This will be short. And precise. I hope. This piece is going to be one of disjointed thoughts.
I had many things to write this year. But I didn’t quite end up writing much personally. I did write though. I wrote several essays, articles, and had publications here and there. Maybe I actually wrote more this year, but writing essays and academic related stuff has always been my thing. The form of writing I was hoping I’d do more of is writing personal essays. More opinions and more of infusing my experiences into writing. I wrote one or two in this regard though. My fav is partially talking about my secondary school experience and how public education in Nigeria is a shit-show (thanks to the delectable Waliyah for keeping tracks to ensure I wrote it). However, I have come to realize that to write personal essays, you need to be vulnerable. And that’s something I’m not easy on. I rarely see the point of vulnerabilities (I still largely don’t) Even while writing for The Republic, I and the editors had a few back and forth. But vulnerability is a key thing, I have learnt. In writing. And in relationships. Concerning relationships, Obafemi would say “you can’t be staying guided with people you like.” And I think that makes a lot of sense.
Anyone who knows me knows I want to achieve big. Extremely big. And at a young age. But don’t we all want that? In this mortal world, I tell my friends, two things are the most important: money and impact. Every other thing can matter in heaven. But here, these two things matter greatly. And I chase them relentlessly. But I relented at the latter part of this year (career wise). The year got tiring. I detest routine and there was so much routine this year. I went home in March, and for straight 5 months after that, I would wake up to my laptop and phone and do the same thing over and over. Suspended copywriting in March/April so I can do more personal writing. Went on a writing spree then. Tekedia, The Republic, Stears, SSRN, one Indian Law Review, LAWSAN, several others, so many essays. It was a tussle between my mother and I before I eventually cut my bushy hair. But all of these things soon became routine. Moved back to school, did some internships, jumped back on several projects, resumed writing for commercial purposes. But concerning career chase, I relented at the last quarter of the year. Stopped applying for stuff, or applied with very little energy. Eva reminded me of stuff to apply for. Anointing did the same. Even more recently, Obafemi wanted us to apply for an international competition. But my reply concerning the competition had to be that I wasn’t mentally ready for those things yet. The interest had slightly dwindled, and this was even enhanced by the fact that I was working and rarely had time. More so, even if I apply and it does click, by God, I was tired of doing anything virtual. I have missed the traveling part that comes with competitions, fellowships, prize ceremonies, or whatever is getting me out of Ibadan. That reality has been a part of my uni experience since 100l. I had missed it, and it affected how I viewed opportunities. I’m charged up again though. Or nearly.
I like to think I have a tough mental health—and I do. That’s one of the main things that pulled me through this year. None of the things that happened really touched me. When the pandemic struck, it strong-armed me into going home. And that gave me the opportunity to have more family time to spend with my mother and younger brother. With my father too. One key thing that was reiterated to me this year is the importance of spending time with those you love. I had several discussions with my friends too. Career wise, life wise, personal discussions, women. Have discussions, appreciate people, and give them their flowers. People died this year, whose deaths I extremely felt—and we weren’t even close. Death is such a finality. That’s the unique thing about the process. It’s not like an injury that you get back from and tell stories. Once you die, you die. All the dreams and aspirations end. That’s it. You’re dead and people move on. And there’s no one capable of the appropriate grief. People can try, but no one has the monopoly of grief. And to be sincere, I do not think I fear death anymore. The worst is that you die. But so long as we live, we push till we can’t.
Persistence is a function of results. To keep it a buck, I did achieve this year. A lot. And to keep it a further buck, I think I have been on the fair side of wins for some years. I do not ruminate on these things. I acknowledge them, stay grateful, and move on. I do this because certain things can trap you. Too much talk can trap you. Life can be a very funny place and potential is a tricky thing to have. More so, there are things I do not have that I wish I did. No one is guaranteed success, and real life is what happens post-school. All we are doing now is preparing for that life. It’s why I have a firm belief that the right period to talk about wins will come, but for me, not now because I do not even have those things I truly consider wins. When I hit the things I consider milestones or points that I know are defining enough, … (PS: I have absolutely nothing against talking about your wins)
Anyway, persistence is often a function of results. I find that it’s relatively more convenient to not give up when you’re used to results. Till date, I think one thing that made me intensify on certain areas was because I got impressive results at a very early period. Won competitions in 100l. Won impressive money in my 200l first semester, and it’s been like that. This has spurred me for several other things beyond competitions, even things I didn’t think I’d get. When you’re validated early—and you are interested in the particular area—potential and talent will likely gather up. This is the same for many people across different things. Business. Academic Grades. Etc. This is to say that many of us who consider ourselves go-getters are only so because some of our shots are hitting right. The chances are high it might not be so if you don’t get results, and this accounts for why people recede when they face many setbacks. It’s human. This means that you, who accomplish stuff, are not necessarily tougher than the next person. You are hardworking, but you have also been on the lucky side.
We had a rough year at Tell! as well, just like many other businesses this year. We did manage to pull through the year and launch some products. Our newly launched secure bookstore remains active and you can publish your books with us. There were a lot of lessons in that regard this year. We have never had to handle a pandemic and running a business, so there was a lot to learn. The major goal was to sustain all through, and we did quite well on that. Hopefully, we go harder next year.
There’s nothing I wish for people more than clarity. There’s nothing I wish for myself than clarity. And I gained more of it this year. I think this was more because I had lots of time to spend with myself, which is rarely the case. During the academic sessions, I’m often so held up that I rarely have time for myself. From important things to cruise, I occupy myself with a lot. Something that even affects my romantic relationships. Lol. But I gained more clarity this year, especially about all the possibilities to explore post-school. About friendships, about the essence of many things, about family, about purpose, and perspectives concerning progress in life. I know how I want to move in 2021. And once again like it always happens, I know the things that concern me and the things I do not give a flying scuba-diving fuck about.
I gained more clarity on how stiff law is. I have always known. But I saw people scramble for jobs this year, man. It’s a wild west out there.
Reality is a crazy thing. I saw people come to understand what others have been telling them for years. About ideologies, patriotism, Nigeria. As I have always said, dem no de tell person. You can argue on and on about certain things when you either haven’t experienced the reality or you’re still within a protected space like your undergrad days. When life hits you, understanding often sets in.
I think I do good by my friends. And I’m grateful for them as well. I’m trying to do better with my friendships. I am someone who spends the bulk of the time alone—who loves to spend bulk of the time alone. My call log only contains calls of those I stay with (perhaps when I want to ask if there’s light), and those I’m working with. You’d find Toheeb there a lot. But I’m quite an available person at the same time. For people. For my people. I’m grateful for my friends and how we pulled through this year. I offered the help I could, which later came back to serve me as well and still serving me. It’s more impressive for me that a good number of them are in a much better place and ending the year on a better scale. It’s the wins for me, financially and career wise. I mean, this my guy (mo fi oruko bo lasiri) now spends on staycation lmao. And I made money with friends as well.
I and Eva had an impressive discussion this year while journeying back from Lagos in January. It was about how we all won’t win through the same path. Someone might not be interning currently like other people are, they might not be applying for competitions as much as others are, they might even be lowkey, and yet, this doesn’t mean they are hustling wrongly. Clarity is key. Lol. That doesn’t mean they are hustling right too though, because you might just be wasting away. This again is why clarity is key. Like my good friend Fikayo would say “our journeys are different…and as omo boy, you no ft give up”
On the seventh day… This is where I’ll rest as well. I began the year by ending a tenure with the best set of executives at the Law LnD. All of these guys were solid all through the tenure and even more solid during the planning for LnD Day. I learnt an important lesson during that period. The little things you do well will likely come through for you someday. This was largely the case with us raising funds for the program.
Secondly, I have realized I am really not ready for a romantic relationship. I don’t think I’m capable of dating anyone currently without breaking their hearts or being available as they desire. So for now, I’ll give all the love I can as a friend. As a more-than-a-friend. I am not sure this will change anytime soon, but who knows.
I do not regret anything this year. The Nos I said to people—and I’m often saying no to stuff, the yes-es I said, the relationships I had to allow get defined, the money I spent, the people I bonded with, the food, the moments, and the [redacted]. I am someone who has no problem saying “no”, but I think I might have said yes to a fault this year.
Also, as I journey to my fifth and final year and next year (hopefully), I do not have many goals, but all the goals I have set and plan to set are high-end. There’s a lot to milk in the undergrad days, and I have one more year to handle these breasts.