Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 November 2019

Chronicling years of activity, and inactivity, comes to an end

Writing is one of the few joys in life that can be achieved without human interaction, isn’t fattening and allows me to prattle on and on about my favourite topic in the world: myself.

This is my last column for The National and it’s been five delightful years. I am glad to have had the opportunity to write, all the while marvelling at the fact that anybody apart from one’s parents could actually want to read your confused ramblings. It forces you to form opinions; you begin to view things with increased perception because you are continuously on the lookout for “article material”.

I don’t know about increased perception but it does make you occasionally shake your sleepy, apathetic head, lift your drooping eyelids and actually attempt to care about what’s going on in the world. Articles were written in all sorts of places, from an airport McDonald’s to the deck of a Scandinavian cruise ship.

My column used to be called Teen Life, and no doubt my lovely editors would have liked a glimpse into a highly exciting saga of tumultuous relationships, the inside scoop on wild parties and the dark nefarious things teenagers are meant to be getting up to.

But being astonishingly pathetic, very few exciting things ever happened in my life: I went to school, attended some after-school clubs and societies, came home, ate, mooched about and slept. My friends and I were invited to few parties and had the courage to attend even fewer. I therefore went through a phase where I decided to write one article per every activity, spawning a rash of pieces about things such as tennis, football, Model United Nations, volunteer work and music recitals.

It’s been a great outlet to gather and chronicle my thoughts, however unremarkable they may be. It was very satisfying to sanctimoniously deliver opinions on current affairs and social issues. Writing about topics like women’s safety and education, or the story of the courageous Malala Yousafazai, provided me with an insight into concerns that impact our society but I otherwise may have callously ignored.

Writing also provides a platform to complain about not being able to do all the things I didn’t, or couldn’t, do, such as go on a date on Valentine’s Day. Who needs one anyway when you have your laptop for company and a blank Word document to fill with elegies of belligerent misery at being a singleton?

University opened up new avenues to explore, although the Uni Life pieces read like Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events because that is what my life tends to be.

While I narrowly avoided ever missing a deadline, there were plenty of tearful monologues shared with an unsympathetic computer screen about how writer’s block is ruining my life.

Either that, or I’d find myself having typed double the word limit before squashing everything hodgepodge to condense it, with appallingly nonsensical outcomes.

Nevertheless, writing is one of the few joys in life that can be achieved without human interaction, isn’t fattening and allows me to prattle on and on about my favourite topic in the world: myself. It’s therefore satisfactory in every respect, and will be missed: I certainly hope this is not goodbye but an au revoir.

The writer is an 18-year-old student at Cambridge who grew up in Dubai

Updated: April 26, 2014 04:00 AM

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