Friday, June 24, 2016

Dear 26

Dear 26,

I thought I’ve really realised and grasped the idea that time will never wait for me to get my s*** together. It won’t wait for me to settle and find time to start on the things I have dreamed to achieve. I try to remind myself about it whenever I remember, but still. I hope you’ve worked up our relationship with time, that we are now best friends and in good terms. That we have worked out the perfect schedule to do everything we want to.

I’m going to ask you my current favourite question: when was the last time you did something for the first time? And I really hope for the sake of both of us and our future selves that your answer is quite recent. I hope you won’t have to think for too long like I have been doing for the past few months. Yours truly at 23 did something for the first time on June 4th 2016. Exactly 20 days ago. I went to a concert and I’ve chosen the perfect show to go to, Coldplay. I’m glad there was someone around to push me to do it. To get out of my comfort zone of not wanting to do things alone. Going to this concert alone was exactly what I needed to remind myself how good it feels to do things for the first time.

For your own good, aim to try something new every single day. It might seem too much and very far fetched but you owe it to yourself to live this one life to the fullest. Find those closest to you and make sure to tell them your plan, for them to constantly remind and encourage you to work on it. And as you continue to try new things, make sure you constantly document them in whatever way you think is most suitable. Take pictures like your 16 year old self; take pictures of your food, the shops, the places around you, people you meet and people you find interesting, pictures of cobbled streets and sand dunes. Take pictures of the entire experience. Write like your 23 year old self; journal as much as you can, write letters to your future self, write letters to your friends and family, document your travels and encounters, make up stories about people in the mall or at the grocery store. Document your life with pictures and words, they will one day make the book of your life. Make sure you live a life worth reading about.

Stay true to yourself, do things that makes you happy and never stop learning. In 2 years time, when you read this I hope you make me proud.

Eagerly wishing for a life full of new experiences,

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Perfectly Planned

One of the things I find satisfying is a fully planned day, one that I know what to expect from it. One that keeps me occupied without it being stressful. I hate days that go to waste, without me doing anything productive. Although I hate routines, I like for my days to have have some kind of structure and a purpose. The purpose can be something as simple as just finding time to unwind and relax or read a book or something a bit more like running errands.

I appreciate a little bit of time having breakfast without rushing to get somewhere. An ideal breakfast will have both sweet and savory options to satisfy all taste buds. I enjoy it when I get time to have a cup of hot coffee with a side of reading and I love it even more when there is someone around for me to then discuss what I read with. I like following it with 20 minutes or so of uninterrupted writing time, I feel most inspired after a day that started as I expected it to and with some intellectual conversations. I don’t like moving from whatever comfortable spot I’m in until I’m ready. Once all of that is done, I’m ready to face the world with a big smile.

I love to have an hour of afternoon tea with a cup of tea and delicious snacks. It’s the ideal way to recharge and feel happy. It probably has to do with the memories I associate with tea time growing up, I’m not sure, I just know that it makes me happy. Some interesting talks come up during this time, random and out of the blue. Some topics are more dense, they make you think hard,  they give you a headache. I sometimes take my tea time seriously and I think I should everyday.

I don’t like loud evenings with a lot of plans and people. Evenings are meant to be quiet, with minimal noise unless it’s a small family gathering (and by family I mean those who you’re comfortable to be around them). Evenings are a time to catch up with my father after a long day of barely seeing him. A time to make sure one last time that my mother is alright. It’s a time to catch up with TV shows or more reading.

This post makes me and my days sound very boring, very structured, overly planned. But believe me I love spontaneous days just as much. I love last minute plans that turn out to be one of the best things I’ve done in a while. I appreciate my days in any way as long as at the end of the day I’m satisfied with the way I spent them.

P.S: This happens less often that it does

Monday, June 20, 2016

For Mom & Dad

I come from a family that doesn’t believe in celebrating mother’s day let alone father’s day. When everyone in my class got excited about what card to make or what gift to get, I sat there knowing my parents will appreciate whatever I give them but also a talk accompanying it that everyday should be mother’s day and we shouldn’t restrict it to one day a year. Father’s day, for some reason, was never celebrated. And my father is definitely not one to celebrate anything like that. Yesterday was father’s day and the only reason I knew about is because of the pictures and comments, tweets and facebook updates that comes with every celebration out there.

Does my father deserve a thoughtful post.? Definitely. Does my mother deserve one? Even more. Why don’t I do it? Because I know words will fail me and I hate failing. I’ve attempted to write about them a few times and I still don’t seem to find the right words to use to make it clear how great they have been and continue to be. Those who know me well and been following me, on whatever social media I attempt to use, know how much I attempt to write about my father. I find it much easier to mention him in a post, write a couple of words or a few sentences. The big hands that hold my face, that could make me cry and stops me from it. The unexpected calls, the thoughtful messages, the hugs and small talks. He might not like how my independent thoughts are forming, the way I interpret things and my actions after it. But I try believing that somewhere deep inside he’s proud of the person I have become.  

Looking back at it, it seems like I have never posted about my mother the same way I do about my father. It might seem like I don’t appreciate what she has done for us even though she was the one that was always there, the one that did a bigger part of the parenting, the one that made sure we do our homework and study. My mom has always been there and the reason why I can’t seem to find the write words is because she has done so much. Pushed me beyond my limits. And probably the reason why I’ll be finishing an MSc from Imperial College. My mom shared moments of grief for a few seconds with me, acknowledged my sadness when we were all going through hard times, but right after the few seconds she’ll be back to the strong woman I have always known her to be. Being strong for all of us. My mom doesn't like my short temper, my continuous anger when things don't work out the way I want them to. She doesn't like my thoughts that go against her beliefs and what she thinks is the right way to deal with things. But I know she loves me and I know she wants what's best for me.

I haven’t attempted to write about this before, the day she arrived from Germany after my grandmother’s beautiful soul left us. I saw as my sister left the car and quickly enter the house. Waited for my mother to come out, frozen in my spot. I saw her as she scanned the place looking for me. I wanted to run to her but it felt like the force of gravity right under my feet was too strong to let me move. I heard her as she said Bunayyati and opened her arms wide enough to engulf me in the biggest hug around my skinny body. She whispered that she’s proud of me and then she was gone to the group of people that filled the house, the people that were there to show their support and share her grief.

Both my parents are loved and respected by many. They have both come a long way. They’ve learned as we grew up. Made sure we seize every chance we’re offered. Taught us to respect time and appreciate what we have. They made sure and continue to make sure that we get the best education out there. And now with the youngest sibling being done with his undergrad degree and soon to start his master’s, I know their dreams are almost fulfilled.

Friday, June 17, 2016

My Little Bookshop Dream

I’d be lying if I said I’ve never considered writing as a career. To be a journalist in some newspaper or magazine, and maybe someday have a magazine dedicated to the latest news on science from the Middle East. I’d be lying if I said I never imagined a life surrounded by letters, words, sentences, paragraphs, articles, books, books and more books. To be able to write something people could easily relate to, recommend to others and quote in their day-to-day life.  But both of us know that I don’t have it in me, and I’m not saying it looking for attention from someone to tell me I’m wrong and I should give it a shot. A writing career is not meant to be for me.

I try to compensate the writing dream with bookshops. Stretching my dreams far enough to owning my own little one. And maybe another day in that dream’s future, a publishing firm. One that publishes the pretty book covers our creative minds want to own. I’ve thought about the atmosphere, the way the place will smell. The free coffee while looking for your perfect book. I’ve imagined traveling east and west in search for the perfect books to grace my bookshelf and the shelves of my future bookshop and eventually yours.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever take the leap to open my little perfect bookshop. To make all the daydreaming a reality. To unwind by spending my time away from the lab, away from research and diagnostics, sorting books on shelves, curating the perfect book settings as it’s an art one must learn to master. And while I wait for you (whoever you are) to come and look for your next book, I’ll leave you to it, reading my own book till you’re ready to ask for help. I’ll try and recommend a book for you and I’ll wait for you to come over another day and discuss it with me while sipping out perfect cup of coffee.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Questions On A Sleepless Night

It’s interesting, the conversations we have after midnight. When all our thoughts and worries, ironically, become visible in the midst of complete darkness. Like somehow the flow of blood around our body, and the electric signals in our brain extend some kind of current to a light bulb. Sadly though, It’s not the light bulb of great ideas, the ones we see popping up in cartoons. It’s another type of light bulb, and I guess no matter what, we always appreciate a source of  light.

I had an interesting conversation with myself on a sleepless night. I was questioning, why I always underestimate my achievements? Why I never celebrate my small and big accomplishments? Why I’m never satisfied with my work? Why I’m always looking for flaws in my thinking? Why I always feel less smart than everyone around me? Why everything I accomplish instantly loses its value in my perception? I questioned why people around me are fascinated by what I’m doing? Whether they’re genuinely impressed or whether it’s the polite way to respond to my answer? I questioned when it all started? Because I’m sure when I was around 13 or 14 I was the most appreciative of all my accomplishments. I would scream it at the top of my lungs, out the window, discuss it with strangers and even more with family. I was in a way narcissistic, vain, I might even push it and say I was proud of everything I did. My self-confidence and self-esteem were high enough for me to go on with life happily accomplishing the little goals I set for myself. And somehow I believe that’s the secret to why I feel I was doing better back then. I understand it’s not fair to compare the accomplishments of a 13 year old to that of a  24, 30, 50 and even 60 year old, but there is some truth to what I’m trying to say. I want to know how it feels to be satisfied with every decision I’ve made. To be proud of my achievements, accomplishments and failures. To be able to pick up myself at any given point in my life and just do things, create, experiment and live.

If you have answers to my long list of questions, I’d love to discuss them with you.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Documenting My Life | May

May was an interesting month, and I use the word interesting when I'm not sure how I feel about something. I felt like the month stretched for longer than 31 days. I have to say though that with May came a lot of memories to cherish.

I started the month in Italy, towards the end of the Genetic Counselling course in Bertinoro. My birthday was on the last day of the course and I was beyond speechless being surprised with a birthday cake from people I only met for 6 days. The course proved to me the importance of networking, how interesting people from different countries are and most importantly how people gather from all around the world for the same interest in a subject. Courses make the world seem even smaller and I hope I get the chance to go to more of them.

Turning 24 feels odd but it showed me that the older you get the more appreciative you are of friends. Keep them close, keep them happy and appreciate their efforts. I received a gift from my friend who's in Oman, lots of balloons and chocolate to celebrate my birthday. My other friends gave me enough books to last me a year and a unicorn to keep believing. If that's not enough to appreciate, they took me to watch a musical on my list, Matilda, and I'm now one step closer to watching all the musicals I want to watch before leaving London.

When you make a decision to leave your country to study, you have to realise that it means you'll miss some important events because of your commitments. You wont share the happy moments with those you care the most about. But don't be sad for you can always make it up for them in some way. I missed my youngest brother's undergraduate graduation and my favourite cousin's wedding. I'm sure I'll find a way to make it up for them.

This month was also another reminder that hard work doesn't always pay off. That you might spend hours, putting in all your energy but don't succeed. You know you've done all you could yet it wasn't enough. And as this continues to happen, I don't know yet how to get over it. But it too shall pass and one day you might understand why things went the way they are. I'm disappointed, angry and sad for not reaching a goal I have set for myself but that doesn't mean I'll stop and not continue. For I know that sometimes life is not fair but it still goes on.

Seeing my father in London after 5 months of not seeing him was exactly what I needed. His caring voice, his choice of words, his gentle touch and sincere smile. His motivational talks, his full trust and the twinkle in his eyes that are full of pride for where his children have reached. I wouldn't be here without his support and I'm forever grateful for all that he has done.

And as another month starts, I hope it brings with it a dose of motivation that I need to continue. That it brings with it more happy memories, more smiles and more to document.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Dear 26

Dear 26,

I sometimes wonder where all my hard work goes, all the hours I spend trying my absolute best to achieve something I'm aiming for. Does it go where all the bobby pins disappear to? Or does it get sucked up through some alien vacuum that takes it straight to a black hole?

It's difficult to find motivation when you're disappointed in your own self. When you start slowly loosening your grip around your dreams. You begin to question whether you're good enough for your own dreams. And that vortex of negativity shakes you up till you're too tired to fight for what you think is good enough for you.

I'm 24 and extremely disappointed in myself. I constantly find myself not reaching those high expectations I subconsciously set for myself. I'm never satisfied with my achievements and always there to point out my flows, never giving myself a chance to just breathe and appreciate what I do. I understand its not healthy and I shouldn't be doing it but that constant push is what forces me to keep going.

I hope you're nothing like that. I hope you're surrounding yourself with positive vibes, celebrating all your achievements whether small or big. That you're more confidant with your abilities and not questioning them. That you continue to learn and grow, never settling for just "good" for good is never good enough. And when you find yourself slowly moving towards that vortex of negativity, take a break. Travel to a new place. Try something new. Pick up a book. Surround yourself with those who make you happy. Forget your worries and breathe. You have time to worry about things later.

Just remember, that whichever black cloud is hovering over your head will eventually go away. The wind will either blow it away or it will rain. If the wind blows it, its gone and its time to move on. And if it rains, a rainbow will shine around your sole. Remember, whatever you do, don't ignore that cloud. Give it the attention and care it needs for it to leave you peacefully.

I just hope I'm wrong and all my hard work is gone to you.