POV: Sooner/Later.

Friday, July 26, 2013

POV ("point of view") is a 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.  

One afternoon, a year before I finished college, I woke from a nap with a start. I dreamt that I’d graduated, that I was done with school. That it was time to pack my things in boxes and leave.

But I’m not ready, I thought, my legs caught in a tangle of sheets. In an episode not unlike the sort reported by those on the brink of death, I saw my college life - and all its yet-unlived experiences - flash before my eyes. I’d never climbed Tree Nine, never explored the Porter Caves, hadn’t yet combed the woods for the mythical makeshift houses built by students in the trees.

For a moment, before I realized I’d been dreaming, I was miserable.

I joined a friend for dinner recently in Fort Greene. “I’ve been trying to plan out the next seven years of my life,” she said, shortly after I sat down, “and I’m realizing that I should have done this a long time ago.” 

Having just turned thirty, she explained, she’d created a loose timeline for the future, planning accordingly in regards to her career, her finances, personal milestones. 

“Shoko,” she said. “Learn from my mistakes. Start planning now.”

I’m not ready, was my first thought.

About a year ago, I made a decision to start saying yes to everything that scared me. In the months following, my life began to look like the one I’d envisioned for my twenties: full of characters, long nights, endless stories. 

There’s a lot left to do before moving on to a more serious realm of adulthood. What if, I’ve often wondered, I wake up one day at thirty-five, and realize that I didn’t do everything I wanted to do? 

The fact that as I get older, years pass in what seem like days doesn’t do much to assuage my fears. Just last week, I overheard my niece - who turned five this month and whose face was streaked with strawberry juice - say to a friend, “Sooner or later, I’ll be six.”


The evening after Megan’s birthday party - during which we sang, and danced, and lit a cake on fire - we lay curled under a blanket at my apartment, bleary-eyed, in a daze. I paged through a book; we both drifted in and out of sleep.

“Why are we so tired?” I wondered aloud, dumbly.

 Megan closed her eyes, pulled a blanket over her face. “Because we’re so busy living,” she said through the fibers.

In the weeks to come, we'd wander the city with painted faces, get lost in tall grass, take leaps into waterfalls.

"What are you doing tomorrow?" she asked, emerging.

Half-asleep, I answered, "Everything."

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 reading!


magical said...


girlseeksplace said...

Perfect. I am turning 31 in less than a month and I'm feeling my immortality more than ever. I feel like the years are crashing down around me and there's not enough time to do it all, see it all, be it all.

Anonymous said...

Love it. Yes.

Sarah Noel said...

This is completely gorgeous. Such a big important theme wrapped up in so many cool, unique stories and memories.


Paw said...

bravo indeed!

Kim Baise said...

this is a such beautiful post, shoko.
yes! live it and grow with love <3

Carol Rial said...

This is the most beautiful post I've ever read. I did it two day ago and am still thinking of how beautifully written it is.

I hope you write a book someday. I'm sure you'd be a cult and best selling author.

Kathy said...

I think that no matter what stage of life I'm in and no matter how much I've done, I will always feel like there is still a lot more I have left to do and I imagine that you probably feel the same way. I love that you are saying and continuing to say "yes" to everything that scares you - it's inspiring!

Anonymous said...

Lovely. Thanks for sharing.

Shoko said...

Thank you so much, everyone! Your kind words made my day :)


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