I was seventeen the last time I cared that a new year was approaching. I was at the height of my stressful months on the final school year before college. I was too stressed to even study, and I needed to get my mind off everything. I had a wild party with my friends and we sprayed each other with everything sprayable.
Today I find myself thinking of the year that passed and I can’t help smiling. I don’t recall any year more dramatic than this one, because a life normally changes gradually, but my life changed almost with a switch of a button. It was like a literal closing of a book, placing it on a table, and picking a brand new fresh book, with a glossy cover, and opening it with curiosity.
2010 marked the ending of a way of life I’d had for as long as I can remember. I lost people who were a part of my existence. Some were the frame that defined my life, my priorities, what I did, what I cared for, and some changed me in ways for which I will forever be grateful, shattering the ground underneath my feet and awakening the wild, crazy part in me. And I met new people I never thought would have so much impact on me. I ventured into new domains, I saw new horizons, and for the first time in my life I began to free myself of me. I decided to look in the mirror of my mind and ask myself for once who I was, or who I thought I was. I didn’t like the answer because something inside told me that it’s not really what I wanted. So I closed my eyes, blocked my nose, I dove into the sea of the unknown. I loved the cold splash and the separation from reality the sound of silence under the water gave me. I emerged feeling so fresh, so new, so washed. I was again in touch with the six year-old who had unlimited dreams of what she wanted to be. I had really, really missed her.
2010 was a year of grave loss and incredible gain. My emotions barged on a bumpy ride. I had the saddest moments of my life, and I was comforted with the divine hand that led me on a new path, giving me the most exhilarating experiences of my life.
I am grateful. And I won’t wait for tomorrow; I will surprise it!
#1 by Marwa Elnaggar on December 31, 2010 - 11:51 am
“…for the first time in my life I began to free myself of me.”
Arwa, you are beautiful, and this is one of the most beautiful posts I’ve ever read.
Thank you for being you and for being in my life. Instead of just surviving, you are thriving, and I love seeing that.
You will rock 2011!
#2 by Arwa Mahmoud on December 31, 2010 - 11:58 am
And thank you, Marwa, for being my ever so supportive friend! You inspire me in more ways than you can imagine…
#3 by Reem on December 31, 2010 - 2:23 pm
Great Article.. Really great.. This sentence moved my heart toward the future of Arwa “I ventured into new domains, I saw new horizons, and for the first time in my life I began to free myself of me.”
Arwa wish you the best of everything in the coming years tell the end ISA
#4 by Yasmeen on December 31, 2010 - 2:25 pm
Arwa .. this is the best end-of-year post I have ever read !! It’s as if I told u to write on my behalf abt my journey in 2010 !! It’s even better than what I would wrهte abt myself .. thanks for this amazing post .. and glad that u were liberated of the grip of urself .. to me it’s the highlight of 2010
“for the first time in my life I began to free myself of me”
#5 by Arwa Mahmoud on December 31, 2010 - 11:12 pm
Thanks Reem and Yasmeen. I wish you the best year to come and many wonderful years after :)
#6 by Dalia Salaheldin on January 1, 2011 - 5:58 am
Keep writing…. please. You are holding it tight now… don’t let go of this pen!
#7 by Arwa Mahmoud on January 1, 2011 - 9:04 am
#8 by Amal Salah on January 2, 2011 - 10:25 am
Again, your words have this indescribable effect on me. I loved every word and every sentence in this beautiful article. Keep writing, you are becoming our voice!
#9 by Arwa Mahmoud on January 3, 2011 - 8:59 pm
Coming from a incredible reader like yourself, I take this comment as fuel for my future. Thank you so much, Amal :)
#10 by Salma on January 21, 2011 - 12:12 am
Wow!!! One whole extremely eventful year summed up in a few exquisite paragraphs! It reminds me of that old saying: “When God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.” May that window always be open for you, because that window is also our window to the world. The experiences you have had and shared with us this year, in person, through this blog and from the unique perspective of your camera lens, have enriched us in ways you would not even imagine. Those of us who have chosen a safer, more conventional way of life are venturing into the wild vicariously through you. So don’t stop; don’t stop taking these plunges into unknown waters and most of all, don’t stop writing. You are my hero!
#11 by Arwa Mahmoud on January 21, 2011 - 3:56 pm
I feel so honored by your words, Salma. Thank you so much. I hope I never let anyone down.
#12 by Marwa Elnaggar on January 21, 2011 - 3:58 pm
The important thing is not to let yourself down. Onwards, Arwa!
#13 by Arwa Mahmoud on January 21, 2011 - 10:13 pm
I guess you’re right, Marwa. And I know I do that many times. Thanks for the reminder!
#14 by cathy kozak on January 25, 2011 - 11:18 pm
No new posts since the new year! This reader misses you. And here we are approaching yet another new year, the lunar new year and what is hoped will be an encouraging shift from the ferocity of the Tiger last year to the relative gentleness of the Hare this year. A warning though, beware the final swish of the Tiger’s tempramental tail! Best to you Arwa in the year of the Hare.