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A Personal Look Back…

Picture credit: Isnor Dzulkarnain Jaafar

Yes yes….I know what you must be thinking. Isn’t this post little late? Well I know we’re about 10 days in to 2018 (depending on where you’re located with time zones and all, and when you’re reading this), doing this whole look-back/review thing kinda feels a little dated right? I wanted to wait and see how 2018 was going to treat me before I totally obliterated 2017. LOL!

I knew many would be doing a ‘2017 year in review’ post at the last week of December and they were most likely to list newsworthy highs and lows. Not that there’s anything wrong with listing important and socially impacting events such as movements to fight sexual harassment, the stride we’ve made to get Muslim/hijabi women seen in mainstream fashion, and so many others that I’m pretty sure they would have touched on. We too did that in 2016. But this year, I’m going to take a more personal route.

So, it’s 10 days in to 2018, and so far, it’s been rather good. Feeling rather enthusiastic about it already. Either the optimistic side in me just kicked in or 2017 was such a wreck that I just wanted to get it over and done with.

If you follow me on social media, you would have known that the past year wasn’t exactly roses for me personally. I lost the most important person in my life and that sent me into a tailspin for the first half the year. The rest of that was diving head on into work to bury the grief. Not a very good solution so don’t ever try that. Whilst everyone was planning a New Year’s Eve bash to ring in the new year, I counted down the days in sheer impatience to be rid of 2017 and all that it entailed. Sounds so tragic, OMG. But that’s the truth.

If you know me personally, I’m not one to be without a smile (unless you pissed me off LOL) so to be so doom and gloom is not really me. But emotions are a crazy thing, aren’t they? They take over you. And when the tragedy is hard hit, it’s difficult not to respond.

But out of that tragedy I learnt patience – something I was never really good at. I learnt to let go and as they say, let God.

For the better half of the past year, I kept asking what I could have done better to have prevented losing the most valuable person in my life. The truth is, there was nothing. When God decides, it’s your time to return, it is your time to return. Pulling myself out of the misery and despair, I saw clearly that I had done everything in fact, more than anyone could have and I take comfort in that.

So, whilst 2017 was generally a bummer, I’ve taken time to appreciate the nuggets of good that it has given me – love, life, family, a supportive team here, inspiring writers, all of you readers out there, the list goes on. It is not lost on me how much love and support you have shown us these last 4 years. In the last year when I was pretty much M.I.A, you stood by us, patiently waiting and sending me thoughts and prayers. What more can a girl ask for?

And out of all that, we ended the year with being awarded one of the top 20 websites for modest fashion. Funny story… when I received the email, my first thought was “is this legit?” So, I sent the email around to the team with the message “am I reading this right or am I hallucinating?”

For that I have all of you to thank. This win is just as much yours as it is ours - the stories we tell each month are your stories.

2017 was filled with lessons – lessons of patience, of love, of forgiveness, of the preciousness of time, of letting go of perfection – basically it taught me to be a better me. And I guess that’s all anyone could ever ask for, isn’t it? 365 days to become a better version of you.

Now I look back on 2017 and say farewell but look forward in excitement and anticipation of what’s to come. I hope 2018 will be a better year for all of us.

Sending you all my love,

Juliana Iskandar

Editor-in-chief, GAYA Magazine.

P.S. if you'd like to get in touch with me or let me know what you'd like to see more of from us in 2018, my door is always open at

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