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I wrote my 2019 EOY review on the 31st of December, 2019, and like many others, I did not see the year 2020 going as it did. 366 days later, I’m attempting to write my 2020 yearly review and if you’re reading this, then obviously that attempt was successful.

2020 was different. Imperfect yet beautiful. Chaotic, but calming. Fast yet slow. My major keywords for 2020 were focus, investment and growth. I’m not sure how well I did with investments, growth was slow, but there was focus. I’ll try to structure this piece like that of last year and make it as brief as possible, so let’s go!


LIFE

The highs:

  • I completed my NYSC in the first half of 2020. NYSC is a one-year mandatory service program for graduates in Nigeria. My NYSC got tiring and a bit limiting, so I was thrilled to round that up finally.

A selfie just before my NYSC passing out parade in May 2020
  • I enjoyed good health in 2020. When I came to Lagos in 2019, my nasal allergies got really bad, and I spent a lot of resources on medications for months. Thankfully, this year, my allergies were infrequent and not as severe. Even though I got really ill towards the end of the year, I’m thankful that it did not worsen and I had people around me to take care of me. I’m also grateful for health practitioners, the hospital and health insurance from work.
  • I rented a place. I think this should be in capslock. House hunting in Lagos is a hassle! In February, I began the process, had to pause due to covid and finally, got a place in November. Househunting drained me. Mentally, emotionally and time-wise. I’m thankful for supportive family, friends, colleagues at work and some nice agents I interacted with. I was also able to get basic furnishing I needed without any awful artisan experiences. Very thankful for that.
  • I had an exam to write this year, and I passed that.
  • I was consistent with my French on Duolingo, currently maintaining a 268 streak (vanity metric…yay!). I thought I would visit a French-speaking country this year to practice with native speakers, but that didn’t happen. We try again next year. I’m also exploring apps that allow me to practice my French with native speakers online, might just give up on Duolingo for now.

My Duolingo 2020 year in review
  • I knew love.
  • My birthday wishlist was almost cleared out. This year, I drew up a list of gifts I wanted to receive for my birthday. My family and friends were so kind to almost clear out that list. I appreciate every one of you for making me happy.
  • I started living for me and at my own pace. This year, I was still; like nothing else mattered. This probably has its cons as we live in a fast-paced world, but I currently have no strong regrets.
  • God gave me friends that showed up for me, both physically and virtually. Moving to Lagos last year had me struggling with loneliness. This year, I felt my friends. I felt their love, care, company. I’m so thankful for that. I had a fun lockdown. My friends sacrificed their time, became creative with games and virtual movie nights, indulged my awful dance videos, reassured me and did Bible plans with me.
  • I was able to save money in local and foreign currency. Inflation is crazy!

The lows:

  • My travel plans didn’t go as planned.
  • I lost access to my Medium account that I have maintained since 2017. I’m still grieving this tbh.

CAREER

The highs:

  • I joined Stears and grew at work. I’m learning daily and pivoting when necessary, but I’m super thankful to be working with such a fantastic team, making an impact in my little way and growing generally.

The Stears team
  • I switched jobs just before the pandemic hit the country and actually had multiple offers to pick from.
  • I was able to grow my salary by over 100%.
  • I spoke at DevFest Uyo 2020 earlier this month. I’m grateful for the privilege and thankful for friends who encourage and push me to step out of my comfort zone and help review my slides.
  • I learnt basic JavaScript. I haven’t applied this yet, and I’m not sure I’ll be working on a JavaScript project next year, but let’s see where that knowledge takes me. Super grateful to the best and most sacrificial tutor for his time and dedication.
  • I worked on a natural language processing personal project, which predicted whether tweets were about real disasters or fake disasters, and I wrote two articles about it. This was a goal I carried over from 2019, and I’m really excited I could do it this year.
  • I wrote a few articles this year and published in multiple Medium publications, although these are currently off because of the issue I had with my Medium account. Hopefully, next year, I can republish all my content again in a better place.

The lows

  • I did not put out tech content as much as I thought I would.

What’s next?

For 2021, it’s refinement. I just want to be better. A better person, a better friend, a better colleague, a better child, a better lover, a better sister, better at my craft(s), a better Christian, a better Internet user, a better contact on social media. I can go on.

I also tried to find a Northstar challenge for 2021. Something extremely out of the norm for me and challenging. While going over all my suggestions, we decided that the challenge will be putting myself out there more, public speaking and writing. I’ll try to push myself to do a lot of those in the coming year. I’ll also be learning more about investments and making my money work for me. Career-wise, I’m still a bit torn between generalisation or speciality. I’ll either be doing more ML learning (as usual) or looking more into python as a scripting language and web deployment frameworks.


As is my tradition, I have spent the last days of the year with my family. Relaxing. 2021 is a year of intentional refinement for me. As much as refinement is beautiful, I understand it can also get difficult and painful. I’m getting prepared for the process, God helping me.

So, here’s to a great year ahead; full of love, laughter and fulfilment. Cheers to 2021! 🥂

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