POV: Acclimation.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

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

Monday night, with a blizzard just hours away, Lily, Jamie, and I walked four blocks home from a neighbor’s apartment, where we had drinks and ate dessert and watched the previous weekend’s episode of Girls. It was 10:50, just minutes before the citywide travel ban was scheduled to go into effect, during which subways and buses stopped service and all cars were to be off the street. 

It was quiet outside, a rare thing, even for a Monday. The streets were deserted, the sidewalks white. Above us, an empty J train clattered over the Williamsburg Bridge. We crunched through the snow, our faces sleet-stippled.

 “We haven’t even lived in this city that long,” said Jamie, her voice muffled inside her hood. “Can you believe how little time it’s taken for all of this” — she gestured to the ice, the snow, the whipping wind — “to feel normal?”

Later, with nothing else to do but watch the snow from our windows (and complete a maddeningly difficult 1000-piece Edward Gorey puzzle), we hunkered down, settling into the quiet. "There are so many things we're used to now that were foreign to us not so long ago," I said. We no longer notice the noise, for instance, leaving our windows open at night in the summertime. We walk miles daily. We sleep on trains.

Things that were once wildly unfamiliar are now part of our everyday landscape — like the bodegas and taxi cabs and snow hardened on the edges of sidewalks, they're details we've seen so many times we don't look twice.

For me, there are bigger things, too. I’m more comfortable with feeling uncomfortable than I’ve ever been. I like change. I wait for it. And I've been lucky enough to find that on the other side of uncertainty (and pain, and loss, and things-not-going-my-way) are often the best, most mind-boggling surprises.

“Just follow your path,” my dad said to me when I Face-Timed my parents last week. “Whatever happens is okay — even if things don’t look the way you thought they would. Even if you get lost. Even if the path leads you into a ravine.”

“Shoko,” my mom said brightly, chiming in from the kitchen. “You’re still so young. You have so many ravines ahead of you.”

She said this with a smile, with energy, with encouragement.

It wasn’t what I’d expected to hear. But I loved it — it surprised me. So I had to laugh.

You can find my previous POV entries, here. Thank you so much for reading. Photo by Lily Tidhar.


Britlyn said...

I always love reading these beautifully written posts. I am young, and I feel like I am just starting to truly understand that with scary and overwhelming change often comes rich rewards. Thanks for a reminder that we all have a path to follow, and we can be excited for where it will lead.

max said...

ravines forever.

burntfeather said...

How amazing are your parents and high five to being puzzle kids, I might just get one of my unfinished puzzles another crack :)

Anonymous said...


Shoko said...

Britlyn, thank you so much for reading!

Fee, I'd forgotten how satisfying they are...

cassandra said...

Love these posts!

Kathy said...

Some of the most interesting wildlife takes root in ravines before growing up and out towards the sun.

Shoko said...

I love that, Kathy.

Bekka said...

I love this. Love you.

Shoko said...

Love you, Bekka!

stateandoccupation.com said...

Your POV's are always my favourite. So pretty and whimsical and well written even when they're written about uncertainty and the blistering cold.

Hope you're staying warm!

xo, Dakota

Huy Bui said...

thank you for sharing ... you have amazing parents!

Rachel said...

"I’m more comfortable with feeling uncomfortable than I’ve ever been." Mmhmm.

Also, aren't parents the best? Parents are the best.


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