Coming up with a tag for 2016 is quite easy, the first thing that comes to mind and remain doggedly so even after many considerations is that 2016 is my coming of age year. While I’ve never been anybody’s baby in the real sense of the word, I actually did grow up this year and I’m super glad because it’s all I’ve ever wanted. Most of the things that happened to me weren’t planned but then when you find yourself in situations where decisions have to be made and actions have to follow, you just have to act and hope that you’ve made the best choice. Thankfully, I have no regrets for most of the choices I made this year and trust me; I’ve had to make a whole lot of choices.
I was talking to a friend one day and he kept on rapping on about how he’s very slow to make up his mind because he’s always never sure. I just smiled because I’m the exact opposite, I make up my mind really fast and I just go right ahead to damn the consequences. I however had little problem making up my mind earlier in the year about a position I applied for and was merely waiting to be called to resume training school. I was half hoping I won’t have to take the offer and when the resumption delayed, aside working my ass off on freelance writing gigs, I spent the first two months of the year sending mails to the likes of Olorisupergal and Red Media whose interview invitations I couldn’t honour earlier on. I so much desperately wanted to be able to beat my chest and say that I tried before I settled.
Finally, I was called to resume training school and the trouble that is living in Lagos started. I stayed with a friend’s family for two weeks and it was the most stressful period of my life. Having to leave home three hours to the start the daily activities and spending almost two hours on the way back was very strange to me. The Thursday before Good Friday however marked a turning point, after closing late from training school and getting dumped by the crazy bus driver, the heavy rain of that night drenched some sense into me and hence began the hunt for apartment number one.
Training School was supposed to be super difficult and for the first few weeks before I moved into the new apartment it lived up to that expectation and even surpassed it. There was a lot of reading and learning to do but the most difficult thing about training school is perhaps the fear of failure and the fear of been withdrawn which hung over every class room like a ghost waiting to snuff the hopes, ambitions and dreams out of an unsuspecting trainee. Training school widened my horizon as I had classmates from other countries like Ghana, Zambia, Sierra Leone, and Democratic Republic of Congo. It was refreshing to discover that Ghanaians are just Nigerians with the over-the-top accent and some delusional sense of superiority, that Zambians are generally cool and very beautiful too, and that you need to count the cost before visiting Sierra Leone especially if you’re not a friend of boats and choppers and also that DRC is indeed a blessed country.
Work started in August and so did hunt for apartment number two! I can write a damn series about house-hunting in Lagos but as this is a review of 2016, I’ll keep that for another day. With work came meeting new people and working with bosses and all, it sure took some getting used to but right now I think I’m in a safe place and one of the greatest lessons I’ve learnt is diplomacy. You have to be diplomatic about a whole lot of things not because you can’t just say it as it is but because there’s got to be a technique to it especially when you’re a younger officer, most of these old people still harbors some sense of jealousy because they think the young officers have it way easier these days.
I met great and wonderful people this year and they definitely made 2016 worth the while. My Nigerian training school friends have become like a rock and we depend on each other. I always make bold to say that I enjoyed living alone until a friend came to Lagos on vacation and he spent a couple of nights at my place. I kid you not; it is certainly different when you know that you’re coming home to somebody and not just an empty room with furniture. This got me thinking that maybe a relationship might not be that bad after all but then it wasn’t lost on me that living with someone temporarily for a number of days is different from permanently sharing your space with someone.
I went on a road trip to a beach resort with a friend and I had mad fun. I loved every bit of it, the feel of the ocean water and sand against my naked skin, the sheer beauty of the beach, the kayak ride and the peaceful ambience that is a great relief from the madness that characterizes the Lagos life. The last days of 2016 also saw me becoming a friend’s Taxifree, it was great driving around Lagos, being at the cinema till early in the morning and driving back, my expertise received a major boost in the space of three days!
Also in 2016, I lost touch with a whole lot of people, mostly not planned and unintentional. The truth however is, I am certainly not who I used to be, my ideas and opinions about life have changed for quite a while now and 2016 was the year when i just stopped trying to carrying on as if the old way still applies. Sure, it wasn’t all fun but it is indeed the best because like they say, you only live once and you owe it to yourself to own your truth without apologies.
So it’s cheers to the New Year and now that I’m my feet are kind of firmly planted, i bet we’ll see more regularly on this page. In the meantime, what did 2016 look like for you? Feel free to share with me in the comments section