I turned 32 last week.
I’m not one of those people who thinks birthdays are just for kids. As a kid, yes it was all about presents and cake (although, I’m not completely over that either) but I really don’t believe the happiness and celebration of birthdays should end in childhood. So I celebrate them all, not just the ‘big’ ones. A birthday for me means that God isn’t done with me yet, and I still have a purpose to fulfil. I think that deserves an observation.
One of the great things about my birthday is hearing from people whom I haven’t touched base with in awhile. Even better is when I receive a call from them. Let’s be honest, WhatsApp messages aren’t quite the same as hearing someone’s voice on your day. So imagine my genuine surprise and delight when my longtime friend from university called me that evening to wish me a good day. We hadn’t spoken in about 3 years (again, WhatsApp messages don’t count). We chatted for almost an hour, like that time hadn’t gone by at all. It was by far, my favourite call of the day. Our conversation turned quite deep at some point, as they always used to do.
When I turned 30, some of my followers said they would’ve liked to hear things I learned in my 20’s or something like that, to which I responded I felt it was a bit presumptuous to do as I believe I have so much to still learn, and I’ve since proven myself right. So my friend mentioned being grateful; that I have working limbs, functioning lungs, a working heart. All of the basic things we all take for granted. And I loved that – because it ties in with why I still celebrate my birthday. It’s a reminder that I was born, and put here for a reason. But I’m not here on my own and I can’t fulfil my purpose on my own – I need all of the basic things to do so.
So staying true to my word to her, I’m writing this post to share with you 32 things I’m grateful for. Here they are:
1. God – for creating me, protecting me and gracing me with a purpose that I’m determined to realise. And of course, for all of the below.
2. My mom – for giving me life, naming me ‘life’, being my first home, and facilitating God’s plan for me to be here. I haven’t had more admiration for my mom than I do now, being a mother myself.
3. My husband Kevin – who treats me like a queen. For knowing my deepest, darkest secrets, and loving me regardless.
4. My son Kai – for filling a place in my heart I never knew existed and making me feel like I can accomplish anything.
5. My health – I’m grateful that I have lungs that work, a sound mind, two fully functional legs, two arms, full eyesight and a beating heart. It can be better, by my own will.
6. My dad – for teaching and showing me the discipline of hard work and having a good work ethic.
7. My sister Zainab – for being my first girl crush, handling everything with integrity and encouraging me to go for every venture I’ve dared dreamt of.
8. My sister Subira – for being herself no matter what, having a deep and generous heart, and being a girl boss all at the same time.
9. My brother Saidi – for showing me that a man can be strong and affectionate, sweet and protective, loyal and ambitious all while being emotionally available. He showed me that I shouldn’t settle for anything less in a man.
10. My brother Ibrahim – for being brave and proving that it’s never too late to turn a new leaf when you need to.
11. My body – the only one I have, for tolerating my previously bad eating habits, being my transport and creating a whole human. I’m way too hard on it and I vow to try to cut it a bit of slack.
12. My in-laws – for genuinely loving me as a daughter from the beginning and not being the root of any issues between Kev and I. They are one of the most generous people I know.
13. My friends – those I used to be friends with who all taught me valuable lessons, and those who are currently in my circle of trusted people. Special shout outs to Linda – whose friendship saved me when I was in a very dark place, Darla – for always seeing the light in life, Nanzia – for being my soundboard and making me laugh the hardest, Joyce – for her thoughtfulness and support, Farrel – for confirming God’s place in my life.
14. My dogs – for being so forgiving and always being ecstatic to see me.
15. Anna, Kai’s nanny – for genuinely loving my son like a gogo loves her grandchild and helping me keep my house in order.
16. My sister in law Rukia – for being a good wife to my beloved brother, and great mom to my nephew Mika.
17. My niece and nephew – for giving me hope in completely different but equally important ways.
18. My house – for the fact that it is mine and shelters my family.
19. My job – for helping me provide for my family. I’ve been unemployed before and it was some of my darkest days.
20. My blog – for being a space where I can inspire, motivate and encourage other women by sharing my story.
21. My readers and followers – for being my audience, internet family, embracing my evolution and validating my story.
22. My creativity – my childhood best friend and current method of making an income.
23. My hair – for being the reason why I started My Fro & I, opening the gate for me to share my story with other women and in turn inspiring them to embrace their natural hair.
24. Warm chocolate cake and ice cream – for filling a space expensive presents and flowers could never fill.
25. My finances – although they can be improved, I’m grateful that I can buy food, pay a mortgage, clothe my child and afford health care.
26. Sex and the City – for showing that women can be smart and sexy, flawed and loveable and for celebrating strong girl friendships.
27. My Michael Kors handbag – for carrying my sh*t everyday and looking fabulous as it does so.
28. Insecure – for representing Black women in a multi-dimensional way, mirroring many of my own experiences and friendships.
29. Music – for providing an escape when I need it and stirring my imagination.
30. Skype – for being the third person in all of my long distance relationships.
31. My childhood – giving me the most open mind I could’ve ever had and setting me up for being the adult I’m becoming. I’m still in a bit of denial that it’s over.
32. The call I got from my friend Emma on my birthday, which inspired this post.
I’d love to know, what are you genuinely grateful for?