Feeling 22

rizwana, half-smiling looking to her right
A Birthday Special

You know, I have waited my whole life to have that T Swift lyric apply to me. I’m writing this addition of the yearly birthday post while Nottingham looks lush from my bedroom window. The storm outside is a pretty affair, so I wanted to mention it to you, too. Where do I actually begin?

The last year has been an entity of its own. Cliché idioms like ‘a roller coaster ride!’ spring to mind. In my previous pensive post on turning 21, I called the year leading up to it, transformative; something to be held onto, dearly. I had, after all, a platter of happy occurrences; I excelled at my placement, accepted two speaking opportunities, found a design internship, etc. Lemons thrown at by life were mostly missing. Rizwana, then, was figuratively greatly enjoying the adventure park adventures. This year, she’s at a loss of words.

JH team members sat together for xmas meal

I spent the summer learning from, and amongst, some great people. Promoted to a part-time Junior Design from a summer intern, was a joyous occasion. I had never envisioned I would qualify as a hired Designer especially as I was still very much an un-hired Computer Science final year student, at the same time. Earning enough to afford your own overpriced, everyday Starbucks coffee is a priceless feeling.

Simultaneously, I ordered the cheapest microphones I could find on the internet. My ramblings became a kind of an established thing; nervously asking friends and people-I-was-in-awe-of-when-they-called-me-their-friend to record an unscripted conversation. On some occasions, before hitting on the record button, I would buy myself and my guest, coffee, but then forget to drink my cup as I was left enthralled by how it had all come to together, that I was fortunate to be alive. That was how special Rizamblings became to me.

rizamblings pin

In an autumn month, I was encouraged to bring back my penguin story to a bigger audience in a pub, formed of a mix friends and new faces; I came in 3rd, learning that assembling laughter for people to takeaway was something I could, in fact, achieve.

Then, winter echoed the arrival of lemons. I was busy desperately attempting to kickstart my determination to keep on top of University deadlines, choosing which modules were salvable. Yet, in the evenings, I was at my most content, planning for every detail in the journey of a #Wave3 ProjectFunction learner, with my own team, that I brought together with one great mind, and an even kinder friend. Together, we all vented, we all jumped hurdles, giving it our all until we were happy when our learners were happy. Hey, I even twirled wearing the PF hoodie!

rizwana wearing the PF hoodie

On the side, in prep for the future, I took up the hashtag coined by a caring mentor, #Riz4Keeps, seeking a workplace to settle in as a soon-to-graduate developer. Emails were exchanged, interviews were planned, I was beginning to become hopeful.

However, in the midst of the triumphs, I did not anticipate carrying the largest portion of the lemon crate. Before 2020 had transformed into a year in which humankind would find a global pandemic disrupting the lives of so many, an illness at home had already shaken my world. Thus, praying for the health of my Dad was the only thing on my mind, even when I was still doing everything. I began to record a daily joy for my own sanity.

Days passed by in a blur.

I suppose, Taylor Swift was right: “It's all miserable and magical [..] I’m feeling 22”, and though that is neither inventive nor a useful point to conclude on, it’s all I’ve got.

Perhaps, next year?

Until next time.


👈 Head back?