You know your life’s about to change when you’re nostalgic for the post-college haze, jaywalking with a backpack and a wedgie. You miss those first days doing breaststroke through the dirtiest streets in the world, throat dry from particle pollutants.
When a friend you once coached through an existential crisis as she stood there with a bloody nose bccs you on something that starts with, “As some of you know, I’m moving on to HBS, and I couldn’t be more excited!! As the curtain closes on my time in New York, I’d love to…”
When you start saving money, and keeping it.
When everything becomes a metaphor. Walking down a long sidewalk becomes a big juicy Choice that makes you stand there in the middle of the sidewalk with your eyes watering.
When you stop masturbating.
When you start to cook with herbs. When you can tell the difference between herbs. When you start to enjoy the smell of sage.
When you start giving gifts that cost more than $50.
When you start, on the subway, to actually look around at the other people sitting with you; the camaraderie that happens in metal boxes is cool and silent and won’t last forever.
When you start to set deadlines for yourself, and to meet them.
When you stop caring that people hate you. That the guy on the subway will shake his head at you each morning as you sing to yourself in falsetto. Turn it up.
When you start to drink loose tea, not coffee.
When you start to see your parents as real people, 4-D beings in time, with all of their poop and pee, just as self-involved as you. When you’ve seen them with that crying face where it looks like a smile. You’ve seen them pound their fists against steering wheels like toddlers. Heard them complain about ________. You’ve hung up on each other multiple times in one day, but now you treat them to brunch and sign the bill as you breathe a little heavier.
When you feel things start to pivot – you walk by a paper cup, for example, and have to decide which way to walk around it – left or right, they mean something. And so you step on the cup.
You know your life’s about to change when you start to respect your brain, your ears, your eyes, your time, your penis, your feet, your hands, your gastrointestinal system. Your literal heart.