I wanted to try out being busy and see what happened, so in the beginning of 2010 I made a goal to enroll in several trainings, gatherings, workshops, and courses. In the beginning life was normal. It was fun being busy.

The first workshop I enrolled in was Women and Politics. I wanted to know about politics even though our society is not willing to let women be involved in politics. My family encouraged me. Even my young brother, who graduated from law school, persuaded me to enhance my knowledge about women’s rights based on Islam.

I learned about women’s rights, how to vote, and how to decide whom to vote for. Because of this training, I put my life at risk and voted in two elections, even though there was a rumor that if a woman voted the Taliban would cut off her colored finger. It was frightening and a big decision because sometimes a rumor can become the reality. I went with my brother and my sister-in-law to the elections and I was proud to cast my vote for the person I wanted.

Next I attended a course called Leadership in Instability. It was my dream to take leadership training and learn how women can confront challenges and stand on their own two feet. In this training I learned how to be a leader at home and in society.

I established a network of women that can be in contact with each other to inform each other of events. I made many friends during this training. I found a way to work for women who are poor, vulnerable, and marginalized in our country.

I volunteered to translate for a peace project that works for women in a few provinces in Afghanistan. The peace project focuses on women and trains them how to invest in and start small businesses. One of the documents I translated was the Guide to Green Cleaning.

I also applied for and won two scholarships—one for Canada and one for Australia. I chose the Australia scholarship. I enrolled in a six-month academic English course and attended several individual and short-term trainings on gender mainstreaming. I also went to India for Research Methodology and Peace Building. And I did a presentation for Gender and Development in Counterpart International Organization in Kabul.

Finally, I became a member of the Afghan Women’s Writing Project, submitting monthly pieces for this blog.

The negative side of being so busy is that I was forced to spend less time with my family. That is not something that is good in our culture. In fact, sometimes being alone and apart from them killed me, but I had no other choice. I was not able to attend most of the spring and summer picnics with them because, except for Fridays, I had no other time for my homework.

Because I did not have time to visit my relatives on a regular basis, they gave me a new name—Busy Girl—and always called me that instead of my real name.

My “busy experiment” taught me that I should always pre-plan, consider enough time for each job, and not to get under so much pressure that I become tired. I should not take too many courses at the same time because it causes delays in other jobs, especially office work. I also suffered a lot because I have three nieces at home between two and four years old and they love to show me how much they progress in their dancing. Once my mother saw me and said, “If you must do your dancing at night, please be careful about loud music and disturbing the neighbors.”

Overall, my busy year was successful. I learned to cancel some things that were not a priority. I believe that I am now better able to be a good advisor to my nieces, teaching them how to study and better manage their time as they grow up.

By Fariba

Photo by Majid Saeedi/Getty Images AsiaPac