Tuesday, October 10, 2023

How can one seek stability when all goalposts keep on changing?

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly based on a vintage Rimal resort ad

Not even sure what I am saying here. Might be the product of frustration, or disillusion, or tiredness, or of personal circumstances, or of being Lebanese, or just being me, or a combination of any of the options that preceded. At a time when friends in Europe are plotting their vacations in February 2024, I cannot even see what tomorrow will bring. Already, I am living in Lebanon, a country that lost all logic, where institutions barely function, where we did not have a president for a year now, where banks basically stripped us of our money, where inflation is at 128%, and where poverty levels are at 80% (and please do not believe those Instagram accounts where everyone is living their best life), a country where day-to-day life has an element of surrealism in it.

There has been too many upheavals in my life. Truly, too many to count. I was born 6 months before the 1975 war and already what was normal in my childhood, must have been totally mind-mending in anyone else's. But you know, comes a time when I really - as in really - crave stability. Boring old routine. Am serious. I keep living my life inside problems and issues and uprooting and what not. And yet, here we are - again.

Obviously, I am referring to what is happening in Palestine, specifically Gaza, with the danger of what it might mean if this spilled over to Lebanon. And this is not some farfetched scenario I am dreaming up but rather a real probability with real tangible implications on day to day life, which already is hanging to normalcy by a thread.

I was speaking to a friend and he said he quit expecting stability, he just went on assuming that everything would be sh*t. To be honest almost everyone I know seems to be in some in-between phase, one is waiting for her parents to move to the US to leave as well, another is moving to Dubai with her family but her husband was rushed to the hospital, a third is shifting from company to company where she works online for meager salaries which do not even cover her rent and living expenses, and so on and so forth.

Maybe I am imagining things, that people outside of Lebanon - you know Europe, US, etc... - have stable lives. But truth be told, I wish to have a routine where I go out to work in the morning and back home at night all while earning a very respectable salary as I used to do which was there for a fleeting period of time. But I guess instability was the norm. But after a while, all these shifting goalposts become too tiring to follow and keep up with.

I guess this is too cheesy, and that it dates me, but as the once-philosopher Madonna said "If we took a holiday (...) just one day out of life" - and preferably before February 2024 (no disrespect for my European friends' calendar).