It’s a cool Fall night in November. I’m sitting in front of Netflix in the warmth of my own home. It’s like 6..ish. And for me, this is what peace looks like. Dinner is done. The kitchen is clean. Raaya’s Quran class is complete. Productive day at work. I can finally decompress. I always stop and remind myself that these are the days I’m going to fondly look back on one day so just appreciate them, inshAllah. I’ve REALLY simplified my life and I’m currently enjoying the fruits of that labour. 

Today – I want to dive into growth. Growth that comes from doing inner work to reverse unhealthy habits. Growth through purpose. Growth that is intentional. I’ve only truly achieved this in the last year. I’m sad I didn’t start sooner. My life has just never been still enough. It’s been chaotic and this is the first time I can seriously sit back and find time to reflect. 

The last 15 years have been spent in fight or flight mode. Having a sick parent, then dealing with the death of both, then navigating a rocky marriage, pregnancy and motherhood, divorce, and recovery – l haven’t had time to just chill. 

It’s different now. 

Now – I prioritize time for myself. I once feared being alone, and now I prefer it. Weird how it all changed. It’s easier now that I don’t have a husband, or a child on the weekends. Having a career where I make my own schedule is also a huge bonus. 

There was a time when I felt the need to pack my weekends with work + leisure so that I didn’t have a second to stop and focus on my problems. Doing that doesn’t make them go away. Temporarily, maybe. But that never fulfilled me. 

Growth changes you. From the inside, out. The things I once loved – I now have no interest in. The people I once gave time to – I don’t have time for. My big worries don’t feel so big anymore. My passions have evolved. My work ethic has advanced. I’ve loosened my grip on my ego. 

My youth was a total paper bag in the wind vibes. I went wherever life dragged me. But now – I’ve re-established myself to lead a life that is spiritually driven and intentional towards the service of others. Now that I am out of survival mode, my new purpose is to not be so self centered and to lead a life that benefits others. Whether that be through my career, my personal interactions or the daily happenings of my life – I want to be intentional with how I show up for people.

What has that done for me? It’s given me perspective. To give you a minor example: some days…I’ll want to lose it on a client. Work can feel so stressful but naturally my brain will gravitate to gratitude and remind me to be thankful that I even have clients while so many others in my industry are struggling. Other days, I’ll try to empathize with a client’s feelings and spend an ample amount of time comforting them for their own mishaps. I will aim to fix their mistakes, while trying to understand what led them to make such uncalculated choices. Through the service of others, I find fulfillment.

The old me was on autopilot. I was so busy trying to survive that I made choices that benefited only me. I’m now watching my peers tackle issues of parental health, divorces, death, in their 30s & 40s, while I had experienced the majority of it by 25. I was so fixated on staying afloat that others never even came to mind. 

I have self diagnosed ADHD and a symptom of that is imposter syndrome. My imposter syndrome won’t allow me to accept that I’m changing. I feel like a snake shedding old skin and learning to live in my new skin lol.

Sounds liberating but it’s not always. Sometimes, it’s painful. 

I struggle with habits that once defined me. Habits I never want to readopt. For example: I can have a sharp tongue. I needed it to maneuver the dynamics of the neighbourhood I grew up in. That combative nature stayed with me up until recently. I don’t want nor need to be that kind of woman anymore. I want my daughter to see a calm, kind mother who commands respect by respecting others. I want my friends to feel like they can blindly be authentic around me because I will never judge them. I want my nieces to see that if one day they are in a situation where they can’t go to their parents, they can always come to their Phupo/Khala’s home. Mainly, I just want to be a good Muslim and make it to Heaven, inshAllah.

The shift in identity is where my struggle resides. The way I trekked through life for the last 15 years hasn’t always been very Muslim, hehe. At 35, I am unlearning toxic tendencies and replacing them with healthy practices and patterns. I’m not that naturally nice girl where kindness and openness come easily. Quite opposite actually. Can I blame being a Scorpio for that? No? Ok.

And this – ladies, is adulthood. This is accountability. Nobody tells you about this part of growing up. Everyone just prepared me for the diapers and broken backs. Nobody tells you that one day you wake up and the way you once led life doesn’t serve you anymore and you do this total renovation of your soul and come out a completely brand new human being. My very own spiritual awakening, in a sense. When you transcend from the regular you to an individual who is seeking a new enriching belief system.

For many of you, the above is probably mambo jumbo. You won’t completely understand it till you experience it. Not everyone experiences it. But if you could ever be so lucky to be given the opportunity to break the attachment you have to a life without purpose, then really explore what you may want your time on Earth to look like and pursue it day in and day out.