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29 October 2050

Cairo, Egypt

I am a 57 year old millennial and in order to keep surviving, I need to reinvent myself.

How exactly I should do this I don’t know. All I know is I must do something else to be able to keep paying the rent, to have a health insurance, to make a simple living. Yet, why and for what purpose, I don’t exactly know either.

I am an engineer, and that is probably the only thing I can be sure about myself these days. I had studied first in Cairo, then in Rotterdam. Then, I moved back to Cairo and started working for a multinational green energy company. That was the future back then, yet it turned out that it was the future for a mere 30 years. I was made redundant in the last round of lay-offs company has been conducting in order to shrink the number of employees. All my career I worked for photovoltaic projects, locating sites, evaluating investments from different stakeholders’ views and coordinating the constructions. It is a very analytical job and when you simplify it to a number of calculative tasks, you can automate it of course. That is why I lost my job to software and when you think about it, it totally makes sense. Almost all such jobs in energy companies are now replaced by software so there is no way I can find a new job by doing what I have been doing. It was coming, anyone could see that. Who cares about anybody in the world of pure numbers anyways?

I am a millennial at heart.

All my life, I have traveled to different places to try new things, and invested my money in experiences. I have accumulated superficial memories of cities, people and cultures. I had nice social media posts though. Very likable posts. Now when I think about it, I never really got to know any of those people or cultures. I just relished the flavour of each, whenever I had saved some money to afford a trip. As a matter of fact, I have not bought a house or anything. As I said, I had to invest my money in experiences. If I had a house of my own, perhaps that could have been something to rely on now.
Well, that would have been a nice experience!

Where does one begin in my situation? Why can’t I step out of my reality and evaluate the situation analytically as I have always done? Self-doubt and whirling emotions are blocking me. I need to silence these sounds and find my focus. But I can’t stop asking: for what purpose? and who cares for me anyways? In the end, who knows who I am?
I am a thing with a soul, I need to sleep, to wake up into a new day. Maybe a new day will bring answers with it. I know it will. Like the poet once said.

“A boy in a yellow shirt
has just passed by
and made me think
of a shirt of mine
in those old ordinary days.

So it was possible.
Yes, this life was possible.
And here I am, still wearing
a shirt just like that.”

Hassan Sallam


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