5 Epic Life Lessons In 5 Minutes

Me, looking over the Bosphorus River at the incredible architecture of Istanbul. The Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia can be clearly seen from the water.

Peace to you, you and YOU too! I hope you’re just as excited as I am about this double blog-post day!!! Since Sunday, which is when I safely returned home, I have been bursting with stories and of course, pictures (!) to share with you about my incredible journey over the past few weeks. I don’t want to bore you with a laundry list.

*I just want you to spare FIVE minutes to quickly scan through the TOP 5 LIFE LESSONS this trip has taught me. Focus on the bold parts!*

Also, yes, I will naturally update this post with pics by 9pm tomorrow! Stay tuned.

Lesson #1:

There is a huge difference between those who claim to be Muslim and true Islam.

Don’t judge Islam by the lavish lives of Muhammad bin Salman or the Crown Prince of Dubai.

If you are serious about discovering the truth, go cleanse your heart first.

Then, all the rules and rituals will make sense. Allah (Arabic Name for God) Has Created the heavens and the earth with the Purest Form of Love. We are doing such a grave injustice by reducing Islam to rituals while forgetting the reason why.

In Turkey, I noticed that the majority of the citizens I encountered are devoid of faith in a place with SO MUCH Islamic history. Although they say “MashaAllah” and have intricate artwork of Allah (God) and His Last Prophet (peace be upon him) everywhere, their hearts are empty. They have forgotten the lessons their ancestors (the Ottoman Empire) left behind. It seems this is because religion is forced on them.

It’s not like the U.S. where we can openly choose. This is exactly why my heart bleeds red, white and blue.

Lesson #2:

People are not who they appear to be on the outside.

I’m a naive little girl, but this trip has really adjusted my lens – pun intended! I typically believe that there’s no reason to doubt what anyone says. In Istanbul, the most important thing for the majority of locals is business.

This is largely the case in the world, as well. They may seem like the nicest people. They start by offering you some tea, and asking where you’re from – you don’t have to tell them.

They sniff you out, and devise the best way to bait you. Just be polite, and don’t get sucked into their sales tactics. Once your money is gone, there’s no getting it back! Also, don’t hand out your social media or God Forbid, WhatsApp to ANYONE. No, thankfully, I was not the victim of such a scam, but it was narrowly avoided! Alhamdulillah.

Lesson #3:

To have the most fun, STOP caring about what anyone else thinks…but God. Stop trying so hard to fit in.

With all the love, no one really cares. The best memories I made were when I ignored what people would say and just went for it. That kind of confidence is almost intimidating to most people.

Lesson #4:

Keep it simple, sweetheart!

This one is pretty self-explanatory and specific to trip-planning. Don’t overpack, don’t overspend and don’t over-extend. Make a budget, and stick to it. You’ll probably end up wearing 1/4 of the things you packed, and using none of the calamine lotion reserved for trips to the Jungle.

Lesson #5:

None of this glitz and glam lasts forever. Turkey was the “before” pic. Dubai is the “after.” Do the work on the inner you before decorating the outer you for massive success, or you will always be empty.

Since I went to Istanbul first, I saw, firsthand the sultans that were fed with spoons of gold…withering away in their lonely graves.

If this world was meant to be Paradise, there would be NO death.

Oh, and the sultans could make the sun rise and set when they wanted. But alas, they couldn’t…because they are not God.

The palaces, which is where these sultans lived (and sometimes, died) – from Topkapi to Dolmabahçe were absolutely insane!

To think, these people created such fantastic infrastructure over 500 years ago. This was mind-blowing. We think we’re the most advanced…I guess there were many before us that thought the same.

BTW, it was this extreme extravagance that caused the eventual bankruptcy of the Ottoman Empire and their decline.

This same display of wealth is what I witnessed in Dubai. I mean, people were forking over $10 million bucks for a number on their license plates!

It was all a huge competition of who had more in their hands. The entire focus was on materialism, instead of spirituality and nurturing the minds and hearts. More, more, more.

And yet, they were never satisfied.

It’s exactly like Surah Takathur. Mind you, this is a majority Muslim nation and these are all Muslims. Remember, Muslims are NOT Islam.

Anyway, that’s about all the wisdom I got for now, he he! I’m super excited about the start of the new year and new decade. I’ve been preparing myself by making TODAY my Day 1, instead of waiting for a new year. This year, as I strive to master the biggest goal of discipline, I have secondary goals as well:

  • To talk less and listen more
  • To manage my time and money better
  • To keep getting over the fear of failure as a 2nd generation immigrant

Hope this helps!

So much peace and love your way,

Just Mishi

-Your Ordinary Human Girl

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