On August 25 2016, there was a girl sitting in a tiny room in South Kensington, London. This room was underground and had no windows. This girl was sitting in the middle of a bed with white pillows and blue covers. She sat there alone, huddled on herself. She was crying so hard that she couldn’t breath anymore.
This girl was me.
So let’s pause that story and allow me to tell you about this girl that is me. I am Dima Alameddine. I was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. I’m 25 years old.
Before August 25, I lived with my loving parents . I had a good job and a stable income. I got along with my co-workers and looked up to my boss. I drove my own car. I had a few close friends I would hang out with after work. Life gave a me a sweet deal and I was really grateful.
But that was it. It was stable. It was comfortable. It was convenient. I could have stayed home and lived in this small cozy bubble that I had created for myself. I probably would have met someone and eventually gotten married and had the whole shebang like all Lebanese girls do (and fulfilled my mother’s desire for grandchildren).
Call it greed. Call it madness. Call it whatever you want. But it wasn’t enough for me. I felt like I could do more with my life. At 25, I thought it was too soon to be just comfortable or jump into the responsibility of marriage. I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to travel. I wanted to learn something new. I wanted to live alone and really figure out everything about myself. And in the monotony that I had created for myself there was no room for that.
So after a year of debating the decision (but backtracking out of fear of failure) , I applied for my MBA to London. After the painful process of doing exams and interviews and running around putting all the official documents together, I got accepted.
And then came August 25: The day that changed my life irreversibly.
The day I went from living with my parents and having my amazing friends to living and being completely and utterly alone.
The day I went from being an employee to a student again.
The day I traded my car for public transport (where the concept of personal space is nonexistent).
The day I sat on that bed in a tiny room in South Kensington , London with white pillows and blue sheets and cried so hard I couldn’t breath anymore.
I sat there and cried, mourning all that I had lost and fearing the ambiguity and difficulty that the journey ahead was about to bring. But then miraculously I stopped. I wiped my tears and got to work. I could cry all I wanted. But I had too much to do and since I was alone, the only person who was going to get it done was me. As my boss used to say: Spend 5% dwelling on the problem and 95% solving the problem. And it was difficult. You may see my filtered Instagram photos capturing the beauty of my life. But it was overcoming these difficulties and hardships in between that got me from one beautiful (Instagram-worthy) moment to the next.
After looking at 10 different flats I found the flat I could call my own.
I opened a bank account (When you are in London that is an extraordinary feat to accomplish).
I learned to use public transportation (and I got lost so many times!).
I went to university and met amazing people from 32 other countries and all walks of life.
I explored one of the most beautiful cities in the world ( and still exploring!).
I learned to become independent and became stronger then I ever thought I could be.
I learned to not only be comfortable being alone, but also look forward to it (I was the kind of person who couldn’t even eat a meal without having someone around).
It’s been an amazing emotional roller coaster and I’m loving every minute of it.
There are still difficulties that lie ahead and my journey is not over. But I’m strong and ready for it.
I’m not writing this for recognition or praise. I’m writing this to tell you that if you’re out there and want to take that risk, go for it . Yes it will be painful. Yes it will be tough. Yes there will be times where packing up and leaving is the best idea ever. Yes there will be times where you think you have gone mad for doing it. But go for it.
Why? Because nothing beats the satisfaction of overcoming a challenge and trying something new and discovering things about the world , and more importantly yourself, which you never thought existed.
Don’t let fear of failure get in your way. Failure is not an end result. It is merely a stepping stone to your success.
My advice to you is: Have your own August 25.