Dusk: Amara

I started year 2013 on an optimistic note, after all 13 is my “lucky number” :-), and despite the extreme highs and lows that came my way, in retrospect, I can say it was a year of learning and endurance.

The first 10 months of my year were spent serving my country in Nasarawa state. I had high expectations for my time there and I wasn’t let down. Although it was spiced up with scares of living amongst people whose language I didn’t understand, communal clashes, accidents and even a curfew, I won’t substitute that experience for anything, because for the first time in my life, I got to live alone, decide where I wanted to be per time and enjoyed making decisions for myself without being monitored.

It was a year of discoveries…….

Discovering myself, discovering my country, discovering my passions, discovering people around me as well as discovering love.

I met people…….

The good, the bad, and the ugly…..like literally. I like to focus on the good, self sacrificing, people with whom I share a kinship spirit, bonding almost immediately, having the same faith, feelings, expression and even laughter. The type of friendships I’ll ever cherish. Timi, Tolu, Biem Juliet, Baby Carter, Ebiere, Sadeeq, Shadrach, and all the wonderful people I met, thanks for making my year memorable.

I lost people…….

Both from communication breakdown and physical separation. The most painful being my dear colleague and friend who died on his way to our NYSC passing out parade….RIP H.O.T

I had lots of first time experiences…….

Taught for the first time, lived alone for the first time, worked with kids for the first time, fell in love for the first time, celebrated my birthday outside a school environment for the first time, drove for the first time, climbed a bike with 3 other people for the first time 😀 and put on a generator for the first time *covers face*.

I fell into bouts of confusion…….

Do I want this? Am I sure this is good for me? Is this the best there can be, or is there anything more? Is it God’s will for my life? I doubted myself and my choices time and time again.

I learnt…….

Learnt to express myself, in deeds, writing, design, words, sometimes to my own detriment. I learnt compassion, faith, love, hope, endurance and self sacrifice. I learnt the unpopular decisions are usually the best way to go. I learnt that everything doesn’t always work out as we hope it would, we just have to make lemonade with the lemons life hands to us.

In it all, I’m really looking forward to a more interesting 2014 *tosses confetti*.


Had to choose Amara for Friday the 13th cos it’s her lucky number LOL. Your year had it all. Almost as if you never lived before now! Just blossom like a flower like that in one year. Happy for you.

Day 13: Osams

So Uncle Efe made me do a part Five look-back for this funny project called 2013. What was really special about this year? It did start on a new job fever high and a lie that I entered the year in church when I actually was fast asleep in my house. I can’t even remember most of the things that happened in the year. I am after all called mad-cow for a reason. But a promise is a promise, I have to write something.

There is this quote from the MD of the company where I work; he said something simple “be better in December than you were in January”. So I am going to use this to write-up to try and answer this simple question to know if I have wasted an entire year.

So Son, how was Work in 2013?
I would have to say great. 2013 is my first full year of active service to the establishment. I had January to March and the joys of 7am to 4 pm when I thought the job was going to be easy and fun. All the trainings, field trips, and a general slow pace of events were heavenly. But it quickly changed as the work intensity ramped up. The eight hours on-boarding work day suddenly became 14 hours of non-stop work. It was freaking crazy. But how could I complain, who could I complain to? Someone can only take your issues along with theirs for so long. Moreover, you got the great job you prayed for, right? You said you could work under pressure; well here is the pressure, WORK. 
So I just bottled it all up and answered all the questions with the generic answer “I am great, work is great, everything is fine”.
Well slowly, the pressure cooker toughened me.
When it got to the sink or swim point at about June, I learnt how to float. I turned into a deadline delivery machine and I loved it. At about September, I realized that I could now thrive under the pressure and even looked forward to it as another opportunity to grow. But sadly, the long hours like everything else has its downsides: it has eaten into other aspects of my life. I now have less time for fun but we have to pick our battles and work life balance is but an illusion.
But it wasn’t all gloom and doom all the way, I got to see myself grow and improve. I got to experience corporate Nigeria and America, rolled into one. Trust me when they clash it can be a pretty funny experience. I enjoyed all the numerous hotel trainings, the free food. Oh the food, they made me fat. The colleague-sponsored happy hours – God bless the inventor of happy hour. The jokes at work. Getting to work on project that had impact I could see outside work.  It has definitely been a good year.
How did you deal with your Relationships in 2013?
This year saw a transformation in my interactions with my parents. I am not quite sure if it is because I have matured more as a person, the parents now seeing the matured me or finally growing tired of their knuckle head son. I now have more engaging discussions with them and less one-sided advice-giving sessions.
How was your relationship with God?
 I will say it deteriorated this year. Not quite rock bottom, but you can only descend so low. I kept telling myself I would arrest this slide next week, maybe next month. But here we are at the end of the year and all I can say is that the blessings and comfort he has given me are slowly taking me further away from him. It is sad because I already know what is at the end of this road, but the excuses always win and I continue to slide down the convenient road.
Osams is still single?
I have a million things to blame for this but at the end it’s always my fault, at least that’s what they always say. This year I think I finally put my finger on the reason: I call it Self-Sabotage. The voices in my head always make me do stupid things that end up ruining everything. As my friend Sammy put it in March, my window of opportunity of getting a good girl is getting ever smaller. Sammy screw you, I know I will settle this year. Here we are in December and I am still …… single.
Depression!! What Depression? Everything is fine.
The downturn started in May. The question was why was I depressed? Life was great. Almost everything I wanted was in place. I think that was the problem: I had nothing to blame for my unhappiness. All the uncertainty around relationship, career growth, the economy, savings, etc. were new things I had not quite dealt with before on this scale. I suddenly was exposed to all the things parents shield kids from all at once. I had also replaced the 2012 worries of getting a job with new worries of keeping the job. Then some restructuring at work took me to a new low. I suddenly realized that what was here today could be gone tomorrow. I was depressed for weeks.
I did the most cliché thing ever, I found happiness in the green bottle cathedrals and they worked, well for a while. But the relief came with its associated weight gain. I was finally able to put a break on the booze after I realized that the weight gain might just kill me. I drastically reduced the booze and found a hobby. I started learning a musical instrument. My sister calls my music lessons “A mid-life Crisis”. I think she is right but it has seriously improved my mood and that’s all that matters. I am still an unhappy person but at least the day to day worries of the world don’t get to me as much.
After this depressing soliloquy, what were really the highlights of 2013?
 I started my dream job fully, became truly independent, got a place of my own, had weight issues, battled out a long bout of depression, had financial worries (imaginary ones), survived Lagos for a complete year, used a helicopter for the first time, got my dose of field life and a few weeks on the Atlantic, survived my first ever performance review, overcame my stage fright (well learnt to manage it better), regressed socially, had my self-sabotage ways keep me single for another year, met a great girl, lost her, asked another out, got turned me down because of, in her words “my erratic ways”,  met one that stimulates my mind. Hope I don’t screw this over too.
I got to meet and work with excellent folks at my company. I worked in a great team. I am now able to indulge myself in a few frivolities of life. Samuel and Jenny helped me through really dark days. Missed my family and friends in Benin, I really do. God damn it, I hate Lagos.
I think I am at peace with it all now.
I see 2012 Osams pointing and laughing at me saying, you are freaking fat and unhappy. I smile and say, you were malnourished and messed up; this is the sedentary easy life with its stable weight. I also see 2014 Osams strolling toward me and I see he is already tired.  I say to him, the year has not even started. He just smiles. I guess I already know how my 2014 is going to play out. I just pray I get to come out of it happy.
Back to my MD’s question, so am I a better person this December than I was in January?  The jury is still out on that.
Am I a happier person now?  Probably not.
But 2 weeks is a long time, anything is possible, but I doubt it.
Everything Osams said here is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Salute