A lifestyle diary by Nadia Darwesh.

25: Truths, Lessons, and Moving-Ons

Monday, August 27, 2018
25 life lessons on turning 25 Nadia Darwesh black-and-white self portrait with head wrap

I turned 25 at the beginning of August. Here are some life thoughts that have been on my mind in the months preceding this.


Most everything about the person I am today takes me by surprise.

There's the superficial: my kinky hair, the blemishes and frequently rough texture of the skin on my face, my fingernails which I currently, amazingly, like to wear short, the furry lines masquerading as my eyebrows, and even the scent of my breath when I awake each morning. I do not exaggerate when I say that staring at my reflection in a mirror often feels like staring at the face of a bewildered stranger. It's not that I forget per se, just that I've reached a point in my journey where all considerations as to my physical state can come as an afterthought.
Refreshing, yes, but also highly disconcerting.

As for my mental and emotional processes: I confess that I am yet to mature to the point where all of my behaviours are calmly reassured, not quite having reached the status of zen ninja of the forest that I've always aspired to. There are still the contradictory, mercurial parts of me that I've fought to suppress, even convinced myself that I have, but alas―I still laugh when I laugh and cry when I cry, sometimes when there's no discernible reason for either. This is the year when I finally admitted that hormones and PMS are indeed real. It is also the year in which I had the first hysterical laughing spell of my life. There was no humor behind it and my mum, whom I'd been speaking to, stared at me as though I'd lost my mind. I probably had for a minute. It was crazy. And cathartic. I kind of loved it.

So you could conclude that things at 25 are not yet on an even keel. However unlike the neurosis of yesteryears, I do not gnaw on my nails because of this―it's like a show I recently watched wherein a character frankly remarked, "No thirty-year old lives their life thinking they're an adult."
Same could be applied to the quarter century.

The overriding takeaway from all of the above is that it's okay to not have everything be completely figured out, and also totally okay to celebrate life regardless.
The first nugget of cold hard truth, from me to you.

Although initially unsure as to whether to even address my 25th birthday on this platform, turns out that I had some other nuggets (other than what's already stated) that I dearly wished to share with whoever cared to read. I've pored over them for the past couple of weeks and listed them down below for your curiosity and enjoyment.

Cue the pseudo-Solomonic insights, and please I beg: don't hesitate to celebrate yourself too.


  1. The you today is different from the you that existed yesterday. Always.
  2. Have confidence in your choices. Embrace them, bask in them, criticize them, and allow yourself to grow because of them.
  3. Be flexible: to people, change, ideas, memories. Allow yourself to bend.
  4. Realize that relationships do change, either for better or worse. Sometimes it's up to you how this plays out whereas other times it's completely out of your control.
  5. Learn compromise when it comes to your passion because life is rarely the 50/50 black and white affair that we envision it to be.
  6. Get used to failure, because at one point or another, you will fail, and fail hard. It will be a terror-filled, tear-drenched, traumatic inevitability. Nevertheless, don't be surprised by it, and more importantly: Don't let it define you.
  7. Forgive yourself, because regret is nothing more than an exercise in self-torture and futility. (Also, self-flagellation is so exhausting.)
  8. Stop being a gossiping rumour-mongering ugly-talking troll. It's not cool, and you'd hate it if others did the same to you, right?
  9. Make time for intelligent reading. Your brain and general well-being will thank you.
  10. The art that you really fall in love is what makes you see the world in a different way. If all it does is emphasize your viewpoint to the willful blindness of all others, then it simply may be just OK.
  11. Make a plan even when you don't have a plan.
  12. It's OK to say No just as it's OK to say Not right now. In other words: it's totally Ok to not-always-say Yes. Understand?
  13. Nature will always be one of the best forms of therapy: go out and embrace it.
  14. Put an end to any and all overwrought internal monologues. Your voice is not the end all, be all. Have a dialogue with another human being.
  15. Be humble. Get over yourself. Stop being so proud.
  16. Stop comparing your worth to others' measure of success, because how much of their struggle are you really aware of?
  17. Stop approaching beauty from extreme ends of the spectrum, because extremes put you in a too-perfectly defined box―which would be great if only we weren't so imperfectly defined.
  18. Get over your social anxiety, because everyone's a little bit antsy about everyone else. (Easier said than done, I know.)
  19. Embrace the 'fro, and any other 'natural' bits of yourself. Live it. Love it. Don't worship it, because that's a little too heavy. It's also Ok if you get tired of it. You're only human.
  20. Get political once in a while, because if you don't speak up, who will?
  21. You'll always have a voice through your craft or vocation. Use it.
  22. Money is not a god to scrape before, bow to, and worship. It is a reward. And no matter what you think, it will always make a way back to you when you feel at a loss.
  23. Explore: the world around you, people and their stories, the world far away from you. Do it however you can.
  24. Don't let go of your inner child.
  25. Keep dreaming: literally, figuratively, deliberately♦