It’s funny that Mustapha would suggest anniversary posts for I’ve been meaning to write this all month. It’s been exactly a year since I was taking selfies in Plaça Reial with friends who were visiting me during my 3 months in Barcelona.
When I was there, it felt like I was moving forward: it was enriching because it was all discovery and I don’t just mean the gastronomic hunts I planned every weekend. You’re not supposed to get a thrill out of doing laundry and making coca-cola-chicken-for-one on a Friday night but after 27 years, I was finally becoming an adult and I loved it.
TRUTH: I had wanted to leave Beirut after getting my Graphic Design degree but I had landed a job at Leo Burnett before graduation. With the job market being a disaster compounded with my dream of wanting to work for the big shots of advertising, I wasn’t going to be a hard-headed child just because I wanted out. “Give it a few years,” I said.
Four years and countless internal battles after that decision and I’m still here.
When I came back from Barcelona, hopping aboard the family empire cruise-ship was not the plan. I wanted the move again…out and away for a Masters. But the expansion of Wesley’s lured me into a shift in my professional plans instead of an expensive relocation for pricey higher education.
Back in Beirut, working, living, and breathing for the family, I feel I have taken steps back. I’m burned out every 75 days, shifting from extreme edginess to needing complete isolation. I cling to business trips or any excuse to escape yet feel like an ungrateful ass for ultimately feeling unfulfilled when it comes to my own development. This is not a problem considering what life can throw at you and there is no one to blame for this otherwise fortunate situation except myself; I made the decision to stay here every time I had the chance to leave.
But with every upcoming temporary departure, I write a post like this, or this, or this, praying that things will change while/as a result of being gone – be it a week or a couple of months. Upon arrival, I write another post like this, or this, or this, saying things are just as I had left them. I wasn’t fudging when I said this blog is a track record of where my head is at and I can see that a pattern has emerged.
Or maybe it’s a cycle that needs to be broken.
I’m going to New York tomorrow and I don’t want to keep writing these identical departure/arrival posts. When I was 8, I moved on from Chuck E. Cheez and became a frequent visitor of the Discovery Zone. I used to beeline to the plastic covered mountain that you had to climb – in socks – with only a rope as assistance. In elementary, I took after-school algebra. In middle school, I begged to be placed in advanced math classes and chose French class over art. In IB, I chose the tough higher level courses even though I had no clue what university major I was hoping for. I endured 3 years of pre-med. Although I regret the French choice, I was never one to walk away from a challenge and I used to take pride in the fact that I was a dual-national who repeatedly decided to stay and fight the good fight.
I’m not proud anymore. The time has come to take advantage of my other navy passport and fight for myself instead.