Assalam Aleykum Warahmatullahy Wabarakatuh
I fell really ill during the last two weeks of my holiday. I was home for the three week break and literally three quarters of the time was spent in bed trying to get better. I never equate illnesses to bacteria, fungi or any other dangerous microorganisms. For some reason, my head always seems to believe that when I fall sick, it is simply due to lack of sleep, excessive stress, exhaustion or dehydration. Because let’s face it, I am somewhat of a workaholic. I push myself so hard sometimes, because I want to accomplish great things in shaa Allah. But is it even worth it when it seems like I’m slowly killing myself over nothing?
When I first joined University, I recall my life basically being going to class and heading back home. I had absolutely zero excitement surrounding me and I could genuinely see my life flashing before my eyes. It was like I was a bystander, watching myself take on everyday life. As if I had bought tickets to watch a movie of my life, and you know what I found out? It was an extremely boring movie.
I was not at all involved in anything other than books, class and laundry, and that realization made me very afraid. I did not want to look back at my life ten years or even five years down the line and think to myself…I have literally nothing to show for these past few years except a degree and clean laundry. And don’t get me wrong, getting a degree is a major achievement that we should all be proud of. However, life is not only about going to class and passing tests. Most of the time, it’s the moments outside of class that we treasure.
So I decided to get busy. I joined a bunch of clubs, took up different responsibilities and got back to hobbies such as writing or in my case blogging, photography, film and arts and crafts. And while this may be said on a light note, the bulk of work was definitely much, much heavier. I became one of the busiest people in my social circle, if not the busiest. And I absolutely loved it. I was exactly where I wanted to be. I was one of those people who had places to go and people to see and things to do. I was busy trying to rule the world. But with time, I realized that ruling the world is definitely easier said than done. Juggling all these responsibilities along with trying to get good grades meant a lot of sacrifices. Sometimes it was letting my friends down because I was too busy. Other times it was the disappointment and heartbreak that comes after working extremely hard at something and it still not working out. Or it was lack of sleep, stress and anxiety or a miscommunication with my health. And other times it was all of these, all at once.
Now you guys have to understand that I rarely get sick Alhamdulillah, but when I do, it takes an extremely huge toll on me. So when I got sick during the holidays, I was afraid and I asked myself whether ruling the world really was for me, because I figured I had pushed myself way too hard and now my body was shutting down. Could it be that maybe I simply was not cut out for the job?
I therefore decided to put everything on hold and focus only on school. But I got better Alhamdulillah and realized that I missed all the projects that I was working on. Every day that passed without me doing something that I really enjoyed, something that I did not because I had to, but because I simply wanted to felt like a day wasted.
And so I realized that not everything has to have a materialistic point. Society teaches us to do things for the sake of the point that physically manifests, and prioritize that above everything else. Go to school not to simply learn and become a better human being, but got to school so you can get a job and then get money. Study not what you love, that’s a waste of time, unless it will earn you tones of money, then it’s not a waste of time.
I sit with people sometimes, not aware of the toxic fumes that they emit. And they say things like, “why are you wasting your time with this blog? Where is film really going to take you? , what is the point of you even studying this course?” And because I have absolutely no clue to the answers to these questions, I get discouraged too, and start to doubt myself. Thus I also ask the question, what is the point of all this?
As I was explaining to one of my friends of my disenchantment with everything that is life right now, she said something that blew my mind. It was not anything grand or philosophically wise per se, all she said was, “Mariam, you can’t postpone your life for school, because one day school will be over.” Suddenly I realized that school will be over, jobs will come and go and money is also fleeting. However, the things that we love to do, those things will stay with us. They will make us feel alive and brave and creative and in that sense we will be ruling our own worlds. So I guess the point of all this, is to simply do what you love, because doing what you love makes you happy. And when you’re happy, the world is alright, even if for a little while.