10 years.

Last month marked ten years since my family picked up and moved across the world. We left our Illinois home and moved to Jordan where we lived for three years in what seemed like another world. Though I knew how to speak Arabic, and I had been going to an Islamic school before my move, I would have never imagined what was to come. I was thrown into a world so different from what I had been used to and what I ever expected to find. Despite it being an Islamic country, I found myself, in many ways, feeling like an outsider because of the way I chose to lead my life–with my religion as my guide. But this experience, and the experiences over the next ten years have molded my current views on life and methods of thinking based on experiences that both led me towards frivolity and eventually opened my eyes to truth.

Ten years is a long time, yet it seems like yesterday that I was saying teary-eyed goodbyes to my grandparents and my best friend at the airport as I departed to Jordan. It is quite scary to think of how quickly the time passes: that since then I have moved back to the US, lost all four of my grandparents, graduated from high school, graduated from college, become an aunt, and pretty soon I will be delving into my chosen career field, inshAllah.  Alhamdulilah I have completed a small chunk of my life goals in the past ten years, but there remains an even bigger chunk of things that I want to complete. I worry that the coming ten years will not be as impactful as those that have passed as I will no longer be working towards my career–the one thing that has motivated me, academic-wise, since I was 14. I worry that the structured routine of school will no longer drive me to complete my goals–that my non-academic goals will seem insignificant as I live my daily life. And though I am sure that my ways of viewing the world will be altered with every experience that comes my way, I fear that the majority of alterations have been made in my raw, teenage years and early twenties, causing progressive thinking to be at the bottom of my list of priorities.

But I do not give up easily. I will allow these worries and fears to motivate me and inspire me, inshAllah. I do not want to look back ten years from now to see that the only advancements I’ve made in my life have been ones dealing with my career. I want to live my life on purpose. I want to live my life working towards goals that will allow for success not only in my career, but also in my personal life, my hobbies, and especially in my faith–the goals whose successes will be prevalent beyond this life.

In ten years, I hope to have achieved all of the goals on my list, and I hope to have added even more goals to my list. I pray to be wiser, more reflective, and leading a carefree life based on tawakul (dependence on God). I pray to be headstrong, confident and hungry for more.

–IH

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