Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Picture of the Day 12.02.20: View of the Olympic Park

I had to visit the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for work today, this is the view from one of the buildings – I thought it was absolutely fantastic.

Office Jewellery Making Club

A lady from my office posted on our work online notice board if anyone was interested in joining her to learn about jewellery making during our lunchtimes.  She was a big fan of jewellery making and it would be an excuse to get away from her desk at lunchtime.

As another fan of crafts and jewellery making and another person who works through lunch, eating at her desk, except to stop for prayers, I decided to join her.

We met with a few others and got talking and sharing ideas. Her work is amazing and we enjoyed looking at the examples she brought in:

So the following week, I took in some of my beads and asked her to show me some techniques:

I had these very pretty square blue beads and wasn’t sure how to make best use of them. The resident expert bead weaver showed me how to wrap wire to create different types of links and clasps. I made a few messy attempts, but now I’m very keen to practice and make a whole bracelet.

I shared the beads with another lady who wanted to try her hand, and she made these pretty earrings.

Now I’m looking forward to my weekly making and chatting lunches, it’s inspired me to play with my beads again insh'Allah.

Picture of the Day 11.02.20: Cheat Carbs

I’ve been trying to eat more healthily recently, reducing sugar and carbs where I can. But to be honest our food is so carb-based, I didn’t know where to start. No rice, roti, nan, bread, chips, pasta...what’s left?!?

So I’ve been experimenting with salad ingredients and having it with a piece of fish, chicken or a veggie burger patty. I didn’t think it was something I could get used to, but it feels doable alhamdulillah.

Yesterday I made the kids rice and I had to have some (was good alhamdulillah).

Picture of the Day 10.02.20: Harmony and Blues

I love clothing and fashion and I love my hijab. A big part of clothing for me is not about impressing people but about playing with colour and texture (although I do find my colourful clothes and jewellery creates opportunities for conversation and connection).

I love harmonious colours together and I am obsessed with green, greys and blues.

I made these beaded bracelets to stack together with different outfits. I've been playing around with my beads again recently, so might try my hand at some new colours. I won’t mention my cardigan collection that my daughter teases about :) 

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Book Review: The Prophets of Islam Series for Children

I was sent some books to review from a new a series created for children by The Islamic Foundation UK. There are seven in the series and I was sent four about the Prophets Sulaiman, Nuh, Ibrahim and Ismail (peace be upon them all).

The books are glossy, full colour soft cover and from the content aimed at children anywhere from babies that can be read to, up until eight or nine. The content is simple and easy to understand and focuses on important situations in the Prophet’s lives alongside lessons that could be learned rather than chronological or details biographies.

There are simple games like dot-to-dot, mazes, colouring and counting which are suitable for smaller children.  

The last page of each book has a verse from the Quran that includes a mention of the Prophet (peace be upon him) or the situation described in the book.  I was a little wary of having these in books, especially one in which children could write or colour. This being the case, I did two things: firstly, I asked my girls to treat the books with respect and care (e.g. not placing them on the ground). Secondly, I asked them to write in pencil so that lines could be rubbed out and games reused, or rubbed out and passed to another child when they were older as these are not the type of books you would dispose of.

Saying that, it is nice for the story to be followed with the ayah, helping children to understand the link between the stories and what they are learning in the Quran.

My girls enjoyed reading them and trying the games. It was nice to see them enjoy something positive that also teaches them about Islam. 

Monday, 6 January 2020

Muslim Mothers, Anxiety and Racism

On the way home from work today I stopped at the shops to grab some groceries. In the fruit aisle, a young mum was blocking the apples with her buggy and little boy, so I waited for her to finish what she was doing.  As she moved away, her little boy hung back a little and she grabbed him roughly, telling him off for not moving. I told her it was okay, but she continued to shove him forward and walked off.

The incident made me squirm a little, the boy was about three or four and not doing anything wrong.  But I couldn’t judge the mum, because her manner and words made me think of myself as a younger mum.  All day every day with your little one, often without help or support gets exhausting and you can find it harder to be patient and loving in every situation.

Layer over that a level of social anxiety from being constantly judged as a mother. Your child’s every word, action and mannerism becomes a reflection of the way you are raising them. Anything less than perfect behaviour makes you a failure and a bad mother.  Half the time it feels like everything makes you a bad mother – letting your child watch thing on your phone, giving them treats, losing your temper with them – all of those things that you do when you are struggling or to help you cope.

Then layer that over with racism and Islamophobia – whether real or perceived.  We are not just mothers, we don’t live in a vacuum, our own experiences and the trauma we experience contributes to who we are and how we parent.  Racism doesn’t just deny us opportunity or make us fearful of the world, it shrinks our worlds.  When we are scared of places, of people. We limit ourselves in where we go, what we do and who we engage with. When we become anxious, we might see malice or dislike when none is implied.

As a younger mum, I lost count of the number of times people made comments about controlling my children, or having "so many" children or just being given a dirty look.  It starts to wear on you and impact on how you behave in public.  Always herding your children out of people's way, constantly telling them to be careful, "get out of the way", "don't touch!". Being extra polite to people, smiling and ignoring slights. After so many years the underlying anxiety makes you unsure - is the grumpy old lady just grumpy, or is she being grumpy because she is racist?  Sometimes it's obvious and sometimes it's not and you start to doubt your judgement.

That's on top of the exhaustion of trying to care for your little ones as a mum, and trying to ignore all the judgement that rains down on you as a parent.  Sometimes you are barely aware of the racism interspersed with our interactions in public.

So when I saw the mum being overly harsh with her little one, I felt like a knew exactly where she was coming from - maybe just tired and harassed, or maybe suffering from a type of social anxiety that comes from being overly self aware and feeling as if you are being judge harshly or disliked because you and your little ones are different.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

Small Kindnesses by Danusha Laméris

I came across this wonderful piece by Danusha Laméris (Poet Laureate of Santa Cruz County, California).

Small Kindnesses by Danusha Laméris

I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead—you first,” “I like your hat.”

I wrote recently about my Word of the Year: Belief and the things that have gone with it – acceptance, confidence, self-esteem and self-worth.  I got to thinking what are all of these things for? To earn more, to have prestige or recognition, to feel better than others.  None of these are important to me and none of these will help me in the next world. So belief and confidence not in themselves but as a means to something else – to serve. To help others. Small kindnesses every day and at every opportunity that presents itself to us insh’Allah.

So many small kindnesses have made a difference in my life and left a lasting impact.  Perhaps some small kindness of mine will benefit someone else insh’Allah.

Friday, 3 January 2020

Word of the Year 2020: Belief

My word for last year was acceptance, I have written about how I fared with the idea last year here.  My word for this year is Belief. This year’s word was an easy one and a natural evolution from the word from last year.  So much of my development and growth last year has been about acceptance and self-belief.

Lots of reflection and reminiscing has led me to think about all the times I did well, all of the challenges I quietly faced and carried on moving forward with. The number of projects and jobs others put me forward for because they believed in me when I did not. 

Learning to parent my teenagers again, especially my oldest daughter, was a steep learning curve, but it also reminded me that I used to be like her - adventurous, fierce, argumentative, ready to face down the world, refusing to care what anyone thought. I look back and I can't believe how much I have mellowed, mainly due to my husband's love, my faith and perhaps being a mother of five.

More than anything else, a small number of incidents with family and friends has shifted my position on how I approach life.  Occasions where I felt powerless, unable to respond to unkindness because I didn't want to anger Allah (SWT) so held my tongue, or because I hate conflict.   Not responding caused so much hurt that it hardened a part of me.  It pushed me to recognise and reclaim that spirited part of my soul that didn’t care what anyone thought.

I have questioned myself for far too long because of my culture, my faith and my family, and it has been painful and exhausting.  I made a conscious decision to stop over thinking and over analysing myself and everything in life. To let go of the overwhelming feelings and just take each moment anew for what it was.

And not caring what anyone thought felt so, very good.

It led me to accepting myself.  All of myself.  To stop overthinking and let the guilt, shame and self-consciousness that lurks in corners of our mind and soul loosen its grip.

To make space for self-belief. Belief in my good intentions, in my capability, in my competence. Belief that I can achieve anything I set my will to. Belief that I do enough, have enough and am completely enough.

So this year, I want to believe in myself and say yes to new opportunities, to adventure, to recognition, and to some big scary goals.

Do you have a word for the year? What would yours be and why?

“[Then] when you have decided on a course of action, put your trust in Allah:  Allah loves those who put their trust in Him.  If Allah helps you [believers], no one can overcome you.  if he forsakes you, who else can help you?  Believers should put their trust in Allah” - Quran 3: 159-160

Monday, 30 December 2019

2019 and Word of the Year in Review

Word of the Year 2019

My Word of the Year for 2019 was Acceptance.  As I approached my 40th birthday I made a conscious decision to accept, love and believe in myself. In past years I have used my Word of the Year as a motivator and reminder with varying degrees of success. With some (Salah, Health, Discipline), I feel like I have a lot of room for improvement. With others, I feel that I have had some success (Courage, Shukr, Service). With my Word of the Year for 2019: acceptance, I feel that this was a key theme throughout 2019 including in my relationships work and sense of self.

I came to accept that I'm getting older, that my body is aging, that the years of my youth are behind me. I came to accept that my legacy will not be as the "first" or "youngest" of anything, but rather whatever comes from the slow, long work of a lifetime. 

I came to accept I made mistakes in the raising of my children, in particular my beloved, fierce, sensitive, oldest child.  My intentions were good, and I am learning to do better every day. So rather than beat myself with the stick of "what if", I will try harder every day. I will forgive, accept and try again every time I make a mistake. I will be patient, loving and firm - the last, a form of love that perhaps I haven't always been as good at.

I came to accept some of the things that have hounded me painfully through the years - the fact that I work and that I don't wear niqab.  These two things have caused me so much anxiety over the years, holding me back and causing me to doubt myself.  I laid them to rest this year for the most part.  My intention is to work for the next ten years and then see where we are, even if I am not in paid employment, I will be doing something whether supporting my husband’s business, community work and most likely blogging and writing.  I have no plans to wear niqab and I have asked Allah (SWT) to guide me to it and make it easy for me if that is what he chooses for me.  I will leave it at that and move forward insh'Allah.

Looking Back at 2019

Faith: I don’t feel as if I ended the year as focused on my faith as I should be. I undertook a tajweed class at the beginning if the year that I loved and that was a good boost for my iman. I haven’t been able to attend the weekly sisters taleem (study classes) as they fall during working hours, so I feel slightly disconnected from the community of local sisters.  I think this is one area that I need to reflect on and leave myself open to opportunity for 2020. On the positive side, I have made dhikr a a greater part if my daily routine, especially of Allah’ names, and feel bolstered by it.

Self: 2019 felt like a big year for personal growth and development. I got to a point with my anxiety and self-doubt that was not sustainable.  Looking at my daughter’s wilfulness and stubbornness reminded me of my own young self.  It reminded me that I have been in a place like this before when I was emerging from my teens and fighting societies norms, what my parents and culture expected of me. I came out of that not caring what people think and being determined to live my life my way.

I decided to reclaim that feeling and that strength.  To take the best parts of my fierce, spirited, not-give-a-damn young self.  And I did.  It felt good. I will hold on to it and celebrate it. 

Marriage: My husband is my rock as always. My foundation and the place of safety and security for me alhamdulillah. But this was the year that I was able to grow out of my slight clinginess and understand that my happiness is not from him although he is a source of my happiness alhamdulillah. My happiness is from the choices and mindset I make or have, even though I hope always to be a source of happiness for him insh’Allah.

Parenting: 2019 was a turbulent year for me in terms of parenting. We had our oldest doing GCSE’s, various parents’ evenings, and working with the school to manage some anger from my older son. I had a complete meltdown at my in-laws at one point because I couldn’t deal with their judgement and stories about kids back home.  I veered from crying on my prayer mat to feeling proud and relieved.  I learned that we have to work on ourselves as much as on our children and that sometimes the big dreams and plans for our children are not meant to be, that Allah (SWT) has something else planned for them.  I also reminded myself to be firm, fair, kind and firm again, otherwise as there are five of them they will run rings around me.

Work: 2019 was an amazing year for work, I learned and experienced so much.  Youth empowerment, children’s rights, social action, community development, equality and inclusion.  All things I am passionate about. By the end of the year I was starting to feel overwhelmed and unable to keep up, so I had to make a conscious decision to slow down, focus and prioritise those things that have the most impact.

Community: I wanted to be involved more in my local community for a long time, but had no idea where to start. This was the year some opportunities presented themselves.  Hubby and I got more involved in the new local resident’s association, we were involved with community events and litter picks and fund raising for our local green spaces. We are currently looking at starting a community football league for free for primary aged children with some partners and I want to see if we can get some new play equipment for the local park. I am trying to get my children to help out and get involved.

The only thing that I am wary of is being careful of how much I can take on. I hope to encourage enough other people to join in so that it’s a little bi of work for lots of people, rather than too much for a few. 

I like to be productive even during rest and leisure time. In the past this has included things like children’s activities, creative crafts like jewellery and card making and even throwing themed parties. In recent times it has been a bit too much time watching rubbish online and socialising over junk food so something I need to think carefully about going forward.

On the positive side, I have rekindled my passion for books and reading and once again find myself reading everything I can get my hands on.

How was 2019 for you? A challenge or a pleasure? What did you learn from the last year?

Thursday, 26 December 2019

40 at 40: Things I have Learned

I turned 40 this year alhamdulillah, a number that in my earlier years would have felt very old and unimaginably distant.  But now having arrived at it, I still feel myself – human, flawed, youthful, enthusiastic about life, perhaps comfortable in myself and my body, if a little battered by life. 

This feels like a good time to stop and reflect on what I have learned so far, including the wisdom imparted by others and taken on with some grace and those lessons that were learned the hard way.

1.     Fear Allah (SWT) in all you do – this one criteria has steered me away from bad decisions, helped me to hold my tongue or stop me from acting in anger many times.  It also pushed me back on course when I felt lazy or was being careless in my deeds or the things that are an obligation on me.
2.     If it looks too good to be true, it probably is - get rich schemes, amazing bargains, big promises.  Most good things don't have short cuts but come from sacrifices and hard work.
3.     If in doubt, be silent.  I don’t think there has ever been a time when I held my tongue and regretted it later, but oh so many times when I spoke and made things worse than they might have been otherwise.
4.     Silence can be power - if like for me, silence is a void that makes you uncomfortable and needs to be filled with chatter, try holding back for once. It’s not your job to keep everyone entertained. The world won’t suddenly end because there were a few moments when no-one said anything. Better still if you are annoyed then play nice but stay very quiet and watch everyone else squirm and try to fill the void.
5.     Be kind - I learned this one time my uncle was visiting and I had just come back from work. I was busy complaining I was tired and hungry and didn't want the dinner my mum had made.  My uncle gently asked me if he could go and get me something from the shops.  I was so ashamed at my behaviour that it knocked the wind out of my grumpiness.  In hindsight, it made me think about how kindness can change the mood, environment, discussion or relationship you are in so quickly and effectively. We never know what small kindness can change a person’s day or even their life.
6.     Be kind to yourself - if others deserve your kindness, so do you. Rest when you need, eat nutritious food, spend time with friends or doing things you enjoy, or doing nothing if you need to.
7.     Our children don't belong to us and we are not responsible for their ultimate destiny and outcome, so let go of the guilt.  We are a means to their nurture and growth as they move through this temporary world and they are a test for us, but also a massive source of growth and comfort for us. I know this I the truth, but find it so hard to hold on to this one.
8.     Pray on time – we are here to worship Allah (SWT), it is both a means and an end in itself.  A purpose and a way to eek Allah’s help.  Pray at the beginning time of your prayers and the rest of your day, and activities will fall into place themselves.
9.     Never be afraid to speak the truth, we spend so much time trying to spare other people's feelings or trying to avoid conflict that we end up burying our voices. Sometimes, some things need to be said. Our feelings and voices have as much value as anyone's.  Some people need to be pulled up on bad behaviour and challenged on their nasty words.  Stick up for yourself.
10. Take care of yourself. You can't take care of anyone else if your own tank is empty.  Taking care of your health, mental health, wellbeing and financial health are all an investment in being able to help and care for those around you.
11. Ask for your worth - ask for money, for training, for opportunities to do more interesting work. Outside of work ask for discounts, for special treatment for help.  No ask, no get. Even if you ask and don't get, it's out there and people will remember and come back to you later with an opportunity or raise.
12. Take action - if you are an over-thinker like me and start doubting yourself, or if you feel stuck and not sure where to start, make a list and start doing something. Getting moving and taking some action will help you feel like you are doing something and will make you feel motivated.
13. Start with the hardest thing.  What are you resisting?  Start with this, get it done and everything feels easier after this. Just get started.
14. Take time to reflect every day.  Whether it's how you did at work, what you could have done differently in parenting your children or how productively you spent your time. You will find that nothing helps your personal or professional growth like reviewing your day and seeing where you could do a little better or understanding where you made a mistake you could avoid in future.  I do not believe that you can have continuous improvement, whether in work, life, learning a skill or improving your own character, without self-reflection.  So much so, that I included a section in the daily pages of my annual life planner called “Review of the day” – this section asks “What was amazing about today? What could have been better? What will I do differently next time?”  “Account yourself before you are brought to account and measure your actions before they are measured.” ~ Umar Al Farooq (radiallahu anhu).
15. Be kind and loving to your parents - I am convinced this is the secret to success in life. Treat your parents well and earn Allah (SWT)'s favour.
16. Don't be quick to judge - when you find yourself looking on others harshly, take a deep breath, step back and let go of the judgement. Remind yourself that
that others are in a different place in their journey. Tomorrow they may be better people than you.
17. Make time to do nothing now and again - doing nothing is a condition for creativity and innovation.  The best ideas come when you are distracted or doing something completely unrelated - like playing with your children or enjoying nature.
18. Sit with your feelings - if you feel sad, angry or hurt, rather than burying these feeling and trying to force yourself to be positive, allow yourself to feel how you do. Acknowledge those feelings, you'll be surprised at how much more quickly they pass compared to when you ignore or resist them.
19. Make time for play - women are not good at this.  Men have their sports, their gadgets and their cars and take play very seriously.  Women either don't have time to play or treat their pastimes as something frivolous. Play helps us to unwind, learn skills, take ourselves less seriously (sometimes) and nurture ourselves.
20. Build your allies and advocates around you - those that look out for you, give good advice, share useful information, will help you raise your game and do better and be better. For me this includes my sisters and best friend at home, a big group of women at work, the sisters from my masjid and friends in the local community.
21. Accept sadness as a part of life - it is bound to come at some point, and if we accept this, it will hurt when it comes, but we get through it easier. We are patient knowing that Allah (SWT) tests those he loves, and we are hopeful knowing that this will pass and that Allah (SWT) promises ease after every hardship. “Whoever persists in being patient, God will make him patient. Nobody can be given a blessing better and greater than patience.” (Al-Bukhari)
22. Keep learning - whether through reading, podcasts, courses, taking on new projects or travelling. It will make the world stay interesting to you and you interesting to the world.
23. Don't be scared of tech - whether smart phones, blogs, websites or social media. Don't let it intimidate you. There is a step-by-step process for everything available on the internet.  It feels good to be able to navigate the different types of tech that run our lives and use the to our benefit rather than having to ask others to do things for us.  And what's the worst that could happen…well there was the time I accidentally took down the whole of my office's SharePoint site disconnecting all of the levels and losing all of the permissions. It was for a simple task I had asked IT to help with and they told me to do myself. Instead of 10 minutes to help me, it took them a week to fix :)
24. Be proud of who you are - I learned this from my best friend who has always been proud of and celebrated her Moroccan heritage.  I think of
being the child of immigrants and trying to fit in. Or being a religious Muslim at home and perhaps feeling like you have to play your faith down outside at work or school.  Be proud of your faith, your heritage, your family and your history. We are no better or less than others.
25. Remember to focus - the world is endless distraction. Time goes by in a blur.  Keep reminding yourself to let go of the things that waste time and have no value and to keep coming back to those that will put you in a better place in the next moment or the next life.  If at any moment you are not sure what this is, then engage in dhikr, remembrance of Allah, because this is why we are here, to glorify and praise Him.
26. Everything is worship - done with the right intention. From waking up to the moment we sleep, our lives can be purposeless, aimless and pointless, or every moment can be sacred - caring for our families, serving our communities, doing an honest day’s work, resting, even play and having fun. Keep going back to the intention to do good or lay the foundations to do good - e.g. sleeping or resting so that you have the strength to care for others.
27. Believe in yourself - sounds like something from a self-help book, but more and more in my life, I see that no one held me back as much as my lack of belief in myself did.  Even when others believed in me.  There came a point when I had to deal with this and promise myself that I would hold onto my achievements and stop doubting myself.
28. Akhlak, or good character, is everything.  Good intentions, kind words, good deeds, gentle behaviour.  Be pleasant to be around, be someone who is easy to get along with, no because you are a compliant woman but because you are a beautiful, loving soul. 
29. Be honest with yourself - Have the courage to face yourself and your mistakes and see things for what they are.  There may be times when I don’t have the courage to speak up or bite my tongue instead of telling the truth, but I have always been adamant that I will tell the truth to myself.  No matter how unsavoury, or how painful the consequences.
30.  Be grateful for the ordinary - we look for the big exciting experiences of life, but sometimes the same joy can be found in the everyday - nature, our friends and family, the weather, the events of our day.  There is joy and beauty to be found in every moment if we attune ourselves to it.
31. Understand money - Be the boss of your money: how much you earn, how much more you could earn, where it goes and where it should be going.
32. Plan your time, but not all of it - I make a point of making sure there is unscheduled time during the week with no plans. This is with the intention that you never know what is coming and want to leave space in your life for spontaneity and opportunities to do fun and interesting things.
33. Don't be taken in by the man or woman in the suit - at some point I realised that so many of our authority figures are blagging it. They often know as little as or less than us.  Stand up as an equal, don't be scared to questions and assume you are as competent as the suits. Or at least don’t assume their competence, wait for them to prove it.
34. Take responsibility for your health - I have seen my mum and mum-in-law blaming the doctor for not fixing various problems they have, when the root causes are linked to their choices and behaviours to some extent - diet, stress, anxiety, lack of exercise.  Acknowledge your health starts with you, not the doctor and invest in your health with the right nutrition, rest, mental health support an exercise.
35. Treat every day like a new day - set aside the arguments and gripes from the day before and start again.  Sounds unrealistic? I practiced this with my children. Children start every day having forgotten the squabbles and sulks from the day before. I love this reset option and try to apply it in my life as much as possible.
36. Listen to your mum - she has been there, done it and learned the lesson, better still your grandmother too.
37. Listen with patience - Youth by its very nature is impatient. When you are 18 or 21, you think everything has to happen now because time is running out and soon it will be too late (for what I never thought through). The think that used to annoy me the most was people who not only speak very slowly, but refuse to get to the point – just say what needs to be said right? Wrong. I once attended a course where one of the participants spoke very slowly and took ages to get his point across. Every time he opened his mouth I started feeling impatient. Eventually he made a point that blew my mind (so much so, that I can’t remember what he said). I realised that the roundabout path he had taken to get to this answer was necessary for us to understand the full importance of what he was saying. I promised myself after that, to taken the time to listen carefully to what people are saying and this has benefited me immensely – you connect to people properly, you understand things more fully and people feel more that you are taking them seriously and treating them with respect.
38. Do what you want - Listen to everyone, smile, agree they are right, then do whatever the hell you want.  You are a grown woman. You know what you want. My mum-in-law complains about this one to my mum - how I listen and agree and then do what I want.  I do so with absolute glee and conviction about my right to do so.
39. Be a source of love – everyone is yearning to be loved and accepted, be that source of love and acceptance – for your spouse, your children and those around you.  Do it through your words your touch, your kind deeds and your smile.
40. Accept yourself - wrinkles, extra weight, grey hairs and all.  Stop being so self-conscious about it all. No one will notice because they are busy dealing with those thing about themselves too.  Accept you have the right to be here, taking up space and being good enough as you are.

These are some of the things I have learned in the last forty years, I hope there is something in there that you found useful. What has been your biggest life lesson?