Wednesday 9 January 2019

2018 and Word of the Year in Review

I don’t celebrate New Year’s and the changing of the date does not hold a particularly great significance to me, but it seems it as good a time as any to reflect on the last year and set intentions for the coming year.  2018 was a full year for me, both fulfilling and challenging and leaving me wanting to do better.

I started the year with a new job and high hopes working for local government in areas I was interested in: policy, equality and diversity, community development, social action and research.  Over the year, my knowledge grew as did My passion about some of these things.  I think I can safely say that it has been the most enjoyable and rewarding year of my working life.  I’m looking forward to the next year, but also thinking about pacing myself better, managing workload, attention and energy levels. At the end of the year I feel as if I need to re-think how work balances with other elements of my life.

I worry that my work takes up so much headspace that it impacts on other elements of my life.  I have always struggled to pray my salah (daily prayers) with full khushoo (concentration and devotion) and have found certainly when I pray at work, I have to work harder to set work aside and clear my head for a little while.

My Word of the Year last year was actually two words: Quran and Khidmat (Service). For the first, I am not satisfied that I was able to dedicate enough time and energy to the Quran and this is something that I intend to work on this year.  Every other goal and intention pales into significance in front of this one, because I keep telling myself that this is what we are here to do: to understand Allah’s blessed word and live by it.

For khidmat, or service to others, this is the type of worship that comes to me most easily and that I enjoy – whether cooking for others, filling out forms, hosting or accompanying someone on an appointment.  Various opportunities present themselves via the masjid and my family and neighbours and it is always a blessing to get the opportunity to serve others.

In terms of family, hubby is my rock as always and my one dependable anchor I can trust alhamdulillah.  This year he has been busy with work, the affairs of the masjid and demands on his time by attendees of the masjid.  By the end of the year I did start to feel a little neglected and sorry for myself.  But being me and unable to keep anything in, it wasn’t long before he was appraised of the situation and buying me dinner (take-away solves everything right?)

The kids were another matter.  As the older three move into their teens we have butted heads over so many things – technology, phones and internet access, freedom to go out, prayer and Islamic studies, getting into fights at school.  It has made me questioned everything about my parenting of my children. It has also made me grow – in patience and in trusting Allah (SWT).  This means I have had to loosen up about some things and accept they are teenagers and try and remember what it felt like when I was their age.

The babies are now both full time at school and enjoying it…most of the time.  Darling is a regular swot and good girl mashallah, whereas Baby veers between excitement and telling me school is boring.  I am now looking at Quran instruction for them, Little Lady has been teaching them a little, but is about to start the final few months to her GCSE exams insh’Allah.

The loveliest blessing among many was my new little niece Baby Z (I think I just made her sound like a baby Zombie). We are all mad about her and enjoy cooing at her.  We were also blessed with my cousin’s sweet engagement, so are looking forward to her wedding this year insh’Allah.

With respect to my health, I had plans to lose weight this year, I did during Ramadan and put it back on again. The one thing I did change was that I run every morning for 20 to 30 minutes on a running machine that my husband got me.  I haven’t lost any weight, but I feel stronger, can take the stairs more easily and have more energy for longer in the day, so it is a step in the right direction.

For one of the great loves of my life, books, I have been somewhat neglectful.  The lure of social media, surfing rubbish online and reading on my mobile phone, meant I didn’t read as much this year.  But towards the end of the year I found some books I loved and got back into reading again.   I intend to read lots and lots this year insh’Allah.  I was also very happy to find that my office had a book club, so although I haven’t been mad about every choice of the club, I have more than enjoyed finding people to talk about books with.

The other thing that I got involved with this year, both through work and my neighbourhood, is some community work.  This is something that has been close to my heart for a long time, but I just haven’t had the opportunity to do anything about.  Hubby and I have joined the newly formed local resident’s association and he has applied for training for our local Street Watch scheme along with about fifteen people from his masjid.  We have been worried about the state of the neighbourhood for a long time, so perhaps now we can contribute towards doing something about it.

Insh’Allah 2018 was a beneficial year for you too. What did you learn last year and what was your greatest achievement?

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