Rear Mirror: 2023
Kin ma ke bi Cherubim (And let me cry like a cherubim)
I'm coming off the heels of one of my best years at the time. An okay-ish semester, IT placement is settled, we are preparing to share the app we've been working on with the rest of the world, and I just hit my longest tenure in a full-time role. I look back fondly now, because even at the time - I did realize I was living in a miracle.
The high propelled me into running my first full marathon. My training was abysmal, but somehow, I trusted that I was going to run this - and run I did. Along the way, I ran into a friend, high-fived, and kept it moving. It came with a personal marathon lesson though - take the time to laugh and take selfies with friends you meet along the path. Race days should be fun and not about chasing new PRs, plus a few seconds of greeting can be negligible on your final pace anyway.
The struggles are slowly creeping in. I'm preparing for a physical presentation to talk about Gowagr but I'm too nervous to inform anyone because I feel I'm going to f it up. Some 30 minutes before the presentation, I get an email saying there's been a mass layoff at work followed by a Slack message from my manager. I take it as a good thing that my Slack still works. My head is all over the place, but somehow I pieced them together enough to make my presentation and smile through it. I think it's a good thing, how I'm able to fit all that internal chaos beneath a broad smile. God's Grace, it's called.
For a (straight) guy, being asked to be a best man is the closest thing to being proposed to, and I felt honored when a friend asked me to do that for him. The last time I was at a wedding was ~20 years ago and I have no idea what best men do. But I showed up anyway, and it was a beautiful experience. I learned to dance, and I learned to make a toast, and I learned to para better, because my God, your nerves will be touched.
Somehow, it also led to one of the most interesting conversations I've had - the kind that makes you want to put a wedge between sunset and dusk. The details are blurry, but I remember how beautiful it was to laugh with someone whose face was equally as beautiful.
IT is ending, but I'm working with some of the best people, and every day there's a new thing to learn, so I keep going. Until school came, and said it was enough. I think it's funny that I still care about school. Maybe it's stubbornness, or a will to not half-arse anything. Whatever it is though, I've only got to deal with it for two more semesters (over here we count semesters because the months are unpredictable).
I once tried to confront a friend about how much we were drifting apart, and they swore that was how they were - like I didn't see them change in real-time. I nursed the hurt of losing one more out of a few and took the lessons with me.
I get acquainted with people fairly easily, but I think I'm neither good at making friends nor keeping up with people. I try to hold on to people for as much as we are both comfortable with. I don't think holding on translates to forcing relationships though, instead, it means being flexible with it. I think allowing a friend to morph into an acquaintance is being flexible.
Most of the people I know are leaving Ife. There are not so many good people left in Ife anymore (no, I'm not one either). The thing about people leaving is there never seems to be an end to the things you could have done better, to the invites you could have sent/accepted. You say “Let's keep in touch”, they say “For sure”, and you both hope that you both mean it.
It's another birthday, I can't be indifferent about this one because it feels like I'm staring death in the face. I'm writhing in pain, and I can't tell if the muddle on the bed is from my tears or my sweat. I'm sick. And I'm convinced this will be the start of my four last things. It wasn't.
It's W's birthday, and I'm trying to compress all the ways I admire her into a wall of text. It's not enough, but I try anyway. She's better at this than I am.
I'm rambling about how empty Ife is around Christmas, a friend suggests we go to a bonfire show in Lagos. I like spontaneity, but I also like to plan. Spontaneity wins this time, and I'm happy for it.
I'm helping review year-in-reviews and seeing folks I'm close with write about things in their lives that I didn't know they were facing. It's inspiring, and so I'm inspired, to write again.
Things I'm enjoying:
DHH's article on Committing to Competence. It sums up a lot of what I hope to achieve in the coming year.
AnEndlessOcean's Gratitude. Where do I even begin?
Victony's Angelus: It's a love song about the kind of love that moves you to pray for someone. I've been there and you should try them (both the feeling and the song), even if it's for character development.
Alain De Botton's Status Anxiety: A lovely book that makes you reflect on your own self-perception, and why we are anxious about the place we occupy in the world. It doesn't offer a cure though (I'm not sure there's one), but gives you some perspective at least.