Afghanistan is near and dear to my heart. It is the place where i grew up, where i spent my childhood and some of my teen years. I still remember playing outside till late, walking to school, taking public transportation to relatives house, celebrating Eid and Nawrooz and many family gatherings. Our house with its big yard planted with lots of vegetables and flowers was like the main attraction for close relatives and cousins. Life was pretty simple those days and very much enjoyable although we didn't have a lot of facilities that we have in the States. I vividly remember my sweet grandmother teaching me house chores and my parents helping me with my studies in the evenings.
I also remember the war times, running from place to place to hide, schools closing, the panic look on my parents' faces, the desperation in their voices and their reassurance that we will be fine. I remember how they used to hug us in an effort to shield us from pieces of bombs and rockets that just blew up around our house. I remember how we would wake up in the middle of the night to walk few blocks down our house to hide in someone's basement because a fight was to break out in the next hour or so. I remember the fear of possibly getting robbed, raped, tortured and killed viciously any minute. I remember a whole lot more but don't feel like sharing at the moment.
I don't blame my country or my culture for all the horror and trauma that I, my family and everyone like us went through. I blame the ignorance, the greed, and the manipulative bastards who used our people for their personal and political agenda. My heart aches when I see Afghans struggle in ignorance. The formal education system broke down in 1990 or so. I believe the main reason of the country's breakdown was the lack of education. Anyways, I try to stay away from political discussion on the matter.
My intention here is remembering old old days and the surge of emotions that come with them. Often we get so wrapped up in our present chaos and future planning that we forget appreciating where we were. Good or bad, our past can teach us a lot if we look with the curious eye. We can see patterns, connections, explanations and even possible predictions when looking into our past. We should never discard our past as useless or something that can only be archived. It is too precious to be disregarded. Looking into my past gives me so much hope for the future and the much needed appreciation for my present.
I look into my past to compare present self with my past self. I only compete with my past self not anyone else in the world. I see how I have overcome troublesome experiences. I see how I could have gone down a different path and ended with less happiness and satisfaction as I have now. But I didn't. I survived the worst and thrived through life to get here, with college education, a professional career, a stable character, an alive conscious, a strong mental stance and much more. My hardships made me who I am and I am aware of it. I love my past.