POV: Steps.

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. While my previous column focused largely on ideas, POV focuses on moments - glimpses, glances, tiny stories 

I took a friend’s baby daughter to the park earlier this spring, on a morning too cold for bare legs. I covered mine with a sweater and spent an hour drawing chalk rainbows and winged horses at the eye level of an 18-month-old.

Though she’s not yet talking, we communicated fine: when I said the word “swing,” she pointed; when I mentioned a helicopter, she knew to look to the sky. Then, there was a rustling in the bushes beside us — a gentle pecking, the flitting of paper-thin wings. Bah, said the baby — the beginnings of bird.


Some weeks later, in the cab home from a party for a friend who’d just completed a Masters program, Lily and I talked about how strange it is to watch our friends become adults.

There were people there that I’ve known since college, who, over the course of a decade, have committed to career paths, met life partners, taken the steps necessary to become recognized in their respective fields as experts.

We agreed that sometimes — though most of us are approaching 30 — it still feels like we’re just trying adulthood on for size.

“I don’t know if I’m ready for the next chapter,” someone said to me recently.

“But it can look any way you want,” I said.

I’ve always found the starts of new phases frightening.  Becoming a teenager scared me. So did leaving college. There always seemed to be an adjustment period, a long season of easing in until things felt steady.

I imagine it’s a little like small children learning to walk or talk, which seems to happen bit by bit, and then, miraculously, all at once.

It isn’t normal until it is. It doesn’t come naturally until it does.


Back at the park, my 18-month-old companion stood watching older children cross bridges and mount sloping metal ladders, weaving in and out of sun-checkered tunnels.

She pointed, platinum curls bobbing. “I see,” I said.

A woman passed, holding a five- or six-year-old by the hand. “She looks just like you,” she said, nodding at my enraptured charge. Then she paused, and watched her watching. “I remember that.”

I wasn’t sure whether she was referring to her own child at that age, or herself. But when a group of girls thundered past, knocking the baby off wobbly feet that haven’t yet mastered running, I watched her and remembered, too: first forays into unfamiliar territory. The beginnings of things. The world, enormous, reduced to tiny footfalls: first, one step, then another.


You can find my previous POV entries, here. Thank you so much for reading — and thanks to Max for the photo.


  1. Gahhh!!!! You do words so well. I love them every time.

  2. This is really beautiful. As always. Thank you.

  3. i believe our spirit's are timeless and the idea of "old souls" applies to all people of all ages.

    love your POVs!!!

  4. the mother of a 5 year old and 2 year old this is such a great perspective "It isn't normal until it is". Perfect timing as a I have a little one still trying to adjust to full time school. Thank you Shoko

  5. Huy, that's beautiful. Thank you for reading — I'm always so inspired by you.

    Anon, thank you! And hang in there, I'm sure it'll all smooth over before you know it...

  6. Each POV is like a snapshot in time...

  7. Every time I finish a pov, I do so with tears in my eyes. Your words create such a vivid picture in my mind that I get caught up in your moments, fill them with my own're terrific.



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