Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away

I am really starting to feel this lockdown now. I miss my friends, my family, campus and being able to drive. I miss going shopping, sunsets at the Pan, eating out and wearing pretty clothes. The lockdown has left me wondering when our lives will go back to normal, though I do think that we need to decide what version of normal we want to go back to.

If you ever find yourself asking me what I want to do with my life, my answer will always be that I want to travel. I want to make tawaaf around the Ka’bah, convey my salaams to Nabi ﷺ in the Raudah, stand in Al Aqsa, immerse myself in islamic history in Istanbul and eat home food in Surat. I want to be young and in love in New York City, I want to see the cherry blossoms in Japan and I want to play Mario Kart in Tokyo and I want to watch the Eiffel Tower light up. The point is, I want to see every corner of the world. I have, for as long as I can remember, been obsessed with the idea of breathing the fresh air of new places.

Today, I came across the quote “life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away” and it made me stop stressing about the future (when will I get to travel again?) and reflect on all the moments that have taken my breath away. So, here are some moments that are worth mentioning:

1. The first time that I saw the Ka’bah. I was eleven. It was the most surreal moment and I honestly couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

2. Seeing the Taj Mahal. I know Shah Jahan could’ve spent all the resources that he used for the Taj Mahal to do something better, like building a university for example, but wow, the Taj Mahal was full of wonder and splendour. It was absolutely magnificent.

3. The Hagia Sophia. It was so beautiful, I wanted to cry. There really is some sort of magic in Istanbul because every where I went, it felt like a dream. I was only seeing things that I had read about, seen in movies or dreamt about.

4. Any of the waterfalls in Kruger. Every time, we go on holiday to Kruger, we go to the falls and every single time, I am blown away by it and all I can think is: “So which of the favours of your lord will you deny?”

5. Driving along Chapman’s Peak. The highlight of going to Cape Town is always driving along Chapman’s Peak because the view is mind-blowing.

6. Siphiwe Tshabalala’s opening goal at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. For someone who barely watches soccer, that goal is something I can clearly remember. It was a jummah, my family and I were watching the match on tv and the next thing we hear is “TSHABALALA! GOAL BAFANA BAFANA! GOAL FOR SOUTH AFRICA! GOAL FOR ALL AFRICA!”

7. When the person started engraving South Africa on the 2019 Rugby World Cup trophy before time was even up.

8. Every single time I watch a sunset.

9. Patting lion cubs at Lion Park.

10. Snorkelling in Ushaka. I have always loved the ocean and I am fascinated by the mysteries that it holds. So, when I got a chance to snorkel at Ushaka, I jumped at it. Since then, I have an absolute longing to do it again so the next time I’m in Durban, we go ✈.

Here’s to hoping that the good times return soon because this time I know just how much I have to be grateful for.

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