercise again, I got over myself and started going in the evenings. It's a much better fit for this season and a good reminder to be flexible. And on that note -

Figuring out where I should grasp onto my favorite aspects of life in DC and where I should use this as an opportunity to try new things.

Remembering what a long-distance relationship feels like. We've been through this rodeo a few times before across multiple different states and countries - that's just the reality of dating for eight years in your 20s when you have some moderate international aspirations. This round, while certainly challenging in some ways, feels like the easiest in others. The plus side is this time I have a Fitbit and I have gotten into a good pattern of evening walk-and-talks while pacing around my neighborhood - which is just getting more and more pleasant as the weather cools down. I did make it up to Boston for a visit a couple weeks ago and uncharacteristically took very few photos, except for this crazy-haired, windswept one.

Wearing lipstick. Since graduating college (when I pretty much rolled out of bed and down the hill to my 8 am Arabic classes) I have slowly been developing a makeup routine. But I have long had weird hang-ups about my lips. When I was in middle school, I would get horrible, painful, ugly lip rashes that would stick around for weeks at a time. Because of that I have never wanted to do anything that would make my lips look bigger, fuller, redder, or otherwise more prominent - which is sort of the point of lipstick. But a couple of years ago, I saw some photos of myself on the sidelines of a work event that a professional photographer had taken - my face looked super washed out. So I resolved to slap more color on it more frequently, and with four weddings this summer, I had an excuse to experiment with buy a bunch of lipstick. I've found that the trick is you just have to wear it long enough so you don't look weird to yourself anymore, because you probably never looked weird to anyone else to begin with.

Mourning my slowly fading tan. This summer I got probably the best tan since summer 2008 when I was a counselor at sailing camp and got super bronzed (albeit with the telltale lifejacket tan). I'm not sad about it.

I did my decluttering on a solo weekend and it started to show in this Kondo-inspired gratitude photo shoot.

Marie-Kondo'ing my childhood bedroom. As with juicing, essential oils, and a variety of other things that are popular on the Internet, I tend to be a little cynical about the minimalism craze. For one, I think it reflects a level of privilege (the principle being that if you get rid of something you need later, you can always buy a new one!) and for the other, I think it just offers a whole different way to obsess over material possessions. Moving back home, my temptation was to not deal with cleaning my room because this is just a temporary arrangement - but I am here for long enough to make the space work for where I am now. And it was time to let go of some of the stuff I haven't really touched since I was 17 or 22.  (I say as I look at the decades worth of belongings surrounding me.)

Three other big thoughts: 1) If I don't get rid of this stuff now, I or someone else will have to eventually. 2) If you frequently get rid of stuff you are no longer using or enjoying regularly, it doesn't have time to get sentimental (which is probably not a bad thing if you tend to hold onto every. single. thing. like I do) and you can skip the emotional ordeal. 3) The point of holding onto stuff is to smile and remember on the rare occasions when you come across it - so if you do so when decluttering, maybe it has already served its nostalgic purpose and you can let it go.

Learning to live with uncertainty again (as I referenced in one of my first-ever posts here). What this next year looks like will continue to be something of a work in progress, and while that is a little stressful at times, I am determined to make it a good one. The upside of uncertainty is that it's pretty exhilarating to have your life crack open and offer opportunities you hadn't imagined.

(Realizing that it has been a year since I last wrote one of these posts.)

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