Ramadan

It’s my favorite time of the year. Ramadan moves up about 15 days every year, so my favorite time of the year is always a different part of the year. The last several Ramadan's have been some of the toughest ones I have experienced. When Ramadan falls during the summer, the days are longer and hotter. The lack of food and water may sound like the hard part but for me, it’s the lack of sleep. Going to bed after nightly prayers and waking up super early for Sehri (the meal that is eaten before one starts a fast) leaves only a few hours to sleep. If you work or go to school all day, you’ll have to come home and start preparing Iftar (the meal one eats to break a fast). I don’t spend my entire time between work and sunset cooking, so it's tempting to take a nap (and sometimes I do) but I try my best not to since I usually feel groggy afterward. I’ve always been the type to constantly discipline myself and for me, Ramadan is the ultimate way to do that.  Ramadan always makes me happier and livelier. Physically, I feel weak and I feel like I’m struggling. But mentally I feel strong and happy. How could this be? During Ramadan, I am reminded that sometimes life doesn’t go the way I want it to and I’ll get upset and frustrated. It’s easy to forget how privileged I am to live the way I do. There’s nothing that I need that I don’t have. More than food and water, I have an amazing family and a few friends that I can always count on. But mostly I have myself. In my short life, I feel like I have been able to experience so many things that I am grateful for. My experience as a dancer, becoming an engineer, teaching yoga, and even simple things like learning to play an instrument and traveling. That list can go on and on. I’m not saying that the periods of sadness (and depression) I went through were not valid. But sometimes it’s easy to focus on the negative things and noticing the positive things can immensely help me feel better. That’s what Ramadan makes me do. The best part about Ramadan, however, is being able to share my experiences with others. I have always loved cooking for others because I feel it is the best way to bring people together, and during Ramadan cooking for people feels extra special. It is when I share my experiences and food with others that I feel the proudest to be a Muslim. Happy Ramadan to all those who celebrate and I hope it makes you as happy as it makes me.