I like so many things about fall, but the chieftest of which is putting a bare foot onto the first cold floorboard of the season. I like hopping into a hot shower to wash off the shivers of the morning instead of the sweats of the night. I like the first authentic sweater.

I like the collision of binaries. This particular fall, as hot mixes with cold, long mixes with short, and air mixes with pumpkin spice, I feel almost like I’m titrating. Like I’m one of those crazy lab experiments we all did in high school adding milliliter by tiny milliliter of Substance A into a beaker of Substance B. Just when you’re starting to get bored of the experiment, something changes. Dramatically! You have a whole new color.

All year, I feel like I’ve been filling my life beaker with tiny drops of doubts and frustration and hope and progress, until finally and yet suddenly, one fall morning, I have clarity. And it’s colorful!

I know I’m getting the science all wrong here, and if Elaine Zick, my high school lab partner ever read this she’d probably roll her eyes and itch to erase and rewrite my lab notebook. But it’s my metaphor, not my science grade, and it’s my life that suddenly makes sense. I can measure my own concentration.

I’ve had clarity of self, of career, of goals–of who I want to be and who I’m not yet. And all of the sudden, I’ve realized like my predictable two-year pattern of itchiness, that what I have right now (accomplishment-wise)… isn’t what I want.

Admitting that to myself has been freeing. Like buying a size up instead of hopping and sucking myself into a pair of jeans that are too tight. I accept where I’m at, but have a clearer trajectory for what I want. So for now, I’ll size up lifewise, don a sweater, and pumpkin spice things up a bit.