I cheated death this year – thrice
In January, Aero put me on a flight without air-conditioning and feeling more disgusted than scared, I wrote this bile-filled sarcastic thing. In July, no sooner had I taken my seat at the tail end of a First Nation aircraft, than another hit it from the rear, while still on the runway. Both planes were damaged and I had to cancel my trip. I shudder to think of what could have happened if in the first case, I was asthmatic or if, in the second, my plane had caught fire.
And then a month after visiting Yola and the towns of Hong (a former Boko Haram colony) and Song to write this article, there were multiple bomb blasts in Jimeta very close to some of the spots where I stood taking photos. How can I not be grateful for life?
Nine lives, you whisper.
I might have lost two brothers this year too.
One younger brother had issues with his spleen and another was diagnosed with early glaucoma, but they are now in good shape and well and energetic, thanks to early detection. Just imagine that this had gone south. I told no one about my brothers’ until now because I refused to believe reality. I’m such an incurable escapist sometimes that I often skip negative details while telling a story.
The experience made me realize being an adult is a lot more than living in a different town from your parents. Responsibility shoved me to the ground in a fistfight and won. I hate being a firstborn, but what can I do?
I experimented a lot this year.
I wrote on new themes, stretched myself more, took more risks and tried to balance the boring nature of an office job with the rigours of journalism. Everyone says I’m doing well. I think not. I made a lot of new acquaintances and friends this year in what has been a wonderful experience. A lot.
But I’m still confused…
I feel like I’m tiptoeing about life. I’m not sure if I should resign my job and focus on travelling and writing, not sure if I should do my Masters, not sure if I should relocate to another city. I’m constantly out of focus because of the multiple images in my head and next year remains a mirage. Perhaps this distraction will eventually be my salvation.
I tried my hands at love again this year – and lost.
Maybe it is time to stop trying. My relationship life has always been like the Sinai – dry, the cause of many wars and then silent again. The last was two years ago and the next – ah, never mind.
I disappointed God too…
I made some sort of progress in my walk with God but then spoilt things, like a dog nibbling away at its blanket on a hot day, forgetting that the night cometh, and with it a gust of cold wind that a half-eaten cover offers less protection from.
Our relationship is still topsy-turvy but there’s another chance to do right in 2016.
And everyone forgot my 25th birthday.
Well almost everyone. Save for my mother and my colleagues at the office, almost everyone else – including the best friend and my dad – forgot.
In times past, I would probably have been hurt; felt that pang of pain that reminds you that you are nobody and you mean nothing whatsoever to no one. You feel like the track on a playlist that always gets skipped but never deleted. You’re like a landmark, a presence that no one remembers exist. Like gala wrappers, made to be used and dumped after unveiling the goods proper.
But this year, like last year, I have become a different person, attaching less and less importance to celebrations – birthdays, Christmases, Easter, everything. Instead, I just moan about how old I’m getting and I haven’t done anything with my life and get myself a gift. Last year, I got myself a vinyl player and this year, it was a car. That, and the knowledge that – according to my birthday card – at least two people have a crush on me in my office, kept my mood up.
But it was a good year for my career…
Unlike 2014, a year of near-misses, 2015 expanded my horizon
Let’s go back to 2013 for a bit of context. The last days of 2013 and 2014 set the tone for the years that they welcomed in.
On December 31st, 2013, I was sitting at a hotel lobby in Abuja with Ese Walter to discuss among other things, COZAgate after having tracked her for four months and exchanged emails and BBM messages with her.
After chatting for over two hours, I attended the New Year’s Eve service at COZA and afterwards, had breakfast with Miss Walter on January 1. She showed me emails of solidarity from other ‘victims’ of Pastor Biodun and I listened to a recording on her Mac of her detailing his ‘sins’ to church elders in Lagos. In the end, she changed her mind about telling her story; I had incomplete details and the pastor’s side refused to comment, so I never wrote about it. Nearly No 1.
In June 2014, I was a recipient of a grant to go lecture for a month in Puebla. GTBank, that overhyped institution, beacon of incompetence and a glassy showcase of everything currently wrong with local service players, held my money for months and eventually ensured that my garri did not fully rise. Nearly No 2.
On December 31st 2014, my kid brother and I visited the Chief Nana Museum in Koko, Warri North LGA, Delta State. It was the first time I was visiting my paternal village and the first step towards a reconnection with my roots. While I was there, I got an email from my editor approving my search of a missing presidential doctorate thesis – that of Goodluck Jonathan.
I didn’t find it but the story was the floodgate for some of the biggest ones of my career. I need to write more; maybe next year I will eventually resume writing fiction. Maybe.
In the end, my life balanced delicately in 2015 like a pot on a tripod, with God fanning the embers of the coal underneath, ensuring that my career turned out all savoury and a fine red like party jollof.
So I am grateful for the confidence to take the many risks that I do and most importantly for life. Here’s a toast to next year – to life, to uncertainties and possibilities.