If there is anything I have learnt lately, it is to not overthink and overanalyse but to keep moving forward. There are enough inspirational stories out there of people going well out of their comfort zones in their advanced years and finding a whole new zeal for life.
I may not have any awesome aspirations like some others but I know I want to make every day count. Like how the sun’s rays still shine behind the thick grey blanket of clouds, I know that life sometimes must be seen from obscure perspectives. My future is already here……
Ultimately, as Muslims, we believe Allah has control over everything. He knows what He has planned for us. Does that mean we sit here and do nothing? Of course not! Nothing is going to fall into our laps unless we make the effort to seek it out. The fact our future is kept a secret from us is wisdom in itself. It means we should continue to strive for whatever is halal (permissible) and maybe – just maybe – we will realise those dreams were already written in our destinies. If we miss our target, that’s OK too for it simply means it was never on the cards.
So, should we then lament a wasted effort? Definitely not. I would start on the premise that no effort is a wasted effort. If we invest towards a worthwhile goal, whether we achieve it or not, there are valuable lessons to be learnt along the way. It may be that we learn how to grow with success/failure, how to adapt to a change of circumstances or how to be creative and find other ways to obtain the goal we desire. In other words, it is not just about achieving the outcome per se. There are many ways to get to a place but the choices we make in getting there are the very things which shape us.
Sometimes, the journey becomes more significant than the destination itself.
So, the way I see life now is like this: if some of my dreams don’t materialise, I want to be able to say, “Alhamdulillah, it was because it was not meant to be,” – that Allah had different plans for me. I never want to look back with regret, knowing that I had stupidly resigned myself to self-pity and defeat even before I got started. With that said, I also know I need to take manageable steps. I cannot overstretch my limits. I remind myself about the other responsibilities I have in my life right now namely, my children, who are quickly becoming fully-fledged adults.
My advice to other mothers on their own? Always have the passion to chase personal goals of your own which run in parallel to your children’s lives. Your kids will pursue their own happiness and chances are, even with the best intentions in the world, they cannot put your needs first all the time. It is not selfish behaviour. It is a simple reality. Therefore, do not find yourself suddenly wanting of a purpose to exist. You’ve been through all that already when the husband disappeared. Know that for entirely different and legitimate reasons, the children will follow suit soon after.
Insha’Allah, motherhood is a title I will never surrender. Its form will simply remould with every new phase of my boys’ lives. I am acutely aware of that. In anticipation of this, I have started to carve a niche for myself in this life where I continue to function as a fully-fledged member of society. (I say this knowing my longevity itself is an unknown). Decadence is borne of idleness and insha’Allah, I will strive to steer myself away from that pitfall as best I can.
My hope is that my legacy will be for my boys at least. I have no material gifts to pass onto them. Insha’Allah, their inheritance will be their mother’s formidable spirit. I pray they will see, in my example, someone who stood up even taller after each stumble along her path and whose temporary setbacks were just that – temporary.