Thursday, December 29, 2016

Yearly New Year's Roundup: A Good Year For Me, A Bad One For The World

The countdown is on, we have almost made it: 2016 is in its final lap. This horrendous year for the planet is finally nearing an end, and although we will still live on a worse planet on January 1, 2017, than the one we occupied the same day in 2016, I think it comes as a relief to everyone that at least this torturous year is a memory. For me, 2016 was one of the best. The world, however, can't say the same thing. Almost none of the great things we expected happened except Leo DiCaprio finally winning the Oscar. This time last year we had hope for the planet, a female President, a stronger Europe and multicultural, tolerant and modern societies. Well, that hope was shattered with the most brutal force. Not only didn't we get Hillary, we got a lunatic asshole instead. Not only did we not get more tolerance, we got way more terrorists. And instead of a stronger Europe, almost the entire continent is preparing to vote for Nazi-enthusiasts once more next year. What a difference a year makes...

For me personally, the year started with a completely different expectation to what actually happened as well. I was in Moscow, fulfilling a lifelong dream. I was there with a boy, and at the time that was a nice thing. They say you spend the year with whoever is around on New Year's Eve. Instead, the boy I chose for that hooked up with the next chick the minute I left the country five days later (and, so it turned out, had already been doing so). Without telling me, of course. I found out in May when I was already way past caring, which makes writing this easier. What sounds like a sad story is, in fact, a huge contribution to why 2016 was such a success for me: I let go of a 10-year-old question mark that became an exclamation of "Sina, stop wasting your time!". My consequent reconciliation with my ex wasn't a result of that but felt way less forced than all the other reconciliations (there were plenty!) Despite this wonderful silver lining, two years of being in a relationship also came to an end and that, retrospectively, was also the right thing to happen. In the age of truly identifying what I want and need, the solitude made me make the right decision for myself. My relationship in Egypt never failed, but it ended because change was needed... and achieved.

The other biggie, of course, was leaving Egypt. I was sad to be leaving my boyfriend, but I never once doubted that leaving Egypt was the right step, and neither did he. There are few things in life you just feel are right, and when they come along, you still question them. Now, months after, I haven't missed Egypt even once, embracing my life back in Europe in a way I couldn't have had without the experience of living and loathing Cairo. Hearing all this, you may ask yourself why I celebrate a year in which men lost my love because they couldn't keep it in the pants (literally, mere hours both times!) and had to leave my lover behind, and the answer is very simple: it just had to happen. Everything that followed was positive. Duh, getting over a guy who doesn't appreciate you is easy, but actually realizing what you have in those who do appreciate you is a major lesson to learn. Leaving someone you love is harder, but finally accepting the end of something deemed to fall apart is liberating, saves everyone time and heartache and allowed both of us to continue to feel positive about each other.

The only thing I can really criticize about my personal year 2016 was the confusion about my career, and the countless times I was almost chosen to make all my dreams come true, but wasn't. This year, I applied and interviewed with Huffington Post, Politico, Business Insider, Deutsche Welle, CNN, International Business Times and, surprisingly, Ria Novosti. Each time, I lost out in the final round or was made an offer I couldn't accept. Each time, I was a stone throw away from literally everything I worked for these past years, only to realize it wasn't what I thought it would be. In the end, I started opening my horizon to new career ideas and I genuinely landed all jobs I applied for but two. It was evident, that "being a journalist in Germany above everything else" was no longer a smart model for my life, and once this realization made it into my head, I was getting opportunities I didn't know I could have. Here, too, my expectation for the year was not met, but exceeded hugely. On New Year's 2015 I thought I was heading back to school in the States, and now I'm back where it all started, how I had always hoped it would go when I was just a teenager.

Of course, a happy ending of 2016 for me personally does not translate into real life. All together I will never remember 2016 as a good year because the world changed for the worse. No other year I cried so much, but never for myself. I cried weeks for Brexit, then I cried weeks for Trump, and throughout I cried a lot watching and seeing and knowing that Aleppo, and all its people, was burning, and far beyond the confines of what was once a city, or a country. I skipped Christmas due to the incredible heartbreak over the world heading towards doom, by choice, and that I thought that 2016 would be, like all the other years, a year of progress and enhanced cooperation, and not a year in which hate crimes became trendy and being part of a multilateral world view was to be viewed as weakness, or even evil. I started the year being proud of my profession, and finish it knowing the world thinks I'm a liar due to my profession. Everything changed this year, and I, for as long as I live, will remember and say "I was there, I saw it coming!". Hopefully!

And as every year, I ask myself what I learned from the good and the bad, that makes even a bad year a good one in terms of experience. This year, I learned that things can go very well for yourself, and it means nothing if you can't share it. I had a wonderful year, full of great experiences, but it didn't make me happy because they were a result of my privilege that I did not deserve. My happiness does not guarantee me satisfaction, simply because I just don't have a heart that is able to shut the evil in this world out. Just like every other year, 2017 I am expecting huge changes, and unlike most years, they are welcomed because I have realized that they are the way forward. Jumping into the cold water, doing something wild, not thinking before doing, and other really hard to do things people try to avoid, just seem to be my style. I am relocating, I am changing career, and I am over the disappointments of 2016 which means 2017 will have an easy time teaching me new things. And that way, hopefully, 2016 with all its deaths and political catastrophes can hopefully remain a memory as soon as we have cleaned up the mess it made. That won't happen in 2017, but we hopefully have time... 

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