The Year That Should Have Been

I was pretty enthusiastic to write on my “Passion, Pain, and Progress” last year. I mean, it was the year of my biggest personal achievement. But with all that 2020 brought my way, there didn’t seem like much to share. In the spirit of storytelling, however, I’ll ramble a little. I always feel nervous about sharing but I remind myself that this is first for me, taking stock of my progress and staying on track. It’s my story, beautifully told and I hope it resonates with you.

 

Covid said no...

This was supposed to be the year for all things good and a part of me feels that 2020 just cracked under pressure. It was supposed to be the year I finally became a Doctor – but since August, I haven’t been able to get Cece Winans voice out of my head singing “Covid said no, I’m not gonna let you go…” You get the gist sha. The biggest lesson for me in the little time I spent in school though, was taken from my Senior Registrars - different people, different personalities, different methods. Somehow, I concluded that I can’t commit all my energy to Medicine. It’s the only way to stay relatable and chill. Special S/O to Dr. Ike - my road model.

 

Obáléndé, wolé!

March brought the MDCAN strike, the first in a series of sickening blows to my 2020 dream. My first Lasgidi experience of the year came as a result, when I went for an externship at Saint Nicholas Hospital. My better judgment was to stay back in my room and prepare for my EOP (like most of my colleagues) but I guess I’m an actual Ajala.

 

Getting used to Lagos traffic and the routes was absolute fun. Obalende, CMS, Obalende, Enter with your change was on repeat in my head. I loved the experience of acclimatizing to a new environment and observing quality practice. I saw a patient threaten to sue a doctor for the first time. I saw more than 15 patients getting dialysis concurrently for the first time. I saw doctors using computers in patient management for the first time. I saw that I need to Ja Pa for the umpteenth time.

 

I should add that I had the most amazing hosts. They had just met me but gave me the most amazing experience. S/O Uncle Dare and Aunty Jummy

 

What Have We Done

The two weeks at SNH ran by and the reality hit that I was not going back to school yet. I was back in Ife and the first few weeks were a charm, I mean, which Medical student doesn’t love the occasional break? But as the weeks turned to months it became increasingly difficult to cope. I’ve never considered myself a particularly bright student. I don’t even like to read but I desperately wanted to finish school. My mind was all over the place, and I had to deal with living and depending on my parents for everything despite my age and marital status. It is more difficult than it seems.

 

I started trying out many things, even started punting at some point (never again!). Sometimes I didn’t sleep, I kept hunting and chasing the good life. I started gyming (my chiseled abs fit kill somebody oo) and taking online courses. I was desperate to feel like my life had meaning. But, everything always brought an initial euphoria that would subsequently wane.

 

Sonia Simone’s “The Strategy of Content Marketing” was the one thing that was a bit different, and had a telling impact on most things I did well this year. Freelance content writing was the engagement that followed the course, and it started as a beautiful experience but also became a chore eventually – largely because I realized it’s a big deal for me to get credit for my work. I don’t think that’s a bad feeling. Right? For some people, money works. For others like myself, it’s the impact that brings fulfillment (money must still be made sha!). Just do what makes you happy.

 

…my Confession

Sonia Simone also encouraged us to open our websites so we could share content within our personal space, and I loved the thrill of building my haven over the next few weeks. I know www.thetimiajayi.com has been pretty quiet since, largely because I hadn’t carefully thought about how it would work beforehand (seemed like a win and big L at the same time 🥺). I felt like I’d created a blog which was not my intention (I’m not sure why I hate the “blogger” tag) but I couldn’t come up with a better way out than to dead it for a while. I apologize for leaving you guys hanging.

 

Freelancing took up a lot of my time. I was always typing and researching and typing. Every day, rinse and repeat. I’m not one for routines and I couldn’t keep up. I suffered from writer’s block many times, I didn’t like that I couldn’t share what I did with my circle, I just couldn’t deal. Anytime the money came in though, (trust me when I say it wasn’t anything bogus), I just couldn’t say no to the next one. I think I understood more why people stay in toxic spaces but I also learned that until you do what makes you happy, you’ll never be free. You’ll hear from me soon enough. That’s a promise. I’m going to take it slow this time though and use this Medium a lot more. As always, I’m open to suggestions and collaborations.

 

P.S. I’m finally deciding to take a break from freelancing as I write this. It’s a tough choice but an important one. I’m going to spend the rest of the year beginning that Project Management course I have been postponing since.

 

On a Journey to Discovery

In the midst of all these freelancing and stuff, the #EndSARS protest surfaced and it was one of the biggest highlights of my year. I’ve never seen so much passion or unity. Never. To add some perspective, I like to think Aluta is a part of me. I might not be the loudest but I’ve always been about standing up for what is right. I watched as both Ibadan and Ede roads were blocked in Ife for more than 12 hours. I watched as the roads around the State secretariat in Ibadan were closed from dusk to dawn. It reminded me of how much good we can do when we work together. It reminded me that I want to serve as the Senate President of the FR (that’s the only reason why I’ll do NYSC) – primarily so I can reduce the salary of senate members, before anything else. Am I reaching? Maybe. But I’ve said it with my full chest.

 

The events of October 2020 still play around in my head. When I went to Lagos in November, I passed through the toll gates and took a closer look at the place those heroes fell. I think sometimes about the many lives lost to stray bullets, about how unsafe we are. Many times I just have to switch off from Twitter et al. It’s quite a lot. While the strength we showed gives me hope, I fear that our Government would eventually quench our will. I fear that many young people are only interested in power for their piece of the national cake. I fear… Sigh!

 

Note to self – There is no passion to be found playing small, and settling for a life that’s less than the one you are capable of living. (Nelson Mandela)

 

Exposure and Experiences

Love carried on from where it stopped, and nothing really has changed. Joeboy’s Lonely sorta became an anthem towards the end of the year. Hard guy, hard guy, this girl wanted to make me cry sha. Someone should beg her to not leave me comfortless in 2021. In other news, Chike’s Boo of the Booless is the album of the year. Argue with your keypad

 

Going to Ilorin as well, was particularly fun except that GA Wifey decided to sly me this year. Still, on still, it was my first time in Kwara and I got to meet several amazing people. Colossus, Oyinkansola, and Miracle top the list of people who in different ways left a mark on me. S/O to the NIMSA SW organizing team, top stuff.

 

Might I add that I got to be in the Ooni’s palace for his anniversary celebration - a thoroughly enjoyable experience, and a great opportunity to network with several people I respect and look up to. I played table tennis with Seyi Awolowo and Fola David. The connection must connect. On God.

I have also learned a lot more about myself this year – my tendencies, my weaknesses. Unlike last year, I’ve been a lot more idle and you know what they say about the idle hand. I have learned that if your environment determines who you are, you are yet to really discover yourself. Here’s to reconstructing my cracked walls, staying within, and being more intentional about my choices in 2021 (I’m learning how to dance!! 💃).

 

Love kept me

Nothing has changed in the love cycle. Joeboy’s Lonely sorta became an anthem towards the end of the year. Hard guy, hard guy, this girl wanted to make me cry sha. Someone should beg her to not leave me comfortless in 2021.

 

I also learned a lot more about myself. Unlike last year, I’ve been a lot more idle and you know what they say about the idle hand. Here’s to reconstructing my broken walls and staying within. In other news, Chike’s Boo of the Booless is the album of the year. Argue with your keypad.

 

I’ve also been a lot more intentional about Ministry work this year too. It never feels enough but all I can do is to continue giving my best. Grateful for the SWAT place and my supernatural relationships. On to more…Insha Allah.

 

 

2020, What else?

Despite how rapidly things changed this year, some things have remained constant. Arsenal has consistently made me a laughing stock (I’ve tried giving up, I really have), and I still remain an FPL Legend 😎. My eye bags have refused to recede and my bloodshot eyes still make me a suspected stoner. When you see me come around, just know that I don’t do it. I’m still yet to meet Johnny Drille. Another 365 days, another Mission Impossible – or not. Fingers crossed.

 

2020 brought many testing times my way. I believe that these difficult moments and the lessons learned are the things that define us the most. I’ve lost my mind many times over this year. They were difficult moments, but I came through. I never thought I would clock 24 as a student but looks that way already. I didn’t think Chadwick or my Grandfather would pass away with the year either. That was a hard one. I loved the man. He cared so much about me, my life, my work, and was there for me. He wanted to see his great-grandchild before he passed but at 87, he had lived well. (I hope I can be as much as you were and more Papi.) For you, I hope you find the strength to pull through your difficult moments as well. To everyone that has lost someone this year, I pray that you find the strength and courage to keep going.

 

I’m grateful again this year for the awesome relationships I have. You guys keep me going. Yes, you!

I made particularly fascinating acquaintances on Twitter, almost doubled my followers in just over 6 months. I love you guys.

 

On the Train

As I wrap this up aboard this Lagos-Ibadan train, I have realized my keen interest in traveling and should make a habit of documenting my experiences. This particular train ride was exciting for me. You can check out this thread for pictures and my honest review.

 

I’m looking for new challenges, and working on new projects in 2021. I’m learning that it is not always a good thing to be so good at so many things. I hope to focus my strengths on key areas in the new year – gonna put my Content Marketing and Project Management skills to the test. You can depend on me. Reach out and see for yourself.

 

It means a lot to me that you have stayed to the end of this. I believe that suggests that you could relate with me in some way. Till the next one, this is me, vulnerable again and hoping that this somehow gingers you to keep going and believe the best of all you can be. 2021 is here, Enjoy!! ❤

 

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This was such a fun journey to take us on, all 2000 words of it. Next time we will turn it to seasonal film. Sorry for your loss this year. May 2021 bring you the things that are not as though they were. Amen

 

You’re probably wondering how to tell your 2020 story. It’s easy. Send it to hi@stories.ng 😊

 

 

 

 

 

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