I am hot. Did the AC stop working? What time is it? I hear the AC making noises in the background, as if in objection to the fact that it’s 1 pm and I am still asleep. I don’t care. I turn it back on and I go back to sleep.

It hasn’t always been like this though… It was last July when I was back home in Egypt that it all hit me. I woke up one day with a sad realization that I was about to turn 28. I started thinking about all the things I thought I would have done by now and I looked around and I found nothing. Even though I had a job “a million girls would kill for” at one of the biggest magazines and I was making very good money, I was miserable. I lost it. I had no idea what I was doing, what I wanted, I had no reason to wake up and go to work. I hated everything, I hated life for disappointing me and I hated myself for letting it get away with it.

There’s a lot people don’t tell you about growing up. The fact that, at some point in your life, you have to stop thinking you can change the world. That at some point, you need to realize you are not that special. That life is not necessarily as happy and glamorous as you thought it would be. That maybe this is it and there won’t be any more to it. When I took one good look around and saw my ‘it’ – I hated it. I hated talking to older people and hearing “you’ll figure it out, you’re still too young”. It’s not true. Someone needs to start saying “you are just not meant to be who you thought you’d be” because then you’d stop trying. You will no longer keep seeking that promise of happiness, of fulfillment and just be satisfied.

Happiness is a funny thing. Once you think you have it, you realize you want more. I once thought I was the happiest person on earth. I thought I had it all. I had my dream job, and I was good at it. I felt young and undefeated. Until I woke up one day realizing that I have been doing the same thing for seven years and if I don’t do anything about it I’ll probably be doing it for the rest of my life. I couldn’t breathe.

I had a strong feeling that if I don’t do anything to change this I will kill myself the day I turn 28. And I gave up to that feeling. The idea of death took over my life, I wanted to do it my way. For the following few months, suicidal thoughts got the best of me. The only way out was antidepressants. I took tons of them. The thing about antidepressants is that they aren’t happy pills, like I thought they were. They keep you sane, in a way, but they kill the happiness in you. You might not kill yourself when you’re on it but you are definitely not alive. I was stuck between my thoughts, my obligations and my pills.

So I quit my job and I decided to leave everything behind and come to Los Angeles. The moment I took the decision I felt like a new person. I had a weird feeling that I already missed the people I was yet to meet, and all the fun we were yet to have. I just knew I would be happy in LA.

When I landed in LAX I had a lot of hopes. But the one thing I was hoping for the most was to find a reason to keep going. Everyone knows California is the land of dreams and the kingdom of dreamers, I wanted what they had. I looked around and everyone was equally lost. People with way bigger dreams going through the same issues. I realized the feeling was universal. I knew I had come to the right place. Little did I know at the age of 28, my life was about to begin…