POV: Prep.

Monday, May 19, 2014

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 focuses on moments - glimpses, glances, tiny stories. 

In the winter, when night came at five PM and polar conditions made city adventuring treacherous, my roommate Lily and I made a routine of starting our days in darkness. We’d wake up at six and meet for coffee at our dining table, where we’d plug in our laptops and work til nine. As freelancers accustomed to working from coffee shops, we spent most mornings hiding from the cold, absorbing silence and watching the sun rise over the Williamsburg Bridge.

We lost ourselves in plan-making. Stuck indoors, it was comforting to focus on the future. We made lists. We discussed new projects. We set goals. Sometimes, even when we weren’t expecting visitors, we swept the floors or scrubbed the tub. We bought potted plants for our window sills. Always, through everything, we talked about spring.

I spotted a book of portraits at a record store last weekend. Its title had something to do with nontraditional living, and inside, there was a collection of photographs of people who’d built their lives around creative work, and romance, and unrestricted dreaming. The first page I opened showed a pair of artists who traveled the world with babies in tow, pitching tents and riding bicycles, lighting campfires to keep warm. They seemed very happy.

I discussed this later with a friend, sitting in the grass by the East River. Most of the people we’re close to are making non-traditional choices: we’re in our late twenties, we’re not married, we don't have children, we haven’t settled on a career. Very few of us work nine-to-fives - most are freelance; some work in retail or in restaurants to fund side projects that hopefully won’t be side projects forever.

We are, for the most part, very happy. 

But many of us have no safety net, no backup plan, no savings. There are no clear answers. There is no clear path. The possibility of failure seems very real.

But, thankfully, there is no normal in New York. And as my dad said to me as I fretted over having decided against a full-time job: you have a vision for what you’d like your life to look like, and there are opportunities to make it real. Why not continue taking leaps?


Of impending romance, Anais Nin once wrote: “I had a sense of preparation of a love to come. Like the extension of canopies, the unrolling of ceremonial carpets, as if I must first create a marvelous world in which to house it, in which to receive adequately this guest of honor.”
I feel this way sometimes, and I know my friends do, too, when it comes to pursuing the lives we dream of. Since there are no guarantees and no guidebook for risk-taking, it sometimes feels like the only thing to do is put the pieces in place and remain hopeful. Everything feels like a step as we ready ourselves for what’s to come; we’re laying bricks and planting seeds, trying to build marvelous worlds.
It’s scary. It’s thrilling. I know above all, we feel lucky. 
So we work in the dark. We wait. We sweep the floors, we tidy our rooms. We dream, we make things, we watch - patiently, if we can - for signs of growth.
You can find my previous POV entries, here, and the archive for my personal essay column on the Equals Record, here. Thank you so much for your support, as always. 


Rachel Weaver said...

Every time, you write my new favorite.

Rachel said...

That's what I love about Los Angeles, too: I'm surrounded by people who are making the same general life choices as me, and it helps me to feel a little less alone and more like I can actually dream about possibilities.

Sarah Noel said...

Such an encouraging perspective!

Anonymous said...

this is lovely.

tara said...

I love your dad's response! So true.

Raquel R. said...

Open and honest writing.

Katie said...


Anonymous said...

Yep. As a non-traditional human being, in her 30s, with no plans for marriage or children, I can totally relate to this. I am winging it daily, figuring out what works and what doesn't. I'm asking for chances and being given those chances. I love it, but it also keeps me up at night, wondering if I should have forced myself into the security of being a teacher.

burntfeather said...

Oh gosh, I really needed to read this today, I must admit to my mind wandering to thoughts of going back to stable yet non-creative work. I currently find myself in the really tough starting out phase but I keep giving myself little pep talks to just keep going :) keep going, keep going!

Gilly said...

Thank you for your beautiful pieces. It's so good to hear someone write about the struggles and the joys of making their own path in life.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your beautiful pieces. It's so good to hear someone write about the struggles and the joys of making their own path in life.

Anonymous said...

You're writing is so beautiful. I really loved this post and completely related to the message. Your dad sounds very wise and sweet:)


Camila Faria said...

I also have this feeling sometimes, that failure is just around the corner... But somehow I feel happy and excited about life. Is there any other way to live? Beautiful post, as always!

Shoko said...

Thank you all so much! Your kind words mean the world.

fai o. said...

your dad's advice, this post, your writing ♥ thank you

max said...

just, wow.

Anonymous said...

Thank you again for capturing something that many individuals in our generation struggle against. These are truly words of encouragement for me.



sho & tell © All rights reserved · Theme by Blog Milk · Blogger