Where is Life?

[Allahummabārik. May Allah bless my writing endeavours, as well as you, the reader. Ameen]

Today, I am exactly 6980 days old. That’s 997 weeks, and a day old. 19 years and 41 days, including 4 leap days; 229.32 months, I have been alive, on this Earth. And it is a concrete fact that I will never be this young again.

Time moves on tyrannously, and human mortality makes himself evident with every breath we release from ourselves. We are mere walking compilations of these breaths, and we are running on borrowed time.

And I know now that life – this unwinding miracle that we are fortunate enough to find all around us – is not to be measured in years nor via ‘big’ destination markers. ‘Life’ is not to be found in graduating from university, nor in finding ‘The One’, nor in the publication of one’s first book. Nay, for it is surely in all the little things: in every pair of eyes that you might look into and feel understood. In the glimmer that lazy winter sun makes in emerald green canal. In the sleep that icy water washes away from your face early each morning. In awkward jokes you share between friends you made happily, accidentally. In midnight stillness. In the silhouettes of dancing candlelight, upon beige room walls.

One day perhaps, you will have crow’s feet, laugh lines, and silver streaks in your hair. It may take you a little longer to walk to the bus stop; you will complain more about back pain and extortionate petrol prices. And you will have far more time in which to lend your human warmth to cold park benches. In this time, reserved and protected for your contented contemplations, you will not long to be embraced by trophies and medals, though they be golden and shiny. You will not find comfort in comfortless fists full of paper money. Nay, you will only think back to where you have come to realise that life is: upon each individual rose-petal and on each dew-dropped blade of grass. There is, you will find, infinitely more beauty and wonder and magnitude in these things than there could ever be in giant ornamental gardens with perfectly-trimmed hedges.

Like sands passing (quietly but violently) through an hour glass – second by second, grain by grain – these are the days of our lives.

Sadia Ahmed, 2020


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