Here I am seated in my room at my family home looking back at how it all went down in 2015. It was a rollercoaster- up, sideways, all sorta ways. So here goes.
I have had an idea of the sort of quality of living I wanted for myself since a while back; this essentially stopped me from moving to Lagos for work. My way was simple – I wouldn’t work in Lagos except the pay was okay and my workplace was proximal to my place of abode.. I partially grew up in Mafoluku-Oshodi, before leaving Lagos to go live/school with my mum in the hinterlands of Osun State where life was more laid back and less stressful; so I had firsthand knowledge of the jungle that is Lagos.
I started the year on a high; I just got my dream job offer albeit with a not so impressive pay scale. I was to start the first week in February. January was a blur, basically travelling and reading, trying to get ready for my professional responsibilities. I had earlier partially moved to Lagos late in 2014 to attend a financial analysis course, so I had to move some extra stuff over from home. I would basically be home all day reading online – Bloomberg, Proshare, NYT Dealbook, Investopaedia, Coursera etc. I learnt so much in a month that I did in 5 years of University education.
February came in no time. I resumed at work on the 2nd of February rearing to go for it, I was recruited as a member of the Debt Capital Markets team however; I found out that my team was a subset of the larger Corporate Finance section and as the sole analyst in the midst of associates and Vice presidents, I was basically everybody’s bi***. I didn’t care much; I appreciated the opportunity to learn something I had a serious interest in. The first few days was a bore, I wondered if essentially I was recruited to serve as a clerk, photocopy stuff, look for files; I wasn’t intellectually motivated. Then I was thrown into the deep end by my Direct report (Wems) and our Legal adviser (Chioms), Wems particularly had an interest in my professional development, showing me the ropes, my learning curve was a very accelerated one, we were working on 3 to 4 deals at the same time, I was excited, I was busting with energy, I was travelling all over the country. I had a great boss who directed deal execution without micromanaging us; I was working in the star team of the firm. It was all great on that end.
On the home front, I was cohabiting with a great friend in Ikoyi. He was the extremely laid back type while I wanted to explore the baby boy life. Emotionally, I was still clinging on to hope in respect of a failed dalliance; my dark mood swings were tempered by having people around me all the time at work. At home, we were having friends over all the time, my friend and I were going out catching trips once in a while. It was all a smooth ride.
Bumps came up around May/June/July, my friend got sick repeatedly. For the sake of his health, he had to move out to Lekki. I was alone for a while. I realised I was too comfortable living on someone else’s tab; I had to take charge of myself. I started house hunting; I expected a smooth ride considering I was doing real estate facilitation on the side of my day job. The civil service salary mess in Osun state started filtering into the real economy thereby stagnating my freelance legal hustle over there; this effectively narrowed my cashflow to my salary alone. My startup idea wasn’t seeing much traction due to lack of time, money and motivation. A particular person was getting me annoyed at work repeatedly every day. My lingering issues with my mom over her handling of some of my affairs started flaring up again. My brother uncharacteristically blew off my mom and dad over some not so important issues. I had to defer my LLM (after paying fees) because of work. It was basically a smorsgard.
I finally found a place in September, the cost was way more than I imagined. It was effectively around 40% of my net salary, I had no savings, Osun state wasn’t paying salaries so no show from my mom, work was just there. However God showed up in ways I have learnt to trust in even when I am so out of sync with him. I got the apartment and moved in.
October/November – I was living alone again. I was dead broke, friends came through for me. I had debts to pay off, so effectively I had no salary to speak of. My boss had earlier offered me the oopportunity to switch to understudy the Seconday market part of DCM, seeing as the austere economic outlook was affecting our dealflow and the firm was looking to recruit into that role anyways. I was to resume there in November, i was outwardly excited but internally conflicted; here was a team that we’ve become friends and I had good working relationship with and the new role was the great unknown. My boss had however given me the opportunity of switching back if i found the new role unsuited to me, this gave some sort of respite to my fears. My first 2 weeks on the job wasn’t what I expected, I went out of sync, i wasn’t feeling myself. I knew I had to take a break, so I took a week off.
I had heard of Ake Books and Art Festival for a while but never had the opportunity of going. So on impulse and without prior or proper plans, I decided to go for it; I got a free ride (courtesy of @Shecrownlita, God bless her) to the festival so I felt why not. It was a great experience, definitely going again. I met lots of fun people, friends from way back, made new friends, had chats about stuff I hadn’t talked about in ages, I realized I wasn’t as strange as I thought. Ake was the highlight of my year, so many braniacs in one place.
I got back to Lagos bubbling with life, most of my stress lifted even though I was still broke, I started reading paperbacks again, went for the Biyavanga fundraising, saw someone I met at Ake again. Work was okay somewhat, I was still having issues integrating into my new role; a real estate client was dawdling and getting on my nerves. I met up with some friends and we decided to launch a startup that you will be seeing very soon.
December came in with good news, a lingering family issue was assured of a solution, I became an Uncle- my brother had the first girl in my father’s branch of the family tree, my new team made some revenue at work, the new startup with friends is seeing some traction, I’m going out more. There were some lows though, I had to work through most of the holidays, the bae refused to be seized, still broke relatively but still powering through.
In all, 2015 was way more excitement than I have experienced in recent years. I had so much fun, I went to Ake, saw more of Nigeria, got excited about meeting someone even though I’m not sure that’s going anywhere yet. Twitter really helped me cope with my lonesome moments. It was a year of great firsts (had my PJ flight). A year of familiar familial disappointments. Of people moving on – the failed dalliance got engaged and another got married. Of breakthroughs, of laughter, of crushing solitude, of openness, of starts. So to 2016, I say here I come; #Wemove.