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2019: Lessons Learned

I honestly cannot believe that we are in mid December. As a kid, adults always told me to enjoy my youth as time goes by quickly as we age. They were right! I feel like the weeks are flying by right before my eyes. As I reflect about the year, I can’t stop but think of the events and circumstances that have taught me valuable and at times difficult lessons.

On a high note, 2019 brought me incredible joy, particularly with the birth of my second daughter Sanaa. Prior to her birth, my biggest worries were that I wouldn’t be able to handle two children. People often say that the jump from 1 to 2 kids is the hardest. I was worried about my first daughter and how she would cope with less attention from me, how my marriage would change, and how I would feel as a mother of two. As excited as I was to meet my Sanaa, I was dreading sleepless nights, breastfeeding, diapers, and the exhaustion that comes with having a new baby.

It could be repressed memories due to sleep deprivation or the fact that I have previous experience with sleepless nights, breastfeeding challenges and so forth, but I feel that life since Sanaa was born has been overall good! She brings me so much joy and has really carved her space in our family even after only 7 and a half months. Things are far from perfect and life with two kids is A LOT of ongoing and never-ending work, but things are not as bad as I feared they would be. I have to give a lot of credit to my family and friends who have supported me during this time, making life more manageable.

Naika and Sanaa

On a more challenging note, I have had some loss in 2019. I lost an amazing mentor, colleague, and friend to cancer in the beginning of the year and I have lost some friendships due to life changes and misunderstandings. I have also witnessed through social media, childhood friends diagnosed or pass away from illnesses. These losses have shaken me to my core. They are my biggest reminder of the shortness of this life and to make the most of it. To live a life with as little regret as possible since no one knows when it will come to an end.

With those sentiments in mind, I want to do what I am most passionate about, spend time with the people who mean the most to me, and eliminate activities that are not serving my purpose or goals. One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Shawshank Redemption, when Andy says we either “get busy living or get busy dying.” I want to do the former and so I have started making my list of personal, professional, and family goals for 2020, reflecting on the lessons I have learned this year.

My 2019 Lessons:

1. I am more adaptable and resilient than I thought. Life is Hard but having supporters and taking things one day at a time works.

2. People are not permanent fixtures in my life. Death is one way that people leave my physical space but growing apart from others and letting go is necessary at times to move towards new directions and that is ok.

3. Life is truly a gift! I don’t always understand why certain things happen, particularly suffering, and injustice but I am grateful for today and hopeful for tomorrow.

4. Dream big and work hard to achieve my dreams. Many daunting dreams like hosting UsNow 2019 seemed impossible after delivering my second daughter but it happened and was successful.

I may not be sure what 2020 has in store for me but I am ready to start it with a bang! Check out some of our workshop offerings as we continue learning and sharing together.

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