POV: Age.

POV ("point of view") is a new series that addresses many of the same themes covered in my Equals Record column: growing up, saying yes to adventure, learning to embrace a quarter-life crisis. Each POV entry will include a photograph and a short reflection based on what’s pictured. While my previous column focused largely on ideas, POV will focus on moments - glimpses, glances, tiny stories.

It was 9 PM.

Somewhere, a dog was barking. Sirens blared. A band rehearsing nearby ended a song with a triumphant crash of cymbals. My neighbors downstairs – all five of them recent college graduates – were howling, popping champagne in the backyard under the flickering light of a tiki torch. 

It was a Monday. I stood in the kitchen window, one floor up, and stared.

I once had a conversation with a girl who told me she was convinced that a prerequisite of womanhood was owning presentable sleepwear. When she left school, she replaced the oversized t-shirts in her dresser with lace nightgowns, her college sweatshirt with a silk robe.

Two years ago, when I moved out of the four-bedroom apartment in Bushwick that I shared with three boys, two girls, and the odd kitchen mouse, I insisted on replacing our multicolored collection of chipped IKEA dishes with real glasses and ceramic plates that matched. There were only going to be three of us in the new place, I reasoned. And we were getting older. People our age shouldn’t be drinking out of plastic cups that came as part of the Magic Bullet.

Still, despite the dishes and the downsizing and the general mouse-less nature of my current apartment, I’ll unflinchingly say “twenty-four” when others ask my age. I’m consistently stunned at parties when I’m not the youngest in the group. It shocks me to think that I’m ten years past high school; that there is a new crop of twenty-somethings entering the grown-up world; that to them, I’m old.

Two weekends ago, my roommates and I invited friends over to enjoy one last hurrah at our apartment. At 3 AM, there were twenty people on my bed, laughing, shouting, singing. Someone tied a blanket to a bedpost and tried to swing, Tarzan-style, to the other side. At one point, a neighbor came to complain about the noise; ten minutes later, she was part of the happy muddle. It was Sunday, May 12th. Tarzan leapt atop the pile and shouted, “Best Mother’s Day ever!”

“How old do you think is too old to do something like this?” someone asked me that night.

I shrugged. I didn’t know.

I thought about this a few evenings ago as I packed. I pulled Polaroids from the wall, looked at each one. Laughed out loud.

The next morning, I had ice cream for breakfast.

You can find my previous POV entries, here, and the archive for my personal essay column on the Equals Record, hereThank you so much, as always, for your support! 


Lisa Sperling said...

Shoko - it's been too long! I've missed catching up with your blog posts! Age is a funny thing. I'm 34, but tend to be the youngest in our group of friends - most are 3-10 years older. Just because we grow up though, doesn't mean we have to give up our inner child. I think crazy parties (I'm still trying to imagine the tarzan-like bedpole-swinging - that's pretty impressive :) and ice-cream for breakfast are absolutely in order, at any age :) P.S. I love your POV series, as you can imagine!

lydia {ever ours} said...

loved this post. it's always important to feel young in some way or another. even if it's just for a fleeting moment. just do what makes you happy. if acting like a giddy 12 year old means that, then by all means...go ahead!

Anonymous said...

Age is a funny thing. I'm 30 (31 in August) and yet I often feel much younger. Some of my friends are just turning 30 and have accomplished so much more than I have. I feel behind, like I'm missing out on some magical bit of wisdom that will get me what I so strongly desire.

angela said...

I think you are never too old to let go and have fun, it is so wonderful that you have such a great group of people to be around!

tara said...

The fact that your neighbor joined you is so amazing. It's crazy to me that people think I'm old.

Never have matching dishes. It's so boring. I wish I had collected more of my famiy's ceramic dishes before moving away. Now I have awesome matching crate and barrel plates and bowls. But they're boring.

katharina said...

dear shoko, it took me until now to finally comment on your point of view texts ... but i've been reading every single one of them, each time surprised how much i find myself in your words, your stories and feelings. thank you for these lovely reads!

max said...

these keep getting better and better. beautifully written, i always want more.

bri. said...

i just love you. -bri

bri. said...

i just love you. -bri

burntfeather said...

love this :) Never too old to be silly/have fun, even if you own matching plates and cups!

Anonymous said...

That picture is just the best.

Rachel @ Existation said...

So good, Shoko. I, too, vacillate between feeling young and old. It all depends on the day. Some days I'm immature and ridiculous, and other days I'm so wise and full of experience that the full weight of the world is on my shoulders (at least, that's how it feels). Regardless of actual age, though, that party sounds like it was kickass. I don't think anyone should ever be too old for Tarzan-ing. =]

lipstick and soda said...

beautifully said. thanks for sharing :)

Raquel R. said...

Love your ability to describe the smallest details.

Kathy said...

I loved this so much. Your writing evokes a sense of nostalgia that anyone in any age group can relate to. Also, I don't think one is ever too old to play Tarzan or have ice cream for breakfast :-)

fern said...

great post as usual Shoko! The picture says it all too! :)

Cassie @ Witty Title Here said...

My favorite part about this was that your neighbor joined in on the fun. Sounds like my kind of party. :)

Shoko said...

Lisa, thank you!!

Katharina, that really means so much to me. Thank you, thank you.

Bri, I love YOU!

Rachel, never!

Cassie, that was my favorite part of the night, too :)

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