I’m no longer 21 years old.
Every year, on my birthday, I feel a little nostalgic. I think back on previous birthdays; the memorable ones. It’s as if I can’t believe another year has passed when four years ago feels like yesterday. Four years ago I was still in High School. Four years ago I lived in Doha. Four years ago I had people in my life that I believed would be in my life forever.
Four years ago I told myself that nothing would top my 18th birthday, because I celebrated my birthday on a dhow cruise in Doha. Calling that night magical would be an understatement.
But I didn’t want to be caught up in past birthdays, from limousine rides to dhow cruises to restaurants by the sea (I have awesome friends who love me) I just wanted to focus on now.
Focusing on my 22nd birthday rather than reminiscing about the past wasn’t hard to do because I’m happy. I was happy then and I’m happy now. There were grey areas where happiness was the furthest emotion I could hope to feel but, when I really think about it, just the good memories, the good times, I realise gosh, I’m fortunate.
I’m surrounded by amazing people, I laugh every day, and for someone who used to worry about every little thing, I no longer feel that way. Hakuna matata, right?
I know being 22 isn’t the same as being 70, but it feels as though I’ve been different characters in different novels, all of different genres. I feel as though I haven’t just closed certain chapters in a book, but rather a million books in my 22 years of existence.
Throughout my time at University, people would always ask me, “Why don’t you want to go clubbing?” “Don’t you want to try weed?” and they’d always tell me, with a look of pity, “You’re only young once, don’t be boring.”
I have nothing against people whose definition of having a good time is different to mine. But I don’t need to get dressed up and go to a club to have fun. I don’t want to smoke weed just for the hell of it. And I sure as hell don’t want to get drunk because not remembering what happened the previous night must mean it was awesome (please explain the logic behind that one).
I know what I want, for now (C’mon, I’m 22 I can be a little indecisive). And I know what makes me happy. If there’s one thing I’d like to do forever, it’s to always choose happiness, not in a selfish I-want-this-and-I-want-it-now kind of way but in a way that’ll allow me to learn from whatever bad experiences I’ll have. And yes, I believe there’ll be crappy experiences in the future, but that’s just part of the package, right? Kind of like what I told Hussam earlier today when explaining a genre of a movie:
Hussam: Is it an action? A comedy? Or what?
Me: It’s a comedy. But it’s also a drama. Like life.
I’d like to say that I’ll remain unchanged, for years to come.
But I have so much to learn. I’m not the same person I was four years ago, and I don’t want to be the same person four years from now.
Just slightly more awesome than the person I am today 😉