Remona Aly
Monday 01 January 2018 Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2

Everything is FINE

Everything is Fine
Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2, Chris Evans Breakfast Show


My friend loves a good meme. Well, who doesn’t. Memes speak a thousand pent up feelings, and so it’s her preferred mode of communication. She recently sent a meme of a person submerged in a muddy swamp, but has both thumbs valiantly up through the water, under the caption: ‘Everything is fine’.

‘Everything is fine’ is our anti-motto. When we’re asked – ‘Sooo, how’s life?’ we respond through gritted teeth and forced smile, ‘everything is absolutely fine’.

Yes, I know my mum had three kids by the time she was my age, and yep, I probably shoulda worked instead of binge watching box sets while covered in biscuit crumbs and a blankie, and I admit, it’s been a year of swipe lefts… but – everything is FINE.

And here we are, 2017 grazing our heels, as we totter on the precipice of a new year with an armful of recycled resolutions.

But saving me from the brink of pessimism, is an Islamic phrase that I say in every circumstance – whether it’s good, bad, or bare-faced ugly.

I say ‘Alhamdhulillah’ – praise be to God, thanking the Divine for the million blessings I don’t even realise I have half the time. It’s the attitude of gratitude calling for positive energy and attracting the same in return.

Oh, but the battle between being moany and being grateful can be a tough one to win. The Muslim Persian poet, Hafiz, put it well back in the 14th century, when he said miserable people have one thing in common – they build a shrine to the past, and worship and wail there.

But that’s not my kind of religion. I don’t want a lifetime devoted to ‘woe is me’, but I do need reminding of my antidote to sadness. When I see no light at the end of my tunnel vision, gratefulness raises a lamp to expand the horizon.

Hafiz also gives me hope and promise through his poetry. He wrote: “Ever since Happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you.

The only way for Happiness to knock at my door, is to make sure I never lose myself in the dark. So I’ll start 2018 not with a strained ‘everything is fine’, but with an affirming ‘everything is awesome’.