Today the earth is celebrating that I’ve with complete gratefulness been stamping my feet on its soil for 37 years. Often, I did so ever so foolishly and other times with an aloofness that only my one single grey hair had borne witness to.
So how does it feel to be 37, ask me that question in 3 years’ time or simply take the time to acknowledge that I am gracefully approaching 40 and I really don’t know whether or not I fall into the ‘young’ people category anymore?
I’ve lived my life so quietly in my early 20s, that years flew by in front my eyes in a way that I cannot for the life of me recall if I lived it at all. I’ve always been someone who exaggerated my age, as I believe so heartedly that age is a just a number, that I create an algebra for it, multiply it by 10, square it by 2 and grow in years that I often wondered what am I running towards.
I decided that while I consent with complete sanity that I write this willingly, to document for the archives’ sake, given this new age of mine deserve a new level of bravery to share what I’ve learnt in 37 years. You see, I’ve learnt between things that matter and things that should be overlooked, that there lies a fine line where only growth can determine the irony of it all.
So in honour of my 37 birthdays, here are 37 things that I have learned about myself and life:
- Finding God, affirming my faith in this journey called life where it has been a rollercoaster of fluctuations and each time landing on faith is my greatest blessing that I don’t take lightly. Stay spiritual!
- After trial and error, I am at an age where I am finally unapologetically myself. It is breathe taking I tell you that I started to accept myself with all my flows and talent.
- I learnt to accept that my smile, even when I am not smiling, will result in interactions with suited strangers at Piccadilly line, the pedestrians, the barista at the café and family and friends who remind me daily that my smile is a remedy to their troubles.
- No one really cares that I speak too fast, those who matter will remind me to take a breath and slow down and those who don’t matter will lose out on my intelligence.
- You have great energy and aura which is attractive but remember your energy won’t always be at its peak! So get through your tasks anyway as some tasks don’t have the luxury to be postponed.
- My hijab matters more to you than to me. Most of the time, I am actually oblivious to the fact I have it on my head. My hijab like my skin won’t crack with age.
- Making my bed every day is a testimony that I am here, that the morning is here, that my soul is back; what a way to own the day!
- I have a complicated relationship with my knee, you don’t see the difficulty under my stylish attire, but I am yet to accept that I need to apply for ‘Please offer me a seat’ badge. Let’s revisit this in my 50s.
- You don’t ever need to justify to anyone your coffee ritual. It is so healthy, that apparently scientist have identified that coffee has approximately 1,000 antioxidants.
- Never apologise for feeling subdued at times, it is ok, embrace your inner quietness and protect your space.
- Great comfortable shoes that support your 10,000 steps, will possibly be the best investment you need to make today.
- You are never too old to jump from one hobby to another, you are not trying to be “cool” but rather embracing the journey of finding yourself in an activity that revives your longing for a healthy mind and body.
- I am adventurous, spontaneous, random, and ask odd/deep questions and that has served me well.
- Travel, don’t seek permission to do so if an opportunity arises, go for it. I’ve experienced Aruba, Zanzibar, Sri Lanka and countries far in between, all were in moments when life was going in the opposite direction than I’d envisaged.
- Friendships require an investment of your time and soul. Choose and befriend wisely.
- Kindness, being selfless and generous are amazing traits, don’t change even when acquaintances may abuse that. Your faith taught you to not be stung twice from the same stinger.
- I once ‘ran’ a half marathon in Morocco and accepted there and then, I am not much of a runner! To compensate I volunteer at 5k park run.
- Being hard on yourself and not letting go of the past is exhausting, and holds you back from forgiving yourself.
- Letting go of relationships where the pain in staying is far worse than the pain in departing is the best gift you can grant yourself. Let go, you’d be surprised what time can heal.
- At work, never second doubt yourself, you are probably more skilled, talented, professional than most people put together. You are amazing.
- Doing things on your own is an underrated joy.
- Make the most of today that is within your remit and reach.
- It is OK to protect your energy from being deflated by toxic masculinity, narcissists, drama, and social media or by people with huge egos.
- Stay genuine and live by what you preach and remember deeds are by intention, and then action.
- You are reliable and are always there for someone, but who is there for you? Build a tribe, connect and stay present.
- Learn to love yourself, to be enough for yourself, that your own happiness is your sole responsibility, and have enough faith in yourself to recognize your growth and please celebrate your milestones.
- Sometimes it is just you who recognises the birds are signing a new symphony, it is ok to stop and dance to that.
- You’ll probably won’t need an anti-wrinkle cream, your mother’s natural remedy will do you fine, it did so far anyway.
- It is OK not to fit into labels, you are ambivert and it is ok that nobody gets that!
- You know how to enjoy life in the simplest ways and that’s beautiful.
- You have a beautiful heart so don’t strategies relationships and be alerted when they don’t nourish you but simply deplete you. Not all of them will have the honour to witness your greatness.
- It should be a criminal offence to spit on the sidewalk, on the ground, on the train platform, practically anywhere!
- Trust and love your family. Always
- Not everyone can keep secrets, not everyone is worth for you to confide in, trust wisely.
- It is very possible to be a fulfilled single woman
- The past is the past, what matters is now. You don’t have to explain this to anyone. You are ready. End of discussion.
- For the first time in 37 years, I am truly open to finding and accepting love.