I turned 24 today. And it was a horrible day.

I woke up feeling I couldn’t breathe, feeling like it was just another day to get through the motions. I went to the hospital. I took care of my patients. I did what I had to do but not more like I usually do. I smiled as people wished me happy birthday. I had yet to see the happy in the sentence. I didn’t know what else I could do. 

Perhaps there was nothing really wrong about today. But I didn’t see it that way all day. Call it overt-anxiety. Call it over-scripting of things and dramatization. But that’s how it was. My head told me today was a bad day and I didn’t try to tell my head it was wrong.

And then when I got home this evening, exhausted and feeling mentally drained, my little brother surprised me with a piece of cake on which he had lit a candle. And I hugged him as he sang me happy birthday. There was nothing else I could do. I thought that would be it until my parents called and my mom sang me happy birthday over speaker phone. And my grandparents called to wish me long life and the only thing I could do is wish them health. Their calls filled me with so much joy that the only thing I wanted to do was go spend my day with the people who made it as such. 

Then, as I headed to the dinner my friends begrudgingly dragged me to, I realized that many of the people that made 23 the year that it was were around that restaurant table, had called or texted me earlier that day. Those people had changed their pictures into a collage of their memories with yours truly. They were really, positively happy that this was my day and they wanted it to truly be a happy birthday.

This post may not mean much to most of you. But, as I turn a new page, my thoughts turn to family and friends – cliche as it may be – in order to tell them thank you for being there and I hope they’ll keep on being there.

Here’s to all the people that made me. Here’s to all the people that make each of my days worth living.

I turned 24 today. And it turned out to be a good day, indeed.

19 thoughts on “23.

  1. Dear Dr,

    Being a doctor, I’m sure you know that the frontal cortex only finishes becoming mature around the age of 26, which means that you only have like 2 years to go.

    I understand that your friends (who must have about the same age as you) would want to defend you from what their brains identified to be a kind of insult or what have you, but they’re not the ones having a blog.

    Try to go and live abroad for like six or seven years, it’ll really do you some good being away from your family. You should not be living with your parents in any case.




    • Dear G. H. Rabbath,

      you seem to be strutting your knowledge of the frontal lobe & talking about its maturity & its capacity to understand humor, feel empathy & detect sarcasm, while apparently yours is obviously far from mature. and if it is, i feel sorry for you.
      you’ve been attacking this guy’s blog & his beliefs & whomever left a comment, for no justifiable reason.
      you know very well, i assume, that in Lebanon, living with the parents until marriage is a tradition. thus, to this guy & all the others, (and his judgemental frontal lobe) it seems perfectly normal because that is how he was educated.
      it may surprise you, but not everyone’s dream is to leave the country or live far away from the people who show them support.
      is it wrong not to question traditions? that’s a whole other topic.
      but as far as this diary-like blog goes, the issue is him turning 24 & how the people he loves made his day better.
      now if you’re not empathetic enough to feel it with him, if you’re bitter or old/young enough to find ridiculous, at least have the dignity not to put this man down.
      you said that having a blog is pathetic as well. it’s unfortunate & i’m sorry to be the one who tells you that… “no one cares!” if you think blogs are stupid, do not read them. grab a Stephen Hawking book or Paul Broca or Emil Durkheim or read about whatever other scientific subject you might be into.
      you have apparently lived abroad & it is hard i know, loneliness kills, so is the lack of support. so as i’m sitting here alone in my apartment on the other side of the globe i actually envy this guy. i believe you do too. living abroad means independence, not forgetting to appreciate & care for the people you love. & if living abroad taught you that, i believe you’re on a very dark path.

      have a good day.


      • Dear Joanne,

        It is quite interesting that you might feel that I was attacking this man’s blog and his beliefs etc. while it’s just that one post, of him going from 23 to 24. It kind of lowers the standards of his previous posts. I seldom commented on his previous posts.

        I am sorry that you are living all by yourself, and wish that you were with your family as well, as much as I might be sorry for you thinking that living with one’s parents till one gets married as you say is a tradition to be respected.

        Thank you for proving my point. Do comment at any time. I find the material I’m getting really great. Do you of an artist called Sophie Calle?




        • Dear G H Rabbath,

          I have a feeling that you are trying to turn tables. “pathetic” “get a life” “what their brains identified to be a kind of insult or what have you, but they’re not the ones having a blog” (implying that his friends are not mature enough to understand what you said, & himself even less) are not exactly nice -to say the least- ways to put things. No wonder i understood what i did.

          I never discussed or mentioned how interesting the post is (which isn’t by the way), or if the tradition of living with the family until marriage is healthy. In fact, all i said was that this is a whole other topic. My opinion is irrelevant, but it doesn’t mean i do not respect it as a tradition. When i said i envy him, i meant him being surrounded by his loved ones.

          I am however impressed by your interpretations, you tend to twist words nay re-contextualize them so they’d be in your favor. Impressive, not so subtle.

          I’m not sure what “material” you are getting, but I am sure the data you are collecting is unreliable due to its unknown source and the effect of your subjectivity.

          And thank you for your empathy, but I don’t need it.

          & if you’re talking about the photographer then yes i am familiar with her work.



          • Wow, that the first time someone uses ‘nay’. Cool.

            She’s not a photographer btw. She’s a conceptual artist, and if you were familiar with her work you’d know what I mean. So keep it coming.


        • why thank u!

          she’s a photographer isn’t she? conceptual art is what her photography & displays are about. she’s not a painter or a sculptor… she’s a photographer (well.. mainly).

          this has gone long enough & i see no point to it anymore.

          take care bitter man. 🙂


          • She’s not a photographer. Try read about her other than in Wikipedia.

            Nice smiley. Finally something you’re comfortable in. Don’t you want to go on Joanne? I feel you have the urge to talk more about yourself, and hence project your bitterness onto others. I’m really sorry you live alone. But don’t be bitter about it.


        • tsk tsk tsk. what did we say about twisting words?

          calling you bitter is fully justified (read your comments).

          & hold your horses Freud. maybe you should take a few psychology courses (or books) before analyzing what you think is happening in my head. just a thought.


          • It is not justified my dear. You on the other hand felt the need to talk about yourself. Not me. Not to mention that what might be happening in your head does not necessarily need so much analyzing.

            The way you write, omitting capitalization, tells a lot about you as well. I’m off the clock unfortunately. Let’s pick up where we left off tomorrow, shall we? Have a nice evening. I hope it’s not too lonely.


    • you’re trying to exploit me or attack my “weakness”. you’re far from that. seriously pick up a psychology book.

      & yes, my lack of capitalization tells a lot indeed. i really have trouble pressing the shift button when needed. riveting.

      this is getting disturbing. you’re intrusive & inappropriate so we wont be picking anything up tomorrow.

      PS: there’s a difference between alone & lonely. i recommend a dictionary as well.


      • You keep on replying and that’s just perfect Joane. Just think of it as an art project. You were intrusive when no asked your opinion. I wasn’t even talking to you. You felt the need to intervene, as if Elie needed your help. And now you want to stop? Let’s keep it going. Pick up an art book, practice that shift key, it’s kind of silly without capitalization.


  2. Happy birthday. Nothing wrong with being grateful to people who love us!… Some people go through life without having such people. And worse, without recognizing them when they show up in their lives. You do. So happy birthday Elie. Even if I do not know you personally.


  3. this has urged me so much to turn this year into a year in which i reach my 24th birthday into a fest of truthfulness, sencerity and self actualization . I don’t know you, haven’t met you , but judging on what u have goin on here, man , you should be really proud.



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