2018 was fast but I mostly stayed focused and foolish.

Siri, play Freedom by Beyonce.

Finding me

“Who are your people?”

Professor Muchiri of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln asked the class and I looked at him in confusion, my people are obviously people from my hometown (Umuahia kwenu!) abi?

But he asked again, “Who do you do your work for?” “Who are your people?
I had no answer to this – are my people my family? Are they Nigerians? Are they oppressed women all over the world? I was unsure and it made me unsettled for the following six weeks. I felt lost, like a scattered seed, carrying so much but not knowing the why of my life.

So I took days off my fellowship (The Mandela Washington Fellowship) to think of my life and my mission, the things that are important to me and the sacrifices I should be willing to take in the pursuit of my mission.

I’ll be liar if I say I have figured it all out but even getting here is outstanding. Living everyday more intentionally and not fussing over the very little things (small foxes) has set the tone for how I live my life now. I cry when I need want to and that has been a lot this year and using my strengths (Clifton) of empathy and connectivity to understand myself more is an experience I hope to help more people enjoy in the near future. Finding me precedes becoming me and I am thankful I started from the basics.

Failing Forward

“Winning isn’t the result of never failing, it’s the result of failing more often than the rest”

I lost count of the failures 2018 brought my way. I missed out on so much and it hurt like hell. I even finally got a shot to attending the University of my dreams and it fell flat on my face few weeks before resumption. Oh I failed a lot in 2018 and being who I am, I became more and more interested in failure as a concept and as a strong motivator for winning. The work of finding me made failure mostly acceptable, as I stopped seeing life as yes or no and started to consider the “maybe, not now” and the “it’s okay” boxes that are rarely options for ambitious millennials like me. I have also completely rejected the false notion that having something to brag about on social media is good living. Meh.

Finding Love

“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.”

For the past one year, I have been in the most exciting and purposeful relationship ever. Efe once told me that sustainability and my relationship are the only two things I’m passionate about. (Hehe, I have to change this in 2019 – I am a diverse human being with many passions). But yes, I am very thankful for my partner – he is amazing, apart from the fact that he easily ticks off most of the attributes I have been looking for in a partner, the fact that I am celebrated every other day (with a photoshoot on really good days) is one more reason to be truly grateful.

With the kind of relationship issues I had from 2016 – 2017, finding and staying in love has made me extremely happy. The staying part is always the hardest but we are determined to put the expected work in. Nkem, thank you for being.

Firm in His Promises

Siri, please play Reckless Love by Bethel Music

“God is so good, His name is God”

I think it is really important for everyone to connect to something divine; something greater than self; God has and will forever be my rock and every day that I stand on His promises, I see the beauty and the lessons in every single experience. Choosing to surrender my entire life to Him has made things a whole lot easier and every day, I am learning to be kinder and more mature in the things of the spirit this. God is indeed so good.

Following Passion

Insert an inspirational quote on life not being a bed of roses or of thorns either

I am slowly becoming a poster girl for a young person following her passion because I quit my day job in 2015 and founded SustyVibes to make sustainability actionable for young people in Nigeria. (I know, it’s so fascinating to hear!)

Many days I wake up asking myself: who send me this message?
But I go through the day with an assurance that this is God’s work and I am only a messenger having fun through the journey. That’s why I host sustainability parties (there’s one tomorrow in Lagos by the way!), I screen climate change movies and I work with a community of other passionate folks because the road is still very long for Nigeria and Africa and we need many more persons who believe in saving the planet and the people in it. Perhaps, when our work gets even more popular, people will accept that I’ve blown. But like a bomb – I blew the moment I was set off.

Facts only

2019 was an amazing year.

I use “was” because I can almost feel the reality of this truth. Life prepared me in 2018 and now this should be the year it all comes together. Positive mentality right? LOL.

If there was anything this year taught me, it is to define what “happiness” and “success” mean to me and perhaps, amazing by many people’s standard would be shattering glass ceilings and having more accolades to my name. But for me, it is to have peace of mind in this very noisy world without losing my sense of self.


I finished reading this with a huge grin on my face. It would seem your year went without any low points at all but I know that this was not the case. What’s more important is your overwhelming positive outlook in it all. May you always find help in your time of need and may your path shine brighter and brighter. 

Thank you for sharing your 2018 with us. Much love. 

Jennifer Uchendu

is passionate about sustainability, ecofeminism, youth development and love.

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