2020: My Year in Review

treasure.
9 min readDec 31, 2020

In a lot of ways, I feel this year and its happenings shook me to the core, spat out my insides and pieced me back together again. For this reason I am led to embalm it with this article, because a year like this should not go by without commemoration.

So 2020, this one is for you.

2020 was a lot especially for young people in Nigeria, with the ASUU strike that lasted for nearly ten months, the Coronavirus pandemic that took the world by storm and all the social justice movements we experienced, home and abroad: the Black Lives Matter movement, the protests against rape and gender based violence in Nigeria, and the #EndSars protests, which for me was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I’m saying all this because those of us on social media can relate with hearing people say stuff like, “if you did not take advantage of this period at home to invent something or start forex or do blah blah, then you are a waste of living space [redacted].” But I vehemently disagree. Surviving in itself was work, and if all you did for yourself this year was wake up every morning and breathe, then I salute you, because it must not have been easy. Well done!

That being said, I am writing this because 2020 got me feeling like my life was constantly spinning in motion and I never had a chance to sit down and document everything that happened until now. While thinking about how best to go about my review, I came across Titi Odeyinka’s piece on 2018 and I thought the way she used subheadings for different areas of her life was cool, so I will be adopting that style in my write-up. Enjoy!

School

I resumed 300 level in January and I was faced with new challenges. Apparently, I failed to register for some courses and only found out a month into the semester. For this reason, I was stressed for most of the time I spent in school. I lost my passion for Law so I found reading extremely difficult, could not connect with what I was learning in class, and felt tired all the time. This was why ASUU’s decision to go on strike made me ecstatic. I really needed a break, although I could not have anticipated it lasting this long.

Over the course of the lockdown, reading for school has remained a challenge. Which is crazy considering I have read several books on fiction and self development this year, and it would take the same amount of effort to sit my ass down and read Criminal Law. But I just can’t bring myself to it. From the corner of my eye, I watch my classmates rant and rave about how they are also not reading but I have a feeling I’m on my own, because Law students cannot be trusted when it comes to this reading thing. God epp my life.

Extracurriculars

One of the promises I made to myself entering the new year was to participate in more initiatives. At first I did them simply to prove a point to myself, that I could be bold and do things that very much scared me (like leading groups, giving presentations and talking on live IG sessions) but I soon discovered that I really enjoyed them. I did some volunteering work, participated in several MUNs and applied for several positions. Won some, lost some. In all, 2020 solidified my love for Sustainable Development and I appreciate all the forums I have participated in where such conversations have been held. The most valuable takeaway from this aspect of my life was learning not to do things simply because other people are doing them. To only volunteer and participate in initiatives I am passionate about, instead of seeking out decorations for my CV. Because at the end of the day, life is best lived with meaning, and everything you do should give you a sense of fulfillment otherwise I don’t believe it’s worth doing it.

Love

I fell in love for the first time in 2020. It happened like a movie. The attraction was fast and heady like wine, and so we started dating, and we dated for a while, and then it ended in tears. Definitely laughing while typing this, because I really didn’t see it coming. The cynic in me had already fallen asleep, thinking “yes, this is where it ends.” I would like to grow old with this man, and have miniature versions of ourselves prancing around the house. But life had other plans, and despite the tears I shed (trust me, I cried more than I had ever cried in my life) I am glad it all happened, because I learned so much from it.

I learned how it felt to be loved, and to be held like the most precious thing on the planet, and I learned how to fall apart, total decimation, crying till your vocal chords don’t work anymore and your mom comes into the room and you have to tell her it’s because of man (can you imagine?) even though you swore not to, because you know it is embarrassing and it would break her heart. I learned that you need more than just love to make a relationship work, and understanding each other is just as important. I learned not to live in my head, because overthinking kills, and I learned that a relationship is not a hospital for past traumas and hurts to be treated. As an individual you have to heal yourself, so you can make your romantic unit work. Omo. That has been a lot of learning.

I have been telling everyone who cares to listen that I’m not doing love again. That my life henceforth would be all about catching flights not feelings. But I am a romantic at heart; I grow radiant when I pour affection into others. So although I would honestly love to keep my heart locked (with key) for the next 12 months, I know nothing under heaven is guaranteed. I can only beg 2021 to give me bags not ventricles. Thank you very much in advance.

Relationships

2020 was the year of making new, heartfelt connections. Prior to this year, my friendships were majorly creations of circumstance. We met in school, or at tutorials, and had no choice but to become friends. But this year, being at home allowed me to be more intentional in meeting people online that shared my interests and connecting with them. It was a wonderful experience, and I am thankful for everyone I have in my life right now, both old friends and new. I have been so exposed to the beauty of the human heart this year, how love can flow through people, the power of connection and how amazing it feels to have a community. It’s been a blessing.

But it has not been all rosy. I did lose proximity with a lot of friendships I wanted to keep, and it’s only until recently I stopped beating myself up for it. Because the truth is, that’s just life. People come in, and they fulfill a purpose, and they fade into the background and sometimes there’s nothing you can do about it. Sometimes people also won’t have your best interests at heart, so you have to be discerning about how much you pour into them. Relationships require wisdom, and hardwork.

With family, this was the first time in years that all the members of my immediate family were together in the same house. I learned to love and appreciate my dad so much more, and to bond with him on morning walks. My relationship with every member of the house has drastically improved thanks to the lockdown. Though I must admit that occasionally, I still feel like strangling them.

Work

I started earning money this year. #BigGirlThings. Being a career woman for the first time in my life was exciting. I loved the security having my own money gave me. I could go out with friends and spoil myself without having to ask my parents for funds. Aside from formal employment, I did some modeling and I started two projects with two girlfriends. The Kunssiel, an art/recreation organization, and The Oracle Africa, a medium-based publication. There is still so much to be achieved with these projects, but I am proud of how much we have been able to do so far.

Hobbies

I wrote more this year than I did last year because I was at home and I could think. Yet, I was constantly plagued with uncertainty on whether my writing was good enough, and the myriad of rejection mails I got did not help me at all. I think the Universe understood my plight because in November I got my first big win with the Awani Essay competition, and honestly I really needed it. It made me think, girl, you are better than you give yourself credit for. No more dulling! I wanted to write a book, but I couldn’t because of my good friend, Anxiety, so I am pushing that goal into 2021.

With traditional art, I started painting this year. Prior to this, I had never really experimented with wet art mediums, so I found it exciting. I also started learning how to make videos. I read quite a lot too, My favourite read. from the year being 101 essays That will Change the Way You Think, by Brianna Wiest. Aside from writing, I wasn’t really preoccupied with being good at all the things I did. Really just needed coping mechanisms, and my paints and books were really there for me.

Religion

I started 2020 with a lot of questions about my faith. Looking back, not much has changed. I even have more questions now, taking into account all the church leaders that have embarrassed themselves on social media this year. Despite all this, I admire people who have staunchly planted themselves in their belief systems and do not allow the shortcomings of others to shake their faith. I really hope I choose something in 2021, and that I stick to it faithfully. I don’t really enjoy feeling uncertain about this aspect of my life.

In conclusion, I grew so much this year, but I think we were all forced to grow, in one way or the other. I read somewhere that 2020 is the first year that has told us things the way they are, like a blunt chemistry teacher. “Life is hard, people die, governments shoot at you for protesting for your rights, deal with it.”

This year I definitely became more confident in my own skin, in being who I am and sharing my voice with the world. I learned humility in the hardest of ways, and I learned that nothing in life is guaranteed. I learned I was bigger than I gave myself credit for, and I was stronger than I thought I was. Everyone’s been so scared to vocalize their hopes and aspirations for 2021, because of how bad this year has been, but omo. I’m saying it here, live and direct. 2021? Treasure Pro Max is loading. I’m so excited to be alive, to have survived 2020, and I will do my best in making the most out of it!

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