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There comes a time we achieve a pause in a frenetic existence. We find we’ve been running a long time—not donning tennies and pounding pavement, but sprinting flat out in a jumble of pursuits. For me, that backward look calls up images and exertions of waiting tables, singing, biking, sewing, oil painting, piano-playing, organizing, baking, child-rearing, teaching, homemaking, cleaning, flying, walking, waiting, writing. It’s a life, but it’s not done yet.

No longer running, I have entered an era of open-ended days: an unplanned and unpredictable space. At this writing, on a sofa, gazing through glass doors onto an emerald velvet lawn framed in russet foliage, gray stone, white birch bark, and heavy evergreen, the prospect is placid. The temptation is to do no more than breathe out. But elsewise, I find myself peering over a balcony rail, face to the frothy steel blue surf, leaning into the wind off that shoreline. I want to inhale and push against the wind.

What next, indeed, in this fulcrum between inaction and action? Aristotle held that change is central to existence. we are by nature propelled into motion. Whence are you propelled, and how do you navigate that most delectable commodity of free time?

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