For the past two or so days I have been trying to recollect 2012. To remember what happened. I know there were highs and lows, but for some reason those peaks and valleys weren’t as defined as those of latter years. How could I live through 2012 but not remember it in great detail? Did it really fly by that fast? Well. You know how you try to untangle a knot and it takes that one string to have everything tumbling forth? That happened this evening.
Exactly a year ago today I sat in an apartment in Bologna, Italy with my Italian and Russian friends as we waited for 2012 to roll in. Over a dish of shrimp rice and plantain and beans we shared our thoughts on how 2011 had gone as well as our hopes for 2012. But that’s not all. We took it a step further, each writing on separate sheets what we would “leave behind” in 2011 and what we would “birth” into 2012. Tonight we’re not together. My Russian friend is recovering from cancer in Chicago, my Italian friend just started her first experience in an African country, and I’m home with family for my first Christmas in seven years! Nevertheless, I’m sure we’re all remembering that very special night a year ago.
That night, I was very clear on a couple of things. One of them was that I would no longer call myself “poor”, despite the fact that I probably fall into the category of “poor student”. I could be “temporarily impoverished” I declared, but never poor. Not with all this abundance of blessings. And so I made a pact of sorts with Allah. I’ll cast my concerns on you, I said. In exchange, I will try to worry less and trust you more. Talk about a balanced wager, huh? Anyway, that was the agreement between Al-Rab and I.
Fast-forward to tonight when all the memories from 2012 came rushing forth (they are too many to recount in a single post), and I see that we fulfilled our wager; He more-so than I, but fulfilled nevertheless. From having weeks in Italy when I had barely 5 euros in my pocket to late summer when I thought I would have to suspend my masters program with Johns Hopkins for a year, to worrying about the health of important family members, and especially through all the self-doubt – Allah came through for me. He took care of everything, in his own time. And coincidentally, that’s why the highs and lows of 2012 don’t seem so pronounced: because I had a protective covering over me the entire time. Allah had my back. Alhamdulilahi.
Remembering everything, I am excited for 2013. Yes, I have some goals in mind which I will write down somewhere in order to keep myself accountable, but generally-speaking, my words for 2013 are: Positivity. Passion. Growth. Gratitude. Courage. Truth. Surrender.
The new year has barely started, and I already have some dreams and concerns packaged and ready to be shipped out to Allah on the first flight. You probably do too, so whatever your belief or situation, just work hard, do what’s within your power, and let it go. Believe that it will be taken care of and, InshAllah, a year from today each of us will look back on 2013 and say “It was taken care of”.
Thanks to each of you who shared in my 2012 – whether virtually or in real-time. I wish each of you enough of everything necessary to make your 2013 meaningful and the best one yet. Stay blessed and Happy New Year!
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. Besides writing and reading, she enjoys travel, global cuisine, movies, and good design.