Friday, June 19, 2015

Twenty-three lessons to learn at Twenty-three

It's funny how time works. I remember as clear as crystal how the world smelled to me as a ten-year old. I remember my days being ridiculously long- endless stretches of moments that asked to be filled. I remember seeing myself through the eyes of twenty-somethings: a kid, a human half-done, a work-in-progress. And I remember standing in awe at them. They seemed so complete. So free and so in-charge of their lives. Their legs walked the earth saying 'been there, done that' and I longed for my drawn-out days and half-baked body to hurry up and let me begin my life.

Little did I know. Later on, every year that would go by, I would feel life tugging me by the hand further away, to the exposed world that I watch through the filmy layer of my sheltered cocoon. I usually resist, but by now I have realised how futile it is to... that if life's hand doesn't manage to pull me, its sharp nails will scratch at the lucid layer protecting me until I am out there. There are signs of inevitable ageing, and there are signs of growing up- signs that the years are changing who I am and not just leaving their effect on my body, transforming the thoughts that keep me up at night from 'What will the other kids think of my new haircut?' to 'What am I getting out of this job?'  And if I had to write one thing to my ten-year-old self, I would break the news that at twenty-three, she'd be as half-done and as much as a work-in-progress as she'd always been. I'd ask her if she could put those end-less days to use and find out some answers for me. 

-how to keep my practical glasses on without losing the ability to dream

-how to drink-in thought, theory and philosophy without allowing them to remain just that: inept thoughts
-how to swallow failure without degrading myself
-and how to pride in achievements without getting them to my head
-how to make out the people worth keeping
-but treat them all the same
-how to clutch on to everything I believe in
-but always keep room for change 
-how to remember to respect hard work
-but not the power it sometimes gives
-how to be patriotic without losing the global heart
-how to be helpful without turning into a doormat
-how to look for beauty everywhere 
-but not to confuse all that glitters for gold
-how to draw the line between ambition and obsession
-or between being peacefully distant and dangerously withdrawn
-how to continue being a student long after leaving the classroom
-and how to recognize the teacher in every encounter
-how to say more through what I do than what I speak
-how to look at every day with a new vision
-how to keep the big picture in mind
-and most importantly, how to always be able to step back from the frenzied speed the world runs at, slow down, and take it a step at a time.


  1. This feels a little deja vu. I've had similar thought processes since turning 20. I feel like the finally there in growing up is a mirage. There is no finally there. We will spend our whole life growing up. Maybe it's not such a bad thing.

    But, for the jizbillionth time, thank you for putting words to my thoughts, so very eloquently ♥

  2. you have a way with words jeejee <3 as always.

  3. You've phrased it just right, Ghadeer. This is a must-read for the half-baked twenty-somethings out there ^^

  4. Great post, Ghadeer. Thank you for sharing such deep thoughts, sure makes reading a lot more interesting. I've wanted to be grown up as a child. Now, I'd like to go back to those carefree days. So relatable thoughts on your list. I have to share on twitter. :)

  5. A teacher in every encounter . . . arguh! I recognize this - but often i fail to be grateful . . . sigh.
    love & love to you!

  6. This inevitable ageing is what I have been experiencing as well, these days. There is so much to learn, so much still undiscovered. Your lessons are where I'm headed as well!

  7. you've laid it all down, these are the most crucial tests we're going through.

    there's nothing I can say about your writing that hasn't been said before, always inspiring me.

    there's something really bad I am going through, how to live in a world where they're fighting for wrong things, and not realizing the need to keep things right. I wish we could find our peace.

    keep inspiring.


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