I am so grateful for 2018!
2017 started with me resuming into a new role at work, and that came with a lot of adjustments. It was mostly new, and I had a hard time adjusting to learning new and my leadership position. It was also different, learning under someone who reported to me. It had always been the other way around for me, and it was just different, having to learn under someone.
I started dance classes too. It was a dance class themed around African songs, and this was where I likely started to sing to all the songs that now play in my head like a broken record. Long after the dance class shut down.
I was exposed to a new way of thinking. It started casually, as a chat one night in Moji’s house (February 18, 2017) around Pentatonix (don’t know them? see here. I promise you will be wowed) opened this life for me. I remember the car speeding off after I declined to show the driver my home, the pick-up at KFC on Adeola Odeku the next weekend, the birthday, dancing at Entyce at that send-forth and being swirled around the dance floor, the lecture on my return trip by road, the calls and text before I went to the airport in November. There are a gazillion memories here, and I cherish every one of them.
2017 had been a learning year. I learned about myself. I learned that I truly do not like to lie, and that it isn’t just a thing I say – i am honest. I am not proud of how I entered this realization, but I am so, so glad for the decisions I made after that.
I traveled. I went by road to Yankari Game Reserve in Bauchi. They lied to me! The guy at Cross Country told me that we would leave Lagos by 7am and arrive in Bauchi by 10pm. They told me from the park to Yankari would take 30 minutes. I ignored a blog I had read online by some guy who had also been to Yankari. We left Lagos at about 7.30am, arrived at Abuja shortly before 10pm (longest part of the drive was in Kogi State – bad roads, closed roads causing us to divert, and accident on the road. Shortly after, I saw the signpost ‘Ogori Mangogo’, and I thought, ‘go figure’) and slept at their Bus Park.
Departed Abuja 5am the next day and we finally arrived Bauchi by noon. Then a 2 hour bike ride to Yankari, followed by a 30 minute car ride to the grounds itself. What a journey! It had been a great time. I appreciated being by myself, got to clear my head, take pictures, write plans for the immediate future. By afternoon of Day 2 of my stay, I was already fed up. The time to think and let it all go during the from-Lagos leg, the first day and morning of the next had been enough for me. I refused to swim in the springs J I just had mental horror images of some carnivorous parasite swimming up my va-jay-jay. No sirree!
The return trip took another two days (well, three). I had arrived in Bauchi the day before, as I had been told there was no way I would get to Bauchi from Yankari in order to meet the early morning bus. The guy at Cross Country offered me a room to stay in, as against paying for a hotel room. The driver’s room, he said, and gave me the keys then showed me the bathroom. The room was a very small room, with only one window. The mattress was old and torn. The fan worked. As did the bulb. The room was free. First, with my skin, I could not even dream to sleep on the mattress so I instead raised the mattress to cover the window (which did not have a curtain), lay my wrapper on the floor and used my backpack as a pillow. Then I realized that from the inside the padlock did not lock the door properly. And that the staff was not going to sleep in the building – a building without a fence. How do I explain? And if I had no sense of self-preservation, not after the lecture I had received after A found out that I was returning by road, as against air. “Everyone road trips going, not both ways”, he said, and I had gotten roasted later for trying to “save 20k that won’t have been enough to buy a bottle of Hennessey”.
It was a more whole person that returned. And boy, am I glad to look that person in the mirror daily.
I had also been in Kenya and Uganda. I left Sunday November 19th to JKIA, then to Entebbe on Monday evening. I returned to JKIA on Thursday 4am (left Entebbe Thursday 12am), spent money I did not have at JKIA Duty-Free, buying chocolates and perfumes. The plane stopped at Cotonou – the one airport in all my stops where I could not roam. And then we were held down by a mechanical fault on the plane for over 2 hours, and I had been thinking that maybe I should just get down and take a bus to enter Lagos through Badagry. An official at the airport held me down briefly, then called someone else. Poor dude obviously could not read, as despite scanning my passport severally, he still kept asking me where I was coming from and all. It had been truly unfortunate that the country where I had a green passport was the country that stressed me the most. The trip had been well worth the while, and I felt I achieved all my work goals.
I worked better on dealing with my addiction in the year. A few days before the end of December, I remember thinking, ‘it has has been four months since I had —‘, and I had not even realized it. I was so thankful. Of course, that same day, I fell off the wagon.
There were days of intense hurt too. I remember my birthday. I had been in a place of such hurt. I cried at Church that day, so hurt, so broken. And while at Omu Resort, I remember feeling so empty. I know now that I had expected too much too soon, and it was wrong.
I am grateful for my family: the parents I have, who have stood by me, despite not understanding the decision I have made; my siblings who have offered support, for Soji who said, “whatever you decide, we will stand by you”, and Kate, whose arms are always wide open to me. I am thankful for Ayokunle and for Folahan. I have a clan, a quality clan.
Life happens, and they may get busy. But I have a clan.
I entered into 2018 with optimism, with hope, with determination to do better, be stronger and more proud of the person I face in the mirror at by the end of the year.
I am learning to be more open-minded. Still through A, then a book I had read, which led me to Twitter where I followed someone then overtime some more people. Why? – To read how people think, to find opportunities for growth. I am learning there is more than one way to view life, and that I should mind my business, let go of the past and look for the joy in today. It is up to me to choose the perspective from which I want to view life.
Here are some lessons I am starting 2018 with:
- To stop assuming. To stop over-analyzing. To stop over-thinking. To stop figuring out what people are really, really thinking. To breathe, let go and take their words at the face value with which they have reached out.
- To maintain my friends, especially female friends, and not place my romantic relationship above my other relationships. My friendships will ground me in so many ways. Plus, being selfish – if you fight with your romantic partner, who do you then have to talk to?
I lost all my pictures. Over the past weekend, my device was disabled, and I had to update the software…. then the version that my pictures, videos, books, notes, opened web pages, saved passwords etc. were backed up on turned out to be non-compatible with the most recent version of the software. How does this even make sense? Same device, and back-up on the same tool of the manufacturer…. I feel like I am literally starting 2018 on a clean slate, in more ways than one.
I look forward to every day of this year that God has given to me. I look forward to achieving my goals, reading all the books that I want to, writing as much as I plan to, partying as much as possible, and building friendships. I look forward to excelling, and being the best version of me that I can afford to me.
Hang in there with me.