6 Life Lessons Learnt from Packing

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Recently I’ve had to pack my life into boxes, and I realized I’ve done that at least eight times in the past decade (AUS dormitories required us to clear the room every year so that partly explains the bloated number), but still…I realized that the process of packing can teach you a few life lessons if you pay attention to it.

1) One box at a time. While some people are into last-minute packing, I started one week before and just packed one box at a time. That made the task less stressful and daunting.


I don’t know who came up with the question in the picture above, but my immediate answer whenever I hear, “How do you eat an elephant?” is usually, “First tell me, why would you want to eat an elephant?”

But this elephant thing is a famous analogy for breaking up big and daunting tasks into pieces and focusing on each part one by one. It’s usually useful -with the right level of motivation. Sometimes it’s the low level of motivation that makes us start tasks on the last night before a deadline and then we realize that “Oh well, we don’t have time to finish it so…”

2) Books are heavy. I’ve always dreamt of owning a personal home library, but to have a personal home library one has to first have a permanent home. So an obvious solution to the accumulating book problem is not the easiest for book lovers, but we have to do it anyway; DONATE. For those who don’t know what to do with their books in Abu Dhabi, there’s The Book Shelter in the Circle Cafe in Khalifa City A, and from what I understood they have a branch in Dubai.

So we understand how heavy books can be physically, but the information contained within them can be analogous to weights for your mind muscles. It’s true that sometimes you have to plow through a three-hundred page book to get one single idea, but then that idea could transform your life…over and over and over again.

So keep reading, and for those who keep on packing their lives into boxes every few years, get a kindle. It’s a good investment.

3) Cleanse, detox, declutter…. Whether it is donating clothes, or getting rid of expired items, packing is always a good time for dumping some things into boxes and then dumping the boxes out. The life lesson is obvious here, get rid of whatever it is that is not working for you anymore. Sometimes it’s a habit, other times it’s a toxic relationship…be efficient and be relentless.

4) Don’t look inside other people’s boxes. It’s easy for us to compare our lives with the lives of others, especially with social media around. But comparing your life with that of others only lowers your self-esteem and makes you doubt your choices. So instead of peeking at what other people have in their boxes (figuratively of course), just focus on yours. Focus on your own roles, your own relationships, your own life. I’ve written about this before; the only person worth competing with is yourself.

5) Celebrate the small wins. Once you’re done packing, sit back, make good use of one of those boxes and use it as an ottoman as you sit back and put your feet up.

6) Last but not least, just let go. Packing teaches us how little we really need to survive, to carry over from one stage to another. It makes us really distinguish between the needs and the wants, the essentials and inessentials. We realize we actually can live without  things we used to think we cannot live without…all we had to do was actually get thrown into a situation to try.

Of marriages based on dishonesty

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Her name? It doesn’t matter. Her story? She got married under the impression that the man was single. But it turned out he had a wife. And a child. While the ease of travel has opened up opportunities for people to go and work in other countries, it has also given young men an excuse to fill up their four-wife quota as they claim; “You don’t expect me to be alone when I’m there…”

And because the second and third wives are from a country different than the guy’s headquarters, such women enter marriages completely oblivious to the existence of the first family.

I’ve heard this story so many times in our Kemeni community, and at some point, I thought it was one of those stories that would die in the post-Facebook generation (since people’s personal lives are everywhere). But the latest victim I know of is five years younger than me, and it seems guys are getting smarter and deactivating their facebook accounts when they’re planning to extend their families. Which makes me wonder one thing.

Is honesty dead?

The fact that guys can actually do this without being held accountable for their actions infuriates me. Where is society to make this behavior stop? Unfortunately mothers of men like this end up taking his side, in the worse case scenario, aiding and abetting, and in the best case scenario saying with a resigned sigh, “What can we do? Boys will be boys.”

The least the mother can do is tell the family of the second wife-to-be that her son is already married but then again we can’t always blame the mother because it’s . When did honesty become so hard? But no. Because boys fear rejection, they keep that hidden until it’s too late for the girl to run, and then they go,
“Oh, by the way, meet my wife. And kid.”

Honesty is not a virtue that needs to be celebrated and applauded because it is a virtue that needs to be the norm so it’s quite a shame when people go around building entire households on dishonesty. If the guy can’t think of his wives’ feelings once they discover the truth, the least he could think about is what he’s teaching his children….

quote for blog

You are worthy

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Dear Friend,
You know that place in one’s heart that normal people feel love? You feel pain. Red, throbbing pain mixed with anxiety because you still remember the last conversation you two had. It was short…formal…cold. And then he stepped out and the door closed with a heavy finality.
You never saw it coming. When you were accepting the marriage proposal in your teens, you never thought that you’d be divorced in your twenties. But it’s not your fault that he chose her and you were left to pick up the pieces of your life at a time when most people have reached their plateau.
The voice in your head keeps on asking, “Am I worthy of love? Am I worthy of happiness…” But you need to remember the adage, “your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.” You are worthy of kindness, of compassion, of joy, of pleasure, of truth, of love…you are worthy simply because as the saying goes, “worthiness doesn’t have any prerequisites.”
You are worthy simply because you are you.
So wear it on a bracelet or write it on a post-it and stick it in front of you as you go through life, “I am worthy because I am me.”

As strong as your weakest point

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Dear Friend,
The day started out well. I could tell by the smile playing on your lips. Even though it was small, the spark in your eyes showed that it was genuine. You’ve been busy, engaged with life enough to forget your pain. But then you met someone who said something, and whatever dam that has been keeping the sadness at bay broke and your feelings gushed back to overwhelm you.
You need to remember that you are as strong as your weakest point. And your weakest point is that you want everybody to like you. But we live on planet Earth with human beings who have on average a hundred billion neurons in their brains. How these neurons connect with each other depends on a person’s individual experience in life, and that results in people having traits spanning the entire spectrum. So start from the position of knowing that not everybody will like you and not everybody will agree with you in everything and not everybody has your good interests at heart, but that’s okay.
And because there will be different people in your life, some of them would be toxic and they would say things out of ignorance and insensitivity that would cause you immense sorrow. It’s easy to say that you will avoid them, but avoiding them is not always feasible because sometimes relationships are more complicated than they seem. So the easiest thing to do is put up boundaries. Define rules pertaining to every relationship; how vulnerable you’ll allow yourself to be around them, how much time you will spend with them, what areas of your life you will allow them to advice you about, and what areas are off-limit, what topics to discuss with them and what are your expectations of them.
The thing is, no one – absolutely no one – has the right to take your happiness away, especially when you don’t have much of it to start with.
So never give someone that kind of power.