Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Existential Crisis

I believe that everyone needs a plan. Not that you can forecast what will happen in the future, not that you are guaranteed to follow it. But everyone needs something, sort of like Barbossa’s guidelines…it’s just a map to navigate one’s way through life, the destination always subject to change. My plan is to complete my studies, work, travel, most probably move abroad, get involved in various charities, make a difference and continue LIVE-ing. Whatever happens in addition to that, happens. Whether or not I get married, whether or not I have kids, whether or not I succeed…all that is up to The Almighty. It's destiny. I have no control over certain things in my life.

It’s one of those weeks. One of those rare occasions the world gets to see Azra feel a little down (yeah I’m human too y’know) and question the plan. I had a disturbing dream a few nights ago. I dreamt that I was paddling out into the ocean with some family and friends, the water calm and tranquil. And then all of a sudden this huge wave starts approaching us…I mean HUMUNGOUS, GIGANTIC, GARGANTUAN …of epic proportions. It was so enormous that I had to look up to the sky to see the top end of it. And I remember thinking to myself that this is it. Death approaches me, here and now and there’s nothing I can do. There’s nothing worse than feeling totally helpless. I recall thinking that there was no use in running away from such a monstrosity…the speed at which it was traveling would have easily caught up with me and the sheer force would have most certainly wiped me off the map.

I awoke and found myself singing a strange song that was stuck in my head. A song I don’t know and have never even heard before. I’m almost positive that this song doesn’t even exist. So, as you can imagine, I was mildly freaked out.

I’ve been uneasy ever since. Water never bodes well in my dreams. And now I have all this anxiety that’s come from, literally nowhere. I’m not scared of dying. It’s what happens after death that leaves me TERRIFIED. One can never know what to expect. I usually think about death all the time, it helps keep things (and life) in perspective. It minimizes everything and makes trivial matters seem juvenile and irrelevant. But this is on a whole new playing field. To actually smell death…that dream was as vivid as they come.

It also got me thinking about the aftermath. Dying is a lot of work. If I had to go, my family would have to tell everyone. I mean EVERYONE. Aside from announcing it on Radio Islam, and arranging the funeral, calling up family members and friends locally and internationally, my sister would probably have to go onto my facebook and announce it there in my status so that all of my 324 friends can know. “Azra…is dead, so don’t bother anymore”. She’d have to log into blogger too, let you all know, dedicate a post to me. Good thing she already has all my passwords. And the poor soul is going to have to pack up all the shit I have. Hundreds of text books...Abnormal Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Norton's Anthology, Organizational Behavior, Financial Reporting, Commercial Law...those text books that cost R1000 each. And those little momentos I've collected from all the lovely places I've visited. And all my pay slips and tax forms from Inland Revenue in London. What a schlep. At least she'll get to have her room back.

Bottom line, you can’t prepare for such things. All I can do is pray. Pray for my Imaan and faith, for protection and the strength to deal with whatever comes my way, as well as the courage to face it head on.

To make matters worse, like the cherry on my friggin cake (main ingredients apprehension and anxiety), I’ve been under so much pressure that I can only think that I don’t have time for an existential crisis right now. Maybe I’ll make time on Saturday after Nigella’s Feasts, between the Home D├ęcor and Self Help programs. No guarantees though, because I still have all that Financial Reporting to do.

In between scheduling my nervous breakdown and dealing with all the crap that I’ve brought upon myself academically, sometimes I just want to throw my hands up in the air and say fuck it all, and then go and live off the land on some island where that colossal wave can come and get me good and proper. I want to think that if I’m going to die anyway, what the point?

But I won’t let myself go down that route. I’m stronger than that. I know the bigger picture. I’ve seen it many many times in my dreams and in those little signs bestowed upon me through some or other divine intervention. I have to go back to the drawing board, check my priorities, stick to the plan…pull together…all the strength I can muster, all the courage, all the determination and will-power to see this through. I have to keep with my theme, my mantra called LIVE…without fear and apprehension and paranoia clouding my vision.

What I have gathered thus far is that I am not worthy of my Lord. I know he’s there for me, I can feel His presence. I see His work in my life every day. But He’s not happy with me, I’m not doing enough on my part…not even nearly enough. I have to get my shit together. Put Him first. And stick to the plan.


  1. My sister always gets dreams of Tsunami's when she's in DBN on holiday. Totally freaks her out for about 15 minutes when she wakes up, but now she's so used to having those dreams when she goes to Durban that she ignores them. I suppose the fact that she was in swimming in the ocean like in your dream once and nearly drowned when the current got too strong, doesn't really help much.

    Yes, we're a strange family.

    Azra, you're not the only one that goes through this.
    I have these crazy moments of quiet where I think of this and I make up a lie so I don't have to tell the person what I'm truly thinking about just so they don't freak out.

    That is why I don't keep clutter anymore. I've decluttered my life.
    Imagine, my husband going through all my crap. Yikes. He loves being organised, but I think that will be too much for him.

    I guess, we should life like there's no tomorrow, constantly keep our life in some sort of order so nobody has to clean up our mess afterward, yet live in a way that's free.

    I have a system all worked out. Deal with important issues immediately. Use filing systems. Read Salaah. Smile :) And generally be good to people.

  2. Midway through the post, I was wondering if an encouraging/supporting comment would help. But your last two paras obviated that need, and instead helped me. Yup, one must stick to the plan. And for what its worth, your plan sounds awesome!

  3. i dont have a plan anymore.
    to a question i have no answer.
    yes i m asked plenty and to those i once had answers to, i stay quiet now.

    the way i see it work is just go with HIS plan. that way not much will be lost only a little extra time. which itself we are living!
    good post though Azra

  4. I used to be a major clutterer. THat's calmed down a bit now - but it still happens :(

    anyway, those kind of dreams are amazing and a definite wake-up call. i've had them before, and the intensity lingers well after you've awoken. unfortunately, for me at least, it's hard to keep conscious of that dream - that feeling, and the resolution to do what you need to do.

    the irony is that our perspective is inverted:

    - all this is presented to us in a dream, and then we wake up to 'real life', thinking that "it was just a dream...it wasn't real"

    - BUT the actual reality is that this life is not real at all; and when we die, THEN we truly "wake up" to what is real...and we realise this was all just a mirage.

    Reminds me of something i was listening to this morning:


    there's a lot of good stuff on that site.

    May we all wake up and stay up, before the dream of this world ends...

  5. Fatima - Aside from my text books, I can fit ALL my belongings in one box, and my entire wardrobe with my shoes in one suitcase. And whenever I feel like I'm getting to a point where things no longer fit into a box, or I may need two suitcases instead of 1, I either start giving things away or I throw them away. Thats because I like to live my life like a traveller, and I hate things that clutter my life and bog me down. I don't believe in hoarding and for me, the less I have the better :)

    Every single time I dream of water, its never good. Some shit always happens. But there may be concessions because this was an ocean, not a river, pool, pond etc. I follow my dreams closely with two dream books that give interpretations.

    Death in a dream does not necessarily mean physical death. It could mean the end of an era, or the end of a phase in my life etc.
    However, terrifying waves aren't a good omen.
    And most of my dreams come true. They either occur exactly as I see them in the dream ie. (literally) or they are symbolic of what will happen (figurative).

    For me, I feel like my Salaah and Quraan is not enough...I feel like theres other things I should be doing. But only Allah SWT knows :D

    Arslan - Thanks! It's not in my nature to wallow, so whenever I feel so inclined, I naturally look for ways to get out of it, I look for the positive side and dig deep to get my inner strength :)

    AD - I'm well aware of HIS plan...but I talk about my plan as "guidelines", as in Barbossa's guidelines in Pirates of the Carribean. They're not the rules of life. They're just there to help me stay on course, not get distracted etc. And that is why the plan is ALWAYS subject to change...in Accordance with the will of The Almighty.

    Dreamlife - very very true. I live by one of the Prophet's (SAW) sayings which goes something like this: "My life on earth is nothing more than a rest stop under the shade of a tree, on my journey..." And I believe this 100%. Thanx for the link. Will check it out.

  6. you should align justify your posts. looks neater.

  7. Mash - Are you trying to antagonise me?

  8. No I just find it easier to read. I have this weird thing about visual.. neatness.

    you don't have to.

  9. Mash - I'm a perfectionist so I know what you're talking about, but I dont have the tools to justify :P