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?

1 comment:

  1. I am totally adopting your word of the year idea. For this year my word is going to be “dua”. I am going to be mindful of the power of dua.