When you have a blog that you update semi-regularly and when there are a couple of people out there in this world who actually
read what you write, you feel a certain sense of obligation to your vast audience of two to write something special to bring in the new year.
I’ve been thinking of what my New Year post should be about for days, writing words in my head and then almost immediately afterwards erasing them (in my head too, of course. That’s how it works). Sometimes I begin writing great words of wisdom. And then I go back in my head and remember all the blog posts I wrote about how confused I have been this year and decide that is probably not a wise road to take. Other times in my head I write a summary of all the things that have happened to me, at me, around me, and in me and quickly realize how boring all that is even to me let alone to everybody else. I do want to write something, though. So I decided that I would do what I always do: I’ll sit down and let the words flow out of me. I’ll just be me.
At the beginning of 2013 my husband and I started a 2013 Reminder Jar. In it, we have been placing little reminders of the good things that we experienced during the year. This was a suggestion I found on Facebook one day near the end of 2012. We always seem to remember how awful a particular year has been and forget all the wonderful and amazing things we’ve experienced. The Reminder Jar is meant to remind you at the end of the year that it wasn’t so bad after all. I have to tell you, it worked. All I need to do is to look at it – it has a central location in our living room – and recall putting a little note or a business card or a hotel card in it – to remember how many good times we had in 2013.
This year, above all, I have been reminded of the importance of my family to me. We’ve been through quite a lot of change this year due to the ongoing problems in Egypt. There is one family member in particular, someone who has warned me not to ever ever mention them on my blog, who I feel particularly grateful this year to have as a…a potential male or female family member. That person who shall remain forever unmentioned in writing is very special to me. I do not care how many thousands of miles end up between us; I know that we will always have each other. Enough said.
This year I spent more time with my best friend than I have ever spent at once with anyone other than a family member. We went on the most fantastic adventures together. After spending almost a month eating with each other, sleeping in the same space together, and handing each other things through the bathroom door while the other is sitting on the toilet, we ended up getting on each other’s nerves near the end of our trip to say the least. We had two infamous arguments, both loud and heard by many others. One was about where we should put our duffle bags in our small tent. The other was over coca tea. Yes. Coca tea. At the time it seemed that we would never get over the horrible things we said to each other over duffle bags and coca tea. But it turns out that that is not how friendship works. Best girlfriends are like sisters: they have horrible dirty sock fights (another story for another time), hate each other for a few minutes or a few days, and then move on as if our belief systems that revolve around duffle bags and coca tea weren’t as important as we thought they were after all. Well, maybe they ARE as important as that, but we can learn to accept each other’s different beliefs about these two things and live with it. Arwa, I love you I love you I love you. That is one of 2013’s gifts to me this year: loving you unconditionally.
This year I learned how enjoyable it can be to push my body to its limits and beyond. I never do this for the sake of it. It is done as
part of doing something new and being able to experience things I never would have been able to experience otherwise. I am not a cyclist. I just know how to ride a bike. I used to ride a bike as any child would and then only got back on bikes very rarely as an adult. This year all that changed. I got back on a bike and pushed and trained and pushed harder until I was fit enough to cycle with my husband and one of his work colleagues from London all the way to Paris in three days. It was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. I learned that there is a certain type of pain that I actually enjoy. I learned that I am capable of doing more things than I ever previously imagined. I learned that there is little in this life more satisfying than going to far away places using your own leg power.
On a personal level, I have spent much of 2013 a very confused soul. It’s been as if I need to solve the meaning of existence NOW or I’m doomed. Well I haven’t solved it and I’m starting to realize I probably never will. And I think I’m OK with that – at least until I write another blog post telling you all how important it is (again) that I need to figure out why I have been placed on this Earth and what purpose I need to fulfill.
I’ve also not figured out how to fix my country and that sucks because Egypt is REALLY going down the drain. It feels like I should know what to do. And yes, it feels like it is my responsibility to fix things. But I don’t know what to do and I’m not OK with that. I follow the goings-on in my country with anxiety and anger. It is doing me no good and I am doing it no good. Maybe in 2014 I’ll have an epiphany about all this. For now, I’ll just have to continue following the events, blogging sometimes my thoughts, and yelling on Facebook in Arabic at the whole Egyptian population as if they were little children who were causing way too much trouble than is acceptable.
I’m not going to wish for 2014 to be a “good” year. I’ve learned there is no such thing. Our lives are full of ups and downs. I will try to appreciate the ups if and when I am blessed with them and to persevere through the inevitable downs. That’s life and I’m here to live it. Will I find work this year? Will I feel more financially secure? Will I have to keep worrying about my children’s education and security? Will terrorism take over my country? Will dictatorships prevail? Will I ever figure out what the f&*% my purpose in life is? Who knows? I certainly don’t. But bring it on, life. BRING IT ON! You throw things at me, I fall, I stay down sometimes for a very long time, but eventually I find my way back up. Or at least I find a way to crawl through.
And I know I don’t just have two readers. My blog statistics tell me otherwise. I get a thrill every single time I see the page views increase for a blog post I’ve just written. I learn so much from the comments you all send. I read every single one of them. I feel so blessed that I can write and be read. So thank you. All of you. And a happy New Year to you all.