God willing, I will be turning 30 next month, in 30 days to be precise! I am blessed to be happy and extremely excited about this turning point in my life. I know that most women (and men) don’t share my sentiments and actually hit a low point right before the turn of a decade, whether it be turning 30, 40, 50 or more. I do understand and respect where they are coming from, but I am thankful that I feel differently about the matter.
I believe that I inherited this trait from my beloved mother, who inherited it from her own mother! She is 56 and for as long as I have known her she has been excited about every single birthday. The turn of a decade is especially exciting for her, she has always felt that the best is yet to come and has always looked up to those older than her because she believes that they are wiser, have more to share, are wonderful teachers, have grace, are at peace with who they are and have, generally, got things figured out. It doesn’t cease to amaze me every time I meet someone in their 50s or 60s and she tries to act like she’s a 20-year-old! Yes, I know a few ladies who behave that way, some of which know exactly what they are doing and the rest are just in denial. Recently, a lady in her 60s was amazed that I have a will prepared in case my creator decides to claim my soul (I’ve had it since I was 18 and keep changing it whenever the need arises). Her comment wasn’t just about me being young, but about how she is still young too and has her whole life ahead of her; she actually said “We’re still young, that’s too soon, our lives are ahead of us”, hence revealing that in her mind we are equals when it comes to where we are with regards to our age! She called me pessimistic for always thinking about death and what will happen to my husband, children and loved ones if I died right now. I am all for optimism and looking forward to a bright future but I also think it’s important that one is grounded, knows where s/he really stands and realizes the fact that none of us knows when we will leave this world. People who do not age gracefully make fools of themselves on many levels, and why would I want to be a fool?
I have been blessed with so many role models of women in my life that make me look forward to getting older. There are a plethora of ladies in their 50s, 60s, 70s and even 80s that I can only aspire to become like one day. Starting with my own mother, Tante Gehan, Tante Nazira, my aunt Soheir, my aunt Hekmat, mama Beesa, my beloved deceased grandmother Dorreya, mama Samiha and mama Deema (in order of age but I won’t reveal how old each is/was out of respect for their privacy). All of them kind, caring, warm, wise, strong women who did their best to raise their children properly. Not only that, they were, essentially, the glue that holds their families and friends together, they sacrificed for others yet found the balance in their lives that allowed them not to lose themselves in the process, they were career-women and housewives, they have only grown better and kinder through the years and I have not personally seen them speak evil of anyone … finally, they aged gracefully. They also made a huge difference in my life, one way or another, and for that I would like to thank them immensely.
So, yes, I plan to age gracefully 🙂 But part of the aging process is becoming more mature with every passing day. One should learn something new about themselves whenever possible and do some “tweaking” from time to time. These thoughts have led me to reflect upon the past three decades of my life and evaluate them under the microscope. As I leave my twenties behind, there are a few messages I’d like to send across, a few things I need to make peace with and a few lessons I’d like to share. I hope you, my readers, will embark with me upon this journey for the coming 30 days and will aid me to reach my goal. I hope to inspire you along the way, so please do keep an open mind.
On day 1, I have decided to start with something that will bring me more peace than I probably ever had. It’s also one of the most beautiful lessons that my wonderful religion, Islam, teaches us but is shared by all religions as well. Forgive whenever you get the chance so that Allah (God) forgives you too. Over the past few months, I’ve received several correspondences from people who have wronged me gravely in the past. I am highly intrigued by the timing, since not all those people know each other, but I believe that it’s the timing chosen by God and I am grateful for it. Some wronged me through actions, some through backbiting and others through rumors. I, generally, forgave most of those people long ago, primarily to find peace within myself and be able to move on. Today, in appreciation for them having the courage and humility to reach out to me, admit their shortcomings, accept full responsibility for them and ask for my forgiveness, I would like to renew my forgiveness and assure everyone, whether they apologized or not, whether they are still in my life or not, whether I know of their wrongdoings or not, that I fully and wholeheartedly forgive them! I published the following statement on my Facebook page last night and I mean every single word, God is my witness:
I bear witness that I, wholeheartedly, forgive every single person who has ever wronged me whether knowingly or unknowingly! I forgive every backbite, every lie, every rumor, every heartache, every imposition and every other wrongful emotion, thought or action against me. Those sorts of actions served as lessons more than anything, teaching me about myself as well as others. So, thank you to all who wronged me, you helped me become a better person and helped me appreciate the good people I have in my life … a special thank you goes to those who had it in them to apologize for their shortcomings. I hope everyone I’ve ever come across can find it in their hearts to forgive me for anything intentional or unintentional I may have committed against them as well. May Allah forgive all of our transgressions. — Hebatallah Azmy
What I ask of you, my readers, are three things. First, please share my statement with everyone you know, maybe it’ll reach someone I am no longer in contact with but would like them to know that they are forgiven and/or I’d like them to forgive me and/or it’ll inspire others to forgive and ask for forgiveness as well. Second, if our paths have ever crossed, please forgive me for anything intentional or unintentional I may have done to you and even if you don’t think I did anything to you, forgive me just in case 🙂 Third, please try to find it in your hearts to forgive others who have wronged you. I know it is really hard sometimes and the deeper the wound the harder it will be but trust me, if you knew some of the things I am forgiving you will feel like anything is forgivable, and anything really is. So do it for yourselves, even if you believe that the other person doesn’t deserve it, you will be the one to find peace and will feel like a huge load has been lifted off of your shoulders, you will be the one that will rise above all worldly matters seeking the reward in the hereafter, you will be the one sleeping with a smile on your face and light in your heart every single night. Every person who wronged you knows what they did, even if you don’t, and on some level or another they feel guilty, even if they don’t show you. Let that be your consolation and let it help you deal with the scars left behind.
I am asking you all to forgive, not forget. Forgetting is completely up to you, I am someone who generally remembers details for years and years but others are capable of forgetting things 5 mins later (lucky you :)). I can iterate conversations I’ve had with my brother when I was 7 and he was 4! So, it’s just not in my nature to forget and I also think it’s important to remember some things so that they serve as a lesson that I can learn from every time I recall. Don’t confuse that with holding a grudge though! If you hold a grudge then you have not forgiven, if you remember then you have learned.
P.S. I came across this article, related to forgiveness in Islam, last night and very much enjoyed reading it.