First, Happy New Year – another year came and went and life continues to progress. I don’t really celebrate holidays except the Chinese ones so for me it’s just like any other day. Definitely had an interesting night though! Went out with friends to a boat party on the Nile and the boat began to sink so they had to evacuate everyone… can’t say that didn’t scare me as it very much so did! I’m not very fond of cramped places or the water, so when one side of the boat dipped, well let’s just say I wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible! From there we went to another bar/club and stayed for a little bit before heading out once again. I departed ways to meet up with a friend who’s visiting Cairo. Met new people, chatted till 8AM and then got up at around 9’ish for breakfast before going back to sleep till around 3PM. My nights and days are all confused! Overall the night was fun, good company, funny adventures and of course always new experiences. Only bad thing… I of course managed to start the New Year off by getting sick! Slept in all day yesterday, feel much better today in terms of the coughing but unfortunately I have a lingering headache. I think it might just be the fact that I’m thinking too much so I think it’s time to spill more thoughts.

As stated in a previous entry I’m quite fascinated by paradoxes. Recently I’ve been contemplating one in particular, the notion of experiencing warmth when one is immersed in the bitter cold. Personally I quite thoroughly enjoy the cold weather, it serves as a calming presence, but why? I’m assuming most people would probably not question or contemplate how the cold weather might affect them or why they feel the way they do when it’s cold, whether it be a like or dislike. I suppose I operate a bit differently than most people. I often contemplate and reflect on my experiences blurring the line that separates curiosity and obsession. I have an extreme dislike towards being out and about when the weather ranges between warm and hot, similarly, I’m not much of a fan of being up in the morning, and I prefer to start my day at approximately 1700. There’s something about the darkness and cold that makes me feel as if I could retain and maintain control – a personal psychological problem that I am very well aware of. My obsessive compulsive nature is one that I’ve learned to cope with quite well and one that I’ve managed to utilize to my advantage in life. One might be wondering how the cold weather, nightfall and nighttime connotes to control. I suppose it’s the ability to maneuver about with ease and if need be secrecy, there’s also a mysterious attribute to nightfall and nighttime, one that encapsulates everything around it. The cold weather on the other hand also denotes a form of control, the ability to control your own body temperature in the sense that in the cold one is able to put on or remove clothing accordingly to feel comfortable, in hot weather there are only so many articles of clothing that one can appropriately remove. Perhaps it’s my insanity that makes me feel as such or possibly even what sanity that remains, but this is how I feel.

I’ve been contemplating the word “cold” and the connotations and synonyms that one might associate with it – bitterness, loneliness, isolation, death, frigid, chill, chilly, indifferent, apathetic, heartless, reserved, calm, discomfort, numbness – I suppose it depends on how one defines the word, but in general, whether the word is used as an adjective, adverb, idiom or noun, these are some of the terms that surface. In relation to the general associations, I found only few that resonated, loneliness, isolation, death, calm, and numbness. Some may think it bizarre, but I actually find comfort in these terms. I don’t believe I need to elaborate on why I’m comfortable with loneliness and isolation as it was stated in a previous entry, but I ought to elaborate on why death and numbness brings comfort.

Most people fear death or the thought of death. In general death is not seen in a positive manner. I would personally argue that all technological advancements are developed for the sake of prolonging life or in other words to deter death. Death represents the unknown, an inevitable abyss in which some believe resides the ultimate form of judgment, for others, it is merely the beginning of life, or the determination of what becomes reincarnated, regardless of how one may view death, the point is that it is inevitable and an integral part of life. I can’t say that I fear or don’t fear death, I think even the most fearless to some extent fears the concept of death. How can one not fear it? But there is also something calming about it if one were to examine it from another perspective. Death in itself is merely part of the cycle of life, one cannot know life without defining death, and one cannot learn to appreciate life in all its glory and sorrows without first comprehending the temporality of life itself.

So what does all of this have to do with finding warmth within the bitter cold? The experience of cold, means that one must dress warmly in order to retain body heat, thus one is literally simultaneously experiencing cold and warmth. But if one were to take the connotative meanings of cold to then I suppose it’s also that when one experiences cold, one might realize that one is indeed alive, the state of being alive means that one is not dead. Maybe this is where I find comfort most, within the irony and paradox of warmth within the bitter cold, to be alive means that one is drawing closer to death itself; to know that everything one values ultimately means that one acknowledges and accepts the co-existence of its “opposite”, well it would seem to me then, that one really does not live in a state of “black or white” but rather in the “grey,” I guess that’s where authentic beauty lies.