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In Chinese culture the years are named, in advance, after zodiac animals which supposedly determine one’s fortune, marriage compatibility, career fit, when to have a baby and so on. Mine has been named at the end of the year, after the place I spent the most time in. Yes, I spent a good portion of the year 2018 in bed.

At the beginning of the year I was a struggling entrepreneur; forcing the hustle because for years I hadn’t been able to secure a job in an organisation that recognised that employees have lives of their own and are actually assets, not necessarily evils that are being shown favour. I had done the one-man-business workplace and got fed up of a system that didn’t want to thrive, change or even improve. But I digress! At the end of the year I am a job seeker again – but in a different environment.

2018: I questioned everything – my health, wealth, relationships, my entire existence! I was lethargic towards a lot of things and very complacent. I hate that word – complacence. My father uses it a lot. I love him but I hate the context in which he uses it. It always comes out as an attack even though I know it’s supposed to be a motivator somehow. From a man who’s still hustling when he should be chilling with the symbolic cocktail in coconut shells on the beach, I know he means well. Work hard and pay your dues now so you’re not hustling into your old age. That’s the message and I get it but it’s a work in progress.

You see, when I got tired on a lot of days I decided to just stay in bed. I lived alone so there was no one to bother me. I had a few things I wanted before the year was over but after playing my part, I had to play the waiting game. I hate waiting. People say take advantage of periods like this. Improve yourself, read books, go to places you may not have time to go to when you get really busy, figure out what you want from life and work towards it. I just said ‘leave me the hell alone’ to it all. I smiled when I had company but avoided the company as much as I could so no one would probe. I was my usual chief encouragement officer to those going through similar or worse trying times, yet I hid my truth.

This self discovery/ discovery of purpose thing is hard AF. I prayed, thought of the things I enjoy doing, spoke with a few people, read (well, tried to read) a few books and ended up more confused than ever. I still haven’t figured this one out. It’s been one tumultuous ride but here I am; in the 12th month. I relocated a few months back hence the employment status. I facilitated a training session that gave me a high for a long time and influenced some of my next-step career decisions. I no longer live alone. I have a badass network of friends; some I met this year and others have been on this journey with me ( to the extent which I let them in) for years. I read – and completed – six books in two months in this last quarter of the year.

I cooked more which meant I ate better I think (I just need to find a proper replacement for rice but it ain’t broke so no fixing this yet!). I just returned from a two week vacation which was great. I watched sunsets on the beach, ate and drank whatever I wanted, hung out with extraordinary people, took hundreds of IG worthy pictures (though whether they make it to being posted is another matter entirely), had loads of ice cream and gelato, rested
properly for the first time this year actually. And it was all funded by family cos I’m still broke.

I’m counting all my wins, no matter how little. The big ones, the obvious and not-so-obvious ones, I am super grateful for as well – I’m alive, healthy and have a growing relationship with the Holy Spirit. Funny how the love of God was the one thing I didn’t question through it all. He was the only one I could go to constantly whether head bowed in shame, heart heavy with sorrow or full of gratitude. He was (and is) there.

Just before I started writing this piece, I was sulking to my partner about the year I’ve had. I mentioned that I spent a good part of it in my bed. This was the response: “It could have been worse. It could have been a hospital bed, you could have been homeless and thus bedless or you could have been really busy chasing sick relatives with the limited resources available. So in all things, give thanks, learn a lesson and do better.” In an ironic twist of fate, the bed in my new quarters is quite uncomfortable so I can’t lie in it for too long even if I wanted to.

Cheers to the freaking new year – the Chinese year of the pig! Hoink hoink!!!

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