This Ramadan has nestled itself pretty neatly into the calendar. Today was my last day of school (forever!!) and it’s also the first night of Ramadan. Ramadan is lasting for a whole month and Eid is on the day after my last exam. So, it works. The whole of summer is stretched out before me, and I can’t really believe I’ve gotten this far.
It was lovely (and sort of sad) to say goodbye to everyone. A few friends and I strolled around Olympic Park afterwards and just sitting in the sun and having deep conversations with people I love made me feel so positive about this end. Not even. Just the fact that school has ended, and that everything I do from now on is 100% me, is just so damn exciting. And to end school so well? With goodbyes, yes. But also well-wishes. With only one regret (apart from studying smarter, but it’s exam season so of course I’ll complain about that) being not getting to know all the lovely people at my sixth form even more. Hoping that even though we’re all moving in so many different directions (cities, mindsets, etc) we’ll only grow closer and not further apart.
And Ramadan is at my doorstep! I managed to make it home with about a couple of hours until sunset. After Maghrib prayer I set about doing some “Ramadan prep”. I’ve been sorting out my school things for the past hour and am going to start on the clothes next.
#1: Schedule in sleep
Because of exams I can’t just sleep straight after we eat Suhoor (really early breakfast) until half the day’s gone past. Also once I’ve gotten used to the new sleep routine I wouldn’t want it to be disrupted by my exams. So if I tried the “traditional” Ramadan routine of sleeping from 4am to 12pm when most of my exams are in the morning I’d be a groggy zombie on exam days.
Eating healthily in Ramadan is actually such a big ask in most Muslim families. I don’t know what it is but we always seem to get out the tastiest recipes for Iftar (when we break our fast). Thing is, my family have slowly moved away from that and we’re starting to eat normal amounts of food (we still, somehow, manage to have food babies in our stomachs). My parents usually give me free reign over my food choices, and considering that I really want to become healthier, Ramadan, when most of your food choices kind of do have to be calculated so that you don’t die (exaggeration) of dehydration or lack of key nutrients, is the perfect opportunity for that.
There’s a lot I want to focus on this month. Ramadan is like a spiritual retreat, while made difficult because of exams I think – if I manage to adjust well – I’ve covered most of the basics that will help me have a healthy experience (sleep, water, food). It’s a month where one can focus on improving themselves to the best of their ability, and knowing that the whole community is behind me really warms my heart. With exam season my hands are pretty much tied, but even little goals can and will help. The feeling of Ramadan is almost indescribable – it’s elation, but it’s a feeling of peace as well. It’s a feeling of hope, but not of false hope. It’s a reassuring soft hope that you’re okay. It’s a month of kindness too, and it’s a month of warmth (in 2017 quite literally a month of warmth).
Life goes on. Shit has hit the fan, constantly. The Manchester attack on Tuesday was heartbreaking. Yet what I admire the most is our ability as a nation to criticise and make fun instead of cower in fear. I’m proud of how most people reacted – of course with sadness and anger, but also with a dogged determination to go on and to live in spite of them all. I commend that so much. And I wish I could do more to help prevent these horrors from happening ever. Right now the most I can do is carry on. Which, I guess, means that it is all the more important to keep on looking forward.