Monday, January 5, 2015


Like a breath of unexpectedly chilly morning Cairo air, another new year is upon us; stumbling into 2015, I am 5 days shy of when I intended to write this -a recap of the past year and all the trials and tribulations that another spin around this sun, chaotically spun off.

2014 saw me go from the rather low starting point of being without a job, sleeping on my Dad's couch- to the high point of returning to teach English in magnificent crumbling Cairo. In between these two extremes there was a lot of food, drink, self loathing and self congratulation, but it's nothing to write home about - besides the fact that I finally saw a Joshua tree in person, and also managed to exercise my dormant inner groupie, meeting the inimitable Nick Cave. All in all, I feel satisfied that despite 2014's best attempts to silence and still me into Calgary-bound submission, I managed to honour my ever-present inner nomadic spirit and fled my hometown once again -just in time for the dreaded winter, no less. I also finally figured out the art of being a half-decent English teacher, and have settled nicely into the routines and daily life of living in Egypt- which brings us to now, January, and a shiny (at least, underneath all that desert dust), brand new year.

New years resolutions are something best talked about over New Years Day brunch - carelessly with a mouth full of poached egg, in between celebrity gossip and several mimosas. Does anybody ever take them seriously? We all know that the very concept of an unpleasant forced commitment (especially made after a night of heavy drinking), is doomed to fail. So why do we torture ourselves with the idea of these home improvements and grotesque makeovers? Lose 10 pounds, eat healthier, join a gym, stick to a budget, spend less time on Facebook; if there ever was a djinn of new years resolutions, you can be sure that little devil is laughing his ass off on your shoulder, tossing a pinch of glittery new ears confetti in your face, gleefully blowing a noisemaker at your impending future failures.

And yet, this year began differently for me; alone, in bed, sick at midnight with a mysterious 2 day stomach bug. As I tossed and turned in feverish agony, to the sounds of Cairo's abundant fireworks exploding outside, feeling outcast and forlorn and like a total loser, I thought that perhaps this unlikely beginning to the year might bode well for a new type of new years resolution: One of radical self acceptance.

Hear me out: By "radical self acceptance", I don't mean resting on complacency and a refusal for any self improvement, but rather a gentle illumination of ones true self. A stark examination of ones true character traits, flaws and all, and a decided conscious decision of how to maintain that authenticity, to ever better evolve into our best version of ourselves. Sound convoluted and absurd? Good. I am being authentic already! But seriously -if you truly like smoking sheesha every day, if you like eating Mcdonalds once a week, if you like watching bad reality T.V., if you like taking selfies while doing yoga, if you like the you that is embodied by these habits and behaviors, then I say, uphold them!! If you imagine yourself in a film and don't like what you see, this person you are...then change it. Be honest about who you are, what values and beliefs define you, and who you aspire to be. That's it, that's all. Maybe it's the Cairo spirit guiding me in this direction (a city where people don't even view any of the aforementioned habits in a negative light, whatsoever), or maybe its just that the older I get, the less I aspire to be someone better or different or perfect, wanting to simply BE happy, as is, the best version of myself that I am.

Be gentle with yourself. Be kind to your dark parts and your flaws, because as both Leonard Cohen AND Lady Gaga have alluded to: The wound is the place where the light enters you (though Lady Gaga took it one step further and quot-ably sang, "If you don't have shadows you aren't in the light").

I really don't know what else to say. Happy 2015 folks - may your year be full of profound lyrical quotes, and may you all stay in the light.