I Was Here…Wasn’t I?

I sometimes wonder if the things I do and say affect the lives of others in a particular manner. I don’t mean in the sense of the inevitable ‘every action has a reaction’ way, I mean a ‘this changed a life’ kind of way.

People will often talk about the ‘aha!’ moment when an event, a conversation or something they read irreversibly changes the way they see things. Some ‘aha!’ moments are huge, others are tiny, but together they form the thread that leads us forward in our lives. Without these instances of enlightenment, we’d stagnate.

I’ve had a few biggies over the past years. The death of a family member, the casual comment of a friend, seeing how the lives of those around me changed – each one catapulted me into my present, one realisation at a time.

But more recently, I’ve been having a series of the smaller variety of aha’s. Simple ones that seem at first to be part of the daily routine of living, but that in hindsight (when they refuse to fade into the memories of yesterday and persist in being part of today and tomorrow) are liquid revelations flowing thick and fast and blending into a new way I see life.

And the more I learn, the more I seem to enjoy my Now and for no other reason than that I am in it. People attribute being happy-for-no-reason to enlightenment, or love, or success.   But I’m nowhere near being enlightened, I’m (definitely) not in love, and success…well, I’ve stopped working at the magazine, I hardly write articles – even the publication of Surviving Zahra seems to be something happening to a different me in a slightly different timeline.

Which is why this is getting slightly ridiculous and mildly worrying.  How long can a person stay on a high? And isn’t it dangerous if you don’t even know why you’re on that high?  And most important, what happens when you begin the downward fall towards attaining splat-dom?  (Did I say ‘mildly’ worrying?)

A side-effect of this ‘state’ – dunno what else to call it – is that I seem to have lost my competitive edge (or blunt excuse for one that I had). I’ve never been motivated much by the need to be better than others, and apparently this is an essential quality if you want to survive in the Big Bad World out there. You need not only to passionately want to be better, but also aggressively want to be The Best.

I would say that I think that’s hogwash, except that it might offend people. But then considering the fact that none of them are reading this, I could just say it anyways. 🙂 But again, being the optimist I suddenly I am, who knows when I might get an influx of interested visitors? After all, there have been a lot of unexpected happenings this year, haven’t there? 😀

Back to the point though…I do know that my pathetic lack of competitive drive hasn’t left a gaping hole in my character. It’s simply been replaced by another milder, yet more urgent need: to leave a mark. Not with the work I do or by creating some great masterpiece that will be in a museum of the future, but in the lives of those who know me.

If people were like canvases, and their lives a composition in progress, I’d say that my painting had been coloured in by a variety of artists, and every stroke is one I can contemplate and appreciate with fondness.

Have I managed to leave equally indelible marks on other people’s lives? Do I breeze through the lives of those around me like an elusive wind, felt and then forgotten when it’s gone or do I plant seeds that will bloom even after I am long gone? And if I plant seeds, then will they bear flowers that are pretty to look at yet pass on with the seasons, or will they bear strong sturdy trees that will provide shade and shelter for a lifetime?

I’ll probably never know, but I do hope I’m scattering acorns rather than dandelions along the way…

Bint Ali

“The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination. But the combination is locked up in the safe. “
-Peter De Vries, editor, novelist (1910-1993)


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