Not Quite An End of the Year Review

As we end this year, I thought to take a step back and write something more retrospective. Sure, I write for an audience but I also write for me, for various reasons I have talked about on this blog. I am reluctant to title this in memory of because like I said last year, end of the year reviews can be narcissistic. But let's take a step back for a second. I started this year explaining my distrust for social media, and in  recent times after finding private information about me online (!), I became even more distrustful, and slightly livid. How can you balance a love for sharing some things and an ardent desire for being private? How about the overload of information? Believe it or not, I just don't care about your new purchase of bedsheets or yet another discount code from another sponsored brand. Ohhh and social justice warriors? Bless them, but they can increase your anxiety levels. Let me tell you, you don't know peace until you're free from endless tweets about the damage trump is doing to America or some other apocalyptic problem. So, again how do you balance wanting to KNOW and care for the world you inhabit, but also wanting to avoid insane anxiety levels? My quest these past few weeks.

My blessing and my curse is that I am very self aware. Osemhen's end of the year review reminded me that I am also very deliberate with everything, and there is nothing I do that doesn't involve me thinking and thinking and thinking. I don't mind that trait at all. So it is possible my exhaustion with social media is merely me overthinking. I know though that social media is more harmful than helpful. That post by Osemhen inspired me to write this whole post, which is basically me, meandering. Anyway, like her, I am rethinking social media. I will probably not completely shun it. However, can you imagine the freedom of just enjoying things and experiences without the pressure to share them with folks who don't care?

In the same post, Osemhen wrote about generational curses, and how we always think it is about witchcraft and literal curses, when it is often repetitive cycles, and persistent harmful or (sometimes) beneficial behaviors. But many people hardly recognize these because no one really likes to admit that there are aspects of their upbringing they don't like. And those who don't idolize their upbringings blame everything on their parents and refuse to take responsibility for their lives. Don't be either. In this new year, take responsibilities for your actions, but also be aware enough and pray against all forms of generational curses. In the very beginning of this—now famous (thanks to me, haha)—post, she mentions getting counseling and therapy, and I was very impressed and frankly, fascinated with all the clarity therapy brought her. To be honest with you, there was a part of me (the Nigerian in me, I guess) that thought that therapy has been idolized. Don't get me wrong, I think our mental health should be priority, but I still don't think everyone needs therapy. Osemhen's post might have changed or at least challenged my opinion. And I'm here for it.

This year was a lot. But isn't every year? The one thing adulthood has ingrained in me is the perfect understanding of life as a mix of the good and the bad. You can't get the rainbow without the rain. Life is mostly mundane and that's fine. I knew all this beginning of this year but I still started the year with an insurmountable amount of fear, ennui, anger, and exhaustion. The kind of fear that even thinking back now, was unhealthy and I still don't quite understand.  I mean, the beginning of this year was in fact a train-wreck, just from thinking back now. I even struggled with my faith. But my greatest miracle is that God didn't give up on me. Now, some of those fears almost materialized, and the funniest part is it never is that bad. I mean, there was that one time I had the worst sickness of my life and legit thought I would not make it, but I did. Despite all this, what I remember the most about this year is the successes. Good news, good news, good news. There is nothing like the end of the year to remind you of the seductiveness of pessimism. So to briefly recap, humble brag, but mostly thank God, I will say (what I'm usually too shy to mention) I presented my research at a major conference, defended a qualifier, wrote two MAJOR exams (and passed one with a distinction), won two great fellowships etc. I worked HARD this year.  But don't even get started on the amazing things God did for my family and loved ones—truly my favorite part of this year. I remember knowing without a doubt that God is GOOD. I remember also having a perfect understanding of a salient fact: even if, nay when I fail, God is still good. And that was beautiful. That was the best part.

The one thing I have not perfectly nailed however, is the art of not caring. Don't get me wrong. I'm supposed to care. I just should not care too much. I should not care what people think or say. I should learn to scroll past all the terrible news on social media without a heavy heart. I was really there for a lot of people in 2018, and it was good. However, in 2019, I want more of me for myself, you know? Some people deserve all the love I have to give. Some people don't. I must never conflate both groups. Most of all though, if I could just give myself half the attention, time, resources, joy, celebratory words, cheerleading I gave to others in 2018, then 2019 will already be perfect.

Ah what am I saying? What is the point of all this? Meh, who knows? Whatever you do in this coming year, be better. But please don't overkill yourself with the idea that you have to be perfect. So what if you don't achieve all your goals? Just be a decent human being. Don't be that person who never returns calls. Or who only ever messages people when you need them. Be better. Do better. Most of all, remember that in the end, everything will be okay.



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