I thought that it would be apt to spend a few moments doing a personal reflection of the past one year before the new Islamic year dawns upon us. As I did my reflections during the post-Asar prayers just now, I found that it took me to moments that I’m thankful for. I also asked myself whether I had achieved goodness or improvements in the self in the past one year (afterall, isn’t the progress into a new hijri year a symbolic reflection of a move towards change and betterment as well?).
I’m not too sure if I did regardless, here are my reflections on areas I felt I’d made a hijrah in during the past year, for the record.
Survived the year leading the Year 1 Geography teaching team
That was a new portfolio for me last year and honestly, I went into it basically clueless. I’ve never been the one planning the direction the teaching team should take in terms of implementing the syllabus, organizing team meetings to standardize marking or share teaching strategies and settle matters that arose, organizing results processing, or communicating with the entire student level about matters related to the subject and many more.
It was a steep learning curve for me and came at a time just before I was to go on the planned two years of leave from work (which was good as I had the mentality that I just needed to get through that time and it’s done). Alhamdulillah, I did it and despite the mistakes which made me learn even more along the way, I came through it more confident in doing the job.
So when I thought of areas in which I grew in and went beyond my comfort zone over the past year, this was one of the things that came to mind.
Officially went on a sabbatical from work
I consider this a hijrah as truly, it is not easy to make the decision to stop working momentarily. For to do that, I’m basically making the move towards making do with not having money come into my bank account every month (not easy to get used to after years of being comfortable to the knowledge that I would have cash coming in every 12th of the month), breaking years of routine and also, being away from colleagues whom I had became friends with over the years.
I found the first few weeks to be very unsettling. It felt like I was suddenly thrown into a situation whereby I had no direction nor place to go during the times when my family and friends went about their daily task of going to work.
Yet, I treasured the time. During those two months before I started my studies, I had all the time in the world to pursue whatever I wanted and alhamdulillah, I spent most of my days doing things that I would not have otherwise been able to do if I had been working.
Pushing the boundaries on ways to earn money
I figured now would be a good time for me to explore alternative options of earning money besides through being an employee. While I love my job tremendously, I’ve also always asked myself these questions:
- Is being employed the only way I can earn a living?
- Is my capacity to earn money only at the level of being employee?
- What else is available in God’s world that is for the taking?
Hence, being unpaid for now meant that I had all the time to brainstorm and figure out other means to earn money. Whether I eventually stick to the path or go back the employment route in inconsequential. The point is that I have the free reins to explore new frontiers.
Most noteworthy for me was that during the past few months and especially during my free time in Korea, I was able to read up on ways to achieve that. I realized that some of the things I wanted to experiment would require certain skills like photo editing or designing using Photoshop, or other software platforms.
That drove me to learn Photoshop during my spare time. So typically, my Saturdays are days where I stay in and spend it learning how to use Photoshop and practicing on them on my laptop. Time passes by very, very, very fast though when I’m learning and working on this programme.
Therein lies a version of my hijrah: to be brave to explore new territories and pick up new skills!
Made the move to Korea for my studies
This, in my opinion, reflects in a huge manner the elements of a hijrah. I had literally uprooted myself, went to a different locality, set up and organized a life there and insyaAllah, will be doing so until the completion of the studies.
It’s not easy setting up a life away from your loved ones and the confines of the familiar as the past entries on my blog could attest.
Taking the leap of faith
Taking that leap of faith to explore new ties with a person represents one of the big things on the hijrah list of this past one year.
Mr Winter Sonata came at a time that I never ever expected. I had no plans to get to know a guy nor explore any further relationship with a guy. Truly, I was contented with where I was in life, with moving to Korea being the next big thing on my agenda and the one that occupied my mind.
But God had different plans for me – and for both of us – and I concede that His plans are always the best. Though I have not known him for long, he’s become someone I’m truly grateful for.
Reasons why I consider this move to choose to get to know him and continue being with him as a form of a hijrah are these:
- It’s never been easy for me to open up my heart to anyone so doing this marks a big shift that is uncharacteristic of me.
- To choose this path means choosing the things that come attached to it: the person and his entirety, both the good and the bad times, experiences that could be challenging involving people in our lives to those that are happy, being opened to the prospect that there could be moments where both of us might unintentionally do things to hurt each other and to embrace the hurt, and basically, to accept every moment of growth we may encounter as we traverse down this journey together and still choose each other despite any ease or dis-ease.
So okay, those are the big moves that made my 1437. Maghrib just dawned on us here in Korea as I’m about to end this entry. Just nice.
I pray that Allah continues granting my loved ones and myself forgiveness, guides us to closeness to Him, grants us Light and Mercy as well as infinite goodness in the year ahead. Amin.