As I may have mentioned previously, New Year’s Eve is a big deal to me. It’s that one day when I get drunk on optimism and sugar, set myself wonderfully ambitious goals that I will absolutely not complete, and look back on the last joyous year where I achieved none of those goals either.
Since the tender age of sixteen, I’ve been making lists of things I need to do that year in order to have really lived. Items include getting my hair dyed bright pink (there was a brief phase of infatuation with Gwen Stefani) or my eyebrow pierced, learning a useless language and reading books with big words in them.
Every year, I tell myself ‘I will die happy once I see Paris.’ Or climb a mountain. Or bungee jump. Or write a book. Every year, I have one thing left to do before I can die happy.
Now, at 29, it pains me to admit that I’m too old for an eyebrow piercing, and a recent flirtation with a stubborn Lebanese hairstylist left my hair in a garish strawberry hue that a mean friend affectionately referred to as Ganzoury Hair. I have climbed a mountain, I finally made it to Paris, but I’ve yet to fling myself off a building, write a bestseller or visit India. Would I die happy now?
Given everything that has happened to Egypt in the past year, I would have to say no. I won’t get all political on you, but suffice it to say that it’s very difficult for me to look back on 2011 without feeling utterly shitfaced depressed. And with the anniversary of January 25th tomorrow, I’m not quite sure what I’m supposed to celebrate considering people died, people got jailed, people lost their eyes, and the same people remain in charge.
So in an attempt to lift my rather sombre spirits, I’ve made a list of all the great things I’ve accomplished in 2011. Prepare to be shaken.
Big Things I Did This Year:
- I was in a revolution, bitches. I’ve always wanted to write that. Thank you.
- I gave up smoking. Twice. Some people manage this once. I quit twice, being the overachiever I am.
- I travelled twelve times around Egypt. I did my part for the tourism industry this year and visited Port Said, the North Coast, Gouna, Ras Sudr, Dahab and Nuweiba repeatedly. And I loved every minute of it, even when stuck on an East Delta Bus for six hours with a man smoking behind me and a plastic bag of live chickens skirmishing in front of me. I met lovely people and saw incredible sites that remind me of how lucky I am to live here.
- I did things that scared me. I windsurfed in Ras Sudr, which is terrifying when the winds are high and you fall on your ass so often, the fat 10-year-old British boy starts sniggering and pointing at you. I also climbed a mountain, which took six hours and brought me 1000 feet up. Or something like that. I also flew backseat in a small glider plane that surprisingly didn’t crash. And I managed not to scream or embedd my fingernails permanently in the poor co-pilot’s arm.
- I didn’t cut my hair. Every year, I go blind bat crazy and chop all, or half my hair off in an attempt to feel young and stupid again. This year, I managed to avoid the allure of the sheers, keeping my hair firmly on my head and avoiding what my mum calls ‘That Lesbian Look of yours.’ Clearly, I’m maturing.
- People Read My Blog. People who weren’t my mother and my 30 friends. The narcissist in me was ecstatic. Yaaay.
- I Got Sick. You learn a lot about yourself when you lose basic functions, like the ability to eat, sleep or even walk. When you’re that incapacitated, you realize just how privileged you are to be able to breathe or move your arms. Once you’re well again, you quickly forget all the bargaining you made with God (‘Make me better and I promise I won’t smoke/yell at my parents/dump trash/bully again’). So having been there, done that and got the t-shirt, I try to be thankful every day for being healthy.
- I Am Loved. This is the one basic fact that comforts me every time I’m on a plane that’s about to crash – which is every time, I hate flying so much I once wrote my will before boarding for London – is that I can die happy because I know I’m loved. Even though those who love me, including my family, have contemplated throttling me at some point or other.
All these basic, insignificant achievements are what make 2011 a slightly happier memory for me, and 2012 a little less painful to face. I may not make it to India this year, but I hope I end 2012 on the same I-can-die-happy-now note.