Year in review: 2017

Writing a review this year has been easy, and yet so difficult, because soo much has happened.

But before we begin, let’s see how I did with the goals I set for 2017 in this post

2017 goals in retrospect

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

This went pretty well, I think. Photography as a side gig in a small island hasn’t been the easiest thing, but I love the art, making memories, that shutter click. I’d take pictures whether someone paid me to or not. Fortunately, a few people have paid me, trusted me to take photos of them even though they think they’re not “photogenic”. It has been a great pleasure to see people who claim to never look great in photos, LOVE their pictures at the end. Additionally, they all enjoy the actual session and always message to say they had a great time after. I ask for nothing more.

My photography and editing skills have improved, I’ve grown firmer about charging what I deserve, better at drawing up contracts and dealing with clients professionally. Running a side gig, as small as mine is, has taught me to stand up for myself, to be confident, to *gasp* make small talk. It’s hard to have an entire hour of photo taking or connect with people without talking, so I’m becoming quite adept at small talk even though I still hate it.

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

This did not happen. I still have moments when I think I’m superwoman, obviously, because somehow I thought I’d become a seamstress, baker and Picasso while in my final year of medical school. Sewing and crafts are still close to my heart but I just couldn’t find the time! Watching the machine collect dust was breaking my heart and so one month when I was really broke, I just sold it to someone who needed it. Thus ended my sewing career, for now at least.

Journal even more.

This one is tricky because while I journaled, I think I journaled the least I ever have since I started journaling. I had months when I wrote and doodled every day and then there were long stretches when I did not even see my journal. Since my exams ended, I’ve been writing more, mostly encouraging scriptures, difficult emotions, notes from talks I want to remember and the like. I still enjoy it.

Finish med school.

DONE. Still waiting for the official paper, but I’m done. After about seven grueling weeks of exam prep in which I felt the most anxiety I’ve EVER felt about exams (mostly because THE GRAVITY of FINALS), I did it. Writing finals was one of those experiences that reassured me of Jehovah’s care and personal interest in my life, because I was a wreck for more than half the time. Then somehow, in the last week, my confidence level skyrocketed, everyone who mattered to me kept supporting me and I just felt guided. I’d be lying if I said I did it by myself.

OSCE day selfie!

Continue pioneering.

Done. I started regular pioneering in September, which means I now spend 70 hours every month teaching people about Jehovah. It is the greatest privilege I have ever received in my life. Helping people learn more about God and His purpose for humans is the true light of my life and my most rewarding experience yet.

Go somewhere I haven’t been yet.

This year, I saw my first real life waterfall, visited the Tobago Cays, hiked the Soufriere volcano and visited the Salt Ponds in Owia all here in St Vincent. I can’t believe there’s still so many places right on this island that I haven’t seen yet. Local travel is worth exploring. Every experience this year was with the best set of people and I will cherish the memories forever.

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Start watercolor painting.

I started. But don’t ask me if I still do. There was no time to relax by painting, guys. Sorry.

Bake a cake. From scratch.

I haven’t YET. But I shall. Deferred to 2018. Let’s celebrate instead that I made my first real Caribbean style curry, shall we?

Host a gathering.

Done and done! I hosted my Canadian friend and her family over and fed them Nigerian food. It was… interesting. I also had a few other friends over for a girls night. I tried.

Do well with my rotations.

I think I can say I did my best. Happy with that.

Keep Jehovah in first place.

Safe to say I’ve done that so far 🙂

Okay, so what really happened in 2017? What did I learn?

I’m learning to rely more fully on Jehovah. To accept His love, comfort, direction in even the smallest of issues and see His hand in my life more than ever before.

I think seeing my own flaws so clearly has been one of the many rude awakenings of adulthood. Click To Tweet

Learning to know myself has been a journey. I think seeing my own flaws so clearly has been one of the many rude awakenings of adulthood. Still, it gives me the opportunity change the way I react to situations, handle relationships, view myself, because life is life. Life will always hand out lemons. So, attitude is everything. I’ve seen that handling stress and trials is so dependent on our attitude toward our situations.

This year, I’ve also seen the power of perspective. I’ve learned that money isn’t everything; far from it, really. Sure, money is useful and you’ve got to eat and pay bills. But if you’re waiting to be rich to enjoy your life or be happy, then true happiness will always elude you. It’s easy to think that only “rich” people think this way, but contentment is so key to being happy. Lord knows how many times I was broke this year, but there wasn’t a single day I didn’t have reason to feel joy. I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world.

if you're waiting to be rich to enjoy your life or be happy, then true happiness will always elude you. Click To Tweet

I’ve been shown so much unselfish love this year, people have poured out so much to me, that just typing that sentence brought tears to my eyes (yes, i’m a cry baby). It’s made me want to give all I can, give until I feel free, unselfishly.

Last year, I mentioned wanting to be single for a while and I did it! I actually thrived as a single person, something I didn’t know was possible.

I’m not superwoman. I cannot do everything. Cannot be on top of everything so I’ve had to choose and everyday I choose what matters most. It is important to stay comfortably on top of the things that matter first before any other extra hobbies or distractions. That realization changed my life and is what I like to call my priority algorithm.

It is important to stay comfortably on top of the things that matter first before any other extras. Click To Tweet

I struggled a lot with anxiety this year. Paralyzing anxiety which I could really only soothe with God’s word, prayer and seeking help from friends and family. I was homesick a lot, but then so many times, I felt like I was home already. Fewer things are as much a paradox as ‘home’ is.

Fewer things are as much a paradox as 'home' is. Click To Tweet

The Highlights

Becoming a regular pioneer

Making many friends who love Jehovah as much as I do and nurturing those friendships.

Re-launching this blog in March, rebranding and becoming a lifestyle AND literary blog. I love being a literary blogger sooo much.

Joining the wonderful team at The Book Banque and having the editor, Tobi open my eyes to a new way of writing and expressing myself. I look forward to working with you even more this year girl!

My friend Tiwa, graduated Valedictorian of her class this year and our dear Esther became an author! You should buy her book, moonflower.

The 2017 ‘Don’t Give Up‘ Convention. Priceless.

Officially joining ‘bookstagram’. Chatting books on Instagram and ‘meeting’ a community of people as excited about fictional characters as I am.

Starting BOOK’D a day after the crazy idea whizzed into my brain. I wrote the questions within 24 hours before I started panicking that it was a totally rubbish idea. Still, I got out my computer and emailed everyone I knew loves books. And hey, still going! I’ve had authors like Ayobami Adebayo, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Yemisi Aribisala, Yewande Omotoso and literary influencers like Ainehi Edoro on BOOK’D.

This year, I also interviewed a number of Nigerian creative entrepreneurs and I’m so grateful to all who shared their story. I’m not sure what to do with that series at this time but we’ll see.

Figuring out Photoshop… to an extent. Learning to connect with couples and simulate/stimulate real life chemistry during photo sessions.

monthly favorites august 2017

Reading a whopping 47 books this year.

Getting the email that I’d passed finals. Can’t even explain.

2018 Goals

I’m at that weird point in life where you kinda don’t know how anything is going to turn out. The only things I can assure you of in 2018, as long as I have life, is that I’ll be pioneering and writing on this blog. The rest of the stuff, dear friends, you’re gonna have to come along on the ride with me for.

For BOOK’D, we’re going global, baby! I’m reaching out to readers from other countries outside Nigeria and Africa. It’ll be a healthy mix so don’t worry, we’ll have variety.

I’m always going to take pictures, whether I get paid to or not, but I definitely hope I keep getting paid to do it. I just want to keep living my life with purpose, to keep doing the things that bring me joy and to keep being guided by my Father in heaven.

I would like to mention every single person who’s made my life beautiful this year, but really you all know who are. All my friends who’ve been there, whether I’ve called you crying while you were at a party and you stopped everything to listen to me and help me or you’ve reminded patiently every single time of God’s love and support. My family has been extraordinary. My little brother who is wise beyond his years has held my hand through many ups and downs this year and my parents have held me up, prayed for me and believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. Then, my entire family in the Caribbean, who’ve done and are doing everything they can to support me (who probably won’t read this, lol), thank you.

Finally, of course, YOU ALL! Thank you! So many people sent me supportive emails and messages on social media and I just couldn’t believe how kind you’ve all been. It’s wonderful to find people who appreciate your work and content. You’re all amazing. Special thanks to all my interview guests who took the time to prepare thoughtful answers to every single question. You made me so happy, encouraged a budding entrepreneur and/or showed a reader at least one new book. So, thank you for making my year!

How was your year? What was your favorite thing about 2017? Are you looking forward to anything special in 2018? I’d love to know.