It’s been another year!
The 30 year old girl, who had wrinkles and whom I shared with you her story in an earlier 2-part blog, has now turned 31. As her white hair has started to fall out too, where is she now?!
I stand before my mirror; it opens up a magic door into the past; so many events, faces, and phases, but those 30 years also feel like they have slipped away in a blink of an eye. Long gone my younger days. Save your breath! I know all you are going to say. “Youth is not by age, it’s about how you feel …dah dah dah.” I know it all and I do believe in it. Yet, I mean I can never be really young again; I can never go back
to my 20s again; I can never have the same passion emanating from lack of wisdom; I can never have that unfaltering enthusiasm and excitement about the future because of my lack of experience. Nevertheless, it’s the same old story, I never enjoyed my passion or excitement or enthusiasm back then. I doubt I even realized I had them
Sometimes as I look back, I regret those times when I wished I would grow up to evade some people or skip a specific part of my life.
When I was in high school, I wanted to grow up quickly so I skip bullying. I didn’t want to have to do anything ever again with those teachers or those students, I thought growing up will give me another chance to be someone different and start afresh! When I went to college and I had my first few romantic experiences, I wanted to grow up and get done with college because I didn’t want to see those who broke my heart, I wanted to meet real men, better if I get done and meet Mr. Right as quickly as possible too. As usual, silly me, always looking for what’s next, never knowing that one day I will back and wish I wasn’t so rushed.
True! I wish I was calmer, I wish I had lingered longer on each moment, each face, each heart, and each word. I wish I was able to see the beauty in everything I thought was just so bad and unfair, because I am now certain that life is about being fair, whether we see it or not.
One full year has elapsed since I said my goodbyes to my family once more, and left my newly-acquired but very dear group of friends back in Egypt. I packed and got ready for the road to the same country that kicked me out couple of years ago. It was a rough decision. Some of you may not know it, but it did take me sometime to admit I have actually moved and relocated, and that those lovely Cairo days are now behind me. Am I still hung up on them? Or have I finally started a new chapter of my life book?
Well, I guess I did…
It was a very tough fight. Fighting memories and struggling to hang on to some of the best days of one’s life is not an easy thing to do. Accepting to see relations, friends, and family drift away while life gets in the middle is not an easy thing to do. Succumbing to the truth that your existence in the circle of some of the dearest people to you is now only limited to being a virtual connection through social media or texting apps, is not an easy thing to do. Passively watching as new people, whom you don’t know their worth yet, push away precious others, who are worthy of each inch in your heart, is not an easy thing to do. But above all, placing your bets on a new life and taking a plunge into the deep intriguing waters of change, is not an easy thing to do, it is not something that your brain will allow you to commit without resistance.
Though everyone believe I am one of the most social and adaptable people ever, making new friends and fitting into new communities comes on top of my least favorite situations. That said, it explains why I was so sad to leave behind my new group of friends in Egypt. I was so proud of them and of myself. That last year in Egypt saw me mature into something much more beautiful, confident and wiser than the caterpillar I had been. I was a butterfly then; a colorful creature, full of life, flirty and friendly, everyone likes but no one owns, not dependent on anyone, but enjoy them all. I thrived to spread some joy, yet I basked in my sense of freedom.
As I got ready to go, I found it more and more difficult to let go of them. Though I knew better that my time with them was over, and better leave now while we cry over it, than later when we wish for it, I still couldn’t shrug my shoulders off easily and walk away.
But on the other hand, this was my chance to save my family; to make amends and heal the wounds. My kids and a part of my heart wanted to take that bet again; a bet I have placed on love five years ago. This was the time to give everything another chance. I had to go.
I packed all my memories of that one life-changing year deep in a safe place in my heart and boarded the plane. If my journey of self-discovery has started among that amazing group of friends and family, may be it was time for the journey to shift to another scene, another background, against which I could see the rest of my colors, fathom my deepness, and be someone else who could save my family and rebound.
In my suitcase, I had our pictures together, my office souvenirs, and around my neck was their farewell gift to me. On my phone, they all existed, virtual people, each one with a number representing him/her. Isn’t it strange how a 3-hour flight could shift people from the real world into the virtual?!
I was so attached to my last year and adamant not to let my friendships and relationships loosen up that I completely failed to adjust to my new reality. Holding on tight to my past, my memories, the feelings of love, appreciation and acknowledgment were my safe haven while I faced that harsh city, once more, after it has brutally cut me out couple of years ago.
Everything nestled all over my mind and everything in my new life was set in comparison to Cairo and the good old days. It was so sweet, yet heart-breaking and restraining. It made me seem distant most of the time. My real-world -now Qatar- seemed so unreal and temporary because I couldn’t let go of Cairo and move on.
The truth hit me hard in the face one of those nights I was spending as usual ceiling-gazing, with tears imprisoned in my eyes, and my phone beeping intermittently with a whatsapp message from a “virtual” friend.
One of them left me with this thought over the night: “You’ll get used to it.. you have to open up your heart though. Stop comparing and be receptive of change! You have to let go and be ready to take on what’s new!”
The words resonated in my head; my only opportunity to stop existing and actually live is by letting go. I had to liberate myself from the sweetness of the past and try to make Qatar my new home. The city was out there and I had to create fresh memories here too, because memories are what make up our conscious, hence; our connection to a place. The only way to keep my past was by letting it go.
So where am I now? Did I actually lose everyone when I decided to move on? Did Cairo really forget about me now that I began to enjoy Doha’s beauty? In fact, no.
The more I broke the shackles tying me up and opened up to the present, the more vivid, sweet and endearing the past year grew. The more I relaxed, the more my friends stuck around, and the more my new network diversified.
Qatar also showed me its kindness after all. After 20 years of craving it and dreaming of it day and night, the small sandy hot city opened up its skies for me and gave me a short getaway flight to Italy! Finally! After all those years of visualizing a perfect visit to Italy, God once more stands for me and grants me my one wish just the way I need it, just the way I have always yearned for.
Hear me out here; my year didn’t go like spreading butter and marmalade on a hot slice of bread. It had its ups and downs, moments of huge stress, anticipation and anxiety. At times, I had horrible deja’vu’s, and it felt like history was repeating itself. But as always, from the darkest point of the dilemma comes the first beacons of light. Whenever it felt like things have harshly hit a dead end, this superb amazing divine power never cease to blow me away with its utter wisdom in orchestrating the world in general, and my life in specific.
There were also moments when I would lay in my bed, have visions of that treasured year in Cairo. Sometimes, I would wake up feeling bumped, frustrated, and scared they may have forgotten all about me now that I have let life get in the way, but I would smile and I let go even more.
I let go of the fear of losing people, because if anything I have learnt so well; it is to never panic! I shall never panic again; for people will stay if they choose and want to. I won’t panic again, because God will always snatch me away from danger at the perfect timing, so I could marvel at his glory and grow stronger. I shall never panic again because the divine power is taking care of the world, nothing will last and this too –no matter how good or bad- shall pass.
So, my friends chose to stay, at least those I cared about. They chose to keep me in their circle of life. True am just a distant friend, but I know that for some of them, am a dear one. On my birthday, I received tens of calls, texts, and online wishes from all of them, from those I knew in Cairo, those I knew in London, and those I got to know in Qatar, they all made me extremely happy, loved, and appreciated. They brought tears to my eyes and joy to my world.
So to all of you back home or here in Qatar; Thank You! You made a very simple girl extremely happy. I miss you all too and as I start a new page of my life, I want you to know, you will always have your place in my present.
I have grown old and wise, right? Feels like yesterday when I was a dull teenager, later a very conservative college student, and after a very open-minded PR practitioner and academician. Lots of extremes for me along the years, but as I turn 31 I could feel me becoming more balanced. It feels much more tranquil and peaceful.
Now is one of those moments of peace; all my elements are in perfect harmony. Words are flowing from my heart through my pen, music pouring into my soul through my ears, and my memories are filling up my aura with love of friends and family, those who are there and those who are not, those who are still in touch and those who chose to drop me. Am experiencing a moment of forgiveness for the entire world, a moment when I can’t hate anyone and happy to embrace everyone. My mind is basking in the wise divine glory with satisfaction and gratitude.
Love and peace to you all-
And 31 bring it on- Older and Wiser.