AsSalaamu alaikum wa rahmat Allaah wa barakatuh and greetings to everyone,
Welcome aboard..again..after a long break (an extended period of negligence?) and thank you all for sticking around to read this.
Life this academic year turned out to be quite different than expected. For starters, although it was an “academic” year, it wasn’t an academic year in the I-am-in-full-time-education-and-I-am-solemnly-abiding-by-that sense. Somewhere between Julyish and Augustish in 2014, I decided that I wasn’t going back to university for my final year, because although the university experience was swimming with positives, I couldn’t go back immediately just yet. I had things to sort through, perhaps even ever-so-slightly, a life to fix .
As with any variation in life’s seasons, I had inevitably embraced this one with all its crookedness. Despite taking the conscious decision to do things differently for the year, back-tracking, regret and the feeling of missing out were themes that appeared less infrequently than I would have liked.
But fruits had been borne. Lots.
Walking the actual walk of experiencing life with less linearity is definitely one of the things that I have found to be easier said than done; I know, how obvious. But we plan and God plans, and His plans are always better than ours.
Even when they sting at first.
Feelings of regret and shame, and even slight envy at those who were doing things closer to the way they planned had occurred less infrequently than I would have liked. But how? After all, I made this decision, yes? But I wanted to stick to plan, and this was not what my 18-year-old “fresher” self had planned.
I really didn’t want to feel answerable to anyone about why I didn’t just get university over with once and for all, or what had prompted me to do things this way or whatever. I wanted to absolutely fall head-over-heals for my own choices no matter what, and to just twirl in the honeymoon phase, always and forever.
I spent the months between September and December doing and trying to do different things and then since January, I have been working as a schoolteacher. So that’s where I have been. I (partially) swapped the journalism/blogging/miscellaneous writing life for 5 AM starts, board markers, instant coffee, constantly-multiplying pieces of paper, excessively-boisterous children and of course, report-card drama. That awesomely challenging chapter of my life had wrapped up over two months ago. Alhamdu lIllaah.
That was the vocational bit. But, as is with everyone else, I’m probably a bit more than skin, bones, clothes and a designation, so we all know that this post won’t end here.
The simple act of taking myself out of the environment I was in — even if only for a little while — had given me the ability to detach myself from whatever I formerly perceived as expected or routine, and because of that, I could form a more honest perspective on things and make decisions that better served me.
The result? A melange of better self-care, increased clarity and direction, and episodes of sadness and despair which were often born out of both a heightened awareness of just how destructive some of my habits were (are) and unsavoury circumstances, and joy I couldn’t anticipate .
Treading on the subject of self-care, it is true what the self-help folks say, oodles of positive things do result from it. And it isn’t all about scrubbing up well for every living second of the day, or burning a lavender candle in your room; taking the time to do anything that is important for you to live a positive, quality life is self-care.
My version of self-care included tweaking bits of my daily routine, welcoming perspective changes, getting treated for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and even working to make my spell as a teacher smoother. God entrusted me with the blessing that is life and all the other blessings that come with it, and I am still to give them their due.
It is true that not everyone will be in a situation that will permit them to move away from current life in a conspicuous way, and I know that my combination of circumstances will not always be readily available for everyone, perhaps not even myself in another point of time. But I hope that you,and everyone else, can acknowledge that it is possible that there is no inherent rightness in what is seen as “linearity” or conforming to expectation. I hope you can forge a way to work things out. If you’re struggling with the way it’s all going, be it because of hardship or a mere desire for change, it doesn’t have to be this way forever.
Get a bit uncomfortable if you need to. Just do you, correctly and with good intentions. And Allaah Subhanahu wa Ta’aala (God Exalted be He) is the Most Generous.
Now here’s a visual account of what my version of The Teacher life (#theteacherlife) looked like:
See you all soon.