By: Aliya Hirji
The day I turned 16 was supposed to be glamorously filled with parties, gifts, and more friends than I could ever imagine. I sit here, finally sixteen, with none of it. The day filled with hand sanitizer, mind-numbing tests, and a very cold sandwich.
It is certainly not the milestone I had imagined, and yet, I am still content.
Almost a full year of self-discovery during a global pandemic has been interesting, to say the least. I have developed my self-identity, reconnected with my artistic passions, and established myself as a young and involved activist.
I spent the last few hours on Zoom calls with my family. Not just a family of blood or legal documents, but the people who have shaped the person I am today. The people in my life who will forever hold a piece of my heart regardless of the physical distance we are separated by.
The most memorable moments of the past year resulted from emotionally driven and impulsive decisions to take the job I never saw myself succeeding in, jump on a different subway cart, and join an untraceable amount of Zoom calls.
Life is a series of moments and the only way to live life to the fullest is to live everyone.
COVID-19 has given me a greater appreciation for life and the people who make my life worth living. I wasted so much of the last sixteen years dreaming about arbitrary milestones, instead of establishing my own. I have thrown away irretrievable time planning for a future so uncertain that I lost touch with the importance of experiencing the adventure of life.
From now on, I plan on chasing my passions down the convoluted path of life surrounded by people who inspire me to take the tremendous leap of courage.