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Colorado weather likes to tease. A few days of snow and bitterly-cold winds are followed by a gentle breeze and warm sunshine. Just enough to tempt us with visions of spring and dreams of colorful flowers amid green grass. Of course, we also know that it’s not truly safe to plant anything outdoors until the middle of May. However, that doesn’t stop my cabin-fevered brain from starting to imagine what it will be like to have spring weather again.

In honor of my wishful thinking, I’d like to offer you five reasons to step outside.

First, let’s step outside the house. Why? Because after being cooped up inside for the long months of winter weather, I need fresh air. To see something besides the accumulating cobwebs and dust bunnies and rain-splattered windows. Not to mention, my body needs vitamin D and sunshine and the reminder that a world exists beyond the four walls of my house.

Second, I should probably also step outside of myself and my own point of view for a bit. Self-centeredness is never pretty but after spending so much time cooped up with only my imagination for company, it’s normal to see everything in terms of why it matters to me. That means it’s a good time to notice others and their needs for a change. To put myself in someone else’s shoes for awhile and then go out of my way to do something nice for them. Just because.

Third, while I’m paying attention to others, it’s also a good time to step outside my circle of friends and meet some new people. Not only will this dust the rust off my social skills, but I might actually learn something new about different parts of the country, experiences, cultures, or upbringings. As a bonus, I’ll gather new fuel with which to create interesting but believable characters for future books.

Fourth, it might also be a good time to step outside my routine. After all, it’s not just my house that gets boring. My brain can get trapped in a rut too, and it takes some intentional sometimes-hard work to change things. Instead of always turning right out of my neighborhood, what if I turned left? My brain would have to wake up and pay attention as it figures out a new way to get to my destination.

Last, while I’m changing things and gaining a new perspective, what if I also stepped outside my comfort zone? What if I took a risk and tried something new? Maybe it’s a new recipe or restaurant or radio station. Perhaps I start music lessons or dance lessons or even sign up for a class to learn how to paint. For the writer in me, it just might be experimenting with a different genre and time period in my next story. That’s the beauty of taking risks. It might not work and I go back to the usual. But what if it opens doors to an amazing future?

That would be the best reason to step outside.

What about you? Does today’s weather let you step outside? If not, how else can you get that breath of fresh air injected into your life? What new challenges are you attempting? What was the last risk you took?

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