100 days of Stoicism journal — Day 2

Ever since I started college, 11 years ago, I said to myself: “I won’t stay here for long. I’ll study for my degree, graduate, find a job abroad and move.”

It was an exciting plan and I was so sure of what I wanted when I travelled for the first time to the UK, specifically to Belfast and London in 2014, where I fell in love with how various things are structured and organized, such as the urban planning, roads, traffic lights, queues, stores, visual identities of the stores, typography, the metro etc.

Coming from a country where chaos is king and mismanagement is found in every corner of its land, interestingly enough, I was able to adapt the minute I landed in Belfast. I didn’t even get the thought of “doing it” the way many would do back home.

It felt like going to your friend’s house.
You never want to act or behave the way you would do at home.
You need to respect that house and respect its rules.

Even though my parents taught me to be on my best behaviour wherever I go, teaching me how to approach people, talk to them, be respectful, and how to be a law-abiding citizen like any parent does, I still felt like I was doing something wrong. While I was there I felt like I had eyes on me the entire week.

The reality is, in my mind, I was unconsciously comparing what I was seeing there with what usually is done back home, in addition to people’s behaviours, talks, debates. It was terrifying.

So I decided to postpone the idea of moving and focus on graduating and starting my career.

Come 2020, the country’s collapsing with a disastrous economy, leaving more than half of the population in poverty. COVID-19 is spreading throughout the globe. A massive explosion hit Beirut on the 4th of August, killing more than 200 individuals and injuring over 7000 people.

I was ready to reassess my stay in the country of Cedars. I was ready to reassess my career. I was ready to reassess my entire life.

It’s easy for me to blame the world and my poor luck being a Lebanese, pointing my finger at everyone to make myself feel better.
But I couldn’t. Nobody owes me anything.

At any moment in time, I could sleep and not wake up. Death hangs over me. I can’t just stay idle.

So what can I do?

1- Find the scariest thing that I could think of, that is of a noble pursuit by nature.
2- Analyze that what scares me in parallel with identifying and understanding the strengths and weaknesses that will accompany me on that pursuit.
3- Put a plan and a timeline.
4- Start the journey with every action I take aiming for virtue and truth.
5- Do not complain. Do not look around you for approval. Focus on what you can do now at this moment. Maintain an organized schedule and maximize your potential, by reading, studying and working diligently. Have fruitful conversations and listen well. Lastly, keep your eyes on the path of virtue and truth in everything that you do.

Now, as I’m writing this in July 2021, 11 months after the Beirut explosion, I’m days away from moving to Estonia and start my studies for my Master’s degree in Interaction Design at the Estonian Academy of Arts, after months of preparations.

Am I scared? Yes.

Will it be tough and challenging? Certainly

Am I ready for this new journey? Absolutely.

Kratos and his son Atreus from the 2018 game God of War.