2018 was epic for me. I didn’t realize it until I decided to write this. It’s what they say about not knowing what you have until you lose it. I didn’t realize what I got until I stopped to think about it.
I started 2018 as a corps member in Benin, Edo state serving in a primary/secondary school doing a job I sometimes hated. I welcomed the year in my father’s house with a crossover prayer session that I refused to partake in this year. I sat there and watched my mother pray her heart out. I remember there was light and as I sat on the cream coloured leather couch, I thought that I wanted 2018 to be amazing. I had doubts and no expectations, but I wanted an amazing year, so I just thought of that. My mother must have successfully prayed an angel into our house because I got my wish. Boy, did I get it!
I went back to Benin with a countdown running in my mind. I hadn’t really wanted to complete my NYSC service there anyway so I just went through the motions while wishing the time to race by faster so I could leave. There were things I liked in Benin, don’t misunderstand. I met some amazing people at the lodge where I stayed. I learnt a lot about the environment, the people, and the culture. If I ever want to pay a visit in the future, I know never to go during the rainy season.
It’s what happens with things you don’t want to do, your heart is rarely there. You trudge through the motions and will it to end. That was me in Benin.
Towards the end of my service year, I managed to scrape together some enthusiasm. I took part in the passing out parade for the corps members from my set and while standing under the hot sun – in spite of the fact that I was sweating my skin off – I was happy. It should come as no surprise that I left the very next day.
When I arrived home, I took off my happy costume and put the droll one back on. I was thankful though: my parents were still alive and my family was complete. For the next month and half, I spent my time reading books, writing short stories and applying to jobs. I got advice from well-wishers who would tell me to seek an oil company job today or a graduate internship tomorrow or travel abroad next week. Eventually, in June, I got a job as a writer. I was ecstatic, especially because I couldn’t believe I would actually get paid to do the thing I loved the most in the world.
My job, like every other things you love, comes with its stressful periods, but it’s worth it.
In September, I met Chimamanda Adichie. Technically, I didn’t meet her. I attended the conversation she was at that month (which I won tickets for) and did my best to hide in the shadows. A friend I met that day encouraged me to at least get my book signed before I left. I was very shy but I did. That night was amazing. I thought I had hit my highest point for the year but only two months after, I would shatter the ceiling.
She had announced during the conversation that her writing workshop would be held this year after it was skipped in 2017. When applications opened, I applied. The day before emails were sent out, I remember telling my brother I would never get in. Out of the legions of applications she would receive, she would only pick 22.
The next day, when I woke up for work by five a.m., I must have woken up my entire neighbourhood when I screamed at my phone in excitement. I jumped up and down and up and down as I read the mail more than once to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. I had been accepted into the workshop. I spent the best ten days of my life with Chimamanda Adichie and some amazing writers I never imagined I would ever meet learning how to become a better writer. I met amazing people and forged friendships I will hold on to for the rest of my life.
Of all the days I spent in 2018 (and the year isn’t even over), those were the best.
2018 was amazing in unexpected ways. I learned new things, formed new friendships and came to realizations about myself that I normally wouldn’t have come to on my own.
I can’t wait to see what will happen in 2019, and I know the year will be amazing because why not?
What was your year like? Highs? Lows? What goals did you set last year and smashed this year?