I’ve been having mixed feelings about doing a 2021 retrospective online. Mostly because 2021 was the best year of my life, but it was also my worst.
It’s like the year shared itself in two halves – The first one being very terrible and the last one being overly amazing! This year, I fought a lot. Fought with my family, fought depression, almost killed myself, fought with my friends, fought for my identity, fought with myself as well. I never really talked about it once on the internet. I’d always post about tech, post banter or post my unsolicited opinion and everyone would assume I was fine (or maybe nobody even cares tbh).
As I write this review, I’d split it into two. I’d write about January – June and July – December.
I’m choosing to write this because there might be a chance that someone out there is struggling, and I hope this article is exactly what you need to pull yourself out of whatever it is you’re going through.
January – June
January started on a very low low for me. I had never been this devastated in my whole life for three personal reasons that I can’t disclose unfortunately. I spent a lot of my time crying and questioning everything that month. Got back to work and to be honest, I wasn’t feeling it like that but I put my whole heart to my job because I needed a distraction and work seemed like the best way out. I made some social media appearances with my fake smile and focused on work. Every new year, I always set measurable goals. But in January when I had to think about my 2021 goals, I just wanted to improve on myself. My goals were:
- To be kinder
- To be closer to God
- To be more patient
I didn’t know how I was going to achieve those goals, but I had a group of friends by my side and that was enough for me.
Had to say goodbye to one of my friends relocating.
Started thinking about relocating too haha – At this point, I had mental health issues and I didn’t even know how far I’d gone. It’s one thing to know you’re struggling with your mental health and then you can choose to either get therapy, find another way to fix the problem or do nothing. But you know, so at least you have that choice. I was slowly getting depressed and losing my identity and I didn’t even notice. That’s wild af. It took my brother calling it out (in May) and some deep reflection later to realize that I actually was a walking disaster and I didn’t even know.
This was an interesting month. I got my first ever professional award. I won the Young CISO Network Excellence in Disruptive Technology, Cloud and Embedded Device Security Award for my work in building and advocating for Disruptive Technology on the Cloud. I was so excited 🎉
Another interesting thing that happened was the launch of Microsoft Mesh. We had been working on this for months and this stretched me a lot. I’m very grateful to be a part of that team and I would not take any of my experiences working in Mixed Reality for granted. Cheers to the metaverse 🥂
Also, depressed and unaware, I started writing my first book. I got support from everyone around me and I honestly cannot thank them enough. Everyday after work, I would read and write about the cloud and slowly, I was putting together pieces of a book that would do amazing things for me (and I had no idea about impact, I just wanted to write).
I travelled to Nsukka to celebrate with my friend who was getting married. The traditional wedding was in Imilike-Ani and I had never been there before so it was an adventure for me. I made a new friend on that trip and I hope we stay friends for a long time because she’s just good vibes.
This was the month with all the drama. The month I fought everybody and pushed them away. The month it started becoming clear that something was actually wrong with me and I didn’t know. All I can say is thank God for life and good health. I don’t know what would have happened if things didn’t go the way they did. I might not be alive today.
Remember that I said I had started trying to relocate in February? Well, in May I wrote my IELTS and passed it in flying colors. (Got a band score of 8/9). I wrote Cambridge exams in secondary school because of the school I went to so that whole British Council experience wasn’t entirely new to me.
In May I also watched my best friend get engaged to her best friend of 10 years and I was so excited for her. They had only dated 8 months and decided they didn’t want to waste any more time being apart. Love stories like this excite me 😂
This was the final disaster month. I ended a toxic relationship. I also started listening to Bishop Robert Barron and then my friend also introduced me to Pastor Kingsley Okonkwo. This was where everything changed for me. Listening to these two preachers everyday since then has actually changed my life. I also started talking to Rev Fr Ugwoke who has been patient and has answered all the weird questions I have about religion and life. May God bless these three men for me.
My friend in the US introduced me to her bible study group. That didn’t do anything for me because they’d usually meet at midnight on Thursdays and I’d be asleep. But it got me closer to her. I also realized that she was dealing with issues similar to mine. One thing about me is that I’m very good at giving great advice but I never take my own advice. I gave her advice to move her life forward and she called me out to do the same. That drove me to deep reflection and she was right. I had been a mess for a long time.
January – June made me build character and as much as the experiences were bad (Can’t explicitly write what they are), I’m grateful for those experiences because now I know exactly who I am.
July – December
I made a new stoic and atheist friend. His life is interesting to me because we have very similar backgrounds (types of parents and how we grew up) but are fundamentally different because of his new beliefs. I’ve learned a lot from him and he’s such good vibes. Someone I call when I need to hear the truth because he doesn’t care about my emotions and would never sugarcoat things.
In July, I was also done with the technical content of my book and then my reviews started properly. The book you’re reading today is probably the 8th iteration from where I started. But I’m thankful for the experience and would never trade it for anything.
I celebrated my second year and second promotion at Microsoft 🎉. This promotion came with a title change and bigger responsibilities. I built something awesome. Initially when I started building it, I was working with a colleague but then, he was leaving Microsoft to build a business so he handed over to me and left. I was worried, and I thought I couldn’t handle that project. But I handled it so well and I’m glad I did because I was able to learn a lot.
I also started running 4 times a week in August and I enjoy it so much.
This was a scary month for me. The month before my book announcement. Everyone that knows me knows how much of a perfectionist I can be so I stretched myself a lot in September.
I had to follow up on designing the perfect cover for my book. I had to follow up with everyone contributing to get their contributions to the book in time. I had to come up with a release plan for this book and that involved me convincing random people that didn’t know me to take a chance on me. Omo. This book made me a sales person 😂
October is my birthday month and for me, it’s usually the most important month of the year. I officially pre-released my book on October 1st and the responses were AMAZING.
I’m really thankful to everyone for the kind words, reviews, giveaways and general support for this book. If you follow me on Twitter, you know how well this book has done. If you don’t follow me, go and follow now 🌚 😂
In October I turned 25 and I had the best birthday ever. I celebrated my birthday twice on the 26th and the 31st (because I’m such a birthday person 😂). I’ve always wanted a party where I was sprayed money (like Bobrisky and Nancy Isime) and I got that in 2021. I also did a giveaway – I gave something to 25 people that follow me.
My friends have told me that the bar is now at the ceiling and for me to have the “best birthday ever” for my 26th, I have to fly everyone out 🤣 🤣 🤣
This was a quiet month. In November I had sold over 700 copies of my book. I was still doing all my media rounds and living my regular life of good vibes and enjoyment. I appeared on Punch Newspapers, Business Day NG, THISDAY Newspapers, Tech Cabal, Benjamin Dada, Silverbird TV, Channels TV and more (that I don’t even remember). It was a lot and I was stressed out. But I enjoyed the experience.
I also got nominated in three categories for Hackernoons #Noonies awards:
- Developer Defying Patriarchy (While being an awesome developer)
- Hackernoon Contributor of the year – Books
- Hackernoon Contributor of the year – Women In Tech
In December, I watched my best friend get married to her best friend. It was a nice intimate outdoor wedding and I was her maid of honor. I love those two people so much and I wish them a very beautiful marriage filled with love.
I also did Detty December before I left Lagos with my friend that came in from Abuja and then I spent the rest of the month in my fore fathers land enjoying nature and peace.
I raised money to give 10 ladies in SheCodeAfrica a laptop. God bless the sponsors ❤️
I loved 2021. And I know that 2022 is going to be an amazing year. I’m looking forward to everything and I can’t wait to kick ass in the new year ✨🚀