28 Things I Learned in 28 Years of Life

Years before the spirited Geet from the movie Jab We Met emerged, I vividly remember how the quirky Lizzie McGuire had been a relatable character for me. I resonated with both of them, and here’s why: Lizzie wrote for her school’s newsletter as an advice columnist, and a few years later, Geet came along insisting that she was the designated “persistent problem solver” amidst her friends. I saw a dash of myself in both iconic characters.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a relationship with words. At the age of four, I would speak into a hairbrush pretending to host a talk show. At 13, I organized a campaign and won student council elections. At 19, I begged and hustled for my dream job as an internationally aired live talk-show host, while simultaneously studying as a full-time student at university. Today, I’m an established journalist who has semi-morphed into a life coach. Throughout my life, the dominant personality trait which has been prevalent is the persistence to make a positive difference in this world through my words. 

As the bitter-sweet whirlwind we will remember as 2020 comes to an end, I felt compelled to share the 28 vital life lessons learned in my 28 years of existence that the All-Wise graced me with as I journeyed upon my kismet’s pathway. For all the incredible highs and miserable lows, I will always be wholeheartedly grateful; without these experiences, these pearls of wisdom would never have been gathered. With all my heart, I pray that my words find their way to the strained souls; may you find the light within yourself to stir up the brightest beacons of sunshine amidst the storms.

Lessons of faith

  • The only One who will not break your heart is the One who created it.
  • When the All-Wise weaves you into solitude, afar from this ‘dunya’; know that He is inviting your soul to be closer to Him.
  • Agar insaan itni khoobsurat kahaniyaan likh sakta hai; tou socho kay Khuda ne tumhaari kahaani kis khoobsurati se likhi hogi.
  • Prophet Yusuf’s (PBUH) divine story depicts that when people mercilessly inflict pain upon your heart, Allah elevates your status both in this world and in the hereafter.
  • You are not Allah — you are merely a speck of dust in His universe. To judge is solely for him to do.
  • Never let your pride provoke destiny to look down on you; for fate can turn a pauper into a prince, and a princess to a pauper.
  • Allah se zidd karni hoti hai apni dua ko qubool karvaane kay liye, jaise bacha apni maa se zidd karta hai koi farmaaish manaane kay liye. Aur jaise Maa apnay bachay ki behtri kay liye kuch farmaaishay puri nahi karti, waise Allah bhi kuch duaein nahi puri Karta. Jab insaan ko is baat pe yaqeen ho jaye, kay Uski zaat ki hikmat se barh kay kuch nahi; tou Allah ki razza mein raazi ba razza hona mushkil na ho.

Lessons of love

  • If the heart whispers that you may have crossed paths with “the one,” be mindful of their actions. The answer lies there. They will respect your individuality, validate your emotions, and love you in a way that they know would make your heart soar with joy.
  • The ruins of a broken heart are home to hidden treasures that are yet to be discovered by a destined wandering soul.
  • The “right one” does not come around to rescue you. They come around once you have rescued yourself.
  • Love yourself enough to holler, “NEXT!” when you need to, and move onwards when anything clashes with your vibe. Protect your energy.
  • Anyone that makes you feel like you are too little or too much for them is undoubtedly not meant to be a part of your life, no matter who they are or how long you have known them.
  • As this world’s compassion chokes, struggling to survive, where sullen faces go unnoticed and hardships seldom find companions…in such a world become a beacon of kindness and heal broken hearts.

Lessons on mental health

  • Share your life’s battles and sorrows unapologetically. We are all in it together, after all. Join one another’s battles, share the pain. Combat life together.
  • If you keep revisiting the fateful past, you will recklessly stumble in the present and never reach the destined future.
  • The courage you seek is rooted within yourself. Halt. Look back and acknowledge all the battles you have conquered along the way.
  • Do not get sidetracked from your dreams, ambitions, and goals merely to chase the dreams, ambitions, and goals of others. Practice gratitude for what you have strived for and achieved despite your battle against all odds, regardless of whether or not society labels it to be a success. You’re the hero/heroine of your own story; never forget that, and never let anyone else tell you otherwise.
  • Once the facade of an individual has been unmasked, refuse to let them further damage your mental health. As you do so, do not make excuses for their toxic behavior patterns. It’s not your responsibility.
  • It’s okay to break down. Shutdown if you have to — toss your phone away, sleep in, skip the skincare routine, down Nutella sandwiches; do what will bring your body, mind, and soul comfort. Do not force yourself to heal.
  • You are not obligated to publicly share what causes you discomfort. It may it be your life’s milestones, career achievements, or personal insecurities. If you want to maintain your privacy that is absolutely okay. Oversharing can also be toxic.

Lessons on womanhood

  • Refuse to let your looks be the ladder towards success. You have far more to flaunt; such as your intellect, talent, and flair.
  • You are not overly emotional simply because you are a woman. Your feelings of discomfort and fear are undoubtedly valid, and should never be dismissed. Pay attention to your instincts and intuition.
  • You do not have to compromise on your values to succeed in life. The ethics you are rooted by are irreplaceable gems encrusted within your crown. They will guide you towards the ultimate triumph.
  • You can be an empowered woman in a shalwaar-kameez-dupatta just as much as you can be in a pair of jeans and T-shirt. Clothes do not empower you. Your individuality and grace does.
  • There is no such thing as being “too strong” for a woman. If your life’s battle scars intimidate someone, it is their problem, not yours. You’re a warrior, after all. Be proud of the battles conquered.
  • Compliment other women beyond their outer beauty. Instead, acknowledge their courage, wit, determination, and kindness.
  • It is far better to marry late and right than to marry in haste and suffer.

Follow Hira on Instagram at @hirahyderscribbles, on Twitter at @hirahyder, and on Facebook.