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POV: Lines.

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.  


I ran into the younger brother of an old friend yesterday as I crossed the street in front of the Wythe Hotel. He was a seventh grader the year I graduated high school — a boy who came up to my shoulder, and wore fishnets on his forearms. He had a tiny voice and giant brown eyes. He'd hug me every time we passed in the halls. He was approaching with arms outstretched this time, too, only he'd grown a foot, and his voice had deepened, and he wore a pair of what can only be described as very beautiful glasses. "Shoko, I wish I could catch up, but I'm on my way to an interview," he said, holding up a printed resume. "I have to run."

We told each other we'd meet again soon. They grow up so fast, I thought, in a moment of total ridiculousness as I watched him go. Just look at him — so young, his whole life ahead of him.
--

"Do you remember," I said to Megan recently, "when we said we wanted to feel everything?"

Just a couple of years earlier, we found ourselves at a giant loft party in Williamsburg in the middle of a snowstorm. Back then, we did this sort of thing regularly — ventured out into the city when it was not easy or convenient to do so, forced ourselves into crowded rooms for the company, let the night surprise us. On that particular evening, we posted up near a doorway, terribly-mixed cocktails in hand, and shouted to be heard above the noise of the crowd. "Life is an experiment," I screamed. And, quoting a Girls episode we'd watched recently: "Let's feel everything."

"How did we have the energy for that?" I asked Megan a few days ago. "Didn't we get tired?"

I wondered the same thing the other night at a bar in Bushwick, as I waited for a (much younger) friend's band to play. Everyone around me looked bright-eyed and awake, abuzz with excitement to be out late, to see new faces and hear new things and talk about them.  "I know we were twenty-four not that long ago," I said to my friend Matt. "But it feels like ages, doesn't it?"

I used to love the idea of living a roller-coaster life — with very high highs and very low lows —  but I'm beginning to come to terms with the fact that I might be growing out of that. Twenty-year-old me would have found this incredibly worrisome, but some level of stability is an appealing thought to me these days (whether or not it exists is another thing). My friends — the same ones who kept me company as I got lost and stayed out all night and lived without furniture — seem to feel the same way. As one of them said to me yesterday: "Maybe I just want to date nice people now."

Healthy as it all seems, there's something a little bit scary about admitting this. I never liked the idea of living life in a straight line; still, the line is beginning to look ever so slightly straighter — and less inclined to wobble in ways I once found thrilling. The challenge now, it seems, is to welcome the changes without letting go of my commitment to learning, and adventure, and experimentation.

I've wondered, with dismay at times: am I boring now? Am I old? Is it lame to still want to feel it all —just a little more calmly?

--

Earlier this summer, I found myself in the front seat of a tow truck after getting a flat tire on the way to Martha's Vineyard. In the span of ten minutes, the driver, a man in his 60s, managed to fill me in on the events of his life over the past decade. He'd been diagnosed with cancer. His wife had left him. He was completely broke. But he had children and grandchildren. A home. A new girlfriend. He had everything, he told me. As we pulled up to the garage, he said, smiling the whole time, "If anyone tells you life gets easier as you get older, tell them they're full of it."

That's true, my parents told me later, when I repeated the story to them. But it does get happier. And fuller. More interesting. And to think of it that way is a choice. 

Embrace it, they said. Enjoy it.

You can find my previous POV entries, here. Thank you so much for reading. Photo via my Instagram.
 

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