Of regrets and lessons from Malala Yousafzai

Regrets are like dreams, we all have them. If I would be asked of my greatest regrets, I can easily identify three: 1) taking my education for granted 2) abandoning my love of and talents in art (if there is any — see I don’t have confidence!) 3) not writing often.

There are a few women I adore and look up to. These women have their own distinct character. But, there is one thing they all have in common; they live life to the fullest by passionately doing the things they love.

Thoughts of them inspire me. Their words fuel me. But their presence is like a mirror. It compels me to see my reflection; to see a wandering woman who does not have a clear grasp of what she wants to make of her life.

I like to write or create works of art because I’m hopeful that they can channel positivity, joy and inspiration to others. My attempts to create a piece, however, were always hindered by my hesitations that it will ever make any difference even at least to one person.

Recently I read the story of Malala Yousafzai, a very young — she’s only 14! — and brave Pakistani activist for girls education who was gunned by the Taliban. Even before I fully read her story I already knew she was going to open new perspectives for me.

Photo credit: thedailywhat.tumblr.com

Young Malala Yousafzai showed me one more thing those women I admire have in common. They are allĀ privileged women. They were sent to prestigious schools. They live in a society where they can exercise their freedom. They came from a family that can provide whatever they need to pursue their dreams and chosen careers.

Malala, on the contrary, live in a war zone; a village away from the city. She didn’t have as much access to technology that can facilitate better learning. Education to her comes with a great price, her own life.

As I reflected on her story I came to appreciate the blessings life has bestowed on me. What is missing in me is the recognition of the gifts I had been given to fulfill my life’s purpose. My failure to recognize these gifts caused me to live an idle life, always short of motivation.

Malala risked her life for the cause she strongly believes in while I spent mine regretting what I could have done in the past. While she fights for her life at the hospital right now, I would like to pay my simple tribute to this brave young girl by redirecting my life and making the most of what I have.

Her mission may be for the children in Pakistan particularly for girls to be allowed to go to school but her story can serve as inspiration to all other women in the world. She is teaching us to live not just for ourselves but more for others. She is teaching us not to allow anything stop us from pursuing our passion. She is teaching us to stand bravely in a world full of threats to put us down.

I am praying for you Malala. Thank you for being an inspiration.

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