Writers: Lamia Gamil and Lara Abdelhaleem
Editor: Nada Elnady
We are on the threshold of a new year. A new chapter of our lives is about to begin, so grab your brush and paint it the way you want. Some lines will be up to the incidents. No matter how careful we are, our paintings will always be susceptible to damage, faults, and slip ups, yet all damages and faults are repairable. Every canvas can be fixed. Somehow and in some way or another there is always a method to restore a painting, yet giving up is not one of them.
When quarantine and COVID-19 first hit, it was such a rough experience that we never saw coming. We were having an awesome start to the year, enjoying every bit of it, and then suddenly quarantine and the virus came, changing our lives a 180 degrees. Life felt weird afterwards, where we as humans had to adapt to the new norm and it felt very odd doing so in these new conditions we were facing. As much as we hoped that 2020 would be our year, we ended up solely associating it with negative connotations as a result of what we had faced in it. However, the sun always rises at the end of the day, so we, Lara and Lamia, have decided to open your eyes to the bright side of this year; here is how we have viewed our 2020.
Lamia: There is always beauty in the darkest and saddest days or moments. It is a matter of how a person perceives, thinks, feels, and acts upon it. Let’s celebrate a year that has been lived and celebrate every challenge that helped us grow. Let’s express our heartfelt gratitude to a year coming, giving us hope for a better tomorrow. Let’s shake our heads “no”to doubts and worries and let’s shake them “yes“ to gratitude, love, and aspiration. Every minute we live, we draw a new line towards beauty, every incremental addition we print counts. Just forced deviations might change what we initially dreamt for, but when we train ourselves to embrace change and consider it a natural law of our existence, we get to understand that It was never the moon’s fault that it shone so brightly because this is how it works.
Lara: Despite the fact we are in a global pandemic, I have learnt new skills and was able to perform tasks that I found useful, such as taking care of myself, reading, learning simple cooking methods and techniques, joining Milkyway magazine, and being more patient. Before quarantine, I did not give myself enough self-care and “me” time. Now, I have plenty of time to meditate, sleep, do skin care routines, and relax. I have been slowly delving into cooking and learning new facts occasionally. I did not know that I would have an interest in cooking and that my favorite part about cooking is making breakfast.
I was able to join an amazing community. I remember at start that I was hesitant as to whether I should join or not since I was not sure if I was a good fit for the magazine profile, and I was unfamiliar with the community and the environment. Surprisingly, I was more than welcomed when I joined the magazine and I am glad that I took the risk. Sometimes in life it is good to take a risk and see where it can take you. I never thought that if I would join a magazine, it would open new opportunities for me. And —believe it or not— I am learning a lot, and I was able to get to know amazing crew members from the magazine!
Lamia: Our dreams evolve with us and are mailable enough to be shaped to whatever fits us in every stage of our lives and any circumstance we are facing. Let us not fear to face life tests for hardships, mishaps, struggles, and failure; let our emotional, cognitive, and physical evolution transpire. Passing through these tests are the natural paths of which our existence was built upon, so let us live them with dexterity and instead of mourning the void of the thing that we have lost, we celebrate how strong we were and how we are still capable of handling the world and conquering our fears.
We don’t stop when we are tired, we stop when we are done. Sadness, anger, anxiety, fear, and pessimism are energy and the law of conservation of energy states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. However, energy can be only transformed from one form of energy to another. It is in our control to stay enslaved to our negative emotions, or set the world on fire to transform this energy to a positive energy that helps us adapt and survive in an ever changing world. Let us not neglect the fact that we can fly.
Lara: It is a challenging time; in the past, there were more opportunities and chances to get what I was looking for as life was more accessible and easier to deal with. However, I am thankful and appreciative of what I have got and the little things in life, even the simplest things such as breathing and walking. Quarantine has taught me to appreciate life even more and never take it for granted, and now when I look at situations, scenarios, or products, I look at them differently. Now I view things differently and constantly remind myself to take more thoughtful decisions and not to take anything for granted.
Something else I’ve learnt this year is distinguish people’s true colors, who are the real and fake ones and whether or not they would be there for me through hard and fun times. Also, I have learnt to adapt to the “new norm.” It was trial and error, but I am glad that I was able to handle it way better than when quarantine started. I was also able to spend more quality time with my family, which is great. In addition to all that, even though I did check the news previously, I have been
—more than ever— constantly updated with news. Also, I have been saving money even more than before, and I now appreciate its value even more, but splurging on myself once in a while should not hurt.
Lamia: Fluctuation defines the background of our paintings. Everything around us and within us fluctuates. Our heartbeats fluctuate, our blood pressure fluctuates, stock markets fluctuate, and when musical notes fluctuate, it entertains our ears and captures our emotions. We have to learn how to be comfortably uncomfortable and accept our flaws for perfection wholly, and the fact is, we are just humans. Our focus on becoming the best version of ourselves and sticking to our humanity should be the essence of every painting we ever painted or going to paint in our lives.
Lara: I personally miss the “old normal” life. I would love to go back in time and relive moments, and I wish I had a special key or power where I can turn back and relive the old life again, where people can wake me up when things get better in the world and life is back to normal, but this doesn’t mean that I’m not grateful for where I am in life.
I can’t believe I am now back to writing (this current piece). I miss the feeling of writing, being busy, and living life to its fullest. It feels very nostalgic just writing now; it reminds me of the good old days of the early years of university and when I used to write in my spare time or whenever I felt like it. I miss university a lot. I basically used to live in university and loved it a lot. Now, I miss university more than ever —believe it or not. I sometimes do go out occasionally, and in most times, I would have to pass by university and see it. It feels very saddening to say this, but I was not able to recognize university well. I really hope I get to visit the university’s campus before I graduate soon. Even though we might convince ourselves that we hate something, we realize it’s value once it goes missing.
I think that people should never give up even though it is not the best time of the year to be in. All we can do is stay strong, try being optimistic and hopeful, and pray that the global situation would get better and that people would go back to their everyday life at some point.
Lamia: Stay young, stay fit, and stay happy. For this we will celebrate not just the new year, we will celebrate every minute, every breath, and every heartbeat. In the light of this on the 31st of December, let’s dim the lights and count down the blessings we are granted, because through dusk only a new dawn is procreated. Let’s decorate our lives with love, joy, kindness, and forgiveness.
Raise a glass or two to all the things we were able to pass through and we thought we were incapable of doing, don’t stay alone, celebrate with family members, friends, or even strangers. Every external energy helps in expediting the transformation of negative energy to positive one. Think big and let go of every feeling of grudge, revenge, loath, and fear.
Embrace feelings because they are part of our natural composition and let them transform to what helps us grow, flourish, and evolve. We must learn to love ourselves and treat ourselves with kindness. Only then we will be able to spread kindness. And always know that happiness is not something we need to pursue, it exists inside us. Just put down all the noses of sadness and fear and listen to the happy chants that have always been there but have been distorted with all the overthinking and worrying we are burdening ourselves. Don’t be afraid to be happy.
Happy New Year to all the people out there who still smile every morning, believing it to be better than yesterday. I hope that everyone is safe and sound and people are taking precautions and socially distancing. Always keep in mind: you are strong enough and worthy, and you can do it!