Blissful Memories & Meals

College Hall

The Steps of College Hall

Bliss Street equals two things in my mind: food & AUB. It also equals a lot of memories that combined these two things. Upon reflection, I saw that the selection of where you were to eat lunch on Bliss was determined according to 4 factors:

• Money: how much you want to spend/have on you
• Health: how healthy you’re trying to be
• Time: how long before your next class that you’re actually attending
• Party of n: how many people are joining

So if you were eating alone, had only 5,000 L.L., and 10 minutes to spare – health goes out the window and you’re going to inhale a handful of Happy Meal burgers. However, if you’re 6 people with an hour and a half and 10,000 L.L. to blow, you’re having a Subway 6-inch on the Oval. This theory’s accuracy is not set in stone and does not count when determining whether you should go have a nutella crepe from Tonino because, in that case, the answer is always yes.

Here are a few examples of when this logic was used, unknowingly at the time, to determine where we should fuel up. Please keep in mind that this was pre-Urbanista/Paul/Roadster and, therefore, quinoa was still just the staple food in Peru. As you’ll see below, the health factor becomes more important as you age within the walls of AUB.

It was election day during the first semester at AUB and we were having lunch at “McDo” while students and people filled the street outside and chanted “Abou Taymoor! Abou Taymoor!” Somehow, our lunch transformed into a discussion about the political parties in Lebanon and whose actions could be considered justifiable given that the 2006 war had concluded just a few months prior. It was the first and last time I ever debated politics with my high school friends or anyone for that matter.

Burger King
Some time in Sophomore year, after a Bio 201 quiz II, we learned that Whoppers were the best medicine for failing pre-medical students. Vegetating on the couches in the back and singing along to their radio in a daze, this was the only way to numb the pain of a Charbel Tarraf multiple choice exam that included every letter of the alphabet as a choice. BUT WHAT DOES “a & b, except c – h” EVEN MEAN?

Universal Snack
Under the illusion that this was healthier than other options because it was “like eating at home”, Universal used to win the lottery quite often. It started out because of the escalope. Then it was for the potato salad. Then it was because you could have a huge plate of fattoush for 4,000 L.L. I think it was for the 80s music and the fact that you could have lunch with the whole restaurant at once – which was usually filled with a bunch of people you knew from other classes – since the tables were so snug. My dad keeps talking about how it was one of the first places to sell hamburgers in Beirut. He wants to go with me sometime because he hasn’t been since the 70s but I feel like I’d be betraying my AUB memories. Ah, the loyalties we form.

Forn Bakkar
An old couple worked at this bakery. It was up the street that leads to Ghali’s, right before Books & Pens. They used to make the dough fresh every morning and have falafel Fridays. One of us would go pick up the manoushes while the rest waited by Jafet library. It became a morning ritual until we saw the granny lick her fingers one too many times while kneading the dough as we waited for our kishik to come out of the oven. It’s closed now.

This was the first place I had ever eaten at on Bliss Street. I was in the 8th grade and my cousin had brought me to AUB to help her with a Powerpoint presentation. I remember analyzing the graffiti on the benches while we waited for the computer lab to open. When I saw “Kiss from a Rose” carved into one of the beams, I knew AUB was going to be a university that had people like me…in 5 years. I had a chicken avocado sandwich from EuroDeli as a reward for all my hard work. Before it closed in 2010, it was a place we’d frequent because we could order “salads.” Oh Pasta Chicken Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing, where have you gone?

Zaatar w Zeit
“Kafta 3adeh bas bela jibneh. W ana kafta 3adeh bas bela mayonnaise. w ana kafta FULL OPTION. w ana kafta bela jibneh w shawiyit mayonnaise bas m7amas ktir. Orders at ZwZ were all combinations of kafta that always took too long and made us late for class. But they were good.

Eventually, you get over the fast food craze and realize that you need to take care of your cholesterol levels. The BigMac just isn’t worth the hour on the treadmill – at least, not this week. Kababji became the healthier option because you could order half portions and have salads that didn’t taste like glorified grass. Most of senior year was spent here, and then many post-grad visits too when I was briefly employed at AUB.

Bliss House
Spicy chicken sandwiches on the steps of College Hall facing Jafet. When your Party of n > 10 and you have no classes to get to, the health factor is ignored, and you just enjoy life. After all, you’re only young once.

8 (More) Pet Peeves Resulting from your Facebook Newsfeed

Screen shot 2013-10-09 at 11.50.48 PM

It’s been a good 10 months since the first set of pet peeves but I just couldn’t wait a whole year to share these. That, and I’ve been posting about a lot of serious topics so it was time for a breather. Bring on the rant!

1. Using the word “dear”

I understand that this probably has to do with the French education system and the use of “cherie” but please stop using the word “dear” in English. You sound like my late grandmother and she was 72 sixteen years ago. This term of endearment is outdated and you shouldn’t use it if you are a) a member of Generation Y or b) pre-menopausal.

2. “Inbox Me”

But I don’t want to inbox you. At least buy me dinner first? This verbified version of the noun inbox sounds dirty and I mean Urban Dictionary dirty. Stop trying to make fetch inbox-me happen, it’s not going to happen.

3. @insertnamehere

There is no need to tag people on their own wallpost/photo/link. They’re going to be notified anyway, this is totally unnecessary. You have a Facebook account, you should know how it works. This is ❤ Likers’ evil cousin.

4. John Doe has invited you to like his new page The Dumpling Cardinals

Unless we see each other every weekend for the Friday wind down at Bodo, I will not like your page no matter how many times you invite me to. Improve your product, service, brand, blog or restaurant because if it were likable and I like it then I’ve already liked it. Don’t force it, just let things happen. TWSS.

5. Cursing with Asterisks

This is just as bad as cursing only you’re acknowledging that you’re using foul language. If people didn’t notice before, they will now because you’re using a digital highlighter with that puny star. If you’re going to curse, then do it or use a word close enough that people will get what you meant to type. Don’t wimp out on one letter. It’s no fun playing mental Wheel of Fortune when trolling comments. Buy a vowel. Go big or go home, p*ssy.

6. Newsfeed Flood

This is actually something I do. I’m completely aware of it and I’m sure I annoy people BUT theresjustsomuchhappeningontheinternetsIneedtoshoweveryone this interview…and this comic…and this Johnnie Walker ad, oh, oh and this article. Okay, I’m done. And btw, here’s my latest blogpost.

You need to be very selective with what and how often you share info so that you don’t desensitize your audience to all that awesome crap you’re sharing. You can go nuts on the Tweet button but FB will go numb unless you’re sharing super interesting BS posts. I didn’t think about the initials in the naming process. #fail

7. Feeling Add-on for a Status 

I’m sorry you don’t know how to express yourself using only words. Have you ever looked at those facial expressions? “Angry” and “annoyed” are the same constipated Grumpy Cat face. Those botoxed emoticons also have a very weird definition for “determined” and “accomplished” – what exactly did that pervy face just accomplish? Anyway, I hope they allow you to use emoticons during your wedding speech since you didn’t read enough as a child.

8. Candy Crush your face.

But no, seriously.

7 Useless Realizations at 25

1. You suffer from Low Battery Anxiety at least once a week. Usually it’s your cellphone at 12% at 9am with no electricity at home. You’ve always got the USB cable, or spare battery case, or car charger on you like it’s your First Aid Kit. God forbid it die and then you have to communicate like you did in the 90s which was through…carrier pigeon? Beyond that, you have a completely natural phobia of getting locked in in public bathrooms so you always take your cellphone with you. Plus, sometimes they have really cool soaps/signage/decor and you have to take a picture. And if you’re a guy, you probably take pics of other lovely-smelling things.

2. Leonardo DiCaprio has a net worth of a bazillion dollars, test-drives supermodels, hangs out with Scorsese, and is the embodiment of the fountain of youth. But he doesn’t know how to wear a watch. You slave away all day and then realize there’s a 14 year old somewhere learning how to DJ who’s going to be richer than you by next year because he named himself after some kind of pasta sauce and only wears solid colored V necks. Welcome to the working world.

3. Labneh sandwiches always taste better when your parents make them. You may be able to make risotto, herbed chicken, or koussa mehshe and outcook your parents in every other dish. Not with labneh. If you can make a better sandwich then you may have an illegitimate child running around (and about to be signed by the Disney channel) because only those who have been reproductively active have the white cream gift. Bazinga!

4. Putting your status as “busy” on any form of digital communication doesn’t work anymore. You used to use it to discourage bored people from reaching out to you for entertainment. They left you thinking, “why did I ever ADD this human being?! Shu labsa. I KNOW! I’ll appear busy…FOREVER.” We can all see through that and it’s ineffective. Now, you just have to be an adult about it. Translation: block, delete, or be a flat-out asshole and ignore them.

5. Your Facebook Newsfeed is going to be flooded with engagements and nuptials for the next 7-10 years. Supposedly, it’s not that weird for this to be happening more frequently even though your brain is not being able to fathom it all. I mean, one second your riding a skateboard like a toboggan down the incline by your friend’s house, tearing your neon shorts in the process of your smooth brake at the driveway. You blink and everyone’s having babies. Don’t panic, keep uploading pictures of your cat, it’s fine.

6. Youhavenoideawhatyouredoingbutyouregoingtowingitlikeaboss because you’ve got it all totally figured out, dude can you pass the mustard? I love chilled afternoons when I’ve got nothing to do. #hotdogs #thegoodlife #holyshitimwastingsomuchtimerightnow

7. You need to let go and move on. That letter from Hogwarts is never coming.

10 Questions with 1 Answer: NO.


If I #selfie then it doesn’t count as narcissistic, right?
No, you’re still randomly taking a photo of yourself in the bathroom. Hashtagging doesn’t erase the toilet in the background or the reflection in your glasses, it’s just you virtually owning up to it. Which is good: it’s the first step to recovery. Now, put down the camera.

Can I eat that Burger King anniversary offer all by myself and tell no one?
No, because you’re going to need someone to take you to get your stomach pumped and you can’t do that while parked alone on the side of the road patting down onion rings with napkins because “there’s too much oil.” Those oil inkblots will not save your arteries. You can limit the knowledge to the designated driver and hospital staff (who all went to college with you).

Is the DJ out yet?
No, but it doesn’t really matter because his/her music sounds the same as the crap you’re grooving to when you ask the question. At any trance event where you’re not wasted or high, you will actually notice that the music doesn’t change or get better, people just get more messed up as the night progresses and think everything got better. It’s not a natural sense of ecstasy, it’s MDMA.

Can I have another cookie?
No, because you’re 25 and that cookie is going to implant itself on your ass as a reminder that all cookies want to shack up with your ageing metabolism. There’s a joke here about Kardashians and moving too fast but it hasn’t formulated in my head yet so I’m going to just say “North West” as a placeholder.

Can I yell like a tennis player during this gym class because my muscles want to cry?
No. The music might be loud enough so no one can hear you but the electricity will cut, everyone will think you’re a sweaty freak, and you’ll have to find a new gym since they don’t support dry Herbal Essences’ moments. You just paid for 3-months so be quiet and FEEL THE BURN IN THOSE SHINS.

Will I ever get used to the term “babe” as a form of endearment?
No. Babe is a pig. Babe is a baseball player. Babe is a half-naked chick that surfer dudes think is like a totally bodacious specimen to ride. Babe is what girls call other girls right after they ask for a favor. Babe is one step away from Baby. Don’t call me baby. Don’t call me babe. Ever.

Am I supposed to start up a start-up?
No. You’re not supposed to do anything except be employed. In this economy and country-with-no-stability-or-proper-water-filtration, any form of employment is a blessing but not everyone is an entrepreneur. However, if the start-up is your brainchild and it’s going to be your ticket to the top, good for you. If you don’t have a useful innovative idea that can work as a business and have no job prospects then go back to school or become an actOR. *extends arm like reciting thespian*

Does my cat love me?
No, he’s an arrogant abusive Angora who happens to be photogenic so no one sees the evil within. That’s right, you’ve adopted Cat Man Do from the Powerpuff Girls. You’re going to end up feeding it and cleaning it and loving it and even with all the Chemical X in the world, he’s never going to love you.

Is it about time I get married?
No, k thx, bye.

5 Signs You’re a Young Professional…in Beirut

– it’s okay to hate him –

1- You live at home

If you do live on your own, it’s most likely because you have no family in the country, you are a foreigner to begin with, or your parents are paying your rent/paid for the house you’re in/you camp on a rooftop. If you don’t fall into that category, you, like the majority of young professionals in Beirut, live with your parents because you can’t afford not to on an entry-level salary. And even if you could, there’s no point in blowing 70% of it renting a studio that’s 10 minutes away from your parents’, has half a bathroom, and smells like sewer cheese. That doesn’t exist, and yet, you know the smell.

Then there’s that whole morality live-alone-before-marriage-gasp-patriarchal-society bit but let’s just skip it and pretend we’re in the 21st century.

2- You live at home

As in you spend your weekends vegetating in front of your laptop or becoming the second layer of your living room’s couch. During the week, you work long hours, get stuck in traffic, and try to squeeze in some form of physical activity to combat office-slouch-fat. You live at home because you rarely ever want to leave again once you actually get there: your bed has never been your best friend until now – and not in a sexy way. Gone are the days that you would overnight endlessly, say “yes” to every outing, or even be conscious past 10:30pm on a Wednesday. You’re just too tired, too broke, and there’s a whole season of Boardwalk Empire to watch on a mountain of pillows.

“Sushi tonight at 10?” Yeah, I’m in bed already, it ain’t happening. *presses play*

3- You can’t explain what you do to your Teta

Because it’s just not important enough. Tetas only understand conventional job titles or anything that starts with “doctor.” Everything else leads to questions about whether or not you’ve met someone now that you’re done studying and have some form of employment to keep you busy while you spouse shop thus leading to them thinking…

4- Your next expected goal is marriage

The more you try to explain your job, the worse it gets. When you translate job titles from English to Arabic, they always sound more impressive because of the variety of word choice in the language. It leaves them deceived and then they figure “okay, you’re set up…what’s next?” You’re back to them wishing you to reach the next big “farha” (happiness) since you’re well on your way to being the next huge success = totally ready to play house and make babies. In reality, you watch goat parodies on YouTube while eating leftover cheese sticks in your Batman pjs. You wear gummy bear earrings for god’s sake.

5- You have a lunchbox

…packed by your mother. And you’re 27. Dude, come on, buy a cookbook and grow up.

The Formula of Achilles’ Louboutins


This is about something we all know quite well: the numerous things that you just don’t know how to say no to. The Achille’s heel is supposed to be one thing that can lead to your entire downfall. However, since we’re mere mortal humans, our heels change over time and are a ginormous cornucopia of random weaknesses.

Depending on your stage in life as well as your personality(ies), although these things could be your guilty pleasures, they are the reasons you lose control. They also differ in importance – the more important you think they are, the more they’re going to screw you up, and the less likely you’re going to say no to them when given the chance to indulge. That’s the worst vicious cycle: knowing how bad it is for you and wanting it even more.

There is also a correlation with consequences – the bigger the consequence should mean you will definitely say no. But the temptation to give in anyway is also greater because the consequence is something that comes later – it’s effect is like your grandpa’s vineyard in the north: you’ve heard it exists but maybe you’ll never see it. This condition is most applicable to foodstuff heels: you know eating a whole plate of Texas fries solo is in no way advisable for your digestive tract’s well being or the size of your thighs, but that cheddar is so fine and onions are good for your heart. It’ll only take 4 trips to the gym to work off…the sour cream alone.

There may be some sort of a mathematical formula that can be deduced using these the two variables: (c) consequence level and (i) importance level, where c and i are values (0-10) and x is an integer (-10<;x<;10).

The formula would be simple: (i-c)=x.

x >; 0 you will say yes.
x <; 0 you will say no.
x = 0 you will reevaluate the values of c & i.

x is the Achilles’ Louboutin Factor.


Activity: Compulsive match lighting until the box is empty. It could be that it’s an activity that fascinates the inner caveperson but the whole sensory experience is so exciting. The scratch against the sandpaper, the smell of the sulphur tip, the sound of the flame erupting, and IGNITE. If you could taste fire, this would be a fully sensational pyromaniac orgasm.

i = Reread the last 4 words of the previous sentence = 10.
c = Worst-case scenario: uncontrolled fire and death, most probable consequence: burnt finger = 3.

x = 7. Therefore, in the words of R. Kelly, “burn it up.”


Activity: Sitting on the AUB Green Oval when you should be at home/in a coffee shop/anywhere else studying for your midterm, applying for jobs, doing-any-activity-that-is-a-more-responsible-use-of-time. The sun is shining and there are no beetles around. Just in case the beetles return, the fat fluffy cat with the heart shape on her back is sunbathing nearby.

i = It’d be a lovely afternoon, you could nap, be fully recharged and happy = 6.
c = Worst-case scenario: you get heat stroke and feel queasy for 3 days, most probable consequence: have too much time to think while staring at the clouds and have a mental breakdown due to all the guilt weighing down on you for not working at that very moment= 6.

x = 0. Take a deep breath and re-evaluate.


Activity: Hanging out with your circle. A Motley Crüe of characters that could easily be scripted into a primetime show on the CW who see each other during a window of 2 weeks once a year, have a domino effect of inside jokes & witty innuendos, and are the kings and queens of awkward politically incorrect statements and/or situations.

i = There is only so much time before this little circle will disintegrate into work schedules, in-laws, and diapers. Gone will be the days of flinging a boomerang of insults around a table, followed by a trail of “you know I love you’s.” However, your steady life has not been put on hold because some airplanes landed so there are obligations you need to deal with= 7.
c = Worse-case scenario: you neglect other responsibilities and you become a failure forever, most probable consequence: your family lectures you for ditching them during the holidays for the same people you saw 2 days before = 3.

x = 4. It was a DVD night with nachos. How could you say no?


Activity: Beautiful cookie tins, bottles, and packages. Limited edition bottles, collectible sets, holiday themed giftboxes. You live in a room that is decorated in items that would make a burglar think you are a raging alcoholic who’s diet consists of chocolate, toffee, and macaroons. Of course, only half of that is true. It’s Christmas season and there’s this tin of an embossed crest of Gryffindor with mini Ferrero Rocher chocolate snitches in it.

i = You have no space to put this awesomely useless material possession that will only make you fat. But it’s SO COOL = 6.
c = Worse-case scenario: you get fat, and the tin gets thrown away by your evil sister, most probable consequence: you just wasted $35 on another piece of junk that makes you so happy, you complete dork = 9.

x = -3. Ask for it as a gift…IF IT EXISTS BECAUSE I MADE IT UP. *tear*


Activity: Starting a blog where you pin your own personal stories on your readers by using a general “you” format so that they don’t realize what a weirdo you are. You reassure yourself that you’re making them feel comfortable with their own level of ab/normalcy because your act is fooling no one.

i = It used to be an anonymous outlet of randomness you started for fun but now it’s become your own little project(ion). = 8.
c = Worse-case scenario: you get sent to a facility for weird people AKA “design school” or someone steals your genius theories, most probable consequence: you eventually run out of things to write about and convert it into a photoblog of cups of Dunkin coffee on different locational backdrops, titled “I got the Dunk.” = 6.

x = 2. “You” keep blogging.

Dear Unemployer

Update: This post was inspired by the struggle of many young people in my age group. It is written on their behalf and is not a diary entry directly related to my personal experience. 

Dear Unemployer,

First of all, thank you for rejecting me. I think about your graceful brush-off ever so often in the moments before sunrise. My mind creates scenarios as to why you were so cold and distant. I can’t help but wonder if you ever think twice about your decision. You seem to go on without any consideration. 

Second of all, I think you’ve made a huge mistake. In a world where the young dabble in “natural substances” and “travel to Amsterdam”, you should know that, regardless of my low tolerance for bubblegum cough syrup and that time I almost overdosed on Flintstone chewable vitamins, I’m as clean as the interior of a Clorox bottle. I also have a pristine virtual photographic history which is an asset in the age of the Internet. I don’t have pictures in digital space that will tarnish your company’s reputation. Ain’t nobody don’t ask me, I’m just so fresh, so clean.

I’ve done countless things to outshine all the other applicants. I’ve done internships, volunteer work, extracurricular activities, and I’m a social media fiend. I once Facebooked a YouTube video that was tweeted from a Tumblr page on Pinterest. I don’t share bogus links featuring Morgan Freeman narrating the death of a 40 hamster-mass-suicide. I spread useful, original, corroborated stuff. I even blog about various important topics that affect our youth today like globalization, love, and happiness. Hell, I have two bachelor degrees and a minor. I know you’ll claim I don’t know a lot of languages in a market where the majority speaks at least 4 but I am eloquent in English, unintentionally hilarious in Arabic (I once said I did it with 3 cakes), and I can piece together enough French to order lunch for the office. I also have enough Armenian friends that I can tell you that although you think that “gogortilos” is a wicked Mexican dish consisting of sex wrapped in tortillas, it actually just means “crocodile.”

Lastly, I’m just an overall really GOOD person. It’s just in my nature ever since I was a child – I couldn’t eat meghleh when my younger sister was born because I thought it was made of Mowgli, I have an unexplained hate for Clive Owen, I use inappropriate jokes to see if a new acquaintance is weird enough to be my friend, and my vocabulary is not very “lady-like” at all times but that’s quite a sexist label for the fucking 21st century. What I’m trying to say is, my bad points hardly make a blip on the morality radar and the Dalai Lama would be my homie if I lived in Tibet. 

The fact that you have rejected me should probably discourage me. After all, you were my gateway to freedom, my paycheck to adulthood, my ticket to an unlimited supply of BIC pens. You’d give me the power to buy useless furniture and “decorative pieces” for my own living space; I’d finally own a statue and invite friends over for a night “at my place.” I’d be like “bring some wine” and they’d be all “okay, as long as you make your guacamole!” and then I’d freak out because avocados are expensive but it’d be okay because I’m making paper. Therefore, your rejection should make me feel hopeless and defeated. It doesn’t though. Sure, it stings like when you remember Hogwarts isn’t real, but I’m not that torn up. Actually, the Hogwarts void is harder to accept. I mean, come on, even you wonder what you’d see in the reflection of the Mirror of Erised. I used to think I’d see you but now I know that there are bigger and better things out there for me.

I will be diplomatic and say that, perhaps, I wasn’t the right fit for you. Maybe you aren’t meant to be with me. Maybe the fact that Kathy Bates‘ advice was easier to remember than anything ever explained in those etiquette classes in my private elementary school is a sign that I am on a different wavelength of comprehension so I will never get why you don’t want me. Or maybe I’m just too “overqualified.” In which case, you’re right, I’m too good for you. 

But you know what? Whatever it is, I really do thank you. If you can’t appreciate what I’m offering you then you don’t deserve to have me. Translation: I’m going to work for your competitor and make you cry someday. 

I’m strong, smart, and made to succeed. What’s funny is that I could’ve been all these things with you, but I guess you’ll never know since you let me go.

Warm Regards,

A Series of Contradictions



Facebook’s new message settings allow you to see when people have “seen” your message. Facebook’s new message settings allow people to see when you’ve seen their messages. Crap, now you HAVE to reply.
*deactivates account*


“There are 120 calories in this Special K breakfast bar, so I can have this whipped cream on my toffee nut latte”/ “I saw that photo of the cheeseburger that was left in a car for 7 years, it didn’t rot”/ “Every can of Pepsi has 10 tablespoons of sugar in it”/ “Ew, mayonnaise.” You go to Chili’s and order the following: bottomless tortilla chips & salsa, fried chicken crispers, and a cherry Coke. But you hardly touch the fries or the corn. Molten Cake anyone?


You should go to the gym. You end up ordering takeout or smoking a cigarillo on your balcony even though they make you feel like a tool. You also bought a pack of Turkish-labeled Adicto muffins and, as you sit on your balcony imitating the Godfather and figuring out what constitutes “inhaling”, you get a notification on your phone for the latest anti-cancer event that you checked “attending” for. It’s in 44 minutes, puff puff.


You buy a birthday present for someone when you’re still acquaintances and you’ve been invited to their party so you won’t dare go empty-handed. However, it takes you a minimum of 4 months to buy gifts for your close friends…if you buy them anything at all. Real love is not about gifts. That, and you can admit to them that you’re broke.


Gerard Butler played 300’s King Leonidas…and the Phantom of the Opera. (Sidenote: I would learn to play the piano just so I could furiously play the theme song. Some kids used to air guitar, I air pianoed) – That’s like Vin Diesel playing Riddick and a Peter Panda dancing undercover nanny…wait a second…or the same location that once had La Adelita on it’s taquito-selling walls is now a knefeh-selling Hallab & Sons. Ah, how things can have so many identities.


You decide to stay in on a Saturday night to work on a project, finish an assignment, study…you know, be an adult about life. You end up in the forbidden valleys of YouTube listening to genres of music you never knew existed, reading comments written by people who are high off dry-erase markers, and Facebook leap frogging* until 2 am. You have so many windows and tabs open that you forget what you were supposed to be doing but when the guilt rushes in, you’re like “if I went out, I’d have wasted money on a mediocre outing only to come home with no work done. At least now my paper has…a title.”

*Facebook leap frogging: you jump from one friend’s profile to another and another and another…

A Series of Tightropes

There are many cases in which you are required to walk along a tightrope, or “err on the side of caution.” Ultimately, to sum it up in a few words, this amusing phrase means: play it safe. You are encouraged to be a certain way, but not to the extent where you will lose your balance. 

Sadly, balance is not a twenty-something’s strongpoint. 

  • Be generous but not foolish
Being generous is commendable. It’s selfless and yet, makes you feel good too so it’s selfish selflessness. High quality heaven points right there. Generosity comes in many forms: it can be helping out at a shelter, paying for a friend’s parking fee, or even exchanging an hour of sleep for an hour of “but what do you think he meant when he said, ‘I’ll see you later comma xo exclamation mark’?”. However, do not fall into the trap of being taken advantage of. And he meant exactly that, now go to sleep.

  • Be independent but not alone
You need to be self-sufficient, go dutch, do your own laundry, order your own omelette du fromage. It’s easier to face the world on your own because, in the end, you’re the only one you can count on. *walks off into distance, Rocky-fists the air* In the midst of trying to prove ourselves, we forget that we actually need people. Besides, if you were alone, you wouldn’t be able to borrow body wash when yours run out thus missing the chance to smell like the man your man could smell like.

  • Be honest but not offensive
You are told to be upfront about how you feel, say what you really mean, speak the truth so you don’t have to keep track of your lies, that it’ll set you free like a butterfly in a pumpkin patch. You shouldn’t tell girls not to hold their purses with an arm that is perpetually bent towards the body, looking like a botched flamingo leg transplant. Not all people respond well to blunt “constructive criticism,” but many have faulty detectors as to what would be deemed insulting. Perhaps instead of erring, they should proceed with caution. Or just send a text. 

  • Be passionate but not vulnerable
Do everything with love. Put all your energy into things that you are enthusiastic about. It will never be a waste because it matters to you. Let your heart be your guide. Wait, no. Slow down. Get those snow chains, tsunami barriers, and bulletproof vests. Yes, take risks and be dedicated but protect yourself, physically, emotionally, whateverly. Vulnerability is sweet when it means you’re standing in the “soak zone” at Six Flags, you’re ordering medium rare steak at a place you’ve never been too and have yet to test their definition of “rare”, or you’re uploading a picture on Instagram with your location while you’re still there. It is not sweet when you’re professing your love to your ex…in his wife’s delivery room as he’s cutting the umbilical cord of his 3rd son.

  • Be committed but not obsessed
Committed to people, to your career, to finding a place that sells corndogs in Lebanon (Bliss Street! WIN.) It is sad to see some lose sight of other things that are equally, if not more, important. You must make time. I mean, “I see med people…walking around like regular people. They don’t see each other. They only see what they want to see. They don’t know they’re med.” You can still be the best neurosurgeon if you live life in moderation. 

  • Be indulgent but not ridiculous
Speaking of living in moderation, there are those times when you allow yourself to let loose. It’s okay, you deserve to treat yourself but there’s fine print that says “live life in moderation in moderation.” You should not use the old wives’ tale of “if you’re experiencing excessive hair loss, eat more gelatin” to consume more jelly beans. You should not spend Easter Sunday vegetating on a hotel bed in London, watching Jay-Z and Queen documentaries on BBC while hoovering prawn crackers and stuffed crust pizza. With that said, BEST EASTER EVER. 

  • Be mature but not decrepit 
You should be a semi-grown-up by now. No one else is going to think the deo skidmarks on your duffle bag are some other gooey substance, that’s just your built-in 12-year-old Bazinga noggin talking. There are only a few people that you can be 12 with, and in the meantime, you need to learn how to have a conversation without cracking a joke. And stop using “hehehe” when your chat-laughing because you seem like a creepy pedo who owns a hand-painted dollhouse. However, you must remember that you ARE young, so set the world on fire, you can go higher than the sun. Regardless of maturity levels, you are never too old to play volleyball with inflated balloons.

  • Be imaginative but not batshit crazy
The brain is a muscle and you should exercise it. Or just let it run wild because, if you ask me – and you didn’t but you’re reading my blog so it’s the same thing – the brain is more like a Pepsi can in the freezer. The more time it’s locked away, the higher the likelihood of explosion. Let your imagination burst just be aware of it at all times. You should not think that your cat is a relative of Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch just because he watches you shower. Sure, he opens doors, likes olives, and is probably pretending to be a deaf purebred but that doesn’t mean his human soul is trapped in the body of a feline. Eyes up here, perv. 

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The Spheres of Happiness

All members of the young aim for the overlap of the three Spheres: the Trifecta of Fulfillment (TOF). This is the threesome of ecstatic accomplishment, the tripod pedestal that you claw at, your very own three little pigs in a fortress made of gold.

It’s when you’ve got your shit together and you feel like nothing can touch you. It’s that feeling you had in the 2nd grade when you got a stuffed bunny from Elliot, the boy all the girls liked, you decided you were going to be President of the United States, AND you were invited to Markie’s pool party at her grandma’s mansion where they were going to serve sandwiches that looked better than the ones in Yogi Bear’s stolen picnic baskets.

Now, the Trifecta is more difficult to get to since your ambitions are set higher (hopefully) and the momentum of your life is like an acoustic Dido track laced with a horse tranquilizer. Some may never reach the Trifecta and others will fight to keep it once they have it. Meanwhile, the rest of you will be jumping through hoops to get to it.

There are three main Spheres of Happiness that relate to one’s level of satisfaction in a particular aspect of their life, be it personal, professional, or both. Although these spheres may seem like a diluted version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs that ignores the basic sustenance required for survival, it is purely based on the simple forms of satisfaction that give way to serenity and joy.

Being in one Sphere alone is not ideal for any individual. The amount of satisfaction resulting from this one Sphere is never enough to curb the craving for more. Like in mathematics, a point does not move. It is a place with no dimensions. It goes nowhere. It just is. Two points, however, create a line that is unending but that means it’s going somewhere. The same goes for two Spheres: you may be going down that road forever but you’re still going somewhere.

The intersections of two circles create three different cases that one can fall into while undergoing the quest for the Trifecta. Duration is dependent on the circumstances of the individual. One may shift into the other intersections, continuously bouncing from one to the other as they attempt to get all their eggs into the MYLIFEISPUREPERFECTION basket.

  • Dynamic Crack-Monkey: This individual is romantically and socially satisfied. They are constantly surrounded by people they care for and have a great support system. This is probably a good thing considering their professional/academic Sphere is being neglected. They are in denial of the pressure they feel building within their head. Excuses used to soothe their woes are  “it’s the people in my life that are most important”, “my people skills will help me land an amazing job, look at me, I’m a fricking butterfly”, or “I’ll just pull a Kim Kardashian.” Whether that was referring to Kanye West or a home movie is entirely up to interpretation. They tend to be very involved with their smartphones because it connects them to social networks and texts from their babyboo. 
  • Devoted Hermit-Crab: This individual is romantically and professionally/academically satisfied. Dedicating all free time to their significant other and their work/studies, this individual rarely sees other humans unless they are asking them for saltine crackers for their clam chowder, ordering new supplies for their workspace, or required to attend a festive holiday party – in which case, significant other is attached at the hip wearing matching antlers. These individuals are perfectly content staying at home eating nachos with their S.O. watching the latest Nicolas Cage film. This becomes problematic when things shift in the two stable spheres or when they realize they’ve become too comfortable and have been wearing the same underpants for 3 days. 
  • Determined Bipolar-Bear: This individual is socially and professionally/academically satisfied. They are dependable, fun and climbing the corporate ladder. They function well in public and give off an aura of contentment and yet, it is never understood why they are alone romantically. It is usually due to the hidden bipolarity of their need for a someone. They are in a good place and don’t want to risk ruining it. They are in a good place and want to be able to share it with the someone. They are in a good place, in control of the sitch, back off or everything will fall apart and one Sphere will fall into the crapper. But they’re so fluffy and lovable. 
If you are lucky enough to reach the Trifecta, it may be a brief taste just to show you the beauty of being truly happy. Be sure to hang on to this moment of ecstasy or at least cherish it while it lasts. It too shall pass.

But that’s okay because the fight for happiness should never end.