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! 

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