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Stepping into 27

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Popping in here mid-October can only mean one thing, my birthday has just passed and I’m reflecting on all things life. As tradition has it, I tried to do everything in my power to avoid celebrating me because let’s be real, I cannot stand being central to anything – this blog doesn’t count, it’s my talking space (do I pretend that someone’s stuck a mic in front of me while I’m typing these? heck to the yes) – and you know what? This year we struck a healthy medium. The people I love respected that I need things to be low-key (and basically non-existent) despite their desire to want to celebrate all the love we have for each other and I respected that I couldn’t give in to the overbearing want to drop off the face of the earth for the day – fine, that’s a bit dramatic, see translation: switch off my phone, stay in bed, and eat pizza and ice cream while watching trashy films or reading the fluffiest romances. 

Turning 27 was beautiful, despite all the hurt that comes with a new birthday and a new year of life. Despite all the reminders that I have not done enough to meet society’s standards for someone in their late-20s, I turned out the lights on 26 and stepped into 27 with a desire to be so much better than I ever have been before for me. And that’s the biggest difference in this new year of life. For so long I have lived for everyone else that I forgot that I’m a person too, and I deserve to be cared for by me. 

As I learn to care for myself, I hope to remind myself (often) of the following advices I have picked up as I’ve been through life; for those of you who have been around for a while, you’ll remember that I already did 24 life lessons before I turned 24 and so I’ll simply add to these because there is no need to reinvent a wheel that isn’t broken.

  1. You will not always like the people you love, and that’s okay. Give yourself, and them, the time and space to breathe. You will find your way back to each other. 
  2. Water is truly the elite adult drink. Drink more of it.
  3. You can trust in God all you want, but if you don’t put in the work yourself, it will be of no use. 
  4. Home isn’t always four walls and a door. Sometimes it’s two arms and a heartbeat waiting to welcome you back to yourself. 
  5. You are who you are today as a result of the people and experiences that made a difference in your life, good or bad. We do not come to life on our own, and we do not become shaped on our own.
  6. That said, you must remind yourself that you are the only fixed constant in your life. Extend some care from time to time. 
  7. This is the only time you will have no commitments – chase those dreams in every way you can, even if it means you can’t engage in the same things you once used to.
  8. Be grateful, always, in all ways. 
  9. Fix your relationship with food. Learn what are your limitations, but also learn how much your body needs to keep it going for the day. 
  10. Don’t let the world convince you that your soulmate must always be a singular or romantic in nature. You will sometimes come across people who radiate like the moon and bring a light into your life that is both gentle and revolutionary – hold onto them. They belong with you in the purest possible form because you inspire each other to be the best version of yourself. 
  11. The greatest shackles we need to free ourselves from are the ones in our own mind. You can only do this by letting yourself believe that there is a world out there that exists outside of you.
  12. In the same way the sun breaks through the darkest of clouds, you have the strength to be the shining light that guides you through the most difficult of days.
  13. Love, with reckless abandon. The walls and emotional filters you put up do more damage than good.
  14. There will always be a mountain to climb. Just be sure you let yourself stop and take in the view when you reach each peak. 
  15. That moment you experience emotional and/or spiritual intimacy with the right people, you will realise just how important it is for survival. 
  16. Stop looking at the mirror – it isn’t a true reflection of you. A better way to know how you really look is to see yourself reflected in the things and people around you – the people you love, the job you do, the book you enjoy, the circles you socialise in, etc. 
  17. If people must leave your life, allow them to do so with grace. Give them their dues and love them anyway, your prayers will reach them whether you are together or apart. Love doesn’t diminish with distance, it simply falls silent. 
  18. The things you post/access online will be your legacy. Post in a way that if you were to die in the next minute, people would still be able to benefit from you and remember to send a prayer for you. 
  19. Always be willing to make a change within your own self before you set out to change the world. You will find that this, in itself, is revolutionary.
  20. Learn your love language. It will help you understand that not everyone expresses love in the same way as you do, but everyone has a language, and everyone loves. You just have to be willing to read between the lines. 
  21. The honest to God truth is, there is no such thing as financial stability. So, chase that dream. Marry that love of your life. Move to that country. Study that thing. Work that small job. At the end of the day, money will come and go – purify and renew your intentions consistently and watch how abundant even the smallest amount can be.
  22. There is no such thing as a right time or a wrong time. There is simply this moment. Do what you need to do to bring peace to your soul. 
  23. The people who deserve your love and truly love you in return will still do so even if you need to place some boundaries between yourselves and them. They will understand that sometimes to flourish, one must change their environment. 
  24. Do not neglect your own self. You have been so skillfully crafted by God to be the best of stature, and it is no mistake that you are able to carry both the light and the dark within yourself in the same way the sun and the moon can exist together. Take heart in the fact that today, you are alive, and you, are entirely a blessing sent from above. 
  25. Choose peace even when peace doesn’t choose you; life is already difficult as it is, the least you can do is give yourself the gift of kindness by choosing peace in the little things.
  26. It’s ok if you’ve found your soulmate but you’re not their soulmate. The important thing is to love yourself enough to love them in a way that doesn’t hurt you both.
  27. Sometimes, it is what it is. Try not to waste too much energy trying to be everything for everyone and to be indispensable because not everything needs you to be wholly present. Sometimes you can simply acknowledge and move forward. 

My loves, life is always going to be one giant obstacle course and they definitely lied to us when we were kids and said we’d have it together in our twenties. But it’s ok because guess what? You’ve got this. I’m here. You’re here. We’re here. And we’re gonna get through this little thing called life, and we’re going to do it so beautifully. Sure, we might not always be able to do it together, but we will allow ourselves the grace to take rest and check in from time to time, and that will make it all worthwhile. Knowing that at the end of it all, there is a small bit of love waiting for you.

Together, we will make life worth living.

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Ayesha Khanom

Sometimes a teacher, sometimes a student, but mostly caffeinated. This blog is a terrible attempt at writing out my thoughts - think of it as the 'comments, complaints, and suggestions' section of my brain. Nevertheless, I hope that some of these words will find a place in your heart and will stay with you even when I do not. If you'd like to get in touch, send me a message on Instagram or leave a comment on one of these posts and I'll get back to you at the best possible time.

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