The world as I see it

By Zainab Khawaja
Tue, 05, 17

After having an exquisite lunch, my friends and I wander into a nearby park. It is a glorious day and the air is warm, rich with the aroma of cedar.


After having an exquisite lunch, my friends and I wander into a nearby park. It is a glorious day and the air is warm, rich with the aroma of cedar. The sunlight softly burnishes the trees and the multitude daffodils respond to the breeze by drifting languidly. The eight of us spread out; some stroll through the woods, while others converse by the giant oak on the bank. As for me, I eagerly kick off my cream stilettos to one side and make a beeline for the swings. I still love swings as much as I did when I was five. Maybe even more now. As the swing ebbs and flows, I think about how quickly we’ve all grown up. It seems like yesterday when I was excited about turning 13, and now, I would soon be 21. Time doesn’t fly. It jets. I start musing over how different I was in my teens and what truths about life I had to accept, instead of living in a fantasy world.

The world as I see it

The significance of family time

I was never too rebellious, but I’ll admit I was quite a sulky teen and what I thought to be dauntless was actually silliness. Then, once someone told me, ‘When four plates (we are four family members) are being washed together, a loud, clattering sound will surely be witnessed’. I pondered over this and realized that despite having different outlooks, parents and siblings are the ones who support your dreams. As time elapsed, I realized how tranquil the soul feels when you discuss your inner most thoughts with them - be it something as crucial as choosing your career or as silly as whom you have a crush on. Now, I can never trade the simple, priceless moments of sipping hot coffee and cracking jokes with them for all the treasure in the world.

Life doesn’t come with a timetable

Graduate by 22. Find a job then. Marry by 23. The truth is it doesn’t really happen that way for everyone. You just can’t create a timetable. In my teens, I was quite harsh on myself. For instance, when I observed my best friend preparing karhai chicken at the age of 18, I couldn’t help laughing at myself, who didn’t even know how to make a simple omelette. This is just a small example of how we underestimate ourselves and lose hope when we witness nothing but darkness in the tunnel of life. I learned the hard way that it’s okay if you did not graduate the same year as your friends did or if you are 27 and still haven’t found your true love. Instead of being a prey of self-pity, accept life’s plan, maintain your desire to learn and move on!

Quality comes over quantity

During my teens, I was proud of being a social butterfly, probably because the limelight seemed so dazzling. But as time passed by, I figured out that it is normal to lose friends. It’s vital to let go of those toxic, unhealthy friendships which make you feel even more lonesome, rather than contented. Now, that I am 20, I actually crave some time alone instead of going to parties and forcing joviality. So, keep the loyal friends and dispose off the ones, who have nothing but insincere kindness to offer.

Joys of being single

Teenage love is beautiful but complicated. When 14-year-old kids tell me that they are in love and how serious it is, all I can do is snicker. It may feel like fire, and that’s just what it is because eventually, life will extinguish it. It’s now that I have comprehended how much time and patience it actually takes to acknowledge ‘the one’. If you still haven’t found your soul mate, don’t fret. Instead, cherish this pure triumph and the benefits of being single.

Slowly but steadily, I feel this huge spell casting over my group of friends. Friends are getting married and one of them even has a child! And here I am, watching another precious episode of ‘Friends’ while snacking on some succulent fruit, pigtails dangling away. I can feel this sense of freedom wash over me, the beauty of solitude. All doors are open for me and I can easily achieve my ambitions, like earning a respectable name for myself, before I commit. Till then, I’m happy having a blast at friends’ weddings!

Celebrating your individuality is essential

‘Oh, and dear, do straighten your hair and come to the party!’, the woman said on the phone. The self-esteem of a 17-year-old had been wounded. I sighed and held a wavy slice of my hair. Were my popcorn-like hair really that ugly? Why couldn’t I have inherited my mother’s silky black tresses?

But as time went on, I noticed that people actually go up to extreme measures to get bouncy curls, while I was blessed with natural ones. Now, I’m proud of my crazy, wild hair, which define a big part of my character.

And, it’s not just the looks. If someone points a taunting finger at your personality or the way you carry yourself, don’t drown into complexes. Instead, celebrate your originality with the people who appreciate it.

Standing up for yourself is not insolence

Boy! I was one sensitive teen and would let the smallest of issues get to me. But after going through some rough encounters, I decided to speak up for myself. I’m not telling you to forget your etiquettes and be ruthless. But to stand up for what’s right and holding on to your self-regard is a sign of a strong personality. Firmly but calmly express your perspective, and people will find it hard to mess up with you again.

Suddenly, my friend breaks my trance, and I check my watch. It has been three hours since I’ve been thinking about how facing these teenage experiences have affected my twenties. These hurdles are actually lessons which make us blossom with a startling heroism. Now, drenched in soft vanilla twilight, I’m grateful for that.