A Fresh Start

A Fresh Start

Hi, Hello and Assalamualaikum! I’m Aina and welcome to ‘Life Without A Rubric’!

Greetings fellow human! Tis I, Aina, and for this week, I would like to introduce you to my current life motto: 

‘A fresh start isn’t a new place, it’s a mindset.’

          If you read my inaugural post under ‘Life Without a Rubric’ or even my collaboration post with Michael, you’ll come to know that I’m currently on a gap year. With being on a gap year, it’s meant that nearly all my friends and nearly everyone I know from the class of 2020 have gone off to university.

           For the past few weeks since mid-September, I’ve been watching through social media as to how my friends have been moving in, going to new places and meeting new people. They have begun their next big stage in their life and they’re starting anew. From where I am, I see all the fun times they’re having with friends from home or friends made since they’ve arrived. I also see some of the struggles they’re facing and the growing pains that they’re having to deal with. Although being in university has its double-edged sword, I have to admit, there are so many times I wished I could be going through it too.

          But I’m not.

          Instead, I’m still at home, in a room that’s been mine for the past five years. I was (and still kinda am) worried about these thoughts, in all honesty. I was worried about feeling the FOMO (fear of missing out). I was worried about feeling left behind and left out in a lot of things. I still am worried about the fact that when I go off to university a year later, that when I reunite with those friends it just won’t be the same and I won’t have the experience of a first-year under my belt like them just yet. To top it off, my choice of taking a gap year literally happened the week of my exam results. The week I was going to be told whether or not I could go off to university in the first place. The one time I thought about it in advanced, I was strongly told against it so I never thought of it again. For months after that, my mind never once crossed the argument of taking a gap year. I’m the type of person who likes to think thoroughly about my choices so you can imagine how crazy of an idea it was to make such a life-changing decision so spontaneously. I thought I would actually come to regret it.

          But I didn’t.

           I would like to say, first and foremost, that I believe the world would be so much better off without COVID-19. However, the pandemic has been a blessing in disguise for in its own unexpected way.

          Coming into 2020, I felt something wasn’t right. Deep down, I had this default state of emptiness. Looking back now, the early months of 2020 had some of the lesser versions of me making an appearance. I lacked mental strength and stability and, in all honesty, internally I was quite the pessimist. I sometimes felt like I was stringing myself along when it came to happiness. Then the quarantine state hit and I was forced to stay home. Since then, the biggest exams I would ever have were cancelled and life as I knew it was flipped on its head. I lost so many things to the quarantine. I lost the chance to prove myself in my exams, I lost college traditions I had been looking forward to, I lost memories that could have been with friends and I lost my graduation.

          Yet since then, I’ve never been happier.

          I had my very own fresh start and all it needed was for me to start thinking so. I didn’t need to fly anywhere or move out or do something big for it to happen. I did cut my hair uncharacteristically short though but that’s beside the point. I’ve started living a more conscious life. Where what I do and why I do it has been entirely up to me. I am making my life my own and no one else’s. I’m not doing anything for anyone and I know I may be super repetitive but it’s an incredible notion for me. I finally feel like myself again.

          Since the pandemic has started, I’ve come to realise how it’s not about what happens to you, it’s about how you perceive it. Rather than seeing being stuck at home as a restriction, I came to see it as another opportunity. I am fortunate enough to have a stable internet connection, which means I have access to the wider world at my fingertips from the comfort of my own home. I have met new people, I have done things I didn’t think I’d ever do and I’ve learned so much and all without having to go anywhere. I still am in contact with friends who have flown off and I do get the chance to talk to them and maintain friendships I don’t want to lose. I realised – with having a life where I’ve had the opportunity to move schools many times – I had come to this unconscious conclusion that I can only change who I am once I’ve changed where I am and who I’m with. I am grateful that I have come to a point where I know that life is what I make of it and no one else.

          As Gandhi once said:

‘A person is but the product of their thoughts. What they think, they become.’

Music Recommendations:

  1. ‘My Pace’ by Stray Kids is a song that became my life anthem circa 2019. I absolutely loved this song when I first heard it and it’s still one of my all-time favourite songs. It’s super upbeat and catchy and the instrumental supports the empowering feeling the song emanates. Yet, the meaning behind the lyrics is so deep and so much darker than the initial song portrays with a well-strung dialectic of the negatives of life with encouragement to keep going. Click here if you’re interested in reading a better explanation of the song because I definitely didn’t do it justice.
  2. ‘Wonder’ by Shawn Mendes is the artist’s most recent release. I really like the beautiful composition of this pop song as well as how Mendes questions the way he expresses himself and brings up the nature of toxic masculinity in such few words.
  3. ‘Classic’ by MKTO is a feel-good song with an upbeat and refreshing sound that makes me move plus I really enjoy the rhythm of it overall.

Aina’s Monthly Playlist

Currently Reading: The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

Life Status: my back is in pain but life’s good

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