What now? – A recap of 2016 and hopes for 2017.

*taps mic*

Hi there.

It’s been forever, I know. My last blog post was in September and its already the end of December. Let’s catch up, shall we?

I completed my pediatrics rotation at the end of September. I loved it. Going to work everyday was 100% better because I could tickle babies and smile at them and play peek-a-boo.

Then I started surgery in October. It is honestly the most grueling rotation EVER but the hands on nature of it is incredible. I’ve always been more of a diagnostician type med student, meaning I like to ask questions, do the physical exam, make my diagnosis, prescribe meds and be done. But with surgery, my brain became almost re-engineered. Surgeons fix. Abdominal pain? Rigid abdomen? Okay, prep for surgery. There’s such a rhythm. It took about a month but I became allll about it. I was doing rectal exams in clinic, dressing diabetic feet, putting in IVs; doing stuff. Oh I whined about the hours, but my inner workaholic loved every single second standing and pushing myself. Only thing I really hated was the bad smells from dying flesh.

There were so many cases of breast cancer and colon cancer and amputations. Being in a hospital just reminds you of your mortality every single day. People come out of surgeries doing great and die two days after. Some people go in and never wake up. Of course the greater number go in and come out and say hi to you on the street and it’s such a good feeling. It also helped that my surgical team was the best ever. Students with such a good attitude toward work and learning, medical officers who love teaching and a consultant who just lives for surgeries.

I finished the rotation on the 23rd of December and have been giving my body a well deserved rest from all the super early morning starts surgery demanded (4:30, 5am daily till whenever surgeries finish on surgery days).

About 2016.

I’m never sure how a year is going to go when it starts. I actually expect the end of every year to surprise me and I’ve never been disappointed thus far. See 2015.

I had the most vague goals for the year. I wanted to improve my personality (be more patient, be kinder, be more forgiving). I wanted to write Step 1 and pass well enough. I wanted to grow spiritually. I hoped I would write more. I planned to read at least 50 books. Travel to at least one new country. I hoped I would fall in love. I also wanted to “work out more” and “hold on to good friendships”. I really wanted “better emotional health”.

I wrote all of these things in my journal on the 1st of January last year at around 09:16 am.

Sooo, how did I do?

I wrote Step 1 this year (after sooo many obstacles; I shudder at that period of my life and I would not go back for anything) and I passed.

I visited the US this year. Two states in the US actually. And I got to hang with my friend Tiwa IRL. I DIDN’T EVEN PLAN THAT.

I worked out on and off and did a 5k color run but honestly fitness been deferred to 2017.

My story ‘Ibeji’ got published in the 10th issue of South African Lit Magazine, Prufrock, which was kind of cool.

I wrote maybe a couple of pieces this year and then I stopped. I felt like I could not say the real reason why I stopped writing because it felt almost disrespectful to an art form I have enjoyed for most of my life. I just stopped feeling it. Fiction. It became burdensome and almost torturous to do. I don’t want to write if I’m not going to enjoy my imagination running wild. I haven’t even felt a desire to write fiction in months. Maybe one day I’ll wake up and want to write fiction again, maybe not. But not right now. And I’m not even sad about it.

I did not fall in love this year. Instead, I realized that I’m not ready for that aspect of life right now. I met people I found interesting, people I liked, but I’m deciding to spend this time in my life doing something worthwhile with my singleness.

I finally started calling myself a photographer. I finally started to believe that I actually know what I’m doing with my camera and that everyone who likes my pictures cannot be lying to me. I started telling people that I take pictures as a freelance photographer and people actually started to pay me to take pictures of them. One of my photo sets actually had close to 100 RTs on Twitter, which was niceee.

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Someone even paid me to cover their wedding. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?

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I undercharged them so much because I didn’t believe I could do it. In the end, it was so easy and soo much fun, I could’ve done it for free, but no more free photography. Entrepreneurship does not come easy to me. Charging people gives me anxiety, but now I have packages and set prices for events and things as best as a small island, part time photographer can manage.

I bought a sewing machine. I woke up one morning and I could not stop thinking about how tired I was of spending a ton of money buying clothes I could learn to make. (The recession is hard and dollars is hard to find abeg). Now, I’m not becoming a fashion designer or anything, but basic stuff. So I bought a sewing machine. And fabric. And went on YouTube and started sewing. I’m still a beginner, but making stuff is so much fun. All I’ve done so far is a simple tote but I have other projects planned. My new personality includes lots of patience, even though learning to put in my bobbin right almost made me crazy. I’m learning, guys.

I baked bread for the first time this year and it was actually good. I’ve been making my own juice as well. Turns out necessity is the mother of invention and good things can come out of a recession.

I completed 8 months of rotation and I have about 9/10 more months to go. Roughly a year before I’m a doctor by God’s grace.

I read 28/50 books. I really wanted to read 50 books but time is so precious and to the making of books, there is no end, so I have to really make sure I’m filling my mind with worthwhile things.

In October, I decided to join the pioneer ranks by becoming an auxiliary pioneer, which means I spend a minimum of 50 hours every month teaching people about Jehovah God and his purpose for the earth and mankind. Since September, I’ve been actively working on my relationship with God. It’s not just about studying the bible more, or telling others about Him or even praying regularly. It’s about living it. Actually changing your lifestyle and adjusting the parts of your personality that need work to conform. It’s the best decision I’ve made in my life so far. I’ve always been a Christian, a Jehovah’s Witness, but I’ve never actually tried to give of myself which blows my mind because we focus so much on what God gives us and the love he shows us and yet I marvel at how little we want to do for Him. How we live our lives and give our spirituality the least attention because He should “understand”. It dawned on me that nothing says how much you love God more than what you do for him and the sacrifices you make for Him (1 John 5:3). Not that anything you do will earn all the undeserved kindness you’ve received, but we can try. Do a little more, start small. Learn what the bible actually teaches, not doctrines, ask God to help you know Him and apply what you learn. Try. Taste and see for yourself (Ps 34:8). What if you gave half as much to knowing God as you gave to your work/business? Or you gave him the same dedication as you do to your health and fitness? Or even the same amount of time you give to pursuing a good time. Too much effort for you? We all can’t give the same, but relative to all our hustles, how much do we give of our time, energy and resources to learning about God and trying to please Him? It’s so important to strike a balance. How much is too much to give to the person who’s given you everything?

If you honestly want to know more, do more, this website is a good start. You don’t have to believe everything at face value (you shouldn’t); that’s why Jehovah has given us our power of reason and you have your own bible to check the facts. Start.

I’ve made new friends and haven’t done the best job of holding on to some old friendships, but I’m still finding balance.

I put blogging, social media on the back burner, because priorities. It really all felt like 90% noise. Energy is finite and I’m trying to focus on what’s important to me. I tend to be very devoted to things I invest time and energy and love into, so its very important that I choose wisely.  I didn’t even know believe many people cared about my blog as much as I’ve found they do. I’m not as interested in many things this blog was founded on; writing, sharing my life, talking fashion (I still like fashion, it’s just not something I want to spend time writing about anymore). I also don’t want to become a faith blogger. So, I came to a place where I didn’t know exactly what to do with my blog.

I credit my better emotional health to finally building real faith, not just an emotional crutch, but faith based on accurate knowledge of God. Everything isn’t perfect, but I don’t have to do it alone anymore. I don’t have to spend every free second in deep introspection, because sometimes you need to stop searching yourself and digging up feelings and focus on something bigger and brighter (Philippians 4:8). Nothing is going to be perfect in this system of things, sometimes you’re going to get hit before you’ve dusted yourself from your last fall, but keep going, even if you have to limp along. I focus on the good things that happen everyday because I know my tendency toward melancholy. I protect my headspace. I just have joy that I’ve never had. Things crumble every now and then, because life, and I have days when I’m so anxious, my mind won’t stop whirring, but I just have an overwhelming sense of ‘everything is going to be okay’ which is something I used to roll my eyes at when people told me. It’s beautiful.

For 2017.

I plan to work at my photography skills and business sense.

Do more sewing. Make a dress I can actually wear to an event.

Journal even more.

Finish med school.

Continue pioneering.

Go somewhere I haven’t been yet.

Start watercolor painting.

Bake a cake. From scratch.

Host a gathering.

Do well with my rotations.

Keep Jehovah in first place.

I decided that I was not going to wipe out four years of documentation by deleting my blog but I also don’t have time to devote to blogging regularly anymore. It feels so much nicer to come on three months later and just really talk to you guys than it does when I have a ‘schedule’ or when I’m trying to expand readership and ‘take my blog somewhere’. This method is more sustainable. I still read all of my favorite bloggers like Cassie, Kachi, Ekene, Osemhen, Sab. I know what you’re all “up to” and it’s nice.

So maybe I’ll pop in once in a while to show y’all something I’ve made, or talk about a book I’ve read or a trip I take (if this recession ever ends). It’s easier to be open when you actually feel ready to talk. That’s what I’m aiming for.

ALSO, I’m giving up my domain name in 2017 and going back to wordpress.com. It feels like a step back because it is that. A step back I’m gladly taking. Life has been incredibly satisfying and full of contentment, even in times of need, in the past 4 months and I’m holding on to that forever.

What are you excited to do in the new calendar year?

See also: 2014 in review.

 

 



  • OVIE JOHN

    I am yet to read something from you that I won’t be glued to, your choice of words make me want to beg you never to stop writing, it’s an interesting piece my dear friend and sister.

    • Thank you Ovie! I appreciate all of your comments!

  • There’s a roller coaster of emotions for me reading this but what’s most important is that YOU are steadied. I mean, it’d still be ok if it was a roller coaster of emotions for you as well. Or not.
    I’m grateful for your “little things”(oh! my! That’s somewhat your tagline), the little tics here and there that are so beautiful and the really big ones. You’re not exactly the same person you were; a lot about who you can truly be was revealed through the goals you set and intentionally/unintentionally worked hard towards. I give you an Atama clap and pray that you’re better, wiser, stronger, happier, more fulfilled in the years to come.
    Love you, girl.
    http://becauseibelieveblog.com/2016/11/17/on-being-enough-setting-goals-forging-on/

    • Definitely not the same person and it makes my heart glad that people can see that! Thank you Ruth for always being here and always supporting. Love youuu ❤️

  • I think it’s great you have identified your strengths and weaknesses and that you have a set of goals/ plans you want to achieve. Here’s to actualizing them.
    Cheers!

  • Even though I’m sad about your blogging taking the back seat next year, I am extremely happy for all that you achieved this year, and all you’re planning for next year. You sound so intentional and clear headed and that is so important. Your dreams are valid, your goals are valid. I’m happy for you. Happy new year, dear. You are an inspiration.

    • Yes girl. Thank you so much! You’re such a darling and I appreciate your presence. I hope you have an even better year too.

  • Firstly, I’m glad you’re not deleting your blog for I look forward to you writing more. you’ve achieved a whole lot in 2016, it’s amazing and i do hope this year will be full of blessings for us all.

  • Zoe

    Wow! That was such a good read, Afoma. You shared so much but I didn’t get bored.

    It’s amazing how similar we are in passion, aspirations and temperament. The sewing part got me, though. I was like, what! Is she me? I got a sewing machine in 2016 too just so I can make my own clothes. I undercharge too, so I definitely will be working on my business sense.
    I would say I want to be like you when I grow up but we’re the same age so…
    One thing tho, regarding blogging. I wanna give more attention to my blog this year: create posts that aren’t rushed. I want to write about more aspects of life; including new categories to my blog. I’m a Faith blogger, but I want to do some lifestyle blogging as well this year.
    Everything you said about your faith is inspiring, and I wantbtp just

  • Zoe

    ……i want to say at this point, I like you very much. And thanks.

    • Haha! I like you too, Zoe! Thanks for reading and all the very best with your goals. Thank you.

  • Aww I’m so sad blogging is taking a backseat but I’m also happy for you. Self discovery , Spiritual growth, are at the top of my own list too. I just hope they dont become one of those things I’ll look at in August and sigh dejectedly. All the best Afoma. Oh, and Happy New Year?.

  • Hello. I’ve been reading your blog carefully for about a week now and I have to say that I love it. You’re an amazing writer, honestly. And after reading the last post, I was happier, I don’t know how but it made my day. I’m also a medical student, a Nigerian and a Jehovah’s Witness. I just started a blog and it would really help I’d you give me some tips?

    • Hi! Lovely to meet you. Please send me an email so we can talk 🙂

  • Yaaaay.. Happy New Year.. I really appreciate your sincerity and how far you went towads achieving your goals last year… Awesome you.. I also did learn how to sew last year.. Still learning though.. The money spent on buying clothes inspired me…

  • I really enjoyed reading this.. Very realistic.
    I am also going to try charging for my skills in 2017, my biggest fear is charging but I guess with time I will get used to it and charge the right amount.
    I love how you have decided to put your faith first and your goals /musings just makes sense I should take a cue from you.
    Cheers to achieving more of your goals in 2017.

    • Thank you! And don’t be afraid to charge for your work; it’s worth it. ❤