Day 10: Michael


Happy Birthday Daddy.

What a year it has been! Full of ups and downs and plenty of idling in between. I’ve gone from ecstatic to broken apart and vice versa in seconds so many times that I’ve lost count. I’ve been uncaring and been uncared for. I’ve given love and received it in a measure that I was undeserving of, I’ve given love and received none in return.

The year started off with major exams, much of it was a blur, but I clearly remember leaving a particularly challenging practical exam and ending up at a bar, drunk for the first time in over 2 years. That was a defining point this year, perhaps what took this year off the perfect trajectory that it seemed destined for, in retrospect. I passed these exams in spite of my indiscretion and disinterest towards the end. I felt like I could have and should have done better, but I really could not complain. I felt disappointment, disappointment birthed sadness and I self-medicated in a way that quickly became familiar again. In the middle of this, everyone seemed intent on dying in the first two months of 2017.

In March, I found a semblance of structure and sanity in a well-defined schedule with clearly stated objectives. For 8 weeks I forgot many of the things that had made me upset earlier in the year. I got lost in a routine and, for a while, I was happy. It’s calmest before a storm, and this continues to hold true in my life. I hit the lowest point of my year (and second lowest point of my life) in April. I had no interest in anything or anyone, spent days in bed and became distant from everything and everyone. My mother and a few of my friends came to my rescue in these trying times and, with time, life returned to how it was before.

In May, I had major exams again and, although these ones were significantly less stressful, I found myself leaving another difficult practical exam and heading for a bar. This time, however, I was too distraught to even have a few drinks. Instead I made scared phone calls and stayed awake expecting the worst. I knew deep down that I would probably be fine, but the fact that I was slightly uncertain after the Clinical Exam worsened my constant fear of failure and made me very uncomfortable. Unsurprisingly, I passed the exams. The surprise, however, was that I did much better than I had expected. For the first time in years I got significant academic validation and, I can’t lie, it felt great.

I fell into another funk shortly after the results were released and I was in it for a few weeks. It felt as though I was wasting all the potential and ability that I had and throwing away my life. I floated through the middle of the year, greatly dissatisfied with myself. I put more strain on many of my relationships than they could bear and watched them fall apart, as expected. I don’t know if I grew overconfident, but my school work suffered a little too and there was more frantic, last-minute memorisation than is healthy.

In October, I went to Lagos for an elective posting, dissatisfied and rather unhappy to be there. In four working weeks, however, I warmed up to the people and the environment and left there grateful for the experience. It probably helped that I met someone in Lagos who was, and still is, too good for me. In a fashion that has been typical of this year, I let something good slip out of my hands.

I returned to school for the final lap of Medical School with practically no motivation and even less money. Struggled quite a bit and felt overwhelmed quite frequently. In the past few weeks, however, the year seems to have taken a turn for the better. I have met and am still meeting interesting new people. I’m reconnecting with old friends and having a reasonable amount of fun. If this past month is any indication, I will likely leave my shell in the New Year and I’m eager to see how that goes.

In all, I’ve had a reasonable year, I’ve discovered many new things about myself this year, some of them have caused me serious concern but I’m beginning to accept myself as I am and it feels great. There were more sad spells than I’d have liked, but I’m getting used to them now and as I write this, I’m in an excellent place. I’m looking forward to 2018, the year when I finally graduate and stop feeling like I’m stuck in place. I know it will come with uncertainty and anxiety, but what doesn’t?


Michael spends way too much time doing nothing in particular. He is professional procrastinator and a struggling student.

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