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About Marathons

To persevere, I think, is important for everybody. Do not give up. Do not give in. There is always an answer to everything.”
Louis Zamperini

Another year has ended. A year in which we try to hope for the best, while expecting the worst. A year that has been full of bad news, broken hearts, shattered dreams and destroyed lives. A year we simply will not forget any time soon. A year during which I personally saw the best and worst humanity has to offer. A year which taught me more than I could probably learn in a decade. 2020 is finally over. 

On December 31, 2020, as the clock strikes midnight, the messages start coming in. Messages of happiness, relief, hope pour in from the four corners of the world. In the middle of all the chaos, some people are still trying to hold on to the good things that are happening around them. They are also looking forward to those coming. Hope and optimism are the things that get them out of bed in the morning. They help people believe that tomorrow can be better.

It is important to have hope in life. Otherwise, we would always focus on the darkness surrounding us instead of the colours that the sun paints when it rises in the morning or sets in the evening. It is a way to receive this additional energy we need in order to face the world head on. However, hope is also a dangerous thing.

It can wreak havoc when we hold high expectations for something and are left in shambles at the end of the day. It can turn us into a cynical people after we have experienced a series of unfortunate events that affect us in such a way that we simply give up on hope and on life. We end up falling into a toxic spiral where it will be very difficult to get out of. We sometimes reach the point where we start asking ourselves whether there is any point to holding on to hope, to dear life, to the ones we love. What is the point behind all of this, if we are just going to lose it all one day? What is the point of working hard for your dreams, just for the world to come and punch you in the face with all of its cruelty and coldness?

I have asked myself that question for all of 2020 and as 2021 starts to take shape, I do not see any difference with the horrors 2020 showed me. How is it possible to think that 2021 will be any different, when I see that people are behaving like Mohammad Atwi died for nothing? When the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, Beirut turned into a shower of stray bullets. People celebrating the end of 2020 as if all of the problems and catastrophes which took place will simply disappear into thin air. Atwi’s death shook the entire Lebanese population to the core, and yet it seemed that the lesson was not learned from all. 2020 may be over, but I feel like we should go back into that year and learn our lessons. Despite two lockdowns and the implementation of two curfews, we have yet to learn the importance of social distancing and mask wearing in order to contain the spread of COVID-19. Despite October 17, 2019 and August 4, 2020, we continue to believe whatever rumour comes out first. We continue to follow a single media source in order to know what is going on. We continue to listen to bloggers and influencers who act as journalists and expert analysts. In all the breaking news across the globe, we have always sacrificed accuracy of information for speed, resulting in misinterpretation of events and erroneous decision making.

The world is going through a very dark period. A period people of my generation have never experienced before. As a matter of fact, I believe only a few ever lived in times like these. The closest to have done so are the people I know who have lived in times of war. A period during which people exhibit burnout like merit badges. A period during which everybody smiles with sad eyes. As I am writing, I have just received a message  from a close friend asking for help to wake up from this nightmare. This friend who is always happy, always filled with positive vibes, enjoying a good laugh here and there, is now on the verge of breaking. At this moment, I feel powerless. Powerless to the point all I could tell them was that it is impossible to wake up for this is not a dream. However:

“There is a truth and it is on our side. Dawn is coming, open your eyes.”
Stay Alive by José Gonzalez

Why do we keep fighting when everything seems lost? Why do we still get out of bed in the morning when the world keeps on throwing bad news at us? Why do we try so hard to stay alive and be happy? Because it sure beats dying. That’s why. It is worth the shot. Our problems will not magically go away. Our wounds do not heal with time, quite the opposite. We learn to live with them. We tackle them one at a time. We learn from our mistakes and we try to become better people. We do it for our families, our friends, our significant others, our coworkers, and most importantly, ourselves.

Several challenges await us in 2021.
But we are warriors, and we shall overcome them.
Never lose hope. Keep looking up.
We try. We fail. We learn. We grow. We persevere. We overcome.

Categories Society

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