Design by Caitlin Martens. Buy this photo.

Our lives are subject to drastic change every single day. And I believe keeping this in mind is the most important form of introspection we can take part in. 

I recently started working for a head trauma clinic, where my job is to create extensive reports of the patients who come in. I have drafted and seen the reports of numerous patients: some as young as 23 years old, some who had graduated from top universities, some who would fly to different states to meet business clients, some who had incredibly active lives and some who were the most social and friendly of people. I’ve read the reports of a recent college alum who had just started the beginning of their business career, and now finds anything more than dog walking to be completely exhausting. I’ve listened to the recording of a man in his 30’s, who lives in complete isolation, crying so hard he can barely make out his words. He speaks about how he wants his life back and wants to become the same social man he once was. I’ve listened to a woman speaking about how her husband’s accident has led him to live in fear that she will one day leave him. I’ve heard her telling the doctor that she loves her husband and knows they are soulmates, with her husband silently listening to the conversation from beside them.

The lives of these patients changed in the span of mere seconds. Whether it be through an unexpected car crash or a sudden fall, it took one second for their entire life, everything they’ve worked for, to be limited by the instance that created their current condition. And this can happen to any one of us. I’m not saying this so we all live in a constant state of fear. I’m saying this so we can realize that for an incredible amount of us, the “good old days” aren’t behind us. We are in them right now. 

It’s currently Ramadan, the month where Muslims fast for 30 days. It’s a month of celebration, a month of festivity spent with family and friends. For the first week of Ramadan, I stayed on campus because my mom had to travel for some business. Staying alone, I knew that I could look forward to the week when my mom would come back. I had the luxury of knowing I would see my mom again, but that could have changed. After I break my fast, I have the luxury of deciding what the first thing is that I want to eat, but that may change. When I go to bed at night, I have the luxury of knowing that tomorrow, I will wake in full health, a roof over my head, a fridge full of food and a closet full of clothes, but that may change. It takes one moment — one accident, one mishap, one unintentional consequence — for this to possibly dissipate in an instant. 

If we reflect on the idea that our lives can change with any moment, we will begin to see the impacts of it in our daily lives. The way we speak to our family and friends, the way we appreciate our next meal, the way we are grateful for our ability to do our math homework and achieve challenges are all subject to change because of this reflection. Even if you despise this introspection, it all adds a sense of gratitude in our minds and gentleness in our hearts. It is imperative we keep this in the back of our minds so that we live with a greater sense of consciousness. Our “good old days” expand to more good days, a mentality that can add content to your life and to the lives around you. 

MiC Columnist Syeda Rizvi can be reached at