Monday, 15 March 2021


“Everything’s so blurry
And everyone’s so fake
And everybody’s empty
And everything is so messed up…”
– Blurry (Puddle of Mudd)

I know I said in my last post I had put a stop to drinking, oh well…I haven’t. It feels like a lifeline these days. After back-to-back daily work stress during the week and then school on Saturdays, it seems okay to let go and find temporary relief/comfort in alcohol on Saturday nights. I don’t see myself turning into an alcoholic or getting addicted (well till I got tipsy last weekend and started craving a blunt).

I ended my February post talking about being stable, and that the storm I faced in January had calmed. I guess I claimed victory way too early. It's mid-March and I feel broken, hanging by a thread.

Philip was trying to get me to pinpoint the exact issue troubling me. I tried to reply to his chat but I couldn’t find the words to type. I sent him a voice note and on and on I went. In summary, my personality make-up of being a Highly sensitive person/Empath is the bane of my existence. Oh, add anxiety into the mix. *Sigh

At this point, I don’t even know exactly what’s going on with me anymore. I know I feel overwhelmed constantly and I have spent all monthly trying to calm myself. This has never really been difficult to do in the past; pausing, staying still, and doing breathing exercises always worked. But these days, it’s been a struggle to center myself, and it wears me out even faster. 


Why do I feel this way daily? Is it because I’m yet to balance graduate school with my routine? It’s weird considering when I’m in class I love every moment and it’s a refreshing breathe of air to be experiencing different but familiar energy. 

Or maybe it’s because I have refused to process the fact that my younger one had a little relapse and has been on admission for the past two weeks. I choose to not sit with this thought or feel anything about it. I have dropped this matter at the feet of God. It’s not in my circle of concern so I won’t let it break me any further

Or could it be the scary coincidence that my colleagues are losing their parents at the office? This has to be the major trigger. At first, we were all wondering what was happening, trying to draw a pattern of how many persons on my office floor have lost a parent in the last couple of months in quick succession.

But after Friday's news, it dawned on us it wasn’t even just my branch alone, but the entire Benin City region. 

Tuesday last week, a colleague brought the photo album of her Dad’s funeral that was concluded the upper week. I couldn’t attend because I had to travel to attend another colleague’s mother’s funeral in another State.

Eme, one of my team members hugged her and consoled her. If only she knew the next day she will be the one being consoled. Mehn! Life! The next morning Eme called me to tell me she lost her Dad.

I lost it.

Everyone was concerned and asking what’s happening with all these losses? Oh, two days before this, a colleague in another branch had also lost his mum. While everyone had seemed to pull themselves together and moved on (life always moves on rudely), I was still a mess, no thanks to my personality that feels things more than the average person does.

I literarily froze that day.

I was having a rush of empathy for Eme and while also freaking out on the odd pattern that seemed to be unfolding. Eme was going to be the 5th person on our floor to lose a parent in a time frame, and who knows what number in the region?

Two colleagues had to stay with me as I fought back tears, visibly shaking. Afterward, I stayed alone for a long while, trying to get myself. I locked myself in and took a nap but woke up with a headache.

Friday, two days later, We got word another colleague and my pal in another branch lost his mother that morning. Mehn, it was too much! I couldn’t function or concentrate on work. My chest began to tighten and it felt like I couldn’t breathe. I reached out to a couple of friends online because I couldn’t go through it alone anymore. 

I took Philip's advice of going for a walk and found myself outside the building. I tried to distract myself by talking with a security man outside but this wasn’t helping. I had to find a place at the car park to sit for a while, doing breathing exercises and trying to not let my mind wander to scary territory. 


Last week wasn’t pleasant. 

Currently, I feel broken, torn, and worn out. My head keeps spinning constantly day in, day out. I tried to rest yesterday, as Sundays are the only free days I have now, but I felt sore for most parts. I remember getting to church in the morning, still seated in my car at the parking lot of the church. I attempted to take deep breaths as I normally do to calm my social anxiety before stepping into the congregation.

Taking deep breaths failed me. I didn’t feel any better.

I let out a shout, mostly out of all the frustrations of not being able to kick out crazy thoughts from my head. Normally this feeling lasts for a day or two. Having to deal with this constantly for two weeks going, is a bit too much for me.

If you follow this journal, you’ll know I normally update at month-end. But this is me writing mid-month for relief, to clear my head, and hit restart before March consumes me.

I did my chores yesterday, had melancholic music on for most parts of the day, and slept. The activities helped bring down my stress level. I tried reading but it only made me feel even more strained. I was jumping from one activity to the other looking for ease, for something to calm my weary soul.

I think I countered my efforts though, by putting pressure on myself to get fully rested ahead of Monday because I dread the feeling I have been struggling with each day at the office for a while now. I sit on my desk, trying to pause time so I can catch my breath. Fighting to kick out the thoughts that people are losing their parents in turns, that it's a pattern. Praying that it stops and doesn’t come near me. It’s a constant mental rollercoaster. 

Did I forget to mention I broke my pact with my colleague about not buying non-essential stuff for the remaining part of the year? I’m back to shopping for relief. This escape is too expensive, so I have decided not to leave cash fallow in my account anymore.

Do I start questioning why I’m built this way? Is it possible to stop being a highly sensitive person? Can my genetic makeup be modified? If there was a pill to take, I will gladly take it because this feels all too much and I might implode if my head doesn’t stop spinning!

“I’ve learned that life is so cruel it doesn’t slow down or pause while you break” – Mofiyinfoluwa Okupe

“Is it just me or does anybody feel the way that I feel?
They’re just not being real
Tell me, is it just me or is anybody thinking all the same shit?
They are not just saying it
Or is it just me?”
– Is it just me? (Sasha Sloan)


Do I need saving? Do I need to be rescued?
Is my personality a venom to myself?
Is this my cry for help? Is anyone listening?

God, did you hear me yesterday morning when I was rambling to you even though prayer wasn’t the activity going at that moment in church? 

The month still has several days to go, the first half of this month has been a blur. I sincerely pray the remaining days are easier. That 2021 gives me a break and I find balance. That I find ease and enjoy each passing day. That I’ll be whole and not just function in autopilot mode, but live and savor every waking moment of my existence. 

I’m letting this out, and I hope the universe hears me and is kind enough to oblige me. 

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Saviour

And I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine”
– Oceans (Hillsong UNITED)

Friday, 26 February 2021

2021 so far… (The happenings)




plural noun: plans

  1. an intention or decision about what one is going to do.


3rd person present: plans

  1. decide on and make arrangements for in advance

I make plans for almost everything. If I don’t, it’s going to be chaos in my head, which will inevitably culminate in me breaking down. I’m the guy who draws up daily to-do lists, monthly expense lists and ticks them off as they are settled. I make plans mostly to keep myself sane, to sort of have control, stay centered, and not entirely about keeping me focused on my goals.

How do I feel when plans go off course? I feel like screaming and breaking things.

This is how I felt all through January.

Mostly I felt tired; more mentally tired than physically.

If anyone should ask me how 2021 has been so far, I’ll pause for a minute, sigh, and say – “off-course”.

This is not how I planned or hoped my 2021 will start. I thought I’ll ease into the year, take each day as it came; one breath at a time. But as always, life has a way of making a mockery of one’s plans.
It’s less than 60 days into 2021 and it feels like a continuation of 2020. People are still dying, the pandemic is still raging, the world is still going to shit and Twitter is still a madhouse.

I’m writing this post because I need to gain clarity and restart my 2021, the same way I did last year. This is the first official restart, and I hope I don’t have to do this several times before 2021 will start making sense.

If only I have the luxury of taking the first two weeks of every year for myself - Seclude myself, sit with my thoughts and design a clear plan for the year without getting distracted by life’s needs.

At the beginning of the year, I wanted to embrace solitude and bask in the quiet embrace of my own company.

I tried to create this space for myself over the yuletide season, but life came at me so quickly.
I started the year ill. After treating malaria, I had ulcer issues and had to be placed on medication for a month plus. A side effect of one of the drugs was dizziness. This caused me to sleep off while driving on my way back from work, damaging the car I had just spent a lot of money reworking. The same week I got the car back, was the same week I had the accident. Thankfully no one was hurt.

After the accident, I struggled with PTSD. The first time I drove past the accident spot, I froze on the steering. I kept looking at the spot, trying to replay how it went down, viewing the imagery from a third person’s view. It took a car honking for me to get back to myself and drive off.

I’m intentionally refusing to let my mind draw a pattern. I had an accident the same month (January) last year. Once in a while, the irrational fear pops up that next January another accident will happen.


January felt like 60days.

Sixty days of me barely existing, trying to find my way through life even though nothing appealed to me. I aimed to survive each day and showed up where I was needed.

I was barely able to stay afloat. Though I moved taking my daily dosage of the drugs to late evenings, I still suffered light-headedness while driving. Work wasn’t pleasant. I was physically present but my soul wasn’t. Things were happening around me but not registering. I was on auto mode. Taking deep breaths every morning helped most times. The world kept spinning around me, leaving me out of breath. It always felt like I was racing time, but never able to catch up.

I needed to breathe, but I couldn’t seem to get the chance off work to that.

Then, I crashed.

I tried my best to be healthy. I tried to distract myself with social media, I binged online articles, I let go of hope, did lazy exercises, took deep breaths, and slept early. I went back to reading Ore Fakorede’s Talking to myself at 21 post, hoping it would somehow miraculously calm me down. Still, each day suffocated me the more. I felt lost most of the time.

“I needed shelter
Shelter from the rain
I’m cold and I’m weary
I’ve lost my way
Gotta find my way home
Can I find my way home?”
– My way home (AG & GoldFord)

I had a lapse in judgment and chose self-destructive ways to ease my troubled mind.

I had last year planned to get some new shoes and clothes this year, tied to a specific budget. I felt I deserved it after staying off getting shopping in 2020. When everything hit hard, I turned to shopping for relief. I kept telling myself life is short, that what if I had died in the accident? The money I’m saving, of what use will it be? I ended up exceeding my initial budget by over 250%.

I knew I was headed the wrong path when I ordered eleven pairs of shoes online in one night. This was after ordering over seven pairs previously. People say don’t go out, so you don’t spend but apparently, this doesn’t apply to people with online shopping addictions.

I turned to drinking to make the nights bearable. It was a toxic, yet welcome companion. Each time I drank, I went to bed with my head floating, legs staggering to my bed like I was walking on air. Once I hit the bed, sleep always took over, saving me the torture of emptiness.

I have put a lid on it before I turn into an alcoholic. I had to consciously choose to heal in a healthy way. Special thanks to the folks that reached out to me on Instagram via DM – Margaret, Bayo, and Chidi especially. They gave me an avenue to rant and spill out the shit going on in my head.


Entering February, I longed for ease. I can’t remember how I found this song but it’s been very helpful in calming me down –

“Darling, you gotta keep breathing
Lose yourself in the feeling
Just be slow, just be slow
Take it back to that moment
Before you start to feel broken
Just be slow, just be slow”
– Be Slow (Harrison Storm)

Just as plans help to keep me centered, routines also play a major role in helping me feel grounded. In my search for a fuller and more balanced life, I have altered my perfect weekend routine which usually kept me relaxed and refreshed.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has called off their strike, and Graduate school has resumed. After almost a year of gaining admission, I have finally gone back to school.

I have in the past written why I decided to go back to school ten years after my first degree. Initially, I felt ready and missed preparing for exams. I also longed for new knowledge. These still hold, but I won’t say they are the main reasons why I’m currently thrilled about graduate school. It’s not particularly a search for purpose or meaning, more of the need for a change. I mean, 2021 has since been feeling like 2020. I needed something different from my usual life routine, something to excite me.

My classes are on Saturdays (thankful Fridays are not included) but this has altered my routine. I’m trying to find a new routine and hopefully find balance soon. The experience so far, being in a classroom has been refreshing. The energy and doing something different gives me so much life. Funny, on the first day of resumption, my competitive part showed up. I looked around, trying to size the room and see who will drag the top of the class with me (lol, some things don’t change).

I got hold of myself on time and reminded myself I wasn’t here to win any prizes. This is me doing school all over again to enjoy the experience. I permit myself to have fun, to fail tests (but not exams sha), to miss classes, and not take things too seriously. I’m allowed to take breaks if I feel school work is making me slip over the edge.

Though I’m majorly back in school to learn, I’m also here to create an alternative life and find an escape, something productive to spice up my life. This is more or less a lifeline. There is still no travel for now and God knows, if I hadn’t found something out of my usual to cling to, I would have imploded by now.

2020 was super basic for me. The year nothing exciting happened. I lived an average life trying to survive the Covid-19 plagued year. It's fine, I mean it was a trying year for everyone but to have 2021 go the same way? God forbid! I honestly don’t want that for myself this year, I’m not sure I can stand such a bleh life again.

However, I don’t feel balanced yet. I haven’t found comfort in my new routine, though I think it fits perfectly even though I barely have a full day for rest anymore. Saturdays used to be my rest days, but that’s for school now. Chores have been pushed to Sundays which now also doubles as my rest days after church. With time though, I think my body will get used to the new arrangement. First thing though, I need to stop telling myself that I have bitten more than I can chew and start accepting this is now my reality.

Sincerely, I don’t like stress. I won’t pretend mixing weekend graduate school classes with work isn’t going to be stressful. Weekends for rest will now be for classes and studying, so when do I rest? Anyway, if I can’t cope, dropping out is an option. 


One thing that keeps me going, asides from the excitement of the new life I seem to have created with Graduate School, is my looking forward to a gap year - my version of Eat Pray Love. 

Sometimes I let my mind wander and bask in the thought of me living my dream life. While searching for ease through the smog that was January, I re-watched the movie to water my soul. I found it comforting, watching her grasp the freedom to breathe, to be, and blossom.  

I strongly desire a similar experience - To be able to bask in the sweetness of doing nothing, of doing things because I want to and not because I have to…to chill and enjoy ease. Have the luxury of taking life in my stride. Experience things, take it all in, savoring every experience while not running against time.

Hopefully, my gap year will be what I hope it will be, and even much more. An opportunity to enjoy the little moments of life, discover myself, and most importantly, explore my creative side. An opportunity to taste life and breathe fresh energy into my soul, where life won’t be in fast forward and I will experience every second to the fullest. 

“Times get tough, but I don't give up
'Cause I know I'm not alone
'Cause we're all reaching for something
We're all craving change
Hoping tomorrow is better than today
We're all searching for some way
Trying to find a way
Hoping tomorrow is better than today”
– Better than Today (Ryhs Lewis)


I’m thankful February was a lot lighter than January, hopefully, the coming month gets even better. I miss the feeling of true happiness I felt in December. Funny, how then I said I didn’t trust the feeling, that soon it will be over. Well, I miss that state of mind I was in. I want it back, so I’ll try to hold on to happiness and work towards getting to that point where I felt so much possibility about life.

2021 might seem to have started in fast-forward for me, but I think to a considerable extent, the storm has calmed. Right now at this very moment, writing this post I feel whole, stable, and centered. I hope this feeling lasts…

“So try to your dying breath to hold on to happiness
'Cause life is just a moment and one day it's over
And it's cruel how the time can pass, the deepest rivers move so fast
And life's just a moment, so know when it's golden
Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on to happiness
Hold on, hold on, hold on”
– Hold on to Happiness (Rhys Lewis)

Sunday, 31 January 2021

MUSIC REVIEW - MY TOP ALBUMS FROM 2ND HALF of 2020 (July – December)

After indulging in several mellow pop-influenced EPs in the first half of 2020 and Albums that cut across various genres, I craved something different. I needed music that was hushed and easy on my senses to see me through the second half of the year. 2020 was a lot and I needed calm and ease as the year phased out.

Nevertheless, I kept my self open across genres. I mean, I don’t get how people can limit themselves to only one genre, must be quite boring. Variety will always remain the spice of life IMO.

On the Nigerian music scene, the big names in the industry started the second half of 2020 with album releases. It almost began to feel like a competition, and of course, the comparisons by the various fandoms raged on Twitter.
After a seemingly slow first half that was dominated by new artists, the second half saw the big names take center stage. While some decided to lose their sound and fine-tune it to please the Western world, (in search of a Grammy nod) it was nice having others stay true to their sound and core Afrobeats/Afropop, delivering albums that had spark and life. I’m not naming names, but if you followed the Nigerian music space, you’ll know just who and who I’m referring to.

artists I anticipated albums from all delivered and most were worth the wait.
As for Rihanna, it was apt to see a magazine refer to her as a part-time
musician. This was funny to read. I didn’t expect an album from Adele despite
all the rumors, though seeing her weight loss transformation was quite something.
I’m expecting a fire album from her. Seems her divorce hit hard.

broke my heart. They yet again pushed back their album release a second time to
the first quarter of 2021. I’m still anticipating this project. Despite the
covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, it was impressive getting good music last year.
Though on general terms, the quality of music these days is nothing to be
compared to songs of the 2000s. R.I.P to the soft rock genre.

Now let's explore
into the countdown of my favourite albums from the Second half of 2020 –

13. CTV3: Cool Tape Vol 3 – Jaden Smith

I have never followed Jaden’s music, being that I’m not much of a Hip-hop/Rap fan. I heard a snippet of Cabin Fever on his Instagram page when he announced the release of the song as the first single from the album. The retro-influenced sound was fresh, different from his usual rap songs. The music video is also artistic in every right and got me anticipating the album. 

The album thankfully followed the same pattern as the first single, leading to an aesthetically pleasing project. Everything about this album is art. From the retro-influenced production, the lyrics, and mellow sunny sound, Jaden deliver a new side of creativity that’s a testament to his growth.

CTV3: Cool Tape Vol 3 boasts of another Justin Bieber/Jaden Smith collaboration on the track ‘Falling for you’. This song is a refreshing deviation from their earlier pop-influenced Never Say Never track. 

Favourite Tracks – Falling for you, Everything, Cabin Fever, Deep End, Photograph, Boys and Girls

12. Only Child – Sasha Sloan

One Sunday evening while cooking, mid-way through listening to this album, I remember telling myself the album reeks of loneliness. ‘Only Child’ is a follow up to her 2019 EP – ‘Self Portrait’. Sasha once again goes heavy on melancholic moody lyrics sung over mellow dark minimal instrumentals that make you feel the weight of every word.

The album is introspective, heavy on dark themes of loneliness, self-acceptance, and love. Sasha cements herself as an excellent songwriter on Only Child. 

Favourite Tracks – House with No Mirrors, Lie, Is it Just Me?, Hypochondriac, Santa’s Real

11. A Better Time – Davido

The energy on this album is everything! Its hits back to back from the first track to the last. This album has spark! So much life and excitement on the album, way better than the bore-fest released by the other artist who can’t be named. When it comes to music, maturity doesn’t mean boring, please.

Two downsides with this album – unnecessary long track number and the opening track – ‘FEM’ doesn’t fit well on the album, the same way ‘Formation’ didn’t fit into Beyonce’s Lemonade album. ‘FEM’ should have been released as a buzz single and not included on the album, or at best, added as a bonus track.

Still, ‘A better Time’ is one of the no skip albums from Nigerian music space in 2020.

Favourite Tracks – Jowo, Something fishy, Holy Ground, Very Special, The Best, Tanana

10. How it used to feel – Phoebe Ryan

This is arguably one of the best-written Pop albums of 2020. Pop albums are usually a collection of songs with cheap lyrics over catchy beats. ‘How it used to feel’ proves that just because it’s Pop doesn’t mean it can’t have lyrical depth. I love everything about this debut album from Phoebe and how it follows through the theme of heartbreak yet still gives off an energetic vibe all through. This album sparkles.

Thanks to Apple music playlist for helping me discover her.

Favourite Tracks – Talk to me, Try it sober, Little piece, Ring, Just like Me, A Thousand Ways

9. Apart – Leon

The sophomore album from Leon is centered on her breakup from her long-time boyfriend. What I love about this album is its distinct sound which is well complemented by Leon’s unique voice. The songwriting on this album is top-notch. The album always gets me in my feelings every time I listen to it.

On ‘and it breaks my heart’ she sings -

“Oh, where did love go?
It's right in your hands, then it’s suddenly gone
Oh no, nobody knows where it disappears
And it breaks my heart”

This summarizes why I choose to be avoidant these days, it always ends in tears. So why bother?

 Favourite Tracks – Head and Heart on Fire, In a Stranger’s Arms, Chasing a Feeling, Falling Apart, Who you lovin, Die for You

8. The love You Want – Lewis Watson

If anyone says alternative music is boring, kindly refer them to this album. The third album from the singer-songwriter – Lewis Watson is proof that folk-pop can be just as interesting and lyrically meaningful as other indie genres.

I can’t exactly remember how I discovered Lewis, but I’m glad I did. I didn’t only enjoy this album he released in 2020 which dissects every aspect around relationships, I explored his entire discography and fell in love with his art.

Favourite Tracks – take what you need, meant for me, castles of sand, roses, echoes, fly when I fall, loving arms

7. Wilted – Paris Jackson

I guess
anyone would say the logical thing for Paris Jackson to do, is to follow in the
footsteps of her father Michael, and go the way of Pop music. But I think the
bravest thing is for her to follow her path, which she did perfectly well on
her debut album – Wilted. To be honest, when I heard she released an album, I
was expecting one of those cheaply written pop happy albums, but boy! She blew
me away with her alternative indie album.

This is a
break-up album, but what distinguishes it is the quietness that comes with each
track and lyrics that connect with your past experiences of pain. Her pain
feels so raw on ‘Let down’ where she sings – ‘you were my all/and now I fall to
the ground/you hit the wall/and now, I crawl underground’

From the
listen, it’s been one of my go-to albums when I need to quiet the voices in my
head. Each track breathes calmness over me as her voice in almost whispers
soars over minimal instruments. This album is peaceful and leads you to a place
of quiet and clarity. Paris did great on this, and I know Michael would have
been proud.

I love how
after going through tracks and lyrics talking about loss, the ending tracks on
the album speak of strength and building back up. On ‘wilted’ (the album title track) she declares - "can’t grow
without your love to water my roots’’ before she draws strength from
affirmations as the track fades out, singing repeatedly - ‘I’ll be my own sun…”

The next
track following this song, and also the last track on the album – 'another spring' continues from where
she stopped and centers on her rebirth. She sings – “cause seasons change/days
dawn anew/I’ll rearrange and let my wounds shine through”.

My favourite lyrics on the album are on the track - 'eyelids' which captures how I feel when I let myself go through pain inorder to move on -

“Cut my eyelids
So I can't see you float out the door
Burn my tongue out
'Cause I don't want to taste you no more
Break my fingers
So your song can't come out of my bones
Tear my heart out
So the feel of that memory is gone”

Favourite Tracks – repair, cosmic, let down, eyelids, freight train, wilted

6. Plastic Hearts – Miley Cyrus

This is one album that evokes two strong emotions in me. Depending on whose view you listen from, it’s sure going to stir something in you. At times, I’m strong and holding firm to my mantra of live life according to your terms, and I hear the album from Miley’s point of view. She can’t be tamed and she is no prisoner to love. She is a free spirit ready to roam free. 

This she declared on Midnight sky (The first single off of the album) – “I was born to run/I don’t belong to anyone/I don’t need to be loved by you…”

And for those who chose to hate and judge people who are brave enough to follow their path, she tells them off on Golden G- String – “And you dare to call me crazy/have you looked around this place?”

Other times, I’m reeling from the PTSD of being walked out on and I’m in Liam’s shoes (her ex-husband who the album is about). The album breaks me and makes me hurt so badly. Is it a crime to fall in love with a free spirit? 

It hurts watching the one you will move mountains for fade away and knowing no matter what you say, they’ll still leave. I don’t know how Liam would feel listening to this album but one thing’s for sure, he damn well won’t be smiling. Some of the lyrics sting. 

On Never be me, she declares – “But if you are looking for stable, that’ll never be me/If you are looking for faithful, that’ll never be me/If you’re looking for someone to be all that you need, that’ll never be me…”

Miley Cyrus is a genius. There is no argument. After delivering perfectly on Pop, Country, and R&B genres, she has shown us the magic her raspy voice carries, shining on Rock genre. I stan a multi-talented diverse Queen. Her pre-album covers of classic rock songs (Zombie by Cranberries and Blondie’s Heart of Glass) were an inclination to what was coming on the album. 

The production, track arrangement, lyrics all mix well to deliver an edgy album which I dare say is her boldest work to date. The album gives me chills every time.

Like someone stated in his review - if you don’t listen to this album just because it’s Miley Cyrus, you are doing yourself a disservice and should be ashamed that your taste is embarrassing.

Favourite Tracks – Angels like you, High, Never be me, Golden G String, Zombie (Cranberries cover)

5. Feelings – Chandler Moore

This album reeks of vulnerability and I’m here for it. This gospel album is a lifeline. I love the honesty it radiates, a deviation from hiding behind faith to act like some superhuman who lacks emotions. 

From the spoken word on the album opener to the closeout track, I could feel his brokenness and shared humanity. This album got me in my feelings and helped me navigate through tough times last year. Special thanks to Makua for sharing one of the songs on his Instastory that ultimately led me to the album. 

On the track - It’s okay, his emotion-laden voice cries out – 

“I won’t pretend
I’ll say what I’m feeling
I’m overwhelmed
Emotions are raging

It’s okay not to be okay
I won’t try to hide
Love leaves room for me to say
I’m not okay”

Favourite Tracks – Feelings, It’s okay, He understands

4. Home – AG

This album
is sonically pleasing. One of my top go-to albums when I need to shut the world
out and calm my head. The five-track album delivers so much serenity and the
instrumentals added as bonus make it a wholesome listen. This album saved my
life in 2020.

The theme
of the album focuses on finding your way home with the help of your support
system, be it a lover or best friend. This album was indeed my anchor and led
me home to peace whenever life got overwhelming.

Favourite Tracks – Found a home, Roots, Right Here, My Way Home, Anchor

3. Nothing is lost – Luca Fogale

quiet album that saw me through the hard times of 2020. The album is about
figuring out yourself, your purpose, and navigating your way through this thing
called life. In his interview with Artwood Magazine, he had this to say about
his sophomore album – ‘the songs represent moments I’ve collected over the
course of my life, as I continue to discover and understand the depths of what
it means to be alive. This is about trying to understand my adult life, how to
love myself and how we all love ourselves. Something I’ve really struggled with
my entire life is feeling worthy and purposeful and that my life has value and

So a lot of these songs are just sort of meditations and reminders to myself of how I want to live my life; the ways in which I want to think about myself and think about the people in my life and how I want to be seen.’

We both share the same favourite song off the album – Unfolding. I think I have at this point turned the chorus into an affirmation of sorts -

I am not breaking
I am not broken
I am unfolding…

Another track I love so much is ‘Surviving’. This song is about what I preached all through last year – creating a life outside work. In Luca’s words – 'this song is about me trying to convince myself that there is something more than just existing in the way that we feel like we have to; working our entire lives and then feeling like we deserve a break. I’ve believed that there is some sort of way to transcend the ordinary. I just feel as though there is a way – whether it is mentally or physically or psychologically – to transcend the idea that all we have to do on this planet is just work.

Favourite Tracks – Unfolding, Slow Correction, Surviving, Gloria continued, Half-saved

2. Love Goes – Sam Smith

Half-year album review mentioned Sam Smith pushed back their hitherto named ‘To
Die For’ album. They stated they were going to change the name and rework the
songs. I thought it was a good move considering they had released half the
songs as singles. What they eventually came up with turned out to be one of the
best albums of 2020. Love Goes is growth from where they left off on their
sophomore album – The thrill of it all.

Sam has finally settled into the voice they found on their previous album and is done struggling with embracing their identity. This they made clear on the opening track – Young, which I can boldly say is one of the best album openers of 2020.

“Get a
little wild/Get a little high/Kiss a hundred boys and not feel like I’m tied to
them/if you wanna judge me, then go and load the gun/I’ve done nothing
wrong/I’m young…”

year, it feels like I subconsciously looking out for that album that comes with
a spark. For the second (non-consecutive year) Sam has delivered that album for
me. Love Goes is a breakup album, which is no new territory for Sam Smith. I
guess we have Brandon Flynn (Sam’s ex) to thank for this album.

Two drawbacks of this album are – they shouldn’t have included the previously released old songs, adding them as bonus tracks were unnecessary and they didn’t fit with the flow of the new album. For me, the album stops at track 11 – Kids again.

Also, I don’t think their falsetto fits well on disco/dance tracks. Dance (‘Till you love someone else) is another hot mess, like the previously released ‘I feel love’ cover they did. Sounds like the noise mosquitoes make when they buzz close to your ears.

It was quite interesting hearing them blend well with Burna Boy on My Oasis (way better than their feature on Tiwa Savage’s Temptation where each person’s verse sounds like different songs). The build-up of the instrumentation towards the ending of the album title track – ‘Love Goes’ which features Labrinth is everything.

Favourite Tracks – Young, Another One, Forgive Myself, Love Goes, Kids Again

1. Folklore – Taylor Swift

This album
couldn’t have come at a better time. Just when I was in deep longing for that
album I could seat with and let my thoughts flow out of me into the music,
Taylor gifted the world a surprise album - Folklore. This is her most mature
project yet and it’s a masterpiece. The album is nominated for Album of the
Year at the Grammys and I think it will win. It’s going to be the perfect
record-breaking third AOTY for her, as she will now have this for three genres
– Country, Pop, and Alternative.

I have
come to accept Taylor as that cross over artist who not only explores genres
but seems to want to milk it before moving on. She did that with Country and
Pop. After her Lover album, I knew her next album wasn’t going to be Pop. I
secretly hoped she would go back to country, but she went with Alternative and
she did so well. But then she decided to release Evermore, which she termed the
sister album to Folklore. Hmmm…my reservation? This is something Ariana Grande
will do.

The moment I saw her tweet announcing Evermore barely five months after the release of Folklore, I knew it was going to be filled with left over tracks. Even the lead single from Evermore – ‘Willow’ sounds like a rip-off of the track ‘Invisible string’ on Folkore. The accompanying Willow video feels like a rip-off of Cardigan’s video as well. Super Taylor fans say it's a continuation, but deep down we know what it really is.

It’s hard not to compare both albums. I wish she tweaked the sound on Evermore, may be switched to proper folk genre or something. While Evermore boasts of good songs (Champagne problems, Tolerate it, No body No crime, Happiness, Dorothea, and the two bonus tracks on the deluxe) I can’t help but feel like it’s a watered-down version of Folklore and a bit boring. Some of the songs on Evermore sound like slow poetry with no rhythm. Folklore will forever remain the standard.

should understand that albums are just like books, they are a sum-up of the
artists’ experience. You need to give time between albums; live and experience
life before you start a new era. But hey, who made the rules, right?

Two issues
I have with Folklore are - the extremely long track length. 17 tracks are a bit
too much for an alternative album. I get this is her usual pattern on her
albums but mehn, not for alternative genre, please.

Also, the album doesn’t have a peak. The songs are on the same frequency that drags along with no particular center track that gives a spark that feels like the album core. This could have been ‘Cardigan’ but it doesn’t exactly nail it.

Folkore is the album of 2020 for me. The lyrical depth is beautiful and the
songs make my soul float in eternal bliss. It's nice to hear a grown up Taylor.

Favourite Tracks – the 1, cardigan, exile, my tears ricochet, mirrorball, august, this is me trying


  1. No Stranger – Natalie Grant (Genre – Gospel)
  2. Things I Choose to Remember – Rhy Lewis (Genre – R&B/Soul)
  3. Hey, I’m Here for You – Harry Hudson (Pop)
  4. Afropop Vol. 1 – Adekunle Gold (Genre - Afrobeats)
  5. No One Else Can Wear Your Crown – Oh Wonder (Genre - Pop)
  6. Apollo – Fireboy DML (Afro pop)
  7. Southern Symphony – Russell Dickerson (Genre - Country)

TOP EPs FROM 2ND HALF of 2020 (July – December)

  1. Home Work – Sam Fischer

This EP boasts of my favourite song of 2020 – ‘This City’. Though I don’t personally relate with the song from the angle he wrote it (it’s about him struggling to find his creative path in Los Angeles), I love everything about the song, mostly his vocals. In my head, it’s a breakup song.
One track I think everyone can relate to is 'I got to live'. This song is about living life to the fullest before our time on earth elapses.
Sam’s vocals are on fire, easily my best EP of 2020, looking forward to his full debut album

2. Get Layd – Omah Lay

Most persons associate Afrobeats/afropop with noisy instrumentals. Omah Lay on his first EP proves this wrong. I love how well-produced the songs are and how his voice blends calmly with the instrumentals to give a slow summer sort of vibe, a pleasant listening experience.

3. I Love You, You’re The Worst – Emily Burns

I got to know about Emily from the remix of Is it just me? Where she featured Jp Saxe. After hearing the song I checked her out and found she had an EP out. This EP is so good. It centers on losing love. Is it just me? Reminds me of the time I thought I was the only one hurting from my break up. 

I think most persons feel this way, thinking the other party has it easy and has moved on. It was until a mutual friend send me tweets of my ex before I realized we were both burning after trying the breakup and no one had it easy moving on.

4. Too Close – JP Cooper

At first glance at JP Cooper, one would easily judge him as a reggae artist. It was a pleasant surprise hearing his amazing vocals soar through soul/R&B songs. This four-track EP is about love. I have no favorite track, all are perfect but what shines the most is his soaring vocals.

5. Minor – Gracie Abrams

Gracie Abrams shows a lot of potential on her debut EP. The seven-track EP navigates the feelings that one deals with after a breakup. The reminiscing on the past, missing the person and trying to move on and the messy emotions one had to process. The tracks –‘Long sleeves’ and ‘I miss you, I’m sorry’ snatches my soul every time, her emotional laden vocals on minimal instrumentals give me chills every damn time.

6. Wake Up Sleeper – Austin French

Feeling down? Overwhelmed by life? This is the EP to run to. The standout track is Rest for your soul. This song has healing powers.


  1. In My Mind - Clide (Genre - Pop)
  2. When It’s All Said & Done – Giveon (Genre – R&B/Soul)
  3. Alt Therapy Session 1: Disillusion- Emanuel (Genre – R&B)
  4. Art of Closure - Gracey (Genre - Pop)
  5. Be Slow – Harrison Storm (Genre - Alternative)


  1. Positions – Ariana Grande 

This album feels like one step forward, ten steps backward. This album feels like a remnant of Sweetener album and there’s nothing new on it. I get she stated in a recent interview she wants to be releasing music the way rappers do. But she needs to understand rappers do this via mixtapes and not full-length albums. Albums are an artist’s legacy. If this is what she wants, then I think it's best she goes the way of EPs.

She seems to have taken the baton from Rihanna with the frequency of album releases and also rate of getting Number one singles on the charts, but as Beyonce stated - being number one doesn’t necessarily mean the work is great, the focus is building a legacy.

2. Smile – Katy Perry

This album should have been titled cringe. I don’t know where Katy lost it. Her last two albums have been a bore-fest. To think this is the same artist that had a record-tying six number one singles from an album. Babe seriously needs to go back to the drawing board before her career dies.


1. In Her Feelings – Omawumi

I used to follow her music but after a while, I lost track. Early last year, Henry referred me to her 2019 album, and on first listen I was blown away. Her vocals are still on point, but what’s noteworthy is the improved quality and cohesiveness of her album. 

I love how she nailed the heavily Fella influenced Afrobeats genre on the track – Away, a rare feat for a female artist. The reggae-influenced Mr. Sinnerman track is also worth mentioning. I love when an artist switches genres to give a much richer body of work.

2. Nights Like This (EP) – Jack Gray

The debut EP from Jack Gray centers on issues we face while going through life. For a 20-year-old, it takes raw talent to write all songs and produce them as well and come up with a loaded EP filled with relatable songs. My favorite on the EP is Bullet, which talks about suicide, both from the victim and those left behind.

Friday, 25 December 2020

2020 (Year in review)

I think we can all agree 2020 has been a weird year. I bet everyone’s year-end review will make reference to the covid-19 pandemic and how it shaped their year. 2020 has been a year of canceled plans and having to make peace with the new normal. A year of chaos, anxiety, calm and surrender. The year facemasks and face shields became a necessity.

At first, there was so much hope that in a few months the pandemic will be all over and life would be back to normal. But as the months went on, everyone had to adjust their lives and stopped fighting the change. The feeling of apprehension mixed with hope slowly faded into one of acceptance and readjustments.

No one envisaged that the year will turn out the way it did. Asides from covid-19, there were numerous deaths of loved celebrities people looked up to. Two deaths shook me to my core – Kobe Bryant and Chadwick Boseman. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) abroad and then the Endsars movement here in Nigeria (which was crushed when the Nigerian Government decided to use the army to shoot its unarmed citizens) caused a major strain on my mental health.

2020 did have collective dark moments, that’s one thing for sure. But thankfully, we saw Trump get defeated at the US presidential elections. At least, that’s one thing 2020 got right. The energy shift; four years of lousiness and chaos finally ended. It's back to decorum and decency. Good riddance to bad rubbish. 

If I’m to capture this year in one word, it will be ‘omo!’  Just when I was getting over one L, the year would hit me with another.

A huge part of my life went dormant this year. I’m an avid traveler and this is the first time in three years I didn’t get to leave the shores of Nigeria. I had grand plans to tour at least five countries in Europe and take the number of countries I have been to from 11 to 18. But covid-19 made sure I didn’t have to bring out my passport all year round.

I had planned to start a graduate program at the University of Benin this year, in line with the commitment I made last year as regards furthering my education. But 2020 was the year the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) went on strike for a record 9 months period.

However, I made good on my last year’s commitment to do some professional courses. I got inducted into two professional bodies this year. Preparing for the examinations made me miss schooling. Besides, it’s been Ten years I got my first degree. I had healed and rested enough from the rigors of my undergraduate days and was ready to get back in the game but then 2020 and ASUU strike happened.

strike has led to loss of one year off of my short term goals. I’m not going to
bother about it, I’ll trust the process as usual and see where life leads me.
One thing I know for sure and have seen happen severally in my life is, God is
not a God of confusion. He always gives me better than I plan and in the end,
things always work out well. So I’m chilled and waiting for school to resume.

I long gave up on 2020 even before the coronavirus led to a somewhat collective write-off of the year. A major part of my life/year is usually centered on my career. So imagine how I felt when my Group Head increased my team’s already bloated budget for the year. The initial budget was already a tall order, only to get stretched even further. Then covid-19 induced lockdown happened, affecting businesses and certain economic policies were taken to even worsen the already impossible situation. I detached, knowing this wasn’t going to be the year.

People were like, things will work out fine in the end, but nah, when it comes to certain things I love accepting reality and making peace with it. If things do get better than I envisage, good. If not, I’m fine all the same. 

“And then this: Fighting against reality really is foolish. Find out what the reality is, and then work with it, embrace it, shape it, use it. This way, you achieve your goals with the least resistance, and you have peace.” – Chude Jideonwo

Even as I write, my team recently lost a big account. I said ‘omo’ again and moved on. See eh, 2020 do and end because the evil you have done is enough.

I remember starting the year frustrated because my finances were not looking great. I had set the largest personal savings target ever for myself, next thing interest rates on investment instruments started plummeting. I also didn’t get a dime of performance bonus paid out half-year and full-year at the office. Usually, the bonus helps me meet my saving targets before the year runs out, but this year I was just looking as my colleagues were all getting credit alerts around me. 

There was a time I had to ignore my financial excel sheet for weeks. At a time, I thought for once, I won’t be able to meet my savings target for the year. Falling interest rates from NGN Treasury bills were having an adverse ripple effect on various investment instruments. I had to pray that God provides alternative investments, and He did. My year was saved by alternative investments, and one prayer God also answered for me, was that none of my investments will go south. Thankfully, despite my two almost near misses, I didn’t lose a kobo. 

Also, despite the sacrifices made to be there for friends and also without my go-to investment options and productivity bonus, I was still able to surpass my savings target. Though this was also partly due to no travels this year.

When all my trips got canceled, I realized I had a good opportunity to build a structure for my passive income (everyone is about creating a path to financial independence these days). I'm thankful for reduced expenses which enabled me to have more disposable income to invest, even though I had to endure a pay cut due to the pandemic. I sat down and cut my expenses, letting go of certain luxuries. I think this is a mistake most persons make; not reducing their expenses in times of falling income.

I decided to practice delayed gratification. Shoes are my weakness and I’m also a bit of an online shopping addict. I’m so proud to say I conquered these habits this year. Even though I kept adding things to my cart online, I didn’t purchase anything. The only things I spent money on outside my usual monthly expenses were asoebi for the numerous weddings that came with the year and a jacket to support my friend’s tailoring business. 

I also learned to convert cheap debt to source of revenue. On the norm. I’m risk-averse and hate being in debt. But this year, I had to adjust my risk level and take some calculated risks. I mean, a major part of my job role has to do with intermediation, so why was I not applying these skills in my personal life to boost my passive income?

I dabbled into the capital market, thanks to Henry. I made some cool bucks here though I later realized I should have held the shares a little longer. Anyway, it was my first time and I have learned a lot in a few months about the best time to sell or hold shares. But one thing that still holds is, investing in the stock market needs market knowledge/share price history and lots of patience.

Most of these ideas I got were from conversations with friends. I’m extremely thankful for such productive friendships, not all the time vibes and sharing of memes. And yes, special thanks to Aduraseyi for introducing me to the agrotech world, this industry played a vital role in my finances this year.

Personally, 2020 has been quite a rollercoaster. My favourite part of the year has to be the lockdown period, funny enough. I loved the stillness that came with it. My life felt stable and peaceful. Sadly this was disrupted by anxiety from following the BLM movement on the news. 

In all, I had a good level of personal growth during the lockdown period as I was able to dig deep within, have conversations with myself I had long been running from and found clarity. I read lots of self-help articles online, and went through two hard copy books as well.

Another issue that also gave me anxiety, which I discussed with only one person (Henry) was the Edo State Governorship elections. Right from the primaries to the final elections, it was all twists and turns. The incumbent governor in a power tussle with the ousted APC chairman. The incumbent Governor winning had major consequences for me; career-wise and personally. Anyway, I’m glad that after all the drama, he won and the will of the people prevailed. Indeed Edo is not Lagos.

I had to lean on doing chores (mostly cleaning my apartment) to gain clarity and calm. It’s weird how that worked out well for me.

Towards the end of the year, I started perfecting my unbothered skills. It’s always been my desire to grow to that level where my initial reaction to things is that of calm. For someone managing anxiety, this has been quite a journey. But I think I made good progress this year mostly regarding not stressing about work or stuff that needs fixing or expenses to be sorted out. I learned to push them aside mentally till resources were available or I had the mental space to deal. 

I have learned to sleep on decisions the same way I learned to defer expenses. I used to be this as e dey hot kinda guy. I used to make decisions hastily, sort out issues, and clear out my to-do-list ASAP. But truth is, all that was adding more pressure to an already difficult adulthood. I think subconsciously, the stillness that came with this year has led me on a path of ease, of taking things in their stride and not hurting myself in the process. 

Life is easy when you take it one day at a time, breath after breath. No pressure, no rush (But this doesn’t make an excuse for laziness or procrastination. I still hold myself accountable in meeting deadlines and not flaking on commitments).

On love; this year I decided to start identifying as avoidant. Not after my rough February experience that left me with PTSD from being walked out on, coupled with a friendship that felt overwhelming and all so consuming at the time (I don’t think I handled this well though). I felt broken by both experiences, the only way to survive was to push them away. Thankfully we are all good and things have balanced out now.

As for being avoidant, deep down I acknowledge it’s not who I truly am. Yes, I hate the work that comes with relationships but truth is, I do want companionship and I’ll gladly do an easy relationship than being alone. But let’s face the facts, relationships require hard work. I’m all for ease, so being an avoidant is the less expensive option for my heart. 

Have you ever felt such pain that made you seclude into self? Shut the world out, lose trust in people, and always fear no one will stay? That they will always walk away and leave you shattered? That’s what I went through and I’m still recovering from it. So yes, being alone is difficult but I choose this cross over reliving that kind of pain. I’m choosing the lesser burden of being alone. It’s what I have made peace with.

2020 has been a relatively peaceful and stable year for me mentally, well, asides from the one or two times anxiety tried to get the better of me. In all, I’m thankful that compared to previous years there was no particular major breakdown. However, two weeks ago life wanted to try it with me, but thankfully, I managed to center myself and not lose it. Thanks to Dr. Pascal and Henry that were my anchor through it.

I told Henry at a point that I didn’t feel like celebrating my birthday which at the time was a few days away. He encouraged me to take each day as it came. Thankfully, it got easier as the days went by and I had one of my best birthdays ever. My colleagues showed up for me and friends sent in wonderful birthday gifts I wasn’t expecting. (I’m still not big on birthdays or birthday gifts).

Here’s what I posted on Instagram a few days ago about why I felt excited about my birthday even though we’ve all had quite a year.

On a lighter note, thanks to working from home during the lockdown period, I was able to grow out my hair and keep a mini afro once again. I once carried afro in my SS3 and early university days. Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep the hair for long this time around as the castor oil I purchased caused the hair at the middle of my head to come off. Still, I was fortunate to try three different hairstyles this year. I've always been the guy who loves to express himself creatively with his hair but this has been limited because of my corporate job.

“I just wanna be myself
And I want you to love me for who I am
I just wanna be myself
And I want you to know I am my hair

I'm as free as my hair
I am my hair
Free as my hair” –
Lady Gaga (Hair)

I’m thankful for the ‘weird’ year 2020 has been. I’m thankful for all that went down and all the gbas gbos that came with the year. What matters is that we made it and that we are still here. Here’s to those we lost along the way. Every soul lost to the pandemic means something, each individual is more than a statistic. Also here’s to all the heroes lost during the fight for social justice, especially during the Endsars protest. We will never forget.

At this very moment, I feel whole and I’m truly happy and feel this sense of freedom/peace, a feeling I’m not accustomed to at the end of a financial year career-wise.

I’m thankful for the clarity that came with this year, for the path I’m on, and here’s hoping that the coming year helps me consolidate on the progress I have made this year in all spheres of life and of course, a positive turnaround in the fortunes of my team at the office. 

Here’s to a better 2021, hoping it brings an end to the covid-19 menace as it's now apparent December 31, 2020, is not going to be the expiry date for the pandemic as we all bullishly thought.

Friday, 27 November 2020


“We strip our lives bare of the colour that comes with variety till all that’s left is the black-and-white monotony of what we do for a living.
Is this what we call a life though?” – Ore Fakorede

Lately, I’ve been thinking about where my life is headed (Nah, it’s not because my 32nd birthday is less than a month away, neither is it because the realization hits harder daily that 35 years keeps getting closer). 

35 feels like a deciding age that’ll tell if I’ll be truly happy or have to settle for what society and economic realities has in store. I guess after hitting 35, dreading 40 will most likely follow. Lowkey, it keeps me focused on achieving set goals for my life. I sincerely hope there is a point where this journey turns into savouring the reward of the sacrifices made in the past.

“Yes, age is just a number, but we can’t deny that 30 years means so much. It feels like a major turning point, a major milestone in life that ushers one into the path of who you truly are and what the rest of your life is likely going to be about. It’s almost as if the teen years and twenties are your years of testing the waters, figuring out who you are and who you want to be. Stepping into the big 30 feels like now, the true-life race has started – Sayi, 2019.

What got me thinking about the trajectory of my life centres around a conversation I had with my Dad last two months.

I was about to leave for work that day when he called me to say so and so guy who is the regional head in another bank asked if I’m still interested in working with them.

A part of me felt excited I was being sort after, while another part freaked because the possibility of taking up the offer and then having to find balance in a new environment felt heavy. Back then in the University, I always said I’ll not spend more than two years in an organization as it would be very boring. I saw myself switching jobs regularly, but alas, I have since come to realize I’m that guy who loves stability and comfort (as far as things are working out very fine).

I went to work that day confused about a lot of things. Should I reach out and set up the interview? I had initiated our first interview last year when I needed to have options in case my organization didn’t promote me. When my promotion happened, I ended the conversation. Now they were the ones initiating it, this gave me an upper hand for negotiation, but still, I felt uneasy.

At the office, my dilemma worsened when I talked with an ex-colleague who just resumed in the same organization. He gave me a rundown of their remuneration and it was better than what obtains in my organization for the same higher level I would be going for. 

Why I was still conflicted? I mean, it seemed like an easy decision. 

Well, after working 7 years and a few months, I have gotten to that point where making decisions isn’t all about the money or getting the next grade. I know this doesn’t apply to most. I mean, the consensus is to be loyal to yourself and go for the higher pay, and if it comes with the next grade, even better. 

At the end of last year, I carved out a short term plan to switch my career path though in the same industry. Yes, covid-19 has messed up the plans to a large extent, but I’m still focused on following it through even though I’m not being 100% committed for now. 

Accepting the offer will mean I continue in my current career path and truth be told, I’m bored with it. Yes, I have had it better than most and there are some aspects of the unit I enjoy, but to a large extent, it’s a mismatch with my strengths. Even my boss has said on several occasions I’m not supposed to be in sales, that I should be in either Internal audit or Risk management. 

Those are the aspects that bring out the fire in me. It’s what gets me excited about my job. You see all that sales ish? Hustling to get accounts and build a portfolio? I’m so not cut out for it. How I have managed to meet my targets has been God all the way. Give me figures, reconciliation, or credit to appraise/structure, then you will see the excitement in my eyes. 

I felt my head imploding. I was getting overwhelmed by the crossroads I had found myself in. I spoke to two senior colleagues about it and they helped ease my mind a bit. The major work had to be done by me. A few days later, I took the time to have a proper conversation with myself and weigh my options. 

What matters most to me? Where will the decision I take lead me? Will it take me to that place I desire to be by 35 years old? Will I find true happiness in the path I choose to follow?

These questions made it easier for me to decide. 

If I took the job it means hustling afresh, because getting confirmation as an experienced hire in sales is no mean feat. I’ll like to believe I have hustled enough and after 7 years plus, I don’t think that’s the path I want to continue in. 

If I want to continue in this industry for the long term, I’m more inclined to job roles that will enable me to apply my intellect and analytical skills more. I want to challenge myself in sorting issues, or appraising credits. I want to do what I’m truly excited about. 

I chose to not contact the man but will follow through with the interviews if he comes chasing after me with effort (though I won’t be taking the offer even if I got the job). For now, higher pay and next grade are not top priority. Heck, taking a gap year if affordable right now, will even be preferable to me.

I have desired a gap year since 2014. I wrote about it here. Then I was just about a year and three months in my current job. I didn’t take it seriously at the time because I felt I was still adjusting to the corporate world. Interestingly, I wrote that post in November 2014, and six years down I still have that same desire for a gap year, only this time the desire is stronger. 

I also wrote about it again in 2017.

From the two posts, it’s clear I have always wanted a simple quiet life. One lived on my terms where I’m in control of my hours. I’m not a hustler and I don’t enjoy the rat race. Working a corporate job has always been a means to an end; to gain experience, exposure and most importantly, to build funds to be able to afford my dream life. It was never about me climbing the corporate ladder to its peak.

Over the years I have been working hard at building a path to financial freedom. But the thing they never tell you about financial freedom is that it requires a lot of patience. Patience that’s measured in years. 

I’m looking forward to taking a gap year. I need one year to myself. One year to exhale and figure myself out.

Will I return to banking or the corporate world after the gap year? I honestly don’t know. How long will the gap year last? I don’t know either. I do know I need the time to breathe and enjoy the little things of life.

I posted the below caption recently on my Instagram feed, mostly to serve as a reminder to keep myself on track towards attaining my goal. I don’t want to be distracted by following the crowd or go about chasing money when within me I don’t feel happy.

I want to be that guy who stays true to himself no matter what. The guy who damned societal/conventional ways and chose to live the life he dreamed about. This is what I want for myself; to be strong enough to know what I want and also courageous enough to go after it.  

“What is the meaning of life?
To be you, all of you, always, in everything you do – whatever that means to you. You are your own creator. You are your own evolving masterpiece.
Growing up is the realization that you are both the sculpture and the sculptor, the painter and the portrait. Paint yourself however you wish” – Nicolas Cole.

Thinking about these things fills me with hope, but mostly it’s terrifying and it gets a bit overwhelming, especially when the fear of the unknown creeps in. I’m like, okay what’s the worst that can happen? It’s not like I’m going to burn through my savings during the gap year or stop investing to generate more passive income. 

Then the thought comes that what if a bad investment happens and all I saved is wiped out? Or being in a shithole country with no health care system, some health challenge occurs? Guess I’ll just have to pick my life up from the scratch. After all, there was a time I so badly wanted to tear it all down and restart my life afresh. However, since crossing 30 years, all I crave is stability. If I’m to have a massive life change, I want it to be an easy and comfortable transition.

That’s why for now, I can’t just up and take a gap year. I mean, if something happens to my job today, I’ll feel bad for a while but I won’t immediately start looking for another job. I’ll finally take the gap year, though it might be premature and won’t be as convenient as I’d like. That’s why I’m taking my time and working towards it, even though once in a while I still get haunted by this comment someone left on one of my posts – 

“…your journal is funny, serious, realistic, creative, and has great dreams embedded…makes me wonder why you say you don’t know what you want…when you keep pointing out what you want…guess you aren’t ready to push yourself.”

That line – “guess you aren’t ready to push yourself”. It’s one thing to dream, it’s another thing to have the courage to chase after the dream.

Sometimes I find myself daydreaming of the life I desire. It’s so peaceful and comforting. Other times, I legit get anxious thinking about it and everything that could go wrong. Maybe I have been making excuses such as - I haven’t hit the right savings target. When I do, I say nah, this won’t be enough. I increase it and try to reach for an even higher target, running round in the trap of money is never enough.

Another excuse I think I latched on to, was saying I had obligations to my family. Recently it hit me I was putting my life on hold. The other day, I was watching Season 4 of the series – ‘This is Us’. Randolph, one of the characters on the show I relate well to (majorly his struggle with anxiety and his saviour complex) was telling his therapist how he is the one holding his family together. That without him they will all fall apart. 

But truth is, just as his therapist guided him to the fact, even if he is gone tomorrow, they will find their way and still be okay. So I’m learning to let go and know I’m not a hero and people will always be just fine, with or without me. That I have my own life to live and mental space to keep healthy by not carrying on unnecessary weight.

In all of these planning and daydreaming, I have it at the back of my mind that life doesn’t always work out the way we desire/plan. Sometimes it works out better than we hoped for, and there are times plans completely turn on their own and we find ourselves on an entirely new path. But the beauty of humanity is our ability to be resilient and adapt. What matters is, we decided to strike out based on our desire to fulfill our dreams. So wherever the road leads us, at least it was our choice to move and not us sitting around waiting for life to happen to us.

“It’s your life — but only if you make it so. The standards by which you live must be your own standards, your own values, your own convictions in regard to what is right and wrong, what is true and false, what is important and what is trivial. When you adopt the standards and the values of someone else or a community or a pressure group, you surrender your own integrity. You become, to the extent of your surrender, less of a human being.” - Eleanor Roosevelt