Photo by Simon Migaj
2019 was quite a year for me. I recorded lots of high moments as well as many low moments. It was the year I believe I chopped the most L’s (losses). I was really unhappy for a while and nothing seemed meaningful at some point. I have winged it for the most part of this year and basically just existed. I will try to do a review of my year in this post. I hope to look back at this article 2–3 years down the line and remember this phase. I also hope someone learns something or is motivated by my experiences.
- I graduated from University officially and I was privileged to finish as the Best Graduating Student in the Department of Computer Science.
- I began my NYSC (a compulsory one-year service all graduates have to undergo in Nigeria).
- I relocated to Lagos…finally! For the past 3 years, I had wanted this. I dreamt of it, prayed for it, prepared for it and wished. Finally, it happened in 2019. I officially relocated on the 31st of July, 2019 and this was my first time being very far from my nuclear family for an extended period of time.
- My finances didn’t do too bad this year 😉.
- I made progress in gaining clarity about my life. I’m not totally there yet, as there is no destination. Discovering oneself is a journey, I believe, and thankfully, I am making progress. Thanks to my friend, Uduak, who has been very helpful and patient throughout the process.
- My spiritual life and relationship with God greatly improved. I’m excited about what 2020 holds in this regard.
- I had a lot more trips in Nigeria than I did last year. I’m thankful for safety and protection always.
- I got to show more love to people I care about, be more expressive and appreciative of them while they are alive.
- Many times I had expectations of my friends and I got disappointed. I expected them to sometimes do the barest minimum (like just show up) but they were unavailable. I grudged for a while but I opened up and began the process to forgiveness. Still hurts but it’s fine.
- I thought I would diversify my income this year but I didn’t. Funnily enough, I did not move this goal over to 2020 (I don’t know why).
- I dealt with loneliness. Who would have thought? Moving from Uyo (a calm and serene city) to the busy and crazy city Lagos, I had assumed it will be all fun and full of adventure. I was in for the shock of my life. Uyo is a small city and I schooled here for the major part of my life, so I know many people and we are all in close proximity relatively. But Lagos???? There are certain close friends I still haven’t been able to meet up with after 5 months. I don’t know if this counts as a major culture shock but I wasn’t used to this. Distanced from my nuclear family, not close to the extended family and friends I have in Lagos, not having friends that stayed around me….this was a lot. I resorted to social media and eating out to try to relieve me of the loneliness (very unhealthy solution). It didn’t work as much and began to affect my mood at work. This was a very trying phase for me. Still not 100% over it, but now I am accepting and getting used to being alone. Yes, just me.
- I needed to attend the PyCon 2019 at Cleveland, Ohio which was funded and I was denied the US VISA. This hit me hard!!! At first, I just zoned out and did not process the pain. It felt like a dream (probably malaria) and I hoped for dawn so I would finally wake up and go for the real interview where I will receive my VISA. lol.
- I experienced unrequited love, which isn’t the best feeling; but we locomote ✌🏿.
- My health was shaky. Probably due to the change in environment and the filth in Lagos air, my nose allergies got more frequent and I was visiting the pharmacy too often. Health care isn’t exactly cheap and these allergies can be rather embarrassing and inconveniencing.
- There was growth at work and I got a promotion.
- I was able to coach and mentor people in data science personally (via Twitter, LinkedIn and WhatsApp), as well as through an internship the company I work for organised this year (May-October, 2019) that I was given the responsibility to direct and run. The internship began with 9 cohorts, which reduced to 4 at the end of the 6 months period and they were absorbed as junior data scientists into the company.
- I was presented with quite a number of opportunities which I don’t take for granted.
- I got invited as a delegate to PyCon 2019 hosted in USA.
- I got involved a little bit with the developer community in Uyo and I had the honour to share my story at the WomenTechMakers International Women’s Day Event in Akwa Ibom.
- I learnt to visualise data with Tableau. This is a great win for someone that sees herself as not being creative at all.
- I veered off the path I planned to follow this year. I write this with mixed feelings as this is not exactly a low. I got to learn new skills, discover my inner strengths and weakness more, as well as gain clarity. This wasn’t the easiest thing for me as I am one to always have things all thought out, planned and figured out.
- In 2018, especially in the last quarter, I learnt a lot. It was like an exponential curve and I was very excited about it. Unfortunately, 2019 was the opposite. I didn’t learn as much, in fact, I sometimes feel I did not improve at all (I know this isn’t exactly true).
- Because I did not learn as much, I did not share. For the most part, I felt like a fraud and I felt really empty. I kept telling myself I can’t give what I don’t have and I can’t pour water from an empty cup (which is true). I felt like an imposter, especially when people will reach out to me for help and advice or when friends recommend people to me.
- I did not work on any major personal project which is something I really desired to do in 2019. Anyway, we try again next year
I have spent the last days in 2019 with my family. I have also tried to be intentional about showing love to my friends and family, far and near. I want to make the best of every second.
I took time out last week to outline my plans for 2020 which are personal and created a vision board for my year 2020 with my sisters. In summary, 2020 is a defining year for me. The major keywords are: focus, investment and growth.