It was a warm day at the Brooklyn Flea. Shoppers showed their shoulders, and drank watermelon agua frescas on ice; perused beer crates filled with records that smelled of dust and squeezed un-socked feet into vintage shoes several sizes too small. Summer was on its way. It would be my first in New York City.
“I need to find an air conditioner for my room,” I said to my housemate, Maya, who’d accompanied me. “But it needs to be a cheap one,” I added, “because I’m broke.”
Not ten minutes passed before a familiar face materialized in the crowd—a friend of my family’s whose wife was expecting. “I’m clearing space in our apartment for the baby,” he told me after we’d said hello. “Getting rid of tons of stuff. Know anyone who needs an AC?”
Later, on the way home, I remarked that the city’s demand for constant movement—subway stairs, mad dashes for the bus, long walks cross-town—made my body ache. “I wonder if there’s a yoga studio near our apartment?” I asked Maya, casting sideward glances around our desolate, warehouse-ridden block.
A woman passed to our left, holding a stack of papers in her hand. “Coupons for free yoga?”
There’s no elegant way to put what I’m about to say.
For much of my life, things have more or less fallen into my lap.
It’s almost embarrassing to admit, though I can certainly claim very little credit for the way things have happened in my life. My friends call it Shoko luck, and it’s something I’ve always been reluctant to acknowledge, for fear of completely jinxing it—whatever it is. It’s happened on a large scale (jobs, travel), and in smaller instances, as well (free yoga in graffiti-bathed Bushwick). “I’m just lucky, I guess,” has forever been my sheepish explanation.
This year, though, things have been different. They’ve been hard. They’ve fallen apart. I’ve had my own (admittedly benign) version of a quarter-life crisis. I’ve experienced anxiety on levels I hadn’t previously known were possible. Nothing’s come easily, or fallen out of the sky, or shown up on my doorstep wrapped in ribbon.
Life feels changed. But not in a bad way.
As I mentioned recently on my blog (and in many instances here), I’ve been experiencing it all, beauty and terror. I’m embracing it and loving it and hating it all at the same time. Writing about all of this on the Equals Record has been terrifying—but ultimately more rewarding than I could ever have anticipated. (By the way, that’s thanks entirely to you, wonderful readers.)
Equally unexpected? The fact that, curiously, mysteriously, I’m happier than I’ve ever been.
This—knowing this—makes me lucky. Vastly so.
For that—and many, many other things, too—I give thanks.