I entered 2016 with The most excitement I ever greeted a new year with.
I had a thousand plans. Step by step plot on how to be a Diva. I had my mentors ready. I had my angel investor. I had started executing my business plan from 2015 (the rehearsal year) and I had my heart open. No boyfriends lurking around dark corners trying to marry you!
However, 2016 had other plans for me. For one, I learned very hard lessons about putting a price on my skills, my merchandise and the services I offer. This was the year where I got shortchanged so much, I began to think it was normal. See people pricing after work done ” but you gave us 50 bottles of zobo Na, help us and let us pay for 20. Next week, when you bring the next batch,we will definitely pay for all”. What didn’t I hear?
2016 also gave me some much needed lessons in empathy. I used to be a ‘this is how it must be done I don’t want to hear any other angle’ kind of person. But, 2016 placed me in such tight spots, my eyes and heart were forced open. Comparing myself 2016 version with the 2015 version, I must confess that my growth is almost phenomenal!
I have been rejected many times in my life. 2016 however showed me that all those previous years were learners! I started looking forward to being told ‘NO!’ Just so I could get another chance to sell my point again. I stopped being scared of closed doors. Instead, I learned to knock down doors that were shut if I really needed to get in or, I would create a door to get to my goal.
All of this brave talk doesn’t mean I will forget to share how scared I got sometimes. 2016 had me up working harder than I’ve ever done in my life! I lost weight. Gained back. I would suffer insomnia. And then battle fatigue. And many times, when I tried to do something really big, I would lose my will. My courage. I would even lose physical strength to carry on. Unlike other years where I would breakdown and run away from the target, 2016 had me pulling myself through the valley, I would be afraid and uncertain, but, I would push even when my hands were shaky.
This was also the year I made terrible business decisions. 2016 was not a baby sitter type. No…… She threw me out on the street and said ‘find your way, you’re a big girl now!’. So, I made the terrible decisions in the dozens! Don’t ask me oh. You will laugh at my foolish naivete. Ehen, if you must sha ask, inbox me on Instagram @that.igala.babe
2016 was the year that reminded me of the value of family (friends inclusive). I learned to be there for the people I love. I may not be able to call or text often, but, I deliberately put myself in a position to be a reliable friend. One who would not hesitate to hug or hold or give some hard advice. A friend who would dig into their innermost self to find the power to build their friend’s passion. The sort of friend who wouldn’t let money be a reason to separate. In addition to old friends and family, I made two new friends whose names I won’t mention because this is not my Facebook page. But these people have been such an addition to my life, I can not stop being thankful I came across them in my life’s journey.
2016 a.k.a the project year. I started and completed most of 11 large projects and at least 20 mini projects. My capacity has been stretched and tested and built! One of those projects makes my heart skip and melt at the same time. My bookclub in Suleja, Niger state. My mentor, Dike Chukwumerije helped me kick-start it and now I have a group of 35 girls in a rural school in my bookclub! We read books and discuss and learn lessons about life. I used to be their teacher, but now, they feel like younger sisters. 2016 was showing her beautiful side when this bookclub was founded.
My faith in God expanded this year so much I almost learned how to stop being religious. I’m still going through this so intensely, I cannot bring myself to put into words how that is going.
I could go on and on.
However, let me stop here with these little anectodes from 2016.
Life is for the living, Live.
Fear is good, use it to become better.
The road is not always hard that looks difficult. Sometimes there is beauty in strange places.
From me to you, Ije oma, good journey
Ujenyu Joy Sani,
Team Lead at All things Nigerian Square