Do I feel my feelings? 

When I first saw this question, I didn’t want to think or write about it. I like to think that I’m very present in my own life, but my hesitation in addressing this question tells me otherwise. I don’t know if it’s possible to exist like that all the time – completely present and fully aware. It probably happens in short bursts because that’s all we are capable of dealing with.

These bursts are usually in and after moments of intense fear or joy or pain – when we really understand and feel what our lives are about. Childbirth is the first thing that comes to mind because it is one of those experiences that combines all three – joy, fear and pain in the most exquisite cocktail ever. 

In February, when one of my teachers suddenly lost her husband, that’s when I felt that shift in focus again. I don’t know if it can be put into words, that feeling with your whole being – it feels a lot like gratitude to me. Understanding and feeling each heartbeat and each breath, how powerful and precious it is. When you feel how blessed you are, how much you have and how much you still have to give and how much you can do. It’s hope and optimism and the promise of good. The closest explanation would be Bella’s transformation into a vampire in the Twilight series of books 😃

But jokes aside, soon enough, we return to our muted existence and life goes on. I would, ideally, like to find a happy medium in feeling what I feel for and around the people I love. Especially my kids. Just because I think that it is what the loved ones in my life deserve. 

I find that sometimes counting my blessings, taking the time to verbalize my gratitude, is enough to bring things and feelings into as much focus as I can deal with on that day. 

How do I want to be remembered?

I’m posting a disclaimer right here that this post will probably be long and rambling and possibly strange. Everyone hits a spot in their lives, some point in or soon after their early twenties where they realize they’re not invincible but in fact mortal like everybody else. For me though, this wasn’t a real turning point or anything of that sort where it came to death. This might stem from the fact that as a practicing Muslim I’m always reading about and thinking about death and prepping for it and life after it quite a bit, maybe?

The turning point came when we’d just moved to this apartment, about five years ago. It was within the first month that I heard of a horrific traffic accident where two pedestrians, young girls in their late teens, died in a rather gruesome way. I was bummed of course but it got worse when I found out that one was related distantly to a friend of mine. I found out all these random facts about her – she was like any other 17 year old, and I couldn’t stop thinking about her.

A couple of years later, I lost my mom’s brother rather suddenly and his death impacted me in a big way. He’d been a giant part of my childhood and even though we were no longer in touch on a daily basis, I thought of him nearly every day after. It’s been two years and I still think of him twice or thrice a week. That’s just the kind of person he was. When I went to India, everyone I met had good things to say about him. How in their moment of need, he’d come through. 

That same year I read this article about how we should be living our lives the way we want our eulogies to be read. It struck me then that my uncle had achieved that beautiful medium. He had lived in a way that made remembering him a pleasure. 

And finally, a year ago when those three kids were shot to death in Chapel Hill. Their deaths really moved me, but even more so it was how beautifully they were being remembered. It was as if I’d known them personally, and I might have grieved for them harder than some people that I’d actually known. Once again it hit me that these were kids that had lived their lives in a way that they were remembered in a truly beautiful manner. They probably did it unawares but regardless there’s a lesson in it for those left behind. 

And through this same time frame, alongside this journey of understanding and accepting death, because of the Islamix course that I was doing – I’d also been thinking about what kind of Islamic behavior I wanted to focus on. I thought to myself, while I do okay in all other areas, I should pick one area to try to excel at. I put a lot of thought in it and picked manners. I decided I want to have beautiful manners and I think that’s what I want to be remembered by.  

It’s nice to have that sort of focus, actually. 

Do I say yes enough?

The simple answer to this question is yes (and there’s the proof!)

I do say yes a lot, to the point where I end up taking on too much even when I don’t have the bandwidth to deal with it. Occasionally, I’ll even end up double booking my time because I have a sieve-like brain.  I am working on this though. I am training myself to stop and think rather than just going ahead and saying yes.

But what this question has made me think about is if I say yes enough to myself. And the answer is no. This is something I need to start doing on a bigger scale. 

Not to say that I am unselfish, and don’t make nearly enough time for myself, my needs and wants – I do but I do so only when I absolutely need to. It’s sort of like drinking enough water. If you’re drinking water only when you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated and you still end up getting less than you actually need. 

And so these are two things to balance – to say yes to others a little less while saying yes to myself a little more. 

What is next? 

I love this question. I’ve always felt like the sort of person who looks forward to the next event/phase/thing. I’m always asking myself what next? 

A large part of this I think comes from my relating to continuous improvement and the way I want to practice my religion (I’m pretty sure I’ve blogged about this before). 

While I was studying management, way back in the day, the concept of continuous improvement just stayed with me. It felt like something everybody ought to do every little while, take stock and plan for the next step/level up. 

When I started to study religion and understand it some more, a similar concept appealed to me – the idea of small, consistent steps that would be easy to build upon.

The two concepts just sort of made a marriage in my mind and I’ve always made it a point to ask, what next? At one it point it was about the big things in life, but I find that it’s even more important to do it for the everyday stuff. I like to organize my day based on what tasks will make me feel satisfied and happy at the end of the day.

P.S. That said, as important as it is to keep looking ahead, it is worth the investment to occasionally look back and work through things in your past, recent or not. That way it doesn’t pop up at some inopportune time. I’ve had this happen to me earlier this month and I can’t tell you where my issue (that I didn’t know was an issue) came out of. 

Do you feel at home? 

When I first looked at this question, it made no sense to me. It instantly reminded me of a riddle my brother asked a few weeks ago. The riddle went like this, 

There are thirty cows and twenty ate chicken. How many didn’t? 

If you’re listening to this question, what you hear is, twenty eight chicken and it just makes no sense because you’re fixated on the how many didn’t ‘what’ part of it. 

Since this is an open to interpretation sort of question, I’m going to take it to mean: do I feel at home where I am at this moment in my life?

So I’m just going to start by answering yes, I do. Home to me is comfort, familiarity, things and people that are intensely loved and a sense of possessiveness. All of these things are present where I stand right now. 

Every couple of months, I get this urge to shake things up at home though. Move things around, maybe add something to the mix, do something a little different. I’ve felt this way for a while about where I am right now too. Something has to change, for this feeling to carry on, so I can continue feeling at home.

My freelance gig is up, my kids are in school full-time and I’m ready to take up something that’s all my own. I’ve been thinking about this for more than a year now and I don’t yet know what exactly it will turn out to be – sometimes I feel the pull towards early education, sometimes counseling or life coaching. Other times, I feel like, whatever, nothing needs to change.

But like everything at home always falls into place, even the impulse buys, I feel sure that when I’m really ready for the change to happen, it will. 

This is part of a blog challenge set up by Jammie to get back in the groove of blogging/writing regularly. These are twenty questions taken from Oprah’s mag, that will be addressed, one per week. 

I do mean to write more often, I just understand why it doesn’t happen. 

Mamu had a baby boy, H3, in September. I was in happy tears and broken hearted at having to be so far away from those lovely newborn cuddles! I guess the fact that my parents were able to go see him sort of eased the ache. He’ll be here in December and we just can’t wait. The kids, especially!

In November, Z had a minor surgery and that really upset our routines. But he recovered well and things are back to normal once again. Both kids have been great about being careful around their father. 

November was also the month that Hasoon turned 6. It was a milestone he’d really been looking forward to. On the day, he got out of bed and said carry me mama and immediately followed it up with an explanation of how I can’t carry him anymore because 6 year olds are big and heavy. I baked him a Dino cake and he was over the moon. The Jurassic World craze has been a resident of our house for a while now! 

  

The kids will be on their winter break soon. Z will be home for part of their hols, albeit studying for his finals. We hope to hang out with our homeschooling buddies who we don’t get to see as much as we like during the school months. 

Yet another year is nearing it’s end. I will try and do a highlights post at some point. Until then, sayonara internets. 

My last post was in December last year! That is a long gap of not blogging, possibly my longest yet. Lots of interesting things have happened in the mean time. Like Noo turning 8, a wedding in the family and hence a trip to India and other things that I cannot remember at the moment, peppered with lots and lots of grade three drama.

We are almost at the end of the school year and looking forward to Ramadan. The third grader (with all the aforementioned drama) is gearing up to write exams this week. She informed me that her teacher said these exams are not important and hence she doesn’t need to study* for them at all. Thanks, Mr B!

The almost first-grader thinks school is boring, but is miffed that he is no longer the fastest boy (at running) in his class. Apparently, a kid we’ll call Y got really fast over spring break.

Both kids spent time with younger cousins in India during our trip in April and are now convinced they’d make wonderful older siblings. They’ve been hounding me to have ‘one more baby’ and I’m hoping that mamoo’s baby (who will be here in September yay!!) will deflect their baby cravings.

So that’s all the news (that I can think of at the moment, anyway) from this corner.

*We do twenty minutes of reading followed by a thirty-minute break. Don’t feel bad about rolling your eyes.