I started 2018 in high hopes for better things. 2017 was a year of intense grief for me as one thing seemed to pile over the other from losing my mom and aunt on the same day to other events that were clearly a downward spiral; so when 2018 started, I really wanted things to change for the better. I had just left the NYSC orientation camp and was rejected by the hospital I was posted to. As a microbiologist, I was supposed to work in a laboratory or teach in a school but I was lucky to be reposted to a place where I worked with logisticians, data analysts and pharmacists (looking back on this now, I see that my steps were ordered). I was a total newbie- I knew absolutely nothing about the work I was to do but thankfully it was a friendly environment with down to earth staff who taught me what I needed to know.
The NYSC duration lasts for a year and so whenever people asked “what’s next after this?”, I would give incoherent answers because all the plans I had in school just didn’t make sense anymore, I also had a number of ideas but my mind was shut from them, I didn’t understand why then but now I see that it was because I was battling with grief and I really didn’t know who to talk to about it after a while. I had friends who served as a really great support system (can’t thank God enough for them!) But opening up wasn’t easy because I’ve always hated to feel like a burden that has to be carried (still working on this). I had strong spiritual convictions about the state of my loved ones- they were secure and at rest; because they had believed in Jesus’ sacrifice for them, they had received eternal life and their passing was only temporal but I couldn’t deal with not having them as an integral part of my life anymore- especially my mom.
I tried desperately to open my mind and was introduced to a business which I invested in but pulled out of after a month, my explanations for leaving were shallow but deep down I knew it wasn’t what I had been seeking. At this point, I started to struggle with my weight and had put on a whooping ten pounds within a short time (ewo!), I was stress-eating and wasn’t physically active in any way, I really didn’t need this to add to everything that was already “on my head”. I had also started to shut people out- I wish I hadn’t but I needed space, not physically but in my head. The time I had to myself, I spent praying and writing down my thoughts and plans however random they seemed.
I can never doubt that God hears and answers prayers because he led me to materials about purpose and life- a spark lit up in me! The answer I had been seeking wasn’t in which business to do or which path to take but was in God, I realized that my purpose couldn’t be determined by me but by the one who created me- to know Him and to make Him known. Now whichever career path I chose would have to work for this purpose, I was elated! In some of my random thoughts I had documented, I saw the things I was passionate about and how I could use them to live purposefully. The more I prayed and read and listened to resource materials, the more changes I noticed in the state of my mind, it started getting easier to have full blown conversations about purpose and career and life goals. Ooh I have to mention the place of music- never underestimate the power of songs with lyrics that align with your spiritual reality, there were times I would play songs out loud and dance or lip sync to stay out of soggy moods, I would also speak loudly to myself about God’s unfailing love which He already demonstrated eternally through the sacrifice of Christ!
I started controlling my food portions and tried not to stress-eat even though it was hard. I also registered in a gym where I exercised regularly and over a period of four months, I shed the excess weight! (yaay, lol). I still enjoy my food though; some of them have a special place in my heart- and in my mouth too! e.g fura da nono (covers face, don’t judge me!!). My mind has been so stretched as I have learned from and worked in a field I didn’t even know was in existence before which now lays a strong foundation for the career path I have chosen! I’m not saying everything makes perfect sense now or that all the puzzles fit, I mean I slip sometimes because I get tired but there’s continuous nudging and leading in the direction of light and growth, I’m so grateful to God! I still have bouts of anxiety and uncertainty sometimes but I respond in ways that are so different from how I would have last year, I have grown! This gives me so much joy. I can’t say that I grew in isolation, yes I needed space to clear my head but I still had a support system spiritually, career-wise, emotionally and physically (fit fam yaay!), I am thankful.
My service year is over; in between, I was able to take quite a number of relevant certificate courses. (If you’re willing to take some that are health related, here you go; www.globalhealthlearning.org ,they are free). I was also exposed to really helpful material that widened my scope of knowledge. Thankfully, I’ve been given the opportunity to volunteer which I think is a great thing and I also plan to run a master’s program next year. About the grief, I still miss my loved ones everyday but they lived well and purposefully, I intend to do the same.
So I’ll conclude by saying that 2018 was full of growth and learning, my goals for 2019 are to unlearn and to do more. Unlearn? That sounds ironical especially since I said I learnt this year. What I plan to unlearn are the things which have been implanted in my mind subconsciously and consciously by society and the culture of this world. I will unlearn the idea of having limitations and relearn that God says that if I believe, nothing shall be impossible to me. I will unlearn societal norms that do not match with my spiritual realities no matter what they are. I will keep growing and live purposefully with every drive and force within me as God helps me.
I’m no expert but whatever it is you’re going through, I promise you are not alone and you will get through it. God loves you so deeply and is with you in the midst of your pain, confusion, hurt and just whatever it is, there is so much light ahead of the tunnel no matter how long and endless it may seem. Don’t believe the devil’s lies about you- you have worth, you have purpose. Have a delightsome 2019!!