7 Ramadan Reflections
Before my Ramadan hiatus, I came across this hashtag, #superordinarylife, that instantly reminded me that we don't need to take huge life-changing decisions or trips to enjoy life. Beauty is found in the simplest most mundane things if you choose to see it in a new way; or explore what's around you with an open mind. This Ramadan I knew I needed a break to just do more of what I enjoyed, to detox, and reflect - especially with my mid-twenties birthday approaching I was having, I guess what they call, a quarter life crisis. To help myself cope with this "millennial crisis" and give myself a reminder I compiled a list of 7 (my lucky number) lessons that have helped me and I hope will help you, too:
1. Explore more:
I can safely say I've visited all the Arboretum's Philadelphia has to offer, at least I think so (which means I have a ton of blog posts to catch up on, shh!). I know I say this a lot but I feel like I can't emphasize it enough how healing and beautiful nature is, surroundng yourself with Allah's creations is the best dose of medicine. With my lifestyle direction towards becoming more minimal and sustainable I've been able to enjoy and experience things more, alhamdullela. Just seeing the variety of plants at an arboretum, or the like, puts me in awe of what Allah has created and how he knows the existence of every living thing, subhanaAllah.
2. Surround yourself with good company:
Ramadan is a time for self-reflection but also community. While I was unfortunately away from family for the first two weeks of Ramadan, I got to enjoy iftar almost every day with friends I've made during my time in Philadelphia. Just being away from the virtual world allowed me to connect and enjoy the moment. As I've gotten older I've learned how precious time is and how its become important for me to fill that time with people that are inspiring and positive. Its known that you become the five people you spend your time with so choose wisely, and ensure you are returning the support and love even more.
3. Don't compare yourself to others:
Remember that your journey is yours only! Every experience, memory, encounter, job, friendship, relationship (good or bad) is something to learn and grow from. Its ok to not know which direction you're going, just be mindful of the lessons you are learning and change course. Five years ago I would have never guessed I would graduate with a Master's degree in Sustainable Design. If you asked me what it was then I would have looked at you with a blank face. So subhanaAllah who knew it would be my passion and that I would start a blog on it today. You're journey is you-nique, just be thankful.
4. Do more of what you love:
For a while I knew I enjoyed photography from the class I took in my undergrad years, but didn't have the confidence to pursue it. I have this crazy thinking that if I didn't capture the perfect shot the first time that means I'm disqualified - I know, crazy right?! The more photos I take the more I discover I'll never stop learning, thats what makes it interesting and fun. Also, it gives me this instant gratification when a shot turns out pretty cool, which helps with my anxiety. Aside from photography, I also enjoy sketching and I mention this because for a while I've been trying to get better at painting. However, let me just say painting is not my medium and I've learned to let go of what doesn't come naturally for me. So learn to get better at what comes naturally for you and brings you joy.
5. Reflect on your actions:
Be mindful and aware of your actions. Reflecting on your actions helps you keep an open-mind to self-improvement and criticism. Learn to become a better version of yourself the next day. Being mindful has helped me let go of what's negative in my life, improve my behavior next time, and understand what I want the outcome to be in future encounters.
6. Take it easy:
Using planners in college used to be so much easier, you would just write down a list of assignments and extracurricular activities and cross them off as you did them - in a sweet chronological order. With life you'll own a planner, but not your schedule. You'll have to sort your schedule out a thousand times but somehow things fall in place when you just let go. Most importantly remember to always make time to treat yourself and call your parents, which brings me to my final reflection.
7. Enjoy time with family and friends:
Set aside quality time with your family and friends. This point may be similar to #2 but what I mean here is that sometimes we can be too focused on our goals that we neglect the people that care about us. Find your balance. Prioritize your time to include family time, friend time, and goal-setting time.
Feel free to add comments or reflections you may have had during the beautiful month of Ramadan, would love to hear them. Jummuah Mubarak!