Ah, the eighth year I’m doing this. I’ll stop writing these when Efe stops texting me at midnight on the 1st of December.
“Living well is the best revenge”
I’ve had an interesting year. In the beginning, I chose my word for the year. It was ‘being’. This year I wanted to be. I mean, I didn’t understand what I was doing or saying when I chose that word. But oh boy, I have BEEN this year. I’ve BEEN.
‘Being’ meant I wanted to get to know myself, understand who I am, get to know the real me. It meant spending a lot of time in therapy asking myself the hard questions, not running from the truth. It meant facing the hard things in my past and the present. It meant confronting a few people who have contributed to the person I am now, including family (tough as that was). It meant confronting the person I am and how I’ve failed or fallen short of who and what I should or could be. It also meant getting rid of the word ‘should’ from my vocabulary.
It meant questioning all the things I’ve known to be true or have lazily believed to be true without interrogating them, even when that meant losing the very ground on which I had built my life. It meant not hiding parts of my life and living arms wide open, ready to experience life and everything that comes with it. It meant feeling my feelings and not being afraid of them or evading them or avoiding them.
Here’s a tweet from the 25th of August:
‘Not to jinx my life or anything but I’m pretty happy and content with my life now. It’s not anywhere near where I would like to be but I’m okay, it’s great.’
Most importantly, ‘being’ meant letting me feel joy and contentment.
Being meant the joy I felt hearing the examiner on my thesis defence panel say, ‘congratulations Doctor’; it meant the security of knowing I had people rooting for me no matter how it went and it meant the joy of watching my people be happy for me. It was the pleasure of my flat full of flowers sent by family and friends. It was enjoying walking through the Natural History Museum in February and pondering all the complex events that led to us being here at this exact point in the time. It was matching yellow sweaters with my nieces and going on long walks on cold, brisk March days. It was turning 30 in May surrounded by friends and family and not feeling the familiar angst of time flying. It was the absolute joy of watching my friends get married in June in a ceremony and party I had a huge part in planning and letting myself get lost in the celebration. It was cutting my hair and wearing a suit to a wedding. It was walking the stage in my robe during my PhD graduation in July and hearing my people cheering as the Head of School butchered my name. It was having family who stood in line with me for an hour waiting to get official pictures taken. It was holding hands and walking down the Thames eating sugared nuts. It was being kissed in public and enjoying it. It was my niece turning one and taking her first steps in August. It was having people to witness my life. It was jury duty and starting a new job in September. It was having family cross the ocean to go to a doctor’s appointment with me when I had a medical emergency. It was knowing the medical emergency was happening but being calm through it. It was finally feeling safe enough to call a place home. It was going to dinner parties on my friend’s boat and laughing till my sides hurt. It was non-stop music. It was audiobooks and podcasts on long bus rides. It was challah bread and salted butter, kombucha and fig candles. It was shellac manicures, nail salons, haircuts and barbershops. It was the Marriott and the Jumeirah and JollofMama and I Go Chop.
It was things changing and things staying the same. It was losing things and people and not holding on too tightly. It was knowing that no matter how much things change and how I change, there are people who have always been and who will always be there for me. It’s knowing that this has been the case for eight years and will continue to be the case. It was living well.
To end this, here’s a prayer thing I said a lot this year and I will be saying a lot next year:
‘May you feel safe,
May you feel loved and
May you live with ease’
Here’s to 2019; thank you, more!
Moyin if you’re going to drag me please be accurate. This is your 9th time starting the end of year review series.
I remember in 2011 (with two days notice) when I had the idea for this series and you responded to take the first spot within hours of seeing my call for entries on the TL. It was electric and it was fire. And now for the first time, you have expressed relief and joy at crossing the milestones you have chased at the end of the rainbow for so long.
Happiness is not the word. It’s something far stronger, deeper, resilient and longer lasting than that.