When I went to New York City with two of my friends for fall break, I was a bit overwhelmed. The sirens, the yellow taxi cabs, the bustling cafés serving rainbow iced lattes. The street musicians, the park poets, the lovers sharing cigarettes on fire escapes. There was an urgency to keep moving constantly thrumming in my ears. Yes, I was overwhelmed with all of it, but I also found it electrifying. I fell a little bit in love, just for the day. Where else can you find this wonderful chaos? The city offered me the perfect chance to do something I’ve wanted to do since high school.
There are things people do spontaneously. Go to a concert, ask someone out, try a new restaurant, pack a bag and embark on a road trip. There are also things most people do not do spontaneously. But personally, I find the elements of surprise and unpredictability to be necessary and exciting parts of life.
We went to Bleecker Street that day, wandering through bookstores, perusing thrift shops, stopping at coffeehouses. Amidst the cast-iron buildings and brick apartments, a certain storefront caught my eye: a tattoo shop that I’d heard about online.
To be clear, the decision to get my first tattoo in New York City didn’t come entirely out of the blue—I’ve daydreamed about getting one for years. Still, I didn’t go to the city with a concrete plan. I didn’t expect to return to my friend’s house with a cluster of wildflowers on my upper right arm. But the moment I entered the tattoo shop, I knew that it was the right time. It felt like the universe had put me there for a reason. The spontaneity of my tattoo transformed it into magic.
Now, I find my impulsive tattoo to be liberating, to be an act of love. It will always fill me with the warmth of that sun-soaked day, of those sunshine-filled people. But more importantly, it makes me feel like my body is art. The flowers imprinted on my arm symbolize seeing beauty everywhere. They symbolize healing and growth. They remind me that I have the power to change my life —the power to seek the wild and the unknown no matter where I am.
I can’t advocate for everyone to get a spontaneous tattoo, but I can say for certain that almost everyone gets bogged down with routine—especially at Colgate, where busy lives revolve around class schedules and extracurriculars. We all should take days off now and then in the name of spontaneity. We all should spend time exploring and rekindling our sense of wonder.
Contact Celine Turkyilmaz