What a year this was….. In the company where I earn my bread, there’s this best practice of doing a look back session at the end of a project. So this is akin to that, a look back session on the Major Capital Project called 2013….
At the back end of 2012, I already knew one thing for certain. After all said and done, I’d flown half way round the country to ask the most amazing woman in the whole wide world to marry me. We’d consequently set an April date for our planned small and intimate wedding ceremony. Little did I know this was gonna be a helluva year, my toughest year ever and I mean I’ve been here for well over three decades, so you know I know what I’m talking about.
So came January 1st, and as it is my family’s tradition, we all rolled into the new year in church in Warri (my dad is a Baptist). I was so excited because it was gonna be a big year; after all it’s not every year one gets married. The excitement continued even when I left Warri on the 3rd of January, as I was finally moving into my house, my very first home paid for with my own money (btw, by my projections in 2011, I thought I was gonna be moving into my own property not a rented one but alas we can only dream). The plan was to ensure I got the house ready before resuming work on the 20th of January. Boy, the day I got to Lagos was the day I knew this was gonna be a long year and that this marriage thing wasn’t gonna be a walk in the park. Anyways as a result of the mood in my mum’s house, I had to fast track my moving out and so on the 10th of January I finally moved into my own lovely apartment I mean c’mon this wasn’t like others. You know in school that ‘selfcon’ was paid for by my parents and in Lokoja the apartment was my previous company’s apartment, so yes I was pretty excited. We tried to make it a beautiful home, a place we could both return to after the world out there might have contrived to beat us and feel at peace with ourselves.
I’d given y’all a hint at the top. Anyways January and February came with a lot of wahala especially from my mum. At a point my best mate couldn’t help but say ol boy this one na only African magic we dey see am o. Let’s just say our relationship deteriorated to the worst ever levels, In fact it was below sea level. She made it clear to me that I was only going to get married to my then fiancée over her dead body. All attempts by other family members to have her come round failed spectacularly. Several trips back and forth Warri just to find a way out proved futile (e hard pass the Mid-East peace plan). Bisi and I literally went through fire and brimstone, but through it all we stayed committed to each other, we truly wanted to be together and in the end I stood my ground and had my way.
Money, Career, Depression
Now, I work in a Fortune 10 company (just to give perspective on what this paragraph is gonna be about). I couldn’t fathom why I was perpetually living from hand to mouth; it was tough, really tough. It was as though I was in a labyrinth or sinking sand; the harder I tried to balance the books the broker I got. OMG!! Every time we planned to go on a proper holiday, something would just come up that was far more urgent and needed. ‘Fiam’ the money go just fly. ( mehn, I kid you not money does have wings).. Even Seychelles gan we couldn’t make it happen, mind you the Mrs. would always go to great extents planning these trips (I have to apologize to her and hope to make it up to her in 2014).
At work, I was so dissatisfied with the company and my job, I felt as though I wasn’t adding the required value to the team. Now as an engineer I like to have complex stuff thrown at me, I like to feel pressured (I thrive under pressure), but here I was managing rather simple stuff, my brain was merely in gear one while I needed to be on gear five. As a result waking up in the morning to go to the office became a sore chore. No one could understand why I felt the way I did. All they could see was the fat check they perceived I was getting. The lesson I have learnt in all this is that it’s not so much about how much money you earn cos if you had a job that paid you $200m per annum you’d still feel empty and useless if you weren’t happy and fulfilled doing that so called job, unless of course money is all you care about.
In April I got passed up on a position I’d been authoritatively assured I was gonna get based on my performance in the interviews. To say I was heartbroken is an understatement; I was so depressed I couldn’t function at work I had to take a forced vacation from work for half a month. In 2013 I had plans to enroll for an MSC in Risk and Reliability Engineering; mind you in the last 3 years I’d consistently had offers for higher studies, first it was Subsea Engineering then Petroleum and Environmental Engineering and finally Civil and Engineering Management. So in 2013 I thought to myself this is the time to finally get it off the ground but alas just like the years before I failed spectacularly. I couldn’t even go ahead with the application let alone start the program.
On the personal development front I didn’t grow at all whereas in 2012 I got a professional certification in the bag this year nothing. I’d also thought I would be able to start my own small firm this year but like everything else I failed to even decide what it is I wanted to do. Oh did I mention that there was so much uncertainty at work this year? There was what came to be known as business optimization, our partners cutting down on funding, long and short was that a lot of people got severance packages. The wait did take a toll on one, but glad I still have a job on 29th December albeit as unchallenged as I sometime feel.
Marriage, Faith, Humility
So after all of the wahalas we went through, we finally tied the knot. I must say that when two people are determined to be together, throw a mountain at them I bet my top dollar they will survive it. Bisi and I are survivors. it takes more than love to weather what we did, there were times it seemed one of us was gonna give up but then the other would be so much of a rock of strength that it would often be enough for the two of us. But one thing we both took away from this is that we got our baptism early on and survived and now we are even better placed to survive any other storm that may come in future.
Marriage is the best thing that could happen to a young man (Bisi would have to speak for women). If I wasn’t matured before, I am now so matured and really responsible. I love my wife so very much, sometimes I wake up in the middle of night just to stare at her and wonder what she saw in this ordinary me. She has been my absolute rock of Gibraltar, my best friend, my No 1 fan and critic; she makes me wanna be a better person. Yes we know it’s a journey and so we understand we both have shortcomings and we both help each other to get through those weaknesses, we are both people who know gold when we smell it.
Faith? What faith? In 2013 I lost communication with God, the funny and bad thing about people like me who were raised in church who have never really been bad, is that it’s difficult for us to ever admit that we have strayed or to even determine how far lost we are (after all I don’t have any of the vices, no alcohol, no gambling, no smoking, no drugs, no partying, no womanizing, no killing, well unless you think football or sports is a vice), and so it’s easier for us to stay lost. Boy even going to church was a chore, my wife would occasionally literally drag me to house fellowship.. I still read the daily devotional (open heavens) but it was more of ticking the boxes than actually having a communion with God. I still knew the bible, I could still speak in tongues, but I know I am not the same with God. Hopefully I will find my way back to him this 2014 (where do broken hearts go? Can they find their way home back to the open arms of a love that’s waiting there)
Oh humility! Well I’ve always been a really humble person (so a lot of people tell me anyway) but some time in December I got a dose of humility from a man who is so high up one of the top 5 energy companies in Africa. After the chance meeting my wife and I had with him, I was so enthralled by his humility, so much so that when he demanded we stayed in touch I couldn’t even say a word. That’s how I wanna be when I grow up. Actually that’s how you know how humble someone really is when you give him a few millions of USD and he still stays grounded.
October 25 2013
What a day, the day before I’d returned back from work like all other days teasing my wife, asking if she wasn’t ready to bring forth yet. Hehehe, she could be in the bedroom by herself and every time she called out for me I’d immediately start teasing her all over. So on this particular day we’d both gone to bed as usual, and then some time around 1am I got THE CALL, for a split second I was dazed, anyways I quickly gathered myself, and off we drove to the hospital. You won’t believe I almost passed out at the sight of blood and all, but as time went by I became more composed, through it all I was in the delivery suite with her (well over 13 hours before the procedure), holding her hands until she was wheeled to the OR for the procedure and I was asked to wait in the waiting lounge.
Sometime around 4:30pm I heard the cry of a baby. Trust me when you hear your baby’s cry you’d instinctively know. I quickly rushed in to see the PD and the matron cleaning her up. She was so tiny and lovely to behold, and so I became a daddy: Efe Serena, my beautiful Serena was born. She is the most adorable, pretty, charming, sweet little girl in the whole wide world. Despite the difficult pregnancy that saw my wife having to quit her job in the first trimester because doctors said she had to be on complete bed rest, despite the several challenges, our baby was born healthy, and you can tell she’s gonna be a star. Ain’t nothing like being a daddy, for those of you who don’t have kids as yet you just won’t understand how I feel every time I look at her, even when she keeps us up all night (she seems to be operating on Australian time) I can’t help but drool. The way she listens when I sing the Lionel Ritchie’s Ballerina Girl to her, like she knows yea this is my daddy. Yes my life may have changed forever with her birth, but I absolutely love it. I once had to travel out of town for a few days, boy did I miss her and yea she threw a tantrum when I got back she had to let me know she wouldn’t accept an absentee daddy; the way she holds my finger with her tiny hands, or how she tries to smile at me or how she trains her eyes on me as I leave home. For everything I’ve passed through this year, Serena’s arrival has made the year a glorious one.
Twitter Writing & the Rest
So at the start of the year I’d promised I was going to try and write a couple of pieces. Thankfully I was able to do this. An amateur I am but writing those posts made me believe if I really did put in some efforts, It could become a useful hobby. Thanks to Nedu for making me deliver on my promise and yes Efe for having me write this review. For those of you who follow me on twitter, you must all agree I am a twitterholic, matter of fact I was an addict. I was so engaged on twitter that the first thing I usually did in the morning was to get on the site, last thing at night as well. One day I just woke up and realized I needed to check this trend otherwise the addiction would affect other aspects of my life, especially after they went public. And so began my journey of curing the addiction and to the glory of God I have not even been on the site for a record 6 weeks. For someone so addicted this indeed as an 11th world wonder and modern day miracle. I did make some good friends on twitter this year, people I’d probably never have met but for the site. For someone who had such a troubled year, you’d never guess from my time on twitter.
It was a tough project, I failed at a few things, was too lazy to start some, but the year ended on a high for me and mine (my younger sister got married, my cousin had twins, another cousin got married, yet another cousin got married. I got married and had Serena. Hopefully I’ve learnt a few lessons that will stand me in good stead to manage project 2014 better.
Bring it on 2014.
Have a Prosperous 2014 Y’all
I think the most touching part of this review was your baby. I’m also flushed that she’s my namesake. I’m also proud of Bisi for sticking and standing with you. Kudos
Thank you Batarhe. May your strength equal your days. Happy New year in advance.