Sometimes I like to think of my life as a brightly colored package, wrapped up in the most gorgeous hues, and filled with an assortment of different colors, textures and materials. I pull out new things everyday – there’s spontaneity, surprises, joys, heartbreaks, laughter and tears and a deep silence too, not the foreboding kind, but the silence that in my mind is a light pastel green, the kind that makes you want to listen in a little bit more and revel in the sheer tranquility of it.
The package is large and completely randomly shaped – but it is beautiful. The colours are bright in places and completely sober in some others, yet, the result isn’t confusion. The cacophony is harmonious somehow – interesting, joyful even. The imperfections, the flaws, even the one garish colour that stands out from the side – surprisingly – all come together to form this very unique and striking looking package I call life.
It is packed with the experiences I get to live through, the people I can call my own and love wholeheartedly, the relationships that form the quintessential web upon which the whole package stands – and very importantly, it contains the lessons that have been (and will be) completely indispensible in my journey. As I conclude another year on the earth today, I examine this mix and feel extremely grateful and privileged for the life that I have been given.
For those who know me personally will know that it is not just around my birthday that I feel reflective, but it has become a sort of habit to formally recount some realizations on important dates just to point out things to myself that I feel like I have understood and would like to remember.
So here are some of the most important truths that have started making sense and that I would like to live by and remember. Perhaps this blog might be around far longer than my innings and if the girls come across it someday, it might bring a smile to their faces and they might just understand the person I was that bit better.
I may have jotted down these points before (and more eloquently) but then, that is the beauty of having a personal blog – I can do so once again, and unapologetically too! 🙂
- Acceptance and Contentment
There is something completely mind-blowing that happens when you accept the hand that’s been dealt out to you. Without fanfare or drama or complaint – you accept who you are, who the people around you are, and the life that you live and work with it – not against it. Once you get past that stage of acceptance, something overwhelmingly beautiful called Contentment finds its way inside your heart and soul, and once that happens, the only way to go is up. There is a catch though. Acceptance must be wholehearted. You know that little cranny in your heart that still questions the decree and you pretend it doesn’t exist? Yeah, that one, that too, wash it away with the rain that is contentment. And when you’re deeply content, gratitude is but natural, right?
- The intention matters
So you might not have done all that you are capable of, and you might not have made the impact that you dearly wanted to, or left the legacy that you so desired to, but remember it is the intention that counts for something. The burning desire to make that difference, that, in and of itself, will guide you. Don’t lose hope or give up that easily. Let that fire burn. It will lead to something good. Don’t dismiss the power of a sincere intention.
- Know Thyself
Think of life as being on a grand game show that you need to get through and get to the other end. Let’s say you’re watching this game show – and Participant A has a huge pool to cross. What if Participant A doesn’t know swimming? What would you advise? I’d say that Participant A get on with it and use any extra time to learn those skills so he can safely cross the pool. Another thing – maybe the participant is a very able jumper and might want to take the route with more jumps than pools.
The only way they’d take these decisions correctly is if they are aware of their strengths and areas of development. Point I’m trying to make is – know who you are – the great, the good, and the not so great – and work around your strengths and weaknesses. Develop yourself, but knowing yourself first is essential.
I know it sounds clichéd, but yeah, forgive, forget and move on. And do so with real compassion and cleanse from within. And remember, the person most deserving of that kindness is you. And you’re worthy of love and forgiveness from yourself.
- Give it time
This is one of those things that I’ve learnt with experience – things don’t happen immediately. They don’t fall into place as we snap our fingers. Often the process of things sorting out can be long and tedious. It’s okay. Give it another day, another week, maybe another year. And sometimes they don’t work out as you’d initially wanted them to. That’s okay too. When you give it enough time, you realize not everything matters that much. And that brings me to my next point.
- Not everything matters
Most things, most losses, most reactions, most possessions, most ego-hurting episodes don’t really matter. Always focus on that which truly counts in the grand scheme of things and learn to become a decent judge of that. What actually matters is how happy Allah swt is with you. Where you end up in the next life matters. Relationships matter. How kind and compassionate you are and how people don’t get hurt with your actions or words matters. Whether or not you’re happy with yourself matters. I’m starting to figure out that when my eyes are on the prize, things that once seemed to matter so much just fall by the wayside. Focus.
- Take the first step
Yes, brilliant, you’ve got that lovely intention. Back it up with some kind of action. All it takes is that small first step. Don’t be afraid to take that step.
That wraps it up friends. There are probably many more things, but these are the ones that spring to mind for now. Nothing groundbreaking, nothing that you haven’t read before but all the same, things I’m starting to understand and hope to remember as I move on in this journey.
Who knows when the story ends?