POV: Lines.

Friday, November 21, 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.  


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.

16 comments:

suzanne van waerebeke said...

So nice written! Your feelings are very familiar to me. Thanks for the comforting words on the end :) !

Anonymous said...

Fall leaves fall; die flowers away
Lengthen night and shorten day
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree

I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow
I shall sing when night's decay
Ushers in a drearier day

Emily Bronte

girlseeksplace said...

You are so wise. As I get older, I find myself walking a much straighter line. I see people I know settling down and I want that, too. I want to own a home, preferably a small one, and travel and live a rich life. I can't do that if I'm still acting like I'm 20 (not that I was so wild and crazy when I was 20).

Paw said...

echo, you are wise. a very wise and lovely post.

sherry said...

Lovely.

Brynn said...

Love this one.

Shoko said...

Thank you all so much!

burntfeather said...

"Twenty-year-old me would have found this incredibly worrisome, but some level of stability is an appealing thought to me these days"

I like this quote because I think you adequately summed up my own thoughts - I like that life changes too, it would probably be pretty boring to stay the same as our 21-old selves.

Brianne said...

Beautiful, Shoko!

max said...

incredibly wise and beautiful words.

kwakie said...

this is beautiful :) thank you as always for sharing your perspective and for writing (and living) so hopefully! your story is an inspiration to me as someone who's also navigating this journey of figuring out what it means to "grow up" while still staying true to my values and dreams :) your words are a comfort and a gift!

Bekka said...

i love this one shoko! and you and your parents are so right, it doesn't get easier, but my heart is happier.

Kathy said...

Reading this makes my heart feel so full. Thank you for that. You've got your whole life ahead of you, my friend!

Jenny said...

Hi Shoko!
I just wanted to de-lurk and say I love the way you write and your blog is one of my favorites.
I always look forward to your POVs... hits the mark every time!
If you ever find yourself in Singapore, let me know.
Best,
Jenny

Shoko said...

Kwakie, thank you so, so much.

Bekka, that makes me so happy to hear :)

Jenny, thank you! What a wonderful comment to find this morning — I so appreciate your reading. And I would love to make it to Singapore one of these days — will definitely let you know if I do!

samantha hahn said...

so beautifully said but you were born in the year 2000 and also have your whole life ahead!!

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