I recently read an article in ELLE about getting older. This got me thinking about myself as I’m “growing up” and I thought I’d do a retrospective post and highlight the ages that were pivotal to me, shaping me into who I am now.
19 is the cusp of adulthood. For me it was the start of working/studying. My mum would refer to it as my “neither here, nor there” phase and it is a bit of an in between age; you’re ready to flap your wings and jump out of the nest but you haven’t quite learnt how to fly yet. I was naive then but I had a good idea of what I wanted and didn’t want. What I wasn’t prepared for was the bumpy road to get where I wanted to be. I was driven to someday work in publishing and to see my design work in print; so I tripped along trying to get into the industry. Having to deal with many a criticism and being turned down for jobs can be difficult, but this time of my life taught me to lick my wounds and to get over my feelings of dejection. The lesson learnt was: when failing to succeed, dust yourself off and try again.
On a social front, I used to be the typical “quiet girl in the corner of classroom” but being out in the world turned me into a rebelliously bubbly woman; and that’s when I decided that I don’t like dating. It’s not that I didn’t like meeting guys, I just didn’t like the whole pretentious fluff surrounding a meeting, under the guise of romance and supposedly getting to know one another, while all it actually is, is a very ambient interview. If I liked someone, I preferred being blunt and to the point… and that’s how I met and married my husband.
I introduced myself to him, we became good friends, we fell in-love and we married, all within my 23rd year. Marrying my soul-mate was the biggest highlight of being 23, but this age was also the beginning to a chapter of rediscovery for me. If I never met and married Razeen, I’d never have been introduced to people who impacted my life tremendously and were crucial in me reviving my love for the Almighty, the Prophet (PBUH) and my religion. I seriously don’t consider myself holier-than-thou but during the last 5 years of marriage, I’ve had experiences that inspire me and continuously motivate me to become a better Muslim and by striving to do so, also be the best person I can be in service to humankind. My husband and I have grown together, our relationship thrived and so my path led me to my greatest experience as a Muslim, Hajj.
I was 28 when I first saw the Kaa’ba, visited Madinah and stood on Arafat. I don’t think anyone can adequately describe the spiritual impact this pilgrimage has in any amount of words. The only thing I can describe fully, is the longing and heart-wrenching yearning to want to go back again.
As I’m inching toward 30 now, I can see that after time the physical aspect of age does show; my increasing grey hairs are testament to that. But I also know that that there is a deeper meaning to life.
I recently had a conversation with a 17 year old friend who shares a birthday with me. She was telling me how she’s changing and discovering things about herself. We ended up having a long conversation about growing up and of finding a sense of self. This made me realise, that even though I now have teenagers considering me their older confidant, what comforts me is that at no matter what age, this journey of self-discovery never ends.