Sunday December 10th, 2023
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STOP THE PRESSES - Hassan Hassan is kind of, sort of, nearly, almost happy.

Staff Writer

The New Year has never been the best time for me. My self-reflection eventually leads to self-loathing and I’m left calling gyms, getting over it, and then looking at my love handles/stomach in the mirror at every conceivable angle. This year, however, my period of self-reflection was different. I prepared myself for looking back and sighing and then Googling “how do I become a better person this year?” Then, as I plopped myself down, ready to be devastated by my achievements, I couldn’t remember anything. That’s a lie; I remembered my best friend in Dubai in April, a summer where I was consistently bronze, a raise, a fantastic new friend, seahorses and endless laughter in Dalia’s (my bff and editor of life) car. I remembered mispronouncing remember as ‘remembo’ and giggled. I remembered snuggling with my dog and running around in short shorts for a good month. I remembered my mother riding a bike by the beach and my sister falling over trying to ride a bike by the beach. I remembered lovely weddings and grey suits and Dior sunglasses. I remembered road trips and long days at the office; laughing like a psycho at the psychos I work with and days ending with me clapping like a lunatic so I could go home. I remembered getting so much better at my work (art, writing, what have you). I remembered Beyoncé… Wait, what?

Who was this person?

This couldn’t be right. I opened my computer in a frenzy. There had to be something on here to depress me. I would search my Facebook, my Twitter and everything else I could find. There had to be something annoying about this year. I found nothing. I looked at the pictures on my phone and caught myself smiling. Then, because I am lucky enough to have written reminders, I clicked on my profile on CairoScene, I’d definitely find something depressing here. Woah, I’ve been writing since 2011? The start of the revolution was pretty bleak, as was 2012 (but super funny, if I do say so myself). 2013 was mostly fun… Had I had a good year? It looked like it… Wait, what?

It was almost like it was a different person. I was definitely still that person; good year or not, I’m pretty much stuck with this personality. But, as I read more and more, I realised how lucky I was to even have this; almost three years’ of things that happened and ideas and mind sets and attitudes. I realised that while the past three years may have been difficult, I had highlighted the more negative times in both my mind and my writing. I had talked about everything, from the mundane to the superficial, and emotionlessness was pretty much a standard theme throughout. Egypt had made me so adept at ignoring my feelings, I was overlooking the good ones as well.

The past three years have been tumultuous to say the least, at least in terms of Egypt and the constant insanity it offers (2014 has already witnessed terrorist puppets). I chose to ignore it, to overlook all the frustrating and crazy and difficult and disgusting things. I forgot about all the exciting things in all that is crazy and difficult and disgusting. It gives you the space to be anything you want. It forgives your shortcomings and celebrates them wildly; as if it’s a given that you’re broken and constantly trying to fix yourself.The longer I live here, the more I realise that Egypt is just like anywhere else; it is all about the choices you make. The things you choose to let get to you, and eventually the things you choose to attract. In 2013, Egypt was all like “Look, apparently you’re stuck here. This is your life. And you can be upset about it and you can be depressed about it, but the truth is you’re getting old. You’re not enjoying yourself. This isn’t a way to live.”

So I decided to enjoy myself. 

Illustration by Hassan Hassan

I might not have had a fabulous year, but it was definitely fun. I might not be living in New York and lunching with Anna Wintour or going to Miami for that New Year’s party with every black celebrity and Ricardo Tisci (it’s like he just discovered black people), doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy anything. Sometime in April, I was all like fuck it Hassan, just have fun. And I did. I went everywhere in Egypt. And I laughed and I shopped and I hung out with great friends (friends I could have nowhere else in the world, because Cairo bonds and cements you together like no other city). I was tall and I was talented. My family are pretty fabulous as far as families go and my skin and my skinniness are being kind to me. I have immediate access to smoking and painkillers and alcohol and I can order things from This might not be fucking unbelievably amazing, but it was still pretty up there as far as lives go. Maybe my delusion is kicking into high gear and blinding me completely, but who gives a fuck?

So I’m trying to go into 2014 with the same mindset; things are shitty, yes. You do live in Egypt and yes, that is a fate worse than death. But I’m not dead (although I still wouldn’t mind). Yes, yes, political turmoil, but look at the fucking 20 degree weather in winter and the fact that we have four random days off in January alone. There will definitely be moments where I am suicidal, where I want to sob shower, where I want to throw things at people or yell at them while I’m lying down. But, it’s important to remember that I would probably have those days wherever the fuck I lived. 2013 and aging in general has made one thing clear; everything you do in life is a choice and that includes how you fucking feel.

So choose wisely in 2014 bitches and have a fucking amazing year. (Mum, we’re going to have to kick the mashallahs and the kol a3ouzo be rab el fallaqs up a notch, I just jinxed myself till 2018. I know, I know, I’ll quit this fucking column eventually).