Tucked somewhere in Ikoyi is a quiet haven that is very easily one of Lagos’ best kept secrets. That is where I am currently hiding out for my personal retreat as I attempt to review my 2019 and prepare for 2020.
2019 was one hell of a year. In many ways, it was my best year yet and in other ways it was the year that tested me the most and grew me in ways I had never even imagined possible. I have tagged the year “What Dreams are made of” because truly, for the most of the year, it felt like I was living the dream. But this review will show the process of the journey because it is so important to me to be able to go back and see how far I have come, how my character has been moulded and shaped by my experiences and all the lessons I have learned to take me into the future. The lessons will be at the end of each month.
I ushered in the New Year with my parents in my hometown and this was the first entry in my journal for the year:
To be honest, the ‘moves’ referenced here were a CV review and job applications because I had started the year broke and without a job but entirely positive that things would work out. But two weeks would go by and I would meet up with Michael and we would decide to shoot the pilot episode of Hunter’s Game, easily the most audacious thing I have attempted in my entire life. I wrote about it here.
I also put out at least a dozen applications to law firms this month but nothing clicked. Even before the decision to make Hunter’s Game, I’d had conversations with friends who encouraged me to pick up my writing again while working on the applications. I’d been so fixated on getting a job at a Law firm and earning steady income that writing was not really top on my mind but I agreed to try nonetheless.
Oh there were blues on some days too.
It is absolutely okay to have dreams that scare you but be sure to surround yourself with people who have unyielding faith in you.
Sought funds this month. Next to December, February was my second most vulnerable month. My first journal entry for the month was “Need money for the shoot. I’m not panicked yet but the clock is ticking.” Held closed auditions for the shoot as well and it was such an exciting and rewarding process. But the money hustle? Lol!
My journal had entries like:
- “Just here wondering at what point I’m going to admit to myself that I have bitten off more than I can chew. Lol. 2 weeks to shoot and still no money.”
- “Abba Father, I look to you. Exactly two weeks to shoot. No money. Uncertain about election outcomes and how they will affect the shoot. But I look to you. My Source!”
- “Really trying not to despair Abba. Really trying but it’s so hard. Still no money and all avenues for lump sums of cash aren’t looking promising. Too many disappointments so far and I’m just tired.
But towards the end of the month, just in the nick of time, the money began to flow in.
- “Started out with so much despair for money but ended with 500k in my account.”
- “Credit alerts been pouring in all day. I have 1.1m and more to come.”
Abba came through via a solid network of friends and family that I remain eternally grateful for.
Also had a horrid job interview with the managing partner of a law firm that made me swear off applying to firms. Some people are just terrible humans with zero joy in their lives. The film prep gave me a lot of joy regardless. Secured the cast, held rehearsals and got set to shoot.
Starve your doubts, feed your faith, joy comes in the morning.
Successfully shot the pilot of Hunter’s Game and it was such a draining, exhausting yet utterly exhilarating and fulfilling process. I recall dealing a minor low on the final day of the shoot though, because as remarkable as the process had been, filmmaking had not been the immediate plan. I really just wanted to practice law. Lol. I would eventually learn while observing the Lenten season, to look past myself and my immediate desires but instead give in to the ultimate will of God and stay yielded as He worked His purpose out through me, per time.
There were hard days in March. With the shooting concluded and editing underway, there was the question of what next. I did not have a clear roadmap for my career journey and most days, I was completely mentally exhausted.
Seeing as things weren’t working out on the job front, I began applying to schools in Europe to pursue an LLM.
Go deeper with God, rise stronger.
April is usually a good month because it’s my birth month and my birthdays are typically something exciting. The birthday this year came with zero excitement and ginger. I was completely indifferent. My bestie practically had to drag me out to see a movie and bought me dinner afterwards. My cousin mentioned a law firm she thought I should apply to and even though I had sworn off applications to firms, I sent out an application, genuinely indifferent as to the outcome. I received a response same day, inviting me to an interview and I would eventually attend the interview and secure the job. A few months down the line, the job would turn out to be the second best thing to happen to me in the year and I would come to understand why it never worked with any of the other firms.
Everything good will come in its time.
Resumed my job this month and I remember reading my offer letter and pretending to be composed even though I was doing multiple backflips in my head. Lol. I worked on a film project as associate producer and the stress of combining that with working my regular job was quite something. Lots of early mornings and late nights, but I powered through. Then I cancelled plans for school, seeing as the job had finally come through.
Also released the teasers for Hunter’s Game and the anticipation for the release of the pilot was high. Had brunch with some close friends I hadn’t seen in years and it was so great. Some other close friends came through for me in a big way on the last day of the month and I was reminded yet again just how wealthy I am in relationships.
You are wealthy in relationships Oge, never forget that.
We released Hunter’s Game online this month and the reception was quite warm. I was still in debt from shooting it and was able to make some cash to clear off a portion of the debts. I held a lot of private screenings in my home and every single time, the feedback was great. People were truly impressed and I remember feeling quiet gratitude for the enormity for all that had been accomplished and all the incredible people who had partnered with me to make it happen.
Asides the gratitude, I also acknowledge the days I struggled with lows and feelings of despair and confusion on how to raise the funds for the full season. The journey remains the journey.
Take a moment to pause and give thanks for all you have.
Started the month in a writer’s room with my team for the full season of Hunter’s Game. Draining but rewarding. Also got assigned a lot of tasks at the office that stretched and grew me. July was intense and I began to burn out, mentally and emotionally.
Learn to take occasional breaks. Human not machine.
August started with quite the emotional rollercoaster that left me so, so exhausted. I was in a writer’s room for an online series and that was quite intense but rewarding. Work was light because courts were on vacation but somehow, August remains my second roughest month emotionally. Reading through my journal and I am seeing so many entries about being tired.
“I am tired. And my tired is tired. And I am tired of being tired. I legit want to crawl into a hole and disappear. I am tired.”
It’s okay to be vulnerable boo. You don’t always have to have it all together.
Started the month with my dad’s retirement thanksgiving. It felt so great to have my entire family gather together in one place again, the first time in years. Was also an absolute joy to see my niece. That little munchkin has my entire heart! It was also the last time I would step into the house I was born and raised in. My dad relocated afterwards and it was a bit emotional for me.
Embarked on an audacious project this month that didn’t quite turn out as I’d hoped but I was proud of myself for the courage to pull it off and the way it tested and proved my capacity as well. My dad came visiting and gave us premium content and bants with his Lagos living. Love the man so much and I remain grateful for him and my mum. Also got a big break with a private screening of Hunter’s Game and it was so, so affirming.
Take the limits off. Everything you want is on the other side of fear.
Started off the month feeling inadequate at work. There’d been so much to learn and do and I found myself wishing I was light years ahead with the requisite knowledge and experience. A small win with a task at the office and affirmation from my supervisor helped boost my confidence. Also a conversation with my mum about her journey served to inspire me and remind me of who I am really.
“I must always remind myself that we are cut from the same cloth. Or rather, that I was birthed by this amazon and I have her DNA. I must ALWAYS remember who I am. Daughter of Mrs. Nwobia. Warrior. Fighter. Winner.”
Last day of the month ended with news about an uncle’s passing and it broke me. I have not cried as much as I cried that night in a very long time. Keep resting in peace Captain Ofili.
Be patient with and kinder to yourself and as you go through the process of learning and growing.
November was quite the mix. Had some great moments at work that were so encouraging and affirmed that I was in the right place. Also got to deepen my friendship with one of my top buddies and I was grateful for how this person showed up at the strangest best time to provide a breath of fresh air I didn’t know I so desperately needed, considering all the back to back pressure I had been dealing with. I remember working 20 hours days for about a week at some point, just to meet up with multiple commitments. I keep forgetting I am not a machine but my body ensured I got the memo loud and clear the following month.
People will come into your life for a reason and a season. When you realise their time in your life is done, do not be afraid to let them go.
December 2019 remains the toughest month I have ever had to live through. Absolutely nothing could have prepared me for the burden that was December 2019. December 8 2019, just before I drifted off to sleep, I typed this in my journal:
“It’s been a rough day and I am spent… Badly in need of some urgent self-care”
I woke up the next morning to a limp right hand from the wrist, down. I have never been more terrified in my life. The days dragged by slowly with zero improvement. I could not eat, brush, wash, write, type or even pick or grip anything. I made a thread about it on twitter here (the diagnosis was radial nerve palsy), but even that thread could not adequately describe all I went through. It was hellish. My emotions were a mess, I struggled with depression and getting through each day was a miracle. I also had to make a tough call at the beginning of the month and that decision combined with the vulnerable place I was in as a result of my hand left me an utter mess. I really struggled through December and it is certainly not a month I ever want to re-live for any reason.
I am grateful for every person who knew what was going on and showed up even when I wasn’t pleasant to deal with. I am grateful to be surrounded by so much love and compassion, starting from my workplace. I do not take it for granted that I work with some of the kindest and most empathetic people. Super, super thankful. Then my parents (especially my mum), my siblings (shout-out to my sister who kept calling, despite how cranky I was on the phone each time), cousins and my friends. Yet again, I was reminded of how wealthy I am in relationships.
The hand began to heal after a couple of weeks and at this moment, it is currently at 92% functionality. I can do a whole lot of things I could not do when I woke up that morning in December. The journey to wholeness is not quite complete yet but the end is in sight.
So that’s how my 2019 went. The biggest lesson of the year was to pay more attention to my body and treat it with the love, care and respect she deserves. Flowing from that, my ultimate goal for 2020 is to practice mindfulness and slow, intentional living. To prioritize self-care and a little bit of selfishness too. I realise I tend to overextend myself for people sometimes and while that might seem ‘noble’, it isn’t exactly sustainable.
The strategy to achieve this goal in 2020 is simple.
- Hire an assistant.
- Outsource everything outsourceable.
- Create time for a vacation this year.
- Take one weekend off every month to unplug from the world and rest, much like this weekend.
So Happy New Year to the Yougeecash community! Thank you for reading. Perhaps this is the year I overhaul the blog and make a return. We wait to see, but I am not making any promises. Tell me how your 2019 went in the comments, if you so feel inclined. I’d love to hear from you. May 2020 be all you desire and more.
Love and Light!