Joie De Vivre

I’ve been looking at old photos recently. Not “infant” old but more middle- to high-school old. Watching old videos too, listening to the songs we used to listen to at that point.

I couldn’t figure out why, I couldn’t understand why my brain wanted me to rehash the past, and see things, see people, more importantly, that aren’t a constant in my life. Not to say I didn’t care about them anymore, but more weren’t people I would talk to every day.

Being me, being the over-sensitive, over-emotional, over-everything-that-I-should-be-able-to-control-but-can’t person I am, I start to over-think, wonder what happened between then and now, why I’m so different now. Why aren’t those people in my life? Most importantly, why was I happy then, and not now?

And then it hit me, like a train; joie de vivre.  I used to enjoy life, no matter the circumstances, no matter where I was. There were places I would enjoy more than others, of course. Dubai more than Beirut, school more than university (yes, I know it’s odd), a friend’s place more than a nightclub, but I would try to make the best out of it.

Joie de vivre translated means the exuberant enjoyment of life. It’s what we all should strive for. Instead of me sitting in my office, hating not only life but myself included, trying with all my might not to cry over something silly like a little girl holding a teddy bear. It’s that much of a struggle for me that the innocence that’s paired with a child that resembles my very own childlike persona could tip me over the edge.

I’m not going to say I’m going to go find my happiness, or whatever people do when they have an epiphany. I’m too far gone to find where it is; also adults don’t really get to have joie de vivre, at least not at this point.

At the very least, I do have a plan. A plan that could possibly get me out of this depression and that is kind of exciting. It’s exciting whenever I see myself trying to change my circumstances because I’m not happy, because it reminds me of who I used to be, it reminds me that I’m not just going to be a doormat. It reminds me that someone inside me knows that my happiness is worth fighting for.

The Wrong Path

I read somewhere once that when coming to a crossroads, the only people who are happy that they picked the wrong path are gamers. And, it’s very true.

To those of you who are non-gamers, let me explain why. When there is a crossroads in a game, there will always be a path that leads to a dead-end, and a path that leads to the continuation of a story – providing there is a story. And sometimes, when you pick the right path, you might not be able to go back.

Some of you may be wondering why is that a problem, why go back at all? That path is probably filled with things you need to fight to reach some wall and you’ll need to head back anyway. And you’re right, you always need to return to the right path, but the wrong path is often filled with items or treasure or countless other things you might need later on while you continue on your right path.

“The right path” has always been this elusive path that I would eventually find. I mean, when you’re young, your parents always try to steer you towards the right path, and make sure you don’t stray or pick the wrong path. We’re always hearing “oh, you’ll pick the right path, don’t worry.” But what is so wrong with picking the wrong path? If we’re strong enough, we often make our way back.

And the experience (XP – gamer joke) we gather from the wrong path will definitely help us against bigger obstacles in the future. For example, a sword you pick up for a character in the game from going down the dead-end could be very rare, and help you fight a boss in later stages. I’m not saying that without the wrong path, you fail on the right path. But mistakes you made could help you out and make you stronger in the future.

What I’m trying to say, very messily, is don’t dread the wrong path. Make your mistakes, learn from them, go back to the right path and continue your story. I’ve always believed that you learn more from making mistakes than from getting everything right.

And, truly, if you are strong enough, you can always change your path. Even if you’re on what you consider the right path, but you always have that nagging at the back of your head saying that you should do something else, that you’re on the wrong path for you, go ahead and do it. Because different paths, crossroads and mistakes are what build character, and what make us different.