It's New Year's Eve - hurrah! For Karim Rahman, however, NYE is never anywhere near as glamorous as he'd like it to be. So this time, instead of resolutions, he's reflecting...
It’s December 31st, 2010. I am at a shady downtown bar with my best friend G and two friends of ours. Fresh off my first ever semester in college, I am still a wide eyed ingénue in the Cairo social scene, with big plans for what my future in the city was going to be like. I have tequila, I am faring well in college (I wasn't), I have a fairly steady job working as a freelance writer for a well known magazine and I am fabulous to boot. Everything was going according to plan, and 2011 seemed like it was going off to a great start. Then Britney Spears' 3 blares through the speakers, and I start stripping on the bar (literally on the bar). Yep, 2011 was going to be just fine.
Flash forward two years from that night. It is December 31st, 2013. I'm sitting in my room, typing out the latest article in my steady job writing a weekly column for one of Cairo's biggest online publications. I'm wrapping up my junior semester in college, I don't have tequila and I am less fabulous than I thought I was. 3 is blaring from my pathetically dim laptop speakers, but this time it is more nostalgic than dance-inducing (that's a lie; I still want to strip whenever I hear that song). With 2014 literally knocking on our doors, I can't help but feel like the more things change, the more they stay the same. The sheer contrast between now and then has me thinking about a lot of things.
With every New Year, we're filled with this sense of conviction that this time around, things will be different. This time around, we'll do more of the things we want to do and less of the things we don't want to do. Cue the Facebook posts about New Year resolutions: people left, right and centre are going to start quitting smoking, start working out more, "explore different avenues" and have more fun. It's like a compulsion, a disease we have. We have to write a to-do list for the New Year, a to-do list that we never manage to complete and that we end up carrying with us into the subsequent year, before completely giving up on it and starting from scratch. Don't get me wrong; I am as guilty of the resolutions disease as anyone, and this post isn't as pensive as it sounds. Rather, it's more of a resolutions list, but with a twist (I can cross "Become the next Shakespeare" off my resolutions now, thank you very much). Instead of promising myself that I'll do a list of things I know perfectly well I won't even revisit, it's time I take a look back at what I have accomplished so far, and the things I am thankful for in 2013 (I am aware this isn't Thanksgiving).
I have this column, and my brief but amazing experience as a full-time staff writer with CairoScene, so I'm thankful for those milestones. I'm thankful for my editor, super-woman Dalia Awad, who lets me do my thing before swooping in and miraculously fixing every article I manage to fuck up, and also for knowing when to stop me being too full of myself. I'm thankful for my styling/art direction job that's exposed me to a lot of the different facets of the fashion industry (what little of it we have) here in Cairo. I've accomplished a lot, and I may not have the same unbridled optimism I had back in 2010, but at least I'm more grounded than I was. Yes, I am but a blip on the Cairo social radar but that's okay. I still have a lot of time to be whoever the fuck I want to be.
That's not to say 2013 didn't have its lows. In fact, mine ended on a pretty bad low, with my parents finding out things they shouldn't have. But that's the whole point of the New Year; it's a chance to start fresh. Close the books, because what happened in '13 can stay there. Instead of writing a list of the things you're going to do, how about you don't and just go about every day as it comes. Nobody cares about your resolutions, nobody wants to know them and you're not going to do them. What you can do instead is get a haircut and a brand new pair of boots, which I myself have done. Best way to start off the New Year.
In all honesty, this post is only here to fill the awful realisation that I'm probably spending NYE at home, that I'm taking a leaf out of my Valentine's day tradition and eating herrings and sardines in bed and that I'm not entirely where I thought I would be. I don't even have anyone to kiss for the NYE countdown. But let's face it, if I did, this column probably wouldn't exist, would it?