First off, I’m very happy this Year-end review was written from Australia. I got my wish to spend my birthday this year and also cross into the New Year in a different country.
I came into 2022 continuing with my decision the prior year to overhaul my life and create better opportunities for myself. My major goal for the year was to relocate abroad to pursue post-graduate studies. Reading through my 2021 Year-end review makes me proud of myself. I stated that 2021 was a turning point in my life; the year that put a lot of things in perspective for me after the blows life dealt me. I also laid out my goal for 2022 and I followed through.
Coming into 2022, I knew I was walking into a transitory year, and that’s exactly what the year turned out to be. The year I put in the work to achieve my goals (even if almost killed me, but I’ll say it was all for character development). The other year I think I worked so hard to get what I wanted out of life was 2018, but then it was just the month of December alone. This time around I spent nine months of the year giving so much of myself and choosing to stay the course even at times when I felt like giving up. 2022 was the year of truly tearing it all down to rebuild a new life. This year had me taking roads I knew were going to be difficult, but in reality, they were even much harder.
2022 broke me in several ways; it brought me to my knees multiple times and had me questioning certain moves I made in search of a better life. I chose to persevere through the growing pains. I knew what I wanted, I fed myself with words of motivation throughout the year, I recited words of affirmation, I held on to music to save me when it got overwhelming, and I saved passages from the bible to give me strength when I was low on faith. I leaned on my friends for support when I was going through it mentally, I drew strength from wars I had conquered in the past to remind myself this phase was also temporary. The harder life hit me, the more determined I got to change my life trajectory.
I went through my Instagram story archives from the start of the year till date (I do this every year before writing my year-end review. It serves as a digital journal of sorts. My entire year is documented there and viewing the stories gives me a visual review of my journey through the year). It was so clear how the year went from being hopeful at the start of 2022 to being tired and fed up with my banking career by mid-March, and then the dealing with anxiety that came with the new job. Later on, the stories became happier and radiated freedom and joy towards the end of the year.
2022 was the year life hardened me. I learned to move on quickly from disappointments. I used to be the guy who’d want to take all the time to deal before moving ahead but the events of this year have made me evolve into the guy who doesn’t waste time crying over spilled milk.
I learned to take a minute to accept my reality, make peace with it and keep it moving. There was no need to torture myself over what ifs or what could have been. 2022 taught me how to be flexible with my plans, to always be open to life detours, and be ready to get on board swiftly with redirected paths.
I didn’t realize this change about myself, till well…till the relationship I felt was ‘the one’ fell apart. I have never had it this good or shared so much of my life with someone else. I thought I’d be heartbroken if it ever ends, but surprisingly I wasn’t. I was disappointed it ended and I was filled with resentment over certain things that could have been fixed over difficult conversations and feedback, but it was what it was and I needed to keep it moving. I knew the year was for winding down on major phases of my life, but never did I think or wish I’d also be closing the chapter on my most real relationship.
I always thought ‘irreconcilable differences’ was a fancy name celebrities use as the reason for separation or divorce, but I finally understood it was a real thing. Once we were done, I found myself moving on immediately. That’s when I realized just how much I had been hardened by 2022. Life had dealt me so many blows that I had no energy left to expend on loss or disappointments. My head was set on onward and forward, life moves on.
‘And I wanna cry, I wanna fall in love
But all my tears have been used up
On another love, another love’ – Tom Odell (Another love)
No matter how tired I was, or how rough the road was, it was Sayi…put one leg in front of the other or crawl your way out, pause occasionally to catch your breath but keep moving or if I felt I was drowning, it was Sayi float for a minute and resuming swimming.
Taking a moment to rest was me leaving the office to sit in my car for an hour to center myself or taking a nap to escape reality, or me asking Jeffery if he was headed to his office so I could tag along when being in that office was a bit toxic. By the time I quiet quit, it was mostly running to Ivan’s house to find safety.
While 2022 was transitory and also for winding down my old life phase, it was also one for many firsts. The topmost is the change of job which almost quenched broke me. This ended with two resignations in one year. It feels surreal the roads I had to take to achieve all my dreams this year.
There was a time I had a conservation with Pascal to be sure it was okay to spend from my dollar savings when getting Form A was going to cause serious delays in paying my upfront fees. This is one thing I never wanted to do, use my savings to fund post-graduate studies, worse dipping into my dollar investments.
I told him I wished I was as brave as him because I knew how hard he fought for his goals and gave up a lot to achieve them. I thought it was bravery, Nah… I just had a hoarder mentality. I had to learn how to use what I had to get what I needed. Looking back now, I see how small my thinking was because the money I wanted to hold on to could easily be made back with the new opportunity it has created for me.
I never planned on spending so much because my prayer the previous year was that I’ll get funding for my school. Funny I didn’t exactly pray for a scholarship, I prayed for funding to foot the bill. I forgot the lesson I learned in 2016 about praying for exactly what I want. Then I was praying for a salary increment thinking that it will come via promotion. Funny thing, I was due for a promotion but the bank didn’t promote that year, to compensate, they increased everyone’s salary.
My idea was a full tuition waiver or a scholarship, but so far I have been able to conveniently make payments for a full session. So now I ask myself, what makes you think God hasn’t answered your prayer about providing funding for the school? It didn’t come how I wanted it to, but I’m not lacking the funds either, and neither has making the payments gotten me broke.
I’m now actively working on breaking any form of hoarder mentality I may have. God has blessed me with resources over the years, and I was even more blessed that despite the huge losses of 2021 I am still able to meet these expenses to get the life I want. There’s that saying about letting go of money and it will come back to you in thousand folds. An abundance mentality is what I’m working towards in all aspects of my life now. I have recognized the deep in my finances due to school expenses as a loan to myself which I’m looking to repay in the first quarter of next year, but still, I’m full of gratitude that I was even able to afford it. I spoke to Solomon and Osasu, and the stories they told, and other stories I heard from people about how much cost they incurred trying to meet this same goal got me thinking a lot about how privileged I am.
Looking back at how the year went, I think it was all beautifully orchestrated to lead me to a beautiful ending. I put in the work all through the first three quarters of the year and in the last quarter I was rewarded with not just my visa but also about four months before school resumes, such that I could take a mini gap year of sorts. Another thing 2022 taught me is that manifestation works. We see people tweeting that they are manifesting this or that into their lives and we scroll past thinking it’s just mere words… I wrote down words on Twitter and in this journal, truly they came to pass.
I took the month of November to tidy up my affairs in Benin City, the City I was born and raised. The City opened its arms to welcome a battered and bruised me after working one year in Lagos and knowing what misery felt like. Benin City, the very city that gave me a semblance of what it feels like to love and be loved wholly and realize that spending time 24/7 with the one you love can never be suffocating or tiring…Benin City raised me and it was time to say goodbye to it.
I arrived in Australia early December, to kick-start my new life. I came with a hustler mindset, that once I got settled in, I’d start looking for a job so I can quickly start offsetting my debts. After two weeks of struggling with jet lag and almost getting frustrated, I spoke with Ravi who helped calm me down and reminded me of the need to go slow.
I told myself that instead of ruining this new life with my old habits of putting myself under undue pressure, I was going to take it one day at a time. Talking with Valentine also helped, I mean he was sort of walking the same roads as he too had just relocated to Canada. I had been gifted time to rest and recuperate before school resumed. I wanted enough time before my studies resumed so why was I trying to ruin this gift? I reworked the list of things I need to do on getting to Australia and took off getting a job from the top of the list. It was time to settle into my new environment calmly and savor each day while also learning how to drive right hand. This led me to get my first car registered in my name. It’s stuff like this that made Solomon exclaim back then in Nigeria that everything is just working for me, that I’m sheltered by so much privilege.
After checking out five dealerships I found a car I fell in love with at first sight, even though it was way above my initial budget, I could afford it quite comfortably (though I have added it to my debt to self). I got the car mostly because I need it for work as most jobs require you to be mobile here. I wasn’t going to settle for a dead vehicle or one I didn’t feel comfortable in. I mean, all the years of hard work in Nigeria could afford me this, so why should I have to go through the ‘humble student’ start my sister was trying to argue? I said I was going to work with an abundance mentality and I meant it.
I have made sacrifices to get to where I am, they are seeds planted for a way better future. I trust the process and I know it will yield fruits and I will recoup all the monies spent times over and it will be all worth it.
‘The sky isn’t falling
No, no, no
That’s just the rain
It’s safe to just call this Pain
Girl, I’ve been there
Yeah, life, it ain’t fair
It’s okay to not be alright
Just go ‘head and cry
It might sound insane but I promise one day
You’re gon’ be thanking your lucky stars
For all this pain’ – Ingrid Andress (Pain)
2022 took a lot from me, but still, it gave me so much more in the end. It feels like the entire year was orchestrated to end beautifully at this moment. I see it as symbolic, the goal I worked hard at almost all year coming through towards the end of the year. After all the struggles, I was gifted the last two months of the year for rest. This has been the most perfect way to end this phase of my life which started in April 2013 when I resumed Access Bank Training school.
The old phase has been wound down symbolically, coinciding with my birthday, sort of an end to a new phase and ushering in of a new phase. December has had me settling into my new environment, learning, and getting myself ready for the start of the new life phase set to begin in early 2023. What could be more perfect timing?
Those times I wrote about wanting to burn it all to the ground, to overhaul my life and start afresh…this is it and I’m loving every part of it. Everything I need for a smooth kick-off of the new phase has been provided for me by God. My brother-in-law asked me what type of jobs I want to apply for, if I wanted to also work in a bank here. I told him I want something different, something manual where I can apply myself and feel a bit of control. I spoke to those who arrived ahead of me, and these conversations led me to another answered prayer – a friend who will help me settle in and show me the ropes. I have found this answer in Akin and also Niyi, who assisted greatly in landing a job I believe I will not only enjoy but also find fulfilment/purpose in.
Sometimes my head tries to take me to this scary place of trying to imagine what my life would have been if my visa wasn’t approved…or I start having PTSD flashbacks to the horrible times when I had just changed jobs, I snap out of it and focus on my present. I’m currently living my dream, my answered prayers, and having one of my best/easiest year ending ever. One free of anxiety or worrying about promotions or how the next year will be career-wise. For once I can say I’m truly happy and I’m extremely thankful for it. I remember telling Mina then that I pray we have a happy December and he was like, I’m sounding strange. He didn’t get it but God came through for both of us and we both got good wins as the year came to a close.
Recently it hit me that I have shifted from having those dark depressive episodes or pseudo-suicidal phases, while I won’t say I’m completely free from mental health battles, I mean, hello anxiety? I feel so much gratitude to be at a place where I’m truly excited about my life. 2012, 2018, and 2021 are years I remember crying bitterly due to pain from striving to reach certain life goals. I didn’t plan on adding 2022 to the list, even the day I got a rejection from one of the schools I had gone far with, I refused to let the tears drop, rather I sat to take a minute to let the pain pass.
Funny enough I cried on the plane. I was watching a romantic movie – Father of the Bride and there was a part that got to me. That was the one time the breakup hit me hard. I cried because of the love I lost, and because as much as I never wanted to admit it to myself, it was very difficult going through the entire relocation process without the one person I have ever opened up to completely and let in, the one person I have ever felt my life intertwined with theirs…it was as real as it could get but I went through this major life change and couldn’t talk about the process with them. At that moment, I felt the weight of it all.
So thank you 2022, one of the years I had to work hard towards achieving my heart’s desire, one I had to persevere and also deprive myself of things. A transitory year indeed. I did the hard work in 2022, and it’s my prayer 2023 is the start of enjoying the rewards of all I had to give to achieve this new life. I’m ready for the challenges the new life will throw up but please don’t be as tasking as 2022 was, because I don’t know if I can survive another chaotic year.
I feel strongly that in this new phase, all my life experiences and lessons learned will serve me well in creating a beautiful life for myself. This new phase feels like a major step towards actualizing the life I have always dreamed about for myself. I look forward to having an exciting post-graduate education in a sane, functional environment. I have an opportunity to redo schooling and I’ll try to have it all even if not all at once, but I won’t do as I did during my undergraduate year when I didn’t have a life outside my books.
This is the start of a new phase for me, a start of something good and having my prayers answered (like earning in foreign currency and recouping all expenses spent, and paying off all debt). I’ll continue to show up for myself and be open to challenges that’ll lead me to stability and the ideal life I dream of for myself. Hopefully, I’ll be able to embark on one or two trips to countries on my wish list later in the year, though this is not a top priority for me, if it does happen, it’s a welcome plus.
So cheers to an easy 2023, one filled with happiness and I choose to believe the jinx of having accidents every January is broken for good.