PULSE

Heartbeat In your sharpest suit, or that fabulous dress you never get to wear, you're coming down the elevator. It's nighttime, and you never even saw this event on your own horizon, popping up as it did at the last minute. This thing you're going to, this hard-to-believe-you're-even-here moment, suddenly puts you in orbits with people and experiential opportunity that you couldn't possibly have predicted. Yet here you are, and what's more, you're ready for it. How you carry yourself tonight will determine how tomorrow proceeds.

The elevator slows. The door chime chides you to let go of the breath you didn't realize you were holding. You listen closely, and hear in your ears…

…your pulse: thumping as make your way down the gravel covered highway shoulder, headed for the green fluorescent glow of the truck stop. That stupid car: you've been trying to ditch it all summer. Here it is a chilly, late October at two in the morning, and the smoke seeping from your hood like fumes from the nostrils of a fat and lazy dragon remind you how much you've got to make a change. You knew you shouldn't have left so late in the first place, but that's totally besides the point of still having that stupid hatchback at all. Of course, how can you possibly replace the car with that dead end job of yours? How are you going to get out from under when can barely find the time to get your day job done in the first place? You can't leave--you need the work--but you can hardly get something new started while doing your day job.

But first, you have to walk another mile in the thin Autumn air, with the grim hope there's more than just a pimply adolescent behind the register, hope you can solve this mess before the sun starts to creep up the sky. It's hard to know if it's your walk or the furnace in your chest that has your…

…pulse racing. This is the moment, the one you told yourself you were trying to make happen. Months of planning, of meetings, of negotiations behind the scenes, and now they want to hear about your development idea. Striking a balance between cool, steely confidence and strong, muscular command turns your skin to aluminum, sets your finger tips to painful tingling, dries out your eyes before you realize you haven't blinked in a full minute. This is the chance of a lifetime, the moment you told yourself you wanted, but success in the next few minutes will mean nothing but hard, high pressure work. Of course, failure in the next few minutes will mean a return to everything you tried to escape, what came before, what was unambitious, neutral, ordinary. Success promises the toughest opportunity. Failure promises everything you already know. In your ears you hear your own…

…pulse.

It's that part of your life that tells you you're alive in the first place. It's the thrumming engine of something you're trying to build, the thumping drum of romantic embraces, the defining sound of the future imploring your to lean forward, lean in to your life, try, try, try.

Your pulse is the reassuring sound of your own engagement. It's the journey, not the destination, although it sometimes calls attention to itself at the moment of truth. It's the blood of invention, the reminder of life, the tap, tap, tap of water wearing away hard stone.

It reminds you that what you're experiencing right now is real. Some people lose the ability to feel it any more, to hear it, even to listen for it.

Don't.

--MS

PS -- Yes, yes, here's where the good people of 1AU ask our dear readers to share what you've read with friends and colleagues. And here's the place where you think, "Oh, sure, one more imposition of my precious time." Well, we're asking. It's something we value above rubies, above gold: if you like an idea enough to give it a moment's thought, then consider giving it a measure of freedom. When you share an idea with another person, you release an idea to grow freely in the world. Like what you see? Set it free.

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