I hope this letter meets you well. We are approaching the very end of 2016 and I just want to let you know how the year went. Hmm, truth be told, 2016 really tore me to pieces. One event after another after another after another from the very onset of the year. Every time I thought things couldn’t get worse, they actually did. It seemed as though each time I had that thought, the universe would say ‘You want to try me and see?’ It was like it just wanted to show me how extreme things could be. And my country has not been left out either. Nigeria is in quite the shambolic state at the moment and this has affected a great number of things. But I’m not writing to talk about Nigeria. My whole life this year has been enough to create a script for a dramatic Nollywood movie. Maybe I’ll talk to Sarah. She writes some of the best screenplays. Tinu actually joked that she would write a book, a biography, about everything that has happened to me this year. Imagine that cheeky babe! Yeah, 2016 has been the ‘Year of the Breaking’ but I sincerely hope that our meeting, which is in a few days, would be for me to be put together again.
To start with, the very thing I thought would break me the most ended up being a walk in the park compared to everything else. That was in January. Wow, it seems like decades ago! Don’t worry, I’ll tell you everything when I see you. Too many itchy eyes and ears all over the place. Hmm, 2017, I now understand what ‘Life is fickle’ really means. I mean, how can you see someone every single day and with absolutely no warning at all, the person is gone. I don’t know how many times during that period I said to myself ‘Just like that…Is this life?’ No, seriously! How can you see someone at night – strong, healthy, so full of life and vigour – and by morning the person is gone? Just. Like. That. Man is indeed vapour. 2017, I will never hear the words ‘I’m coming’ and not feel shaken, because how do you even know you will come back? I saw the negative chain of events that occur when one person decides to wield power destructively. I saw first-hand one of the most extreme results of fear, the kind of fear that makes you so callous and self-centred and the domino effect that that selfishness has. I saw how much you can go out of your way to be a thorn in someone’s flesh for whatever reasons best known to you; I saw the futility of struggling for one thing at the detriment of another man’s happiness and comfort, the pointlessness of every thoughtless action because life happens to everyone…in the form of death. Do you know that for the first time in my life, I cared more about the death of a soldier in Northern Nigeria, whom I had never met before, than the death of someone more closely related to me? 2017, please don’t deem me insensitive or cruel. I’m not happy about the person’s death, but I’m not sad either. No, not because I’m still angry or holding a grudge against the dead person. I don’t know; I just can’t explain my indifference. I only pray the deceased found peace with God because what would have been the point of all the nefariousness? What you fought so dirty for while alive, you didn’t enjoy on earth, you didn’t take it with you to the after-life and THEN you end up in hell. That’s a loss on every single side.
In spite of all these, I’ve grown, 2017! I’ve seen too much in 2016 and I know I can NEVER be the same. To be honest, I don’t want to be the same. It’s funny I say that, isn’t it? I know. I only genuinely wish that my growth didn’t cost so much. I feel like I’ve paid and I’m still paying with everything I have and am. It burns. My goodness, 2017, that growth burns but thank God for lessons learned. I mean, it would really be a shame if I’ve gone through all this fire and not come out more refined. For instance, did you know I’m less afraid now? Yes, really! It’s so shocking! Me – the Vice Chancellor of Fear-Fear University! I’m sure 2014 will just die when you tell her! I don’t know what happened but it’s like I’ve just been injected with a new zeal for life. A part of Adesua Etomi’s acceptance speech when she won the AMVCA award for best actress has become my mantra. She said, ‘I used to be afraid, but I’m not afraid anymore.’ You know what my anthem for you will be, 2017? Tim McGraw’s ‘Live Like You Were Dying’. Oh, I looooove that song. You know my favourite lines? The chorus. Just in case you’re a bit old school let me quote it for you. Haha, I kid, I kid. Relax, jor! How can you be the future and still be old school? That would be the irony of the millennium! OK, back to the lyrics. I’m singing it in my sonorous voice. Oh? You didn’t know I’m one of heaven’s soloists? Well, now you do, my darling! The chorus goes:
I went sky diving
I went Rocky Mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I’ve been denying
And he said ‘Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying’.
I’ve learned in 2016 to take nothing for granted. I now realise I have only one life and I’ve decided to make the most of it. I’ve learned that now is a good time as any to do something but I also discovered that even though delay can be quite dangerous, it can also turn out to be your biggest deliverance. Therefore, I’m still learning how to strike a balance between simply not procrastinating and just being at a place where it’s wiser to wait. For this, I will need to constantly remember the tried and tested fact that my gut and spirit are never wrong. In addition to trusting my instincts and being discerning, I’ve also learned to celebrate and trust my dopeness. I know some people will say I’m being pompous. I’m not. My experiences have taught me things that have added ample value to my life. I no longer try to rush the process of my growth. I’ve learned that no matter how painful the process is, the pace of the process is important to the final results. I’ve learned to pick my battles wisely. Some fights are really not worth it, honestly. I’ve learned to appreciate friends and family way more. As I’ve grown older, I’ve discovered that it’s not at all about the quantity of friends one has but more about the quality. I thank God for quality friends. I discovered that some people were sent to my life because God foresaw what 2016 would be like. He sent them to help me. I don’t think they’ll be in my life next year; matter of fact, some are already no longer around, but I appreciate them all the same. I thank God for my parents. Kai, my dad has been nothing short of a BOSS this year and the awe I have for my mum has grown exponentially. I may misunderstand my parents a lot and sometimes wish that they do things differently, but I love and appreciate them to bits. My siblings – well, I love all of them but I’ve been thinking of selling Nkechi. To the highest bidder (recession tinz). Don’t tell her sha!
2017, I need you to be a better year for me but to be honest, there’s still one thing I’m afraid of. I’m afraid to hope – to hope that things will get better. Nobody knows about the pain of dashed hopes more than I do and what if my breaking process is not yet over? It’s just that there is no hope only when there’s no life and hey, I’m still alive, right? Meaning things can and will get better, right? And the night can only last for so long, right? So, 2017, be good, no, be GREAT, to and for me, my family and my country. I pray that when I write to 2018 about you, I’ll have many, many, many wonderful things to say. Deal? Oh, before I go, I want to tell you that I turn 30 with you, 2017! I know, right? WHAAAATTT?!!! Yeah, baby! And it falls on a Monday. How apt! A new beginning and all that good stuff. I’ve been thinking of how to celebrate. Do you think it will be greedy of me to have a birthday week? I’m still unsure at the moment. Abiye said if I like I should have a birthday month! Don’t mind her, she’s just hating. Wait till she sees my birthday wish list. OK, I really should end this letter now. Ooooh, but one more thing! I should really tell you about the boys! Ah…not here, not here. Gosh, 2017…so much to talk about but don’t worry. When we see…when we see…