Twenty Twenty One

Or Twenty Twenty Won as I like to call it.

Photo shot in June 2021 by @aishaife_

I didn’t know quite how to start this years round-up. Usually, I already have an idea of the things I want to say, to share, to hold back. But by the end of this year, there was nothing but fog in my brain and a to-do list on a sticky note that says get “end of year round-up done”.

That isn’t much to go on — actually, that’s the most unhelpful thing I could have to go off. Just sheer pressure to not forget to get it done and nothingness in the way of what to write.

So here we are, me trying to dissect all the parts of a complex year and you, you here to read all about it but as a to-do list of things that got done.

The To-Do List of Things That Got Done

  1. Survive winter ❄️
    It was freezing. It was single-digit weather and a little bit of snow as evidence of how very, very cold it was. Decades later and now as an adult, I say it respectfully: I hate winter.
  2. Have a bad birthday 🎂
    I had such a bad birthday and I spent the entire day wishing it would end (all the while working lmao). I’m absolutely making plans for my next birthday which is less than a month away. I want to go all out for this one with the balloons, cake, photoshoot, all of that stuff. Why not? Today is the youngest I’ll ever be anyway.
  3. Don’t catch coronavirus 😷
    Seeing as I’m one of those people who catch a cold from being just a spectator of a friends cough this is no easy feat. I’m glad I didn’t catch this damn virus and all of its sister variants. I’m also fully vaxxed too (P.S this is your reminder to get your jab as well!)
  4. Have a hot girl summer 🌻
    Summer has to be the one time I truly flourished. My skin was popping, the weather was lovely, I read a lot of books while laying in parks and life just felt better. In 2022 I hope to be even more prepared to take advantage of it, to have long walks in the bright evenings, read more books, live a little easier.
  5. Get a new job where I’m happy 👔
    Working a strict 9–5 job where work-life balance is an actual priority just as much as the work I do is so relieving. I no longer have the anxiety I used to have in late 2020 when it comes to doing the work I enjoy doing. The company I work for are so kind and flexible and happy to make your work as easy as possible for you that it often stuns me sometimes. I’m glad and most of all I’m grateful to be working where I do, to have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to join the team at the exact time I had planned to move jobs (which I’d hoped would happen at the end of last year which I hinted at the end of my review, but the universe’s time > my time).
  6. Become… An aunty! 🍼
    My brother and his lovely wife gave us the blessing of a lovely nephew. He really is the most adorable little person and I just know we’re all going to spoil him rotten.
  7. Start grad school 🧑‍🏫
    This might be one of my biggest wins of the year. It took so long to get to this point and even up until the very moment I clicked on the enrol button, I wasn’t sure if I really should do it. I guess there’s a lesson to be learned about less self-doubt. It doesn’t mean it hasn’t been ridiculously hectic balancing full-time work and school part-time, but we’re here, doing the damn thing and absolutely loving it. Is this a safe space? Well… I like being a student, learning, all of it. Especially the part where I get to explore all the media industries in ways I’d only ever hoped to.
  8. Finish paying school fees for Year 1 💸
    CAN YOU TELL HOW RELIEVED AND EXCITED I AM? Self-funding for international fees is no joke and I’d like to shoutout to everyone else who is doing it too. It hung over me in a way that made it hard to forget even when I was off doing something unrelated to school or money. But I did it: I made my last payment for my year 1 school fees!
  9. Travel a bit 🛫
    Okay, so I did make it to Lagos twice. Several PCR tests and one hotel quarantine later, I can tell you that travelling during a pandemic — which by the way is still very much raging like a hormonal teenager — is exhausting and complicated and hard. I didn’t travel much outside of the UK because the ever-changing hoops I’d have to jump through in order to go to other cities outside of the UK was just something I couldn’t deal with.
  10. Go for a proper concert 🎤
    Where the artist turns up on time and gives us a proper show, yes Lagos, I’m looking at you. I managed to go for the last tour stop of Dermot Kennedy’s Better Days tour and let me just say, this man can sing. Sang like the rent was due and his landlord had his bags on the doorstep.
  11. Read books 📚
    Reading a lot of books is always on my to-do list no matter what year it is and this year was no different. I read 72 books which is kind of surprising because I was spent for long durations and resorted to binge-watching movie recaps (of all things smh) because I just couldn’t get myself to read. If you’re curious about what I read, you can check my Goodreads here.
  12. Vote! 🗳️
    I can’t believe I voted for the first time at the age of 26. Thanks to electoral violence being the norm in Nigeria, it had never really crossed my mind to get involved. I did this year and it’s a very small, uneventful thing I did on my way to the gym one evening but yeah.
  13. Learn to not want to unalive yourself 🙂
    *chuckles* Maybe it isn’t completely done but I don’t want to unalive myself every time I’m tired and I guess that’s progress. I’m kind of coming round to the idea that I might actually be sticking around for a long, long time and the idea doesn’t suck entirely.
  14. Make a home 🏠
    Didn’t I mention in my last EOY review that my wandering arse is always moving, about to move or just finished moving when I’m writing these? I guess this is the first time I can truly write that I’ll make a home soon. It might not be the forever home, but it’s a start. I know what I want and what’s out there as options which are definitely more than I knew at the start of the year.
  15. Like it? Buy it 🛍️
    That’s such a weird thing to say but I truly meant it. I don’t really like things much outside of chocolate and books. But I learned to start spending more money on clothes and shoes and jewellery and just stuff I liked for myself. It kinda felt nice to not worry if I was making a good decision and allow myself to have nice things just for the sake of it.
  16. Get a proper photoshoot done 📸
    First of all, this is hard. I don’t know how you’re all able to get in front of the camera and pose and smile and have bomb photos. Apparently, self-portraits do not prepare your awkwardness for this but Ife was such a brilliant photographer and I finally got photos taken by her. Maybe I’ll make it an annual thing, I’m not quite sure yet.
  17. Get new tattoo(s) 💉
    It’s no secret that I really lie piercings and tattoos. I only got one little one this year on my wrist which says ‘be brave.’ because I needed a permanent reminder to keep being brave every day, every moment even when bravery is the furthest from my mind. That it was coincidentally done on the anniversary of October 20/20… Well, you know what they say about there being no coincidences in life.

And 2021 is a wrap. It wasn’t a bad year, but it was also a year that required a lot of hard work and showing up and being present. Maybe I didn’t do the very best I could, I’m hoping to remedy that in 2022 by doing better than I did this year. I already have a Notion board with all of the things I hope to do, experience, achieve in 2022. Fingers crossed that I get to move them to the ‘Done’ list as the year wears on.

This is year SEVEN of doing end of the year reviews. I love looking back at years past and laughing about the things I worried about, the growth, remembering things I’d forgotten. Here they are if you’re curious:

Previous reviews: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020

Thank you and I love you for reading this. I hope you have the year that you need in 2022, that things come full circle and that your dark days bring you a little closer to the light at the end of the tunnel. Happy holidays 💜




nefelibata. | is attempting to find a home in these words carved out of memories.

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nefelibata. | is attempting to find a home in these words carved out of memories.

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