2017 – Ten Things I Learned this Year

You know how they say that 30’s are the new 20’s? Well, I don’t want it to be so.  I enjoyed my 30th year on this planet.  In contrast, my 20’s were spent searching for who I was while this year, I feel like I did.  Or at least a glimpse of it came into plain view.  Enough for me to take a snapshot and store it in the memory card.  Here are the most important events of this year:

1. Mortality: A close family member was dianogsed with cancer and this year, it became real.  The reality of mortality, of devotion, of time, of desperation was made clear to me.  The idea of finding a way to leave a semblance of “me” in the world with such limited time morphed into a tangible thing.  It is still scary but it has since changed my perspective on what really matters and what fades behind in the smoke of a life once lived.

2. Blogging: Although I did not plan it, an affinity for it came into my heart.  I found a reason to share my experiences – the wins and the losses – with words and photos.  There is a collection, an evidence of my life lessons that may help someone down the road and that is enough for me to keep going.

3. Instagram: Oh, the things I can say for instagram! I have met beautiful people and made great friends through the tiny screen of my phone. I found how my words helped, inspired, and motivated others.  Comments from my followers and their messages sharing with me their struggles with infertility, of self love, of little bits of similarities between us, brought me joy every time.  The virtual connection is real.  I look forward to them now – to the familiar faces and the new ones.

4. Confidence: This year, I reigned in the self-doubt and did things just because.  They did not have to be perfect, did not have to be lasting, but only that they were wanted to be done. Fear of the “what if” disappeared.  Mostly.  There are few aspects of my life that still need the transformation.

5. Marriage: In happiness and in sadness, the sacred union of marriage is meant to be a companionship throughout the walk of life.  The different turns and hills are part of that hike with knowledge that if we are mindful of where our feet are stepping, the view up ahead is going to be beautiful.  Through the family sickness, I felt the bond between me and my husband become closer.  We found a singular path, a goal together to survive, to cherish, and to stand with and to lean on eachother through all of it.

6. Hashimoto’s: Oh, my Japanese friend is here to stay and I am going to let him be just a passenger in the back seat of my car. My diagnosis this year was a devastation as well as a relief. A devastation because my life would not be the same.  For me, in my world, with a heart of gratitude, it is still going to be a challenging journey.  It was a relief because everything made sense. My years of symptoms, of odd diagnoses, of the hospital visits, all made sense.  When the dots started to connect, the challenges become bearable because the Divine Purpose and Plan for even the little things came into view.

7. Holistic healing: In addition to the health issues, their healing through herbal means became a source of empowerment.  After a few months of difficulties, when everything all began to fall into place and the herbal medicines took hold of my health, I felt strength in knowing that things can get better.  That even when everything seems to be out of control, giving up is not an option.  The pharmaceutical approach of hopelessness and continued dependence on the external rather than internal is not the ultimate truth. In addition to that, I began to focus more on my mental health – to give myself rest when its needed, love when its wanted, and calm when it craves it.

8. Love: My heart holds much, too much room. This year we started to take care of our very first chicken flock.  I learned that despite how much love I have for living beings in our home, there is still more room.  Those chickens have begun to find their way into my heart in that I look forward to seeing them every day. I enjoy their clucking, their pecking, and the chases in the back yard.  I was not aware my heart can hold anything more than our three cats but it has found room for yet three more animal friends.

9. Friendship:  Sometimes friends disappear and new ones take their place.  Once friendship turns into a distant acquaintance and a stranger can seem like a sister from my own people. I learned about the importance of honesty and transparency in forming relationships. It is important to make time for people you want in your life, for the people who have been there through your difficulty and for those who correct you when you may have mis-stepped.  It is equally important to let go of those whose relationship does not offer a chance of self-improvement.  It is important to say “yes” to take risks and to say “no” when no other answer will serve you.  This applies to things and to living beings.

10. Trust: Through the ups and downs, through the lefts and all of the rights, without having trust in Allah is living a life that is difficult to get through.  Believing in fate, qadr, Divine Wisdom, is important for the soul to remain sane in the increasingly uncertain world.  It all happens with a Plan, with nothing of it being unknown by Him, whether it seems good or bad to my eyes.  Also, trusting myself, my instincts, my gut is crucial to my wellbeing.  I need to know when my body and my soul needs rest, and when it needs to seek.  Listening to myself and understanding where it is coming from is a journey I have undertaken this year and this is something that is going to continue for many more yet, insha’Allah.

Do you relate to any one of these? What are some things you learned this year?

– S

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