For many of us Nigerians, the year 2020 comprised only four months: January, Pandemic, Violence, and December. Some people argue that January was the only good month we had last year, and how could I not agree? January was the month we got Bad Boys for Life. It was the month we narrowly averted what could have been World War III, and it was also the month I entered my second year in university.
I recall how on New Year’s Day last year I wrote a journal reviewing some of the decisions I made in 2019. Now, this was something I did every year on New Year’s Day. While I may not be a firm believer in New Year’s resolutions, I can’t deny the sense of clarity that comes with an honest self-assessment session, especially one that focuses on areas like academics, relationships, career, and spirituality.
So I spent the most of that day reviewing how I spent the past year. And when I was done, I set a few goals that I wanted to achieve in 2020. But nothing I did that day—not my self-assessment session and certainly not my goal setting—prepared me enough for the nightmare that was 2020.
I thought 2019 was bad, but 2020 broke me beyond measure, and worse still, in every area of my life that I held most dearly. In the area of academics, I failed a core course and was advised to repeat it to improve my GPA. In the area of relationships, I lost some good friends and family last year—a few to death but others to my shutting them out of my life. In the area of career, I lost my job owing to the lockdown. And in the area of spirituality, I got into several arguments with my family over my not being a staunch Christian like most of them were.
In late June 2020, when I did another self-assessment and realised I had wasted the first half of the year, I took a break from everything to figure out my life. In retrospect, I can’t say that I found what I was looking for because, quite frankly, I don’t even know what I was looking for. But I am grateful for the profound boldness my six-month break helped me achieve.
It was this boldness that encouraged me to drop out of school—to leave my biochemistry degree—and apply to study English literature in 2022 . It was this same boldness that advised me against deleting my blog and social accounts those many times I wanted to erase traces of myself from the internet and from the memories of those who knew me.
I am glad I took a break last year, not because it made me whole again, but because it made me better than I was before taking the break. And while I can’t promise you, dear Reader, that I won’t take another break after the first half of this year, I promise you that I will do my best to see that that doesn’t happen.
It’s a new year, and though I am still the same person I was last year, I aim to be so much better. My theme for this year is “commitment and discipline,” and I plan to commit to it in every area of my life like never before. On that note, I wish you a very happy new year. May 2021 treat us more kindly than last year did.