I love to reflect and look back on my life, which has had its share of happiness, sadness, struggles and wins. During these reflective moments, I often ask myself the question, “Would I have my life any other way?” More often than not, I find myself agreeing that my life is exactly how I want it to be. Sharing summer memories from my childhood that have shaped my life and inspire me every day.
Almost every year, my mother, my sister and I would visit my home country Bangladesh for the summer break. During those holidays, my grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins would take time off from their daily activities and try to make our family feel welcomed and comfortable. I cherish those summer memories to this day.
South Asian culture promotes close family connections and ensuring that guests feel right at home. My extended family went to all means to ensure my days were filled with love and excitement. My grandmother would cook all my favourite dishes for me. My aunts would take me shopping, or riding around the city on rickshaws. I would spend endless afternoons playing with my cousins. We would do pillow fights, go on car rides without the adults, make ice-cream stops in the city and of course enjoy many inside jokes. These summer memories are some of the fondest ones from my childhood.
The summer memories from my days in Bangladesh have always remained fresh and beautiful in my mind. They inspire me to be as loving to my own family of nieces, nephews and other relatives as my extended family was to me. Life is more complicated and busy now. Time and mode of human relationships have changed. But the memories from my childhood drive me to make time for family. This might mean a call, an email or a comment on a Facebook picture to let them know that I was thinking of them.
I have realized that as my daughter grows, she is also observing me: my values, our family rituals and the way I run our house. There will be somethings that she likes and others that she won’t. As she journeys through life, she will choose a few experiences from her family that inspire her. She will aspire to be like me in some ways and not others, just like I did by observing my extended family during those special days of summer break. These inspirations will shape her life, the person she becomes, and the values she chooses to pass down to her own family.
So live life fully and with purpose. Try to answer the question whether you would have your life any other way. Whichever direction your answer leans, make sure you remember that someone in your life is observing and forming an opinion about your life. Your job is to try to make that opinion one of inspiration and admiration.
All photos in this post are courtesy of Bushra.