Wednesday, 21 December 2016


It's Tuesday 20th of December 2016, and I am officially 21 years of age.


Twenty one.

1) In some ways I am far from who I would've liked to be by 21, and in other ways I am so much more than I could have imagined.

2)  20 was a comfortable age, a comfortable year.

3)  I've had enough of wasting time and waiting for things to happen. In my 21st year I will actively and consistently pursue my goals, God willing.

4) The world can be a terrifying place, yes. But I refuse to live under this crushing anxiety for the rest of my life. For the sake of my mental health, I'll need to work on that.

5) The world is so beautiful. As long as I am close to nature and all its wonders I will live a life of peace with a heart full of love.

6) At 19 I allowed my fear of emotional vulnerability to convince me I could live a life devoid of romantic love. At 20 I was forced to confront and accept that I have always loved love, and always will.

7) Feeling truly, genuinely, achingly happy for someone else's happiness. That's a precious thing.

8) This year I took the time to really think about who I am, where I am in life and what steps I need to take to improve. 2017 will be the year of implementing those changes, God willing.

9) Without God I am restless.

10) As a self-proclaimed bibliophile and lover of education, I am disappointed by my lack of Islamic knowledge. In my 21st year, I will strive to learn more about the most important aspect of my life. God willing.

11) Kind words and thoughtful actions, this is how you show love.

12) A few weeks ago a friend of mine made an observation about me that changed my outlook on life. She said 'You give your feelings too much validation', and I thought... well damn. I do don't I. Not everything I feel has to mean something and though I realised this to a certain extent two years ago, hearing it said out loud and labelled specifically as 'validation' made it crystal clear. Some feelings are just empty feelings. Better to suppress and discard rather than validate and transform a fleeting thought into an all-consuming ache.

13) In my 19th year I was introduced to postcolonial literature. In my 20th year I realised how deeply moved I am by African American literature. In my 21st year I will continue to consolidate the knowledge I have been blessed enough to receive through university and literature by reading as much as I possibly can.

14) I read almost 50 books this year. But if I intend to make a dent in the impossible amount of literature available to us I need to work harder, waste less time, and read more!

15) Non-fiction is fantastic! Something I never thought I'd say in my high fantasy teen days.

16) I am a painstakingly slow writer. Having finally started writing my first novel this summer I am only 12,000 words in. But works of art are rarely created overnight. It's the small amounts of effort we put in every day (or somewhat regularly) that create a piece worthy of praise.

17) Novels are written word by word!!! Comma by comma!!! Sentence by sentence!!! And it can be so very tiresome. But if it matters enough, you keep going. If it matters enough, you keep trying.

18) I am a vessel full of stories aching to be written.

19) I am finally brave enough to admit that what I really want to do for a living is write. I am finally brave enough to legitimately pursue that ambition.

20)  I don't know how I'll ever repay my parents for everything they've ever done for my siblings and I. Their relentless hard work, the sleepless nights, working seven days a week to keep a roof over our heads. Constantly prioritising our mental and physical health over their own. I pray God grants me a lifetime long enough to try and give a little of it back.

21) Quiet moments of contentment with loved ones, and a feeling of oneness with God. These are the moments that make life worth living for me.

Until next time, friends.



  1. This is beautiful! Completely relate, thank you!

  2. Happy belated birthday :) Loved reading your thoughts, thank you for sharing. I'm Muslim as well Alhumuldilaah. Hi! lol

    Benish @ Beenazai

  3. number 4, 7 and 9 touched me so deeply - this is such a wonderful list and the photography is gorgeous! inshallah you have more wonderful years to come xx

    1. I'm so glad you could relate, JazakAllah Khair for your kind words Safah! :')


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