I wanted to start talking about my accomplishments by counting degrees or the companies I worked for but Anushka and I have decided that the achievements that really matter are far more individual and discreet, things we wanted to do as children but probably never considered as feats, especially after being corrupted by the ways of this world.
Sifting through photos from the last 7 years, and penning the Before 30 Bucket List has made me think a lot about what I have done already and how far I have gone as a person. My biggest achievement so far has been the wisdom I have gained over the years.
- Volunteering was something that came naturally, never being much of a goal. But I always wanted to do meaningful and life-changing volunteering. So I volunteered at this awesome school for special needs children in Ajman for their academic year 2009-2010, it was commitment that made me travel all the way each morning just because I absolutely adored those children. The conversations I had with some of them and the camaraderie is something I will never forget. The older ones were my age and they thought me a lot about love, friendship and happiness. That year made me a far more humble, grateful and positive person, it was everything I wanted. There is no dearth of stories but there is one particular exchange with Nader (one of the smartest kids in his class) that had a profound effect on me:
Nader: I don’t usually cry but there is a poster of Michael Jackson on my wall, I cry sometimes when I look at it.
Me: Do you cry because Michael Jackson is dead?
Nader: No. I cry because I love him.
It was during my time there when I was praying once and had nothing to ask from Allah, except saying thank you. That never happens.
- I believe that at this point in my life I have a better idea of where my priorities lay, it has helped me a lot and I have been able to make better decisions. This is also something I need to continue working on.
- Realized that it is not impossible to keep in touch with people you care about and maintain friendships that truly enrich your life. Life is so constantly changing that it is important to have a few people whose presence is not only regular but who make the world more bearable.
- Our society is increasingly individualistic and too much focus is placed on things we do on our own, without any help. I am not ashamed to admit that I look up to most people I know and admire them for knowing and teaching me things I would never learn otherwise. I also make a lot of mistakes and admitting them is integral to moving on. I am average and it is OK. Having this in my head is definitely an achievement.
- Anushka, among others, is witness to the immense amount of love I have for myself but more often than not it has been a façade to deeply set insecurities about my worth as a human being. I think I have come a long way in terms of being comfortable with my appearance, my actions and knowing that if I achieve something it’s not just luck but I too played a role in it. I accept myself more and for someone like me, that is HUGE.
- Accomplishments still under construction are confidence, socialising and a healthy lifestyle. I never thought I would sign up for a fitness challenge, but I did and it starts next month. I also never thought I would sign up for a glamorous makeover but I did, including a shoot for a magazine; it is not really my thing but I did it…yaay 😀
- I had chucked my plans of studying abroad a long time ago and was happy attending college locally. It was an unfulfilled childhood goal but I applied to the Oxford University for a summer course and got accepted. Even though it is just a few weeks, I never thought I would study abroad, especially after completing my Masters. Also, most of my favorite writers went there. #triumph #chuckles
“Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.” Robert Frost