22 Things I’m Grateful For (And New Goals at 22)

I don’t celebrate my birthday but it’s been a blogging tradition here on my blog to post about my yearly lessons during my birthday but this time I want this birthday post to be something different. I’m not sharing 22 lessons instead I’m sharing 22 things I’m grateful for. In the previous months I’ve been having personal issues that I’m glad I overcome, honestly those things made me ungrateful and discontented. But, looking back at the things my Creator has blessed me with, I realized that everything is planned perfectly. Opening my eyes to the things that happened to me, I realized that I’ve received more and better than what I asked for.

Before I start listing the things I’m grateful for, I want to share few things about my goals now that I’m 22 years old. My previous years were more on finding my strength, talents, skills and knowing who I really am. It’s a long journey for I’ve been curious for a long time about what my likes and dislikes are. But in perfect time, I discovered some of the things I wanted to do, what professional career I want to pursue and what side-projects I want to establish. Somehow, I can now picture out a bit of how I want my future to be. Not totally complete and I know some of what I have in mind may not come true for I know my Creator’s plans are a lot better and everything only happens in His will. But, having some plans make me see the path I want to follow, it helps me in facing major decisions in my life and it gives me a clear disposition in life. So, in my 22nd year, I want to focus on different thing— which is a lot more important for me now that I’m more matured. The previous years made me know where I’m good at, what my weaknesses are, what my professional and business goals are. But this year, I want to focus on improving myself in other aspects. I want to achieve optimum physical, mental and spiritual fitness.

Being stressed with my life lately due to both academic and non-academic activities I had in the previous years, I noticed how improving my over all fitness seemed like a part time job. I became too busy to engage in faith-related activities, to participate in activities that are good to my mental health, to read good books, to workout daily and to eat right. All of these were like less priorities for me which made me felt extremely sad and disappointed with myself. I knew back then how important feeding my soul, body and mind well but it seemed like although I knew, I ignored it.

Just like how the old saying says, it’s never too late to make a change. So now that I’m 22, my focus, aside from graduating, is to gain a lifestyle dedicated to over-all fitness. Changing is difficult but I know I’m serious about this for I know getting fit mentally, physically and spiritually has a great impact in my personality and attitude.

Now I’m sharing 22 things I’m grateful for. (haven’t I mentioned this post is going to be extremely long?)

  1. Being a Muslim. I may not be the perfect Muslim but I am grateful for having born and raised as a Muslim. I’m working on improving myself mostly for Allah’s sake. So, that one day I am certain that I deserve this precious gift.
  2. My parents. Life won’t be easy without my parents supporting me all my life. We may have different beliefs at so many things but at the end of the day, the comfort and company of each other is all we need.
  3. My siblings. I’m thankful for having younger siblings I can protect and older ones who always protect me.
  4. Nieces, nephews, grandfather, aunts and uncles. They make life more wonderful! I enjoy having a bunch of adorable nieces and nephews especially that I witness how they grow up.
  5. Good friends. The quality of friendships that I have is another thing I’m grateful for. I may have few close friends, but they are all I need and they’re friends I can call my own sisters.
  6. Good health. I still am struggling with my weight issues, but still I’m thankful because I don’t have any worrying health issues.
  7. Having a home. I’m glad that I have a place I can call home where I and my family live together.
  8. Blogging. Being able to discover what blogging is led me to discovering a lot of things about myself. Through blogging, I found out my passion, met great people and gained knowledge and skills I won’t learn elsewhere.
  9. Earning online. Although I’m still a student, being able to earn extra money helped me to buy whatever I want without depending too much on my monthly allowance. While living alone during college, having extra money helped me in times my monthly allowance ran out and I needed to pay something. It also made me able to help others who are financially in need.
  10. Ability to design. One of my main online source of income is web designing. Although, I’m not an IT or computer student, my passion with designing led me learn and practice web designing.
  11. Wisdom. I know I have a lot to learn but I’m grateful for learning a lot already. Indeed, wisdom is a form of wealth.
  12. Studies. Although my college journey took longer way than the average college student due to shifting of courses and depression, I’m glad that I’m now taking Nutrition and Dietetics course which I enjoy and that I know will lead me to a career I want to see myself grow up in professionally. I am also taking up BA in Islamic Studies because I know it’s my duty to learn about the deen.
  13. Being able to read Qur’an. I’m thankful that my mom encouraged me since I was in my younger years in learning how to read Qu’ran. She’s enrolled me to classes and sometimes hired a tutor for me to learn how to read Qur’an with tajweed. It’s the best gift she’s given me ever. Being able to read Qur’an helps me relieve from any pain I feel.
  14. Internet connection. I’m glad that through internet, I’m able to learn and spread what I know through blogging.
  15. Hiking Mt. Pico De Loro. It was one of the experiences I won’t forget ever. The beauty of nature and the challenges I faced hiking trails made me appreciate the creations of the Almighty more.
  16. Training at Toastmasters. Training at Toastmaters for 2 consecutive school years when I was in high school greatly helped me build my self-confidence, leadership skills and speaking skills. Having won twice led me in believing in myself that I can be good at something I used to fear a lot. The skills I gained from the training helped me throughout college up until now.
  17. Traveling alone. Traveling alone was one of the things I feared a lot. I was too dependent that I couldn’t even to buy stuff at the store alone. But, traveling alone made me gain strength and overcome my fears of being alone.
  18. English. Learning the language of English made me able to communicate well with people from any race. It makes exploring the beauty of diversity, cultures, beliefs easy.
  19. Living alone. Being able to live alone throughout my college years made me strong enough to stand with my own, to solve any problem that I encounter and to remain firm with my faith despite the influences around me.
  20. Google. Although not all the content on Google are reliable, still Google made searching for answers to whatever we need to know easy.
  21. Being raised in Saudi. Having born and raised in Saudi contributed a lot to my character and personality. If given a chance to spend more years in this country, I’d grab it. But, if my fate is to try out and live in another place I’m ready to explore it.
  22. Coffee. Coffee is always a great company especially on days I spend hours studying, reading, working and writing.

By writing this, I realized how blessed I am. I realized how there are plenty of things I should be grateful for.

Najmah is a 23 year old Filipino Muslim, Clinical Nutritionist and Med student. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Living in the Philippines since 2010. By Najmah contains posts about her life lessons, personal excellence and journey to becoming a doctor. You can also find her blogging on The Muslim Bricks

21 Life Lessons In 21 Years Of Living

I believe that 20-something years are the most important stages that we go through in our life, because it’s the years of growth, development, and discovery. It’s also when most decisions are very important because they would greatly impact our future. For me, I see it as the years of learning and exploring more about life.

I don’t celebrate birthdays with balloons, cakes, or parties but I do celebrate by reflecting on the life lessons I learned and thank God for the experiences, blessings, growth and opportunities. Since I was 18, I’ve been doing a tradition here on my blog and that is blogging about my yearly life lessons. I still have more to experience and learn in these years, if God wills, but on this post I’m sharing 21 of those too many lessons.

  1. Spend more time in building your relationships than in building your name.
  2. Don’t let people dictate or force you to live in a way you don’t want to live (professionally, or personally).
  3. Potential income isn’t the most important factor in choosing what career to choose.
  4. Spending time, money and effort for your health is never a waste.
  5. A best friend from your childhood might not make it into your adult life because people change.
  6. It’s never too late to start over.
  7. Age is just a number. You’re never too young, or too old when it comes to your abilities.
  8. Grow and invest in relationships worth investing. If people are just giving you toxicity in your life, it’s better to distance yourself from them.
  9. Staying home on the weekend can be just as fun as going out.
  10. You will grow apart, but real friends always make time for each other.
  11. You should never feel bad about making positive changes for yourself.
  12. Don’t be scared to speak up. There are brilliant ideas imprisoned in your mind that the world needs to know.
  13. Just because things didn’t work out the way you wanted them to, doesn’t mean they didn’t work out.
  14. Respond to every opportunity that you know could make you grow, but don’t be afraid to reject an opportunity if you know it’s the best option.
  15. Dreams are to be worked for.
  16. Moving away from home will improve your relationship with your parents, because absence makes the heart grow fonder.
  17. When you feel to fed up, it’s okay to have a break, play your most favorite games, watch your most favorite show, and sleep for more than 8 hours. Then, work harder the next day.
  18. Do whatever makes you feel alive without an ounce of regret or doubts.
  19. Turn your dreams into plans, cants into cans.
  20. The only person you should compare yourself to is your old self.
  21. Fears are just enemies that block you from reaching your success.
Najmah is a 23 year old Filipino Muslim, Clinical Nutritionist and Med student. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Living in the Philippines since 2010. By Najmah contains posts about her life lessons, personal excellence and journey to becoming a doctor. You can also find her blogging on The Muslim Bricks

On My 20th Year Of Existence

Just last night someone asked me how old am I. I felt different when I answered “I’m already 20.”

Two decades of my life already passed by. It’s been a great journey for me – from being a clueless little girl to a ‘learning’ lady. I still remember when I was 12, I was looking towards the future. I was eager to be 16, 18 or 20. I was eager to grow old. Perhaps, I was having this mindset that old people have an interesting life. Yes, they do. But, little kids too.

Although I was that eager to live in the future, I didn’t pressure myself to be old. While kids of my age were already becoming ladies, I was still beside my parents depending on them in everything. All things are really planned beautifully and now is my time to think and act more matured and to become more responsible.

I don’t celebrate birthdays but I was. My last birthday celebration was when I was 8 years old. Birthday cakes, balloons, party, visitors, games just like the typical birthday celebrations. Alhamdulillah my family has been trying hard to stop the wrong practices and engage to the right ones. Since then, I never celebrated birthdays again. Although when I was in high school my buddies knew my birthday so well that they greet me annually. Lately, I made them forget my birthday or made them know that my birthday is nothing special for me.

I turned 20 last May 11. It was just like an ordinary day. But, it was somehow different. Although they say, the age of 20 is still young. For me, we should not think that we are too young because when we do we think that we always have a lot time left. We must always think that every day we get older. Actually, I was afraid. Not because I left the teen hood, but because I felt that I’m much closer to my grave. And I’m not prepared for it.

I’m not even 1% prepared. What if later, tomorrow, or next week I die…. Maybe I will be among the losers. I was thinking… are the deeds I did for the past 20 years enough? Are the things I did will bring me to Jannah? Indeed, every soul shall taste death. Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajioon.

Brothers and sisters, there are still a lot of us, Muslims, who treat birthdays too special to celebrate. Remember that we only have two events to celebrate, the Eid al Fitr and Eid al Adha, the rest are innovations.  Celebrating birthday has its pagan foundation and doing it is imitating the non-Muslim traditions.

However, we can do supererogatory prayers instead and thank Allah for giving us another day to live. We should be always reminded that yearly we are closer to our graves so exert extra effort to attain Jannah.

May we all meet there one day.

Najmah is a 23 year old Filipino Muslim, Clinical Nutritionist and Med student. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Living in the Philippines since 2010. By Najmah contains posts about her life lessons, personal excellence and journey to becoming a doctor. You can also find her blogging on The Muslim Bricks

19 Lessons in 19 Years of Existence

1. Strength. There is a special strength within us that we do not know until we urge ourselves to bring it out. Not the ability of the limbs to do kungfu or the fierceness of emotions but the strength to hold on, to keep the belief firm, and to change for better. Our control over our desires and those forbidden is the strength not everyone can bring out from themselves.

2. Oddity. We do not have to abide with the trend to exist. Although everything around us embraces change, always adhere to the revelation which took place 1400 years ago even it means being odd, weird, and awkward. It’s actually self fulfilling to be just yourself and certain, than chase everybody’s modern culture and felt confused.

3. Imperfection.  Those people who undergo surgeries are not representatives of perfection but images of bluffer. Allah hates those who distort themselves in order to be beautiful, but loves those who find beauty within themselves naturally. We cannot hide our real character so do not fake it, you can embrace change for improvements but don’t do it the haram way and to please other people.  We must appreciate Allah’s creations as how He creates them.

4. Failure.  Failure is not a sign that you are being punished. It’s not something to be feared, but to be understood. We are being blind with the idea that to be the brightest star committing mistakes is a big NO. We get series of mistakes and failures that actually make us learn a lot of lessons we will never learn if we don’t commit in those. It’s also blessings. Remember, even stars lose its brightness sometimes but whatever happens, always say Alhamdulillah.

5. Impression. Don’t let the perception of the people around you become your basis of knowing who you are and what you have to be. We should only please the One who created us beautifully. Make Him our purpose and goal, not anybody else. We only become beautiful by finding beauty in what’s already within ourselves.

6. Contentment. Do not let your inabilities and lack wear off on you.  Do not let the things you don’t have steal your sweetness.  Appreciate what you have instead of discrediting it. Contentment is hard to gain but when you choose to focus on the things which you already have, you end up finding more joy, more love and a sweeter smile.

7. Silence. Having quality time alone is the best gift we can give to ourselves. Silent moment that will allow us to reflect on things we have done the entire day. It gives us realizations in our life. It gives us that moment when we are being able to distinguish our faults and good deeds. It’s our responsibility to give ourselves personal time, it’s soothing.

8. Enemy. We sabotage our hard work, betray our belief, and make ourselves depress. Usually, we are the biggest hindrance in doing well. To conclude, we are ourselves greatest enemies even we consider ourselves our own best friends. But, still love your enemy, yourself. Inject that love within yourself and you’ll be able to control yourself to please Allah.

9. Hypocrisy. We preach yet we disobey, we advice people yet we can’t tame ourselves, we forbid the wrong yet we can’t control ourselves, we spread the message to the world to stop mocking us, but we mock them back. We nourish ourselves with these anger, hatred, wicked deeds onto those who wrong us and we send them back the same act and we say it’s because we love Islam. Islam is being blamed for our wickedness.  We are also the big reason why Islam is having its bad image right now. Observe our characters and you’ll see.

10. Time Our life here on earth is shorter than what we really think. Look, everything fades even us. Everything turns old, including us. It’s like just passing-by-a-market span of journey. But, that we do not realize until we sees death, we see people fades, we see things vanish. Being aware in everything happens around us is strengthening our faith, that when we see them leaving this earth we realize this is very temporary. That prepared or unprepared if our time has come, we’ll be back to our Lord and it could be now, it could be later.

11. Submission. Submission is beautiful even though others misunderstand it. When we submit our life to Allah, we are willing to leave everything to Allah to decide for us. We put the trust on Him in everything that is happening around us. We let Him take care of us by obeying Him with pure willingness. For that, we are certain of everything because it’s from Him.

12. Role. Choosing our role in the society is easy if our parents allow it. Each of us has a different role in the society so we must not compare our lives to that of others. We should live this life open with the plans of Allah. Our parents only want what is good for us, and we may agree with them. But, what makes others stand out, might won’t work on us. And, remind them that the best planner is the Creator not them.

13. Consistency. When things get worse, we lose our focus, perhaps, because of the disappointments. Remember, success is best served with flavors of difficulty. Usually when success is about to be accomplished it is when things become tough. Same when we practice our deen, Allah tests us more when we’re at the peak of our imaan. We may falter a lot of times, but don’t forget to always stand up every time you fall.

14. Knowledge.  It’s good to go back always to the basics, cause it will always teach us new things. Once we claim we know everything, we are actually putting the attribute of Allah on us and that’s something dangerous thinking we don’t notice. Let’s always remind ourselves that we do not know everything, because we really don’t. Allah only allows us to learn those which are enough for us to know.

15. Forgiveness. Pain, resentment, guilt, anger, and fear all of these crawl up inside of us when we think on our mistakes or the mistakes of people around us.  Sometimes the only healthy way to move forward is to look back at our past and accept those and forgive. First, ask forgiveness from Allah, the Oft-forgiving, and then ask forgiveness and forgive those who made mistakes around you, including yourself.

16. Gratefulness. What happens is when He grants our wishes, it is only the time we thank Him. When He gives us something other than what we like or He gets something from us, we question Him, and worse we stop believing on Him. We forget to thank Allah for all things that He has been giving us, the small, the good, the loss, and the gain. All are blessings from Him.

17. Coping. When people hurt us, things go wrong, we lose people we love, or the dreams we’ve valued, we feel down and blue. Sometimes we don’t forgive people because they deserve it but because they need it, because we need it, and because we cannot move forward without it.  The acceptance of pain is believing that you have to let go and move on.

18. Responsibility. When we do some mistakes, we often put the blame to other people or we find excuses just not to be blamed. We must understand that the moment we choose to blame some outside force for whatever is happening to us, we are in fact giving all our power over ourselves to them. We should take responsibility for everything that happens with us. It will not make us any less if we admit we are being faulty also.

19. Patience. We must learn how to be patient because with patience, we are being accepting and forgiving. Allah, the Most Forbearing, encourages us to be patient as it is among the keys of entering His paradise. If we go back to the stories of those who are promised Jannah, we can see that Patience was one of the reasons why they are granted eternal life of happiness. “And be patient. Surely, Allah is with those who are patient.” (8:46)

Najmah is a 23 year old Filipino Muslim, Clinical Nutritionist and Med student. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Living in the Philippines since 2010. By Najmah contains posts about her life lessons, personal excellence and journey to becoming a doctor. You can also find her blogging on The Muslim Bricks

18 precious lessons in 18 years of existence

  1. Mistakes teach us important lessons. The society has made me blind with the idea that to be the brightest star committing mistakes is a big no-no. Well, not until I got series of mistakes and failures which actually made me learn a lot of lessons I will never know without committing those. Now, I can say.. to be one of the brightest star you should know how it feels to fall down.
  2. Talk to people. Growing up I become too choosy with people to talk with. But, I just realized we can learn a lot if we talk with others, even with strangers. Everyone has something to share if we just listen to the story they are willing to share.
  3. Asking does not bite. My mentor trained me to be expressive of my curiosity. Thanks to her that I gained the confidence and zeal to ask a lot. Asking does not bite. It helps me to sleep well at night without questions running on my mind.
  4. A palace is built longer than an ordinary house. My things did not go on ordinarily…and now I know why.
  5. Always know that you do not know everything. Since I learned this from my Philosophy class it has always been in my mind. We do not actually know everything, even we are already in our 50s we will never know everything. It’s okay to go back always from the basics, cause it will always teach us new things.
  6. It’s okay to receive critics. I was close minded with critics, and feedbacks. Now, I receive them with a big smile.
  7. An exercise can not undo a bad diet. I learned this out from my weight loss journey. Before I thought exercise burns a lot calories that it’s okay to eat a lot. Exercise does not actually burn a lot of calories, though it helps a lot, still 3/4 of the weight loss program is about clean diet.
  8. Change is the only constant in this world. Expect that one day you have to part ways from things and people you love the most.
  9. We do not let go of something because we fear that something will never happen again. I was so scared so I hold on things even it was not  right. I thought letting go will ruin my life, but it did not… it’s actually the other way around.
  10. There is no harm in trying something new. I thought if I do burpees, push ups, and circuit trainings it will kill me… but no, it made me stronger. Same to when I beat my nervousness and fears and tried cool things.
  11. Do things as if there is no tomorrow. Tomorrow is not promised for us. Period.
  12. You are stronger than you think. Lately, I have been doing things I never expect I could. I’m surprised of the unbelievable strength within me.
  13. Patience is a virtue. Rushing things out will out come a bad result.
  14. God will never ever leave you. Even there were times when I could not do my obligations to Him, still He always make me feel that He is always there. Subhanallah!
  15. Laziness will bring you to nowhere. I’m glad to say, I’m not anymore lazy as I were.
  16. Spending time with yourself helps. Being alone with yourself for at least 30 minutes in a day helps to reflect and relax thus making you less stress.
  17. The tougher the journey gets, the beautiful the destination is. When my things got worse, I lost my focus because of my fear that I will not make it. I was wrong. Now, I always tell myself that success is best served with flavors of difficulty. Usually when success is about to be accomplished it is when things become tough.
  18. Everything happens for a reason. I live by with this statement. Just like when my visa got denied that made me unable to go back to Philippines for my studies, at first I see it as bad thing but now I know why that happened. I did not expect, there are a lot of beautiful things that happened to me by staying. Alhamdulillah for everything.
Najmah is a 23 year old Filipino Muslim, Clinical Nutritionist and Med student. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Living in the Philippines since 2010. By Najmah contains posts about her life lessons, personal excellence and journey to becoming a doctor. You can also find her blogging on The Muslim Bricks