I always use this time of year to reflect on the previous year to see what I have accomplished, whether or not I met any goals, and what I want to do going forward. This isn’t something I do because it’s the new year, it’s just that the new year happens to be around the anniversary of the day my dad passed away. Somehow, for some reason, I end up using January 3rd as a marker for passage of time these past 7 years.
So here we go…
I inadvertently ended up writing about some of my goals in my last post, or rather, I wrote about how watching an inappropriate movie made me want to be a better person. One of the things I mentioned was wanting to write more. This includes blogging.
I started this blog back in April 2007, only telling only a handful of people about it. I didn’t feel like broadcasting the blog at all, content knowing that a few friends were reading it and that’s it. I wrote about whatever I felt like, whether it was about a book signing or wearing two different shoes to work. I wasn’t focused and didn’t know what I wanted out of the blog. The problem is though, I still don’t know.
Through WordPress.com, I got an Annual Report of my website, detailing the Top 5 posts of 2013. A few of them weren’t even written in 2013 but apparently have staying power. Here they are:
1. Hanging Out in Islamic Spain, written in May 2012
2. On turning 30 (almost) and dealing with the whole single thing, written in June 2011
3. Still Drinking (Coffee) during Ramadan, written in July 2012
4. Tripping with Allah: Islam, Drugs, and Writing, written in April 2013
5. A Reflection On My Parents, written in January 2013
Looking at these now, I realize that each of these posts represent something important about me and so it’s interesting that these happen to be the ones that are the most read:
1. Going to Spain was a turning point for me. The trip really opened my eyes to Islamic history and increased my already present desire to travel. In fact, it was because of the Spain trip that I purposefully made Turkey my next big trip and I ended up having a great time. I loved that the old meshed with the new in Istanbul, that the mosques weren’t mere relics of the past, but were fully integrated with the present day to day life and not just cordoned off for tourists to view from behind a rope or dividing rail.
It was pretty obvious to figure out the search terms that led people to this post – Islamic tour Spain, Islamic Spain tours, you get it. Apparently there is quite the market for folks who want to go on an Islamic tour of Spain!
2. The search terms that led to the most hits on this post made me really feel for some of the people conducting the searches – “single muslim girl can’t get married”, “single muslim depressed”, and a theme to that respect. I can’t believe I wrote this post more than two years ago about turning 30, still single, and what that means for someone like myself who is an American Muslim Pakistani.
I have nothing to offer the people who still comment now and then, completely discouraged because they haven’t been able to find someone who is right for them while trying not to sacrifice their values, because I’m still in the same situation as where I was when I wrote that post – still single, still looking for that elusive Muslim guy that I’m meant to spend the rest of my life with.
A couple of additional comments on the post and the fact that it’s number two on this list:
One: I kind of wish my post wasn’t linked when people search for the terms I listed with the word “depressed” in there because I wasn’t depressed when I wrote that nor did I write anything depressing in there.
Two: Even though I’m in the same situation relationship-wise when I first wrote that post more than two years ago, I’d like to think that I haven’t just been sitting here stagnant. I have been trying to meet new people while still trying to have new experiences (mostly around coffee), bond with family (I will forever be grateful for any and all moments I get to spend with my nieces and nephews), travel, and try to improve myself as a human being. So, yeah, please don’t be depressed, oh people in the same situation!
I am glad I wrote that post though and InshAllah, I do hope that I, and everyone else on this quest, find that special someone soon.
3. This post got a lot of hits around Ramadan with people typing in search terms that are along the lines of whether or not it is okay to drink coffee in Ramadan. Yes it is! Not while you are fasting, of course. But if a cup of qahwa is what you need with your breakfast in the suhoor time and is the only way you can get through your Taraweeh prayers at night then I say go for it.
I know that there are some people that quit coffee during Ramadan since it may lead to dehydration but let’s get this out in the open – you all are better than me for being able to quit coffee even temporarily and I’m totally okay with that :)
4. I’m not quite sure what people searched for to end up on this review on a book about drugs and Islam. As an aspiring writer, I liked the book as a whole and am glad I read it. While I don’t condone taking drugs of any kind, I still appreciated the author’s perspectives on such topics. It was definitely one of the more interesting books I read this year and the first one I had ever read by the author, Michael Muhammad Knight.
5. This one gets hits because of search terms that revolves around Pakistani culture, reflection on parents, and retirement cakes. These subjects is still an important one to me, well the topics that revolve around parents and my culture and not necessarily cake. My generation has it so good compared to our parents who had to start fresh when they came to this country. InshAllah may we all appreciate that.
Some months ago, my uncle, my dad’s older brother, visited his son (my cousin) in the Bay Area and I had a chance to talk to him about family and how it was growing up in Pakistan. I didn’t talk to him as much as I should have about the past though so hopefully I will get a chance to talk to him and my dad’s sisters about their lives growing up in a newly formed country. It would also be nice to hear more about my dad as a kid!
Looking back at these posts, my most “popular” ones, I reckon I should continue to blog about being an American Muslim Pakistani who drinks coffee and likes to travel as that does seem to be the theme for the most part.
However, I still don’t know how I should take the fact that my second most read post is one on trying to find someone. I can’t see this being a relationship blog (check out Love InshAllah for really good posts on that topic) but I wonder if I should write about a few of the experiences I’ve had trying to find someone. Although, I would hate to accidentally make fun of someone for the sake of a few site hits. I could just make this website a subtle way in which to meet a guy *cough*. Okay, that would be weird but if I start each blog post talking about how cool I am, you can be sure I went over to the dark side. Funny enough though, when I first told my mom about my website, she asked me if I met anyone through it yet…
Anyways, here’s hoping I can update my blog more, steer it in a direction I’m happy with, and hopefully make it into something that can resonate with others.
Take care folks and in the words of Bill and Ted, be excellent to each other!