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.

Here’s To Good Friends

Here’s to those few people that force you put your guard down to let them in. They don’t ask anything in return except some time well spent: having impromptu lunches to laugh your heart out, candid sessions over some weird combinations of tea leaves you never thought existed or in-depth discussion of politics during which you almost go at each other’s throats one second only to high-five the next.

Here’s to those few people whose idea of you exists only in what they know about you, not of what people think they know or what people say or what people want others to think.

Here’s to those few people with whom you are not worried about going slightly crazy sometimes. And they still want to be seen in public with you.

Here’s to those few people who might be very different from you on all the things that you thought counted and still end up finding more common ground than divergence.

Here’s to your harshest critics, the ones who bash your work the most when its level falls off, who let you know exactly where you slipped and how to fix it.

Here’s to your best supporters, the ones who can trump your family sometimes – those people who let you know when you excel and who support you even when you don’t feel like supporting yourself.

Here’s to the people with whom you can eat an entire box of sweets and absolutely not give a damn about how you look like 5 year olds who found their holy grail of chocolate.

Here’s to those people you don’t see in months but still manage to pick up where you left off as if no time had passed.

Here’s to those who know exactly when you’re blowing smoke and are not afraid to tell you off.

Here’s to the people who help you find the silver linings of your woes whenever you feel overwhelmed.

Here’s to those people who have no problem driving to your place late at night because you need someone to talk to. Even if it means trying to find a place to park in Beirut.

Here’s to those people you have no problem putting your feet up on the tables of their homes.

Here’s to the people who know all your inside jokes.

Here’s to those who are crazy enough to fathom liking you without being on some form of antipsychotic.

I wouldn’t be who I am without all the awesome friends I’ve had. This blog wouldn’t be what it is without them too.  Here’s to good friends and good times and maybe some good wine or scotch too.