scabulous adj. proud of a certain scar on your body, which is like an autograph signed to you by a world grateful for your continued willingness to play with her, even if it hurts.
slipfast adj. longing to disappear completely; to melt into a crowd and become invisible, so you can take in the world without having to take part in it—free to wander through conversations without ever leaving footprints, free to dive deep into things without worrying about making a splash.
the kick drop n. the moment you wake up from an immersive dream and have to abruptly recalibrate to the real world—unquitting your job, falling right back out of love, reburying your lost loved ones.
midding n. the tranquil pleasure of being near a gathering but not quite in it—hovering on the perimeter of a campfire, talking quietly outside a party, resting your eyes in the back seat of a car listening to friends chatting up front—feeling blissfully invisible yet still fully included, safe in the knowledge that everyone is together and everyone is okay, with all the thrill of being there without the burden of having to be.
semaphorism n. a conversational hint that you have something personal to say on the subject but don’t go any further—an emphatic nod, a half-told anecdote, an enigmatic “I know the feeling”—which you place into conversations like those little flags that warn diggers of something buried underground: an unexploded bomb, a sacred burial ground, or a high-voltage cable that secretly powers your house.
hubilance n. the quiet poignance of your own responsibility for someone, with a mix of pride and fear and love and humility—feeling a baby fall asleep on your chest, or driving at night surrounded by loved ones fast asleep, who trust you implicitly with their lives—a responsibility that wasn’t talked about or assigned to you, it was assumed to be yours without question.
grayshift n. the tendency for future goals and benchmarks to feel huge when viewed in advance, only to fade into banality as soon as you’ve achieved them—finally reaching the top of the ladder, only to notice it circling back around like a hamster wheel.