2019/20: Wishes, Horses and To-do Lists

Technically, it’s not the end of the decade – that would be December 31, 2020.

However, it is the end of a phenomenal year.  And as is customary, this is the time when we sit back and ponder just how well the year went. We weigh it on a scale of 1-10. Sometimes we say a prayer of gratitude. Other times we draw up a wishlist.

Today, I’m doing a bit of both.

They say if wishes were horses, we’d all be cowboys.

Well then, howdy partner! Well, let’s go on a ride shall we?

………….

Wish I had long flowing hair, so I could whip it around  anytime I feel self conscious.

This would be way cooler than playing with my beard all the time.

Wish I was still 17. Basically, I wouldn’t mind if I was infected with the Peter Pan syndrome. 17 was the best age of my life – I was just about to get into school, just before learning I’d never become an aeronautic engineer. An entire world of possibilities lay before me and for a brief moment, I believed anything could be possible. 17 would always be the perfect age, boosted by good old nostalgia.

Wish I could write as good as Stephen King. Everything he writes is gold. I’ve been reading his books for years and his works inspired me to take on writing as a career. His skill with words and his storytelling powers constantly relay the human condition in excruciatingly deep ways.

I stan!

A boss | | A legend!

Wish I could meet Stephen King. Yes, so I can express my fandom and embarrass myself to the full. I would love to let him know he inspired me to make writing a career even though I feel I sold out on the purist dream. Somehow, I think he’d tell me that I didn’t. Because today writing does pay a lot of my bills and takes care of my family.

Wish I’d just find dear future wife and get it over with. Met a lot of people in 2019 even as we’re still on the search for the future Missus Taiwo.

They say dating is an extreme sport. I didn’t realize how extreme till I gave it a shot.

Because my friends are worried I’m going to end up in a monastery, some of them decided to take matters into their own hands, introducing me to their network of single friends, subtly and not so subtly.

Let me just say, there are some very weird, unique and crazy people out there. A lot of crazies actually.

I guess if you asked the ladies too, the feeling would be mutual.

Would have shared some stories about these blind dates, matchmaking attempts and stuff but… I’m just gonna let this bad memory remain behind in 2019, thank you very much.

There’s a longer wishlist in my notepad and I’ll share them with you some other day.

One thing I couldn’t wish for was a better year. 2019 was near perfect in so many ways.

Our family got bigger cos my brother got married!

It was a physically and emotionally demanding experience and I wasn’t even the one getting hitched. The drama alone from the two days would be material for a novella (still toying with the idea but I’m not promising anything).

Another fun development – Some of my closest pals also got married! This came packaged also with its share of drama (I really should do a novella about these things). But it was also relieving and thrilling in equal measure.

I got THREE (yes 3!) cakes on my birthday. Seeing as cakes are one the best man made discoveries of all time that will eventually save us all, I’ve categorised this under birthday miracles I’ll never forget.

This year, I traveled a lot and slept in a lot of hotels. Have I ever told you how much I love hotels? I just need to figure out how to turn this into a day job so I can retire and do this everyday.

Changed my church, finally. This was a long-time coming anyway and all I can say is “Wow!”.

They say the cure for loneliness is finding your tribe, a group of like-minded souls. I found that this year. The joy of being in a place that seems customised for you.Constantly being surrounded by a community of Godchasers, people who are equally passionate about God and relentless in their pursuit of knowing Him.

It’s the biggest blessing of 2019.

It rocked my world in a great way.

Got promoted, again! At some point, I think I became pretty good at this communications thing (or at least faking it as best as I could) because I’ve just been given an entire department to lead. I got a team working with me and I’m responsible for their performance, output and everything.

As someone who’s nervous about taking on leadership roles, this was a fish out of water situation for me. I had to not only think about the work I was doing, but also teach, mentor and supervise new team members. And they joined right in the busiest season of the work year for my department.

They say if it doesn’t kill you, then it makes you stronger. Well, I say, if it didnt kill you, that’s because it didn’t do a good enough job.

This new promotion nearly killed me. I was so overwhelmed at one point, I started having trouble sleeping at night (I’ve never had trouble sleeping at any time of the day).

Notwithstanding, I kept learning, kept adjusting and kept trying new things. I think the department settled into a good rhythm just before the year ended. I’m definitely looking forward to get back to the office and trying some new techniques. Yeah, I’m, still excited about work. Imagine that!

2020 cant get here soon enough!

Speaking of the new year, some of the things I’ve got planned include…

To be honest, I don’t know yet. This yearly calendar rarely works for me. And I already talked about how delusional it is to do new year resolutions in a previous post.

Rather, I’m more of a if you want to start, start right away kind of person.

If you are running a personal race, on a personal timetable, then it’s only reasonable you have a personal calendar.

For example, I actively started saving judicially in June. People say that you should save no matter how small. And I agree with this, mentally. However, translating this into reality is harder cos…

Bills bills bills! 😂

I could have put it off till next year but what good would that do?

Anyways, saving and budgeting, ✅.

Next: My career. My career may be taking off but as they say, something has to give. The “give” came in the form of my hobbies. I did not do enough of what I love doing in my leisure time this year. That includes reading and writing. I also didn’t learn anything new (officially) ie. Speaking about certifications, courses etc.

I consider this alarming. What I found myself doing was learning just enough to be functional in a role.

Need to change all that in 2020.

Basically “hustle philosophy” cheated me this year. Hustle philosophy, the idea that as a 21st century knowledge worker, you have to constantly be on, plugged in, working, making money, building something etc.

Well, not anymore.

I’ve never really consciously bought into the idea but with growing teams, deadlines and a long commute, it just sort of crept up on me.

I closed the year early, (went on break about 2 weeks to Christmas) and used the time to rest, reflect, connect with friends and family and really do “me” things.

Talk about an adrenaline shot!

I feel more buzzed, more switched on, more creative and more energetic than I’ve felt all year.

So in 2020, I’m going crack this work-life balance thing.

I’m going to figure out how to use the actual 9-5 time to get stuff done. And then I’m done with work. The remaining time is for “me” things.

Life is for the living. Let’s do some living in 2020.

Oh, I nearly forgot. I have one more wish.

I wish you a fulfilling new year, filled with love and warmth.

Thanks for reading!

Curiosity, Memory and Closure

Memory is a funny thing.

Often elusive.

Extremely fluid.

Like waddling in a clear stream, half drunk, while looking for a coin that fell from your bag day before yesterday. The thing is you know the general area where it happened. So you wander around and grope, hoping to get lucky.

Memories are precious. They are mementos of a life well lived (or not). They offer lessons, encouragement and hope for the days ahead.

We cherish pictures because they’ve trapped memories in time. We commit our days into journals. Some of us blog. Others tape special events, in the hope that this moment in time may live beyond the now.

To be relived again and again.

No wonder, nostalgia is so powerful (ask marketers!).

And I would know, my music library is 80 percent old school.

Let’s not get started with my movie collection.

Sometimes I feel like a man stuck in the 80s (other times 90s).

New music rarely does anything for me, and I haven’t had a must-buy, must-own movie in recent years. But 2019 had a few nice surprises for me.

The first surprise was Dido’s new album – Still On My Mind.

One word that best describes this album is calmness.

The gravity of the lyrics. The inventive mix of beats and strings. And of course, Dido’s trademark calming croon.

The songs connected with my mind on an incredibly very intimate level.

I listen to it almost everyday. Living in Lagos, I think this is an essential component in your survival toolkit.

I also think it’s her best album yet but that’s highly subjective.

Either way, it’s on my creative writing playlist, right under Last of the Mohicans Soundtrack and Lighthouse Family so I guess it’s going to live with me a very long time.

 

This year we also had Endgame.

I think I lost my mind in the hall while watching this movie. At one point I lost my voice from all the yelling and hollering.

I left the hall emotionally spent and satisfied.

More than 10 years of watching every MCU movie at the cinema and a lifetime of comicbooks all paid off in the cinema that day.

It’s a moment that I will cherish forever.

😭😭😭

Memories.

Such precious things.

Unfortunately, memory decays and erodes with time. It’s rarely ever 100 percent.

For instance, I’ve been looking for a particular movie for almost 25 years. I saw it just once when I was 6 (I think) and never finished it. Never knew the name, never knew any of the characters. All I had to go on was just one scene that was stuck in my head.

Through sheer luck, I found the movie just a few weeks ago. I was exhilarated! Tossed in the movie and started watching, got to the only scene I remembered (presumably) and turns out, the scene is entirely different from what I had in my head.

Everyone who seeks, eventually finds

Perfect recollection is a myth.

When those gaps start showing up in our memory, we panic.

We remember we were in the relationship for 2 years and it wasn’t so bad, was it? Why exactly did it have to end? We are not sure. Something about “miscommunication and frequent misunderstandings.”

But that was almost a year ago. You’ve grown a lot since then.

You’re better at sharing your feelings. And controlling your emotions. You’ve got your shit together now.

And that’s when we really panic. Can’t believe we let love go just because of a silly thing like miscommunication. All we needed was a little more patience and effort.

A little more time to grow, right?

Panic camouflages as curiosity. We want to revisit those memories, to affirm that we are remembering all there is to remember. We ask ourselves questions – Why didn’t I reply this way? Why did I give up so easily? Why did it have to end at all?

Memory has a way of being picky, leaving out the painful bits but keeping in detail, the good times.

It’s why people get back together, even though they know deep down they broke up for a very good reason.

Yes, you know the reason(s) it never was going to work but now, you lack the conviction.

So you probe, you ask questions, you reminisce and try again.

All in the search for closure.

This darn thing called memory.

Such a blessing and a bane.

…………………………………………………………

This is part one of my annual End of Year rants. Part two will be up in a bit. Thanks for reading!