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Like many others, I tend to take "life stock" every now and then. This, I have learned, can go either way. It either leaves me feeling empty and worthless or fulfilled and appreciative.
Glass: Half empty or half full?
While taking inventory of my life, I have noted that: I am not living in Canada or America as I so wished since I was a teen.
I am not married to a 'desi' north American, living in a home with a white picket fence with two children playing in the garden. I do not have a social calendar filled with cocktail evenings or play dates for my children. I am also not the editor of a glossy magazine with an office on the 20th floor overlooking the concrete jungle of Toronto or New York.
I have also noted that: I am living in a country of my birth, colourful as a box of Smarties! Without ignoring our own share of hardships, I recognize that I live in relative peace. I enjoy electricity and the use of technology, internet which brings the world to my fingertips, clean water, wholesome food, plumbing with flushing toilets and being able to take hot showers - at any time of the day.
I am proud of my long list of mistakes, failures and heartaches. Looking back, when it seemed like it was Me vs The World, I now know, understand and appreciate that all those potholes of life were only preparing me to be the strong, independent woman my high school teachers were sure I'd become.
What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger?
But, what I hold the closest to my heart are my parents.
Two people of whom I am honoured to be a product of. A few weeks ago, I was filled with immense awe, admiration and appreciation of my parents' work, resilience and honour. Growing up, I always knew that I was fortunate, or as my friends would say, "lucky" and "spoiled". I choose to say "blessed". I've always known this but I don't know if it was perhaps maturity that made me see my parents in a different light.
From my earliest memory (and evidence from photographs), one thing is clear. My brother and I were always afforded the best of everything - education, stationery, toys, food, travel, gifts and...opportunities.
My parents were never demanding of anything. Never forcing us to take a certain path of education or career. Instead, they stood with us at the crossroads. They waited patiently for us to choose a path and watched us tread slowly into unknown territory. What I know now and I guess I've always known, is that they too, took the path with me...keeping just a step or two behind. If, for some reason, I lost my way or got lost, I knew I could turn around and there they would be! Without judgement, they would take my hand and lead me to light again.
For this, I drop to my knees and give thanks.
So...no, I am not spending my 32nd birthday the way I envisioned. I believe this is a lot more special. I am with my parents and brother. In the home I grew up in. Where I probably took my first steps, where I lost my first tooth - and put it under my bed in a shoe, only to go back and find a R2 note from the Tooth Fairy. The home where I lived my teen years, with walls plastered with my teenage heartthrob, Salman Khan. The home which had many family gatherings filled with food, love and laughter. The home I came back to for weekends and holidays from university. The home, which now in my adult life, has become my safe haven. A place I know I can always return to refresh and recuperate.
I am who I am because of my parents, brother, my uncles, aunties, cousins, relatives, friends...and who, in my opinion, is the best Godmother in the universe. I want you to know that I thank God everyday for each and every one of you. I love you all so much.