WARNING – An extra long, long-awaited post is on its way. This ideally should’ve been posted on December 31st 2018 but alas, your girl has been procrastinating but refused to let these thoughts remain in her notes. So here it is, my personal reflections on 2018 and my hopes & dreams moving forward in 2019.
2 0 1 8. Two thousand and eighteen.
What a year! What.a.year.
I keep saying it flew by and I’m not exactly sure why. But slowly & surely I’m realising it’s because I spent so much more time putting myself down mentally. To the point where I was finding it difficult to list out the things I should be grateful for during the year. I had to scour my Instagram for inspiration because
I forgot. I forgot. I forgot.
But God didn’t forget. He never does. My promise (basically at the beginning of every year the Fountain of Life Church in Lagos, Nigeria has a system where you can pick your ‘promise’ for the year which essentially is a powerful bible verse that can help to sustain your prayers and experiences as you navigate the year. Get yours here.) for 2018 was:
“The Lord will accomplish that which concerns me;
Your [unwavering] lovingkindness, O Lord, endures forever
Do not abandon the works of your hands”
It’s all about perspective. From my small human mindset, I didn’t accomplish as much as I wanted to. I wasted a lot of time dreaming without execution. And I procrastinated DIEEEEEE. (Lmao, even with this post it seems)
But to God, the shepherd of my soul and the vintner of my vineyard – He was laying down the groundwork. He was allowing me to ‘fail’ according to my standards so I could have room to thrive according to His. And now I understand that true “success” is found in Him. True happiness is found in Him. A true sense of identity is found in Him.
I spent a lot of the year stressing out about things that He had under control. Worrying, feeling demoralised when He was and always has been my rock.
2019 will be different. This new year, I vow to never lose sight of my God. I vow to run with Him and follow where He will lead me. I vow to keep my eyes fixated on things above and to be filled with His peace as I navigate every single situation. Uni will not snatch my peace. Future prospects will not snatch my peace. Everything shall and will be done with great joy even when it seems like the world is crashing around me. I will find solace under the covering of His wings and I will run and not grow weary in doing good. In learning more about myself. In praying for others. I will take care of myself – body, mind & soul. I will take my medicine promptly, I will eat a better & more balanced diet. I will use social media for good. I will be exposed to things that edify my spirit – music, movies, tv shows. I will rid myself of the guilt and disappointment that plagues my heart many a time.
2019 – A Year of Recovery.
A year of reinstatement. A year of revival. A year of renewal. A year of restoration.
But before I move on to this year I’d like to reminisce and give thanks to the Most High for some special moments in my life in 2018:
1.DEC ’17 Lagos, Nigeria: I began 2018 at Foursquare Gospel Church, dancing& praising God for a new year. The year started off with a bang for sure!
2. JAN ’18 Rome, Italy: I returned to Rome for an exam that I had been quite worried for as the time got nearer. It was for a module on Anglo-American Company Law, something I never thought I would do but thanks be to God, I passed that exam and God allowed my lecturer to be a calming force during the exam when I felt like I went blank.
3.FEB ’18 Exeter, UK: Spending time with my beautiful friend Camilla in anticipation of her 21st birthday was such a highlight. I hadn’t been able to spend her day with her in a while and it was so amazing to simply be in her presence in a city I’ve always admired from afar! We also got to watch ‘The Greatest Showman’ which was a continuous fave throughout the year (some of the songs even ended up on my Spotify top songs of 2018 playlist)
MAR ’18 Paris, France : Turning 21 in the way I had dreamt for it to happen since I was 16 years old was truly a representation of how we have the power to speak things into existence due to the Holy Spirit who lives in us and wills us to witness our dreams come to life. I can’t express how much it meant to me to celebrate my birthday in this beautiful city with some of my favourite human beings on the planet but ‘dream come true’ is all I can say. I am grateful.
5. MAR ’18 Rome, Italy – With the second semester beginning I began to get used to the city and met some amazing individuals I wished I had met and spent more time with beforehand – a key one being my lovely friend Helen from my church! I truly began to feel more comfortable and at peace with living in this foreign eternal city.
6. MAY ’18 Sicily, Italy – I look back on the pictures from this trip and boy am I grateful. I was so close to not going but I decided last minute, this was too good of an opportunity to give up. When I say I had the best time, wow – I had the BEST time. The relationships that were forged, the laughter had, the sights seen – a trip and a half for sure!
7. JUNE – JULY ’18 Exams: Each of my exams had a testimony attached!!!!! And a hefty one at that. Let me run through them real quick:
- Introduction to Comparative Administrative Systems: I came late and felt a bit flustered but despite that I could feel so much warmth & encouragement from my lecturer even after he had scolded someone who came in a few mins after me. I thoroughly enjoyed answering my question and all in all it was a good exam.
- Law & Gender: there were different days to do this exam. On a particular day all my friends around me were doing it and coming out with 30/30 (this is the grading system in Rome). They were encouraging me to do it because I’d probably get 30 and even if that was true, the spirit within me kept reminding me that I was not ready, it was not time. I listened and stood my ground and when I did mine, not only was it such an enjoyable experience but I was given 30/30 Lode ie with honours just to crown the pinch of obedience I exercised with this module.
- International Human Rights Law: I felt ill prepared for this exam, and was so worried about it! I felt like I was not saying what he wanted to hear and was just so worried throughout. The Holy Spirit calmed me down but I still continued to feel a little stressed about it even afterwards especially after the exam ended and they discussed one of the multiple choice questions he felt everyone should’ve gotten and I didn’t get. It left me feeling like:
And wondering how many more I’d messed up! But lo and behold when we went in to get our results not only had I gotten full marks in my coursework essay BUT the exam had gone incredibly well with him highlighting how I could tackle the harder things but the seemingly simple questions (only 2 for that matter) were what I messed up. Doubt, ladies & gentlemen is a trait of mine I hope to leave behind in 2018.
- History of US & Canada: Politics & International Relations – I slaved away at these essays and worked really hard on them. Even though I could bask in the knowledge that I worked hard it wasn’t enough, doubt crept in and I felt I had crossed my t’s or dotted my i’s enough. However, I was mistaken as my lecturer was so impressed with my work and said I had done it exactly as she had expected and wanted to know my inspiration as well. Part of my grade was also a presentation which I felt had been too extra on and just went over time with 🙄 Classic Tolz move – I was stressed that my topic on Immigration rubbed people the wrong way as I witnessed the class of predominantly white people turn red as I spoke of the plight of minorities in America facing injustice in relating to migration laws. I knew my passion might’ve felt uncomfortable at times and ended up feeling uncomfortable leaving the presentation that day as well. But it all was dispelled with HS again reminding me that I shouldn’t feel uncomfortable discussing certain things and should stand strong when speaking my mind. And my grades spoke for it in the end!
- History & Politics of the Middle East and North Africa: now preparing and going to this exam was my worst nightmare. I have never felt fear for an exam like I felt for this. Apart from having vast amounts of material to cover and resorting to so much procrastination along the way, this was the exam where I felt God’s grace at work the most. I truly felt like I wanted to throw up whilst I was there. But alas, I’m here today to let you know that I survived and did not throw up or die. Instead, I realised how hard it is to swallow that pill of grace because – to cut the long story short – I had not revised a whole topic that was vital to the questions my lecturer would ask. In Rome, their system is primarily based on oral examinations so I couldn’t even bullshit my way through via writing some elaborate nonsense. I had to speak and the words did not come out because I had not set eyes on this topic. I was honest and though he was visibly disappointed, he let me know it was okay I should pick a topic I know about. Wow – the grace of God man, blows my mind every time I think of this day. I digress. So I did and spoke for a while. Afterwards, due to me being an international exchange student taking a class primarily taken by Italian masters students – he wanted to get my take on the module which made me feel more relaxed and even made me realise that someone I thought who didn’t like me all along was actually so considerate and was used by God to remind me of his unending grace. I got a 28/30 overall in this module which was way more than I had predicted – I had truly settled for a 19 at this point, imagine – Chaii!
All in all, through these exam experiences God reminded me he’s still in the business of supporting us through ever sphere of life. Even if grades and academics aren’t the end all – God knows how important it is to furthering me and won’t ever put me to shame concerning it!
8. JULY Days spent with people I should’ve met up with sooner ie. Alessandro, Kiki, Helen, Jubilee, Tatiana- I truly wished I had made time for certain people earlier because these connections were a blessing and the conversations make me smile whenever I think of them, wow God is truly the greatest
9. JULY ’18 Eminem – I witnessed him live in concert with Camilla who I connected with for the first time based on our mutual love for Marshall, need I say more ?
10. JULY ’18 Travelling with my mum & sister to pack up my life in Rome – what should’ve been one of the most ‘stressful’ travelling experiences ended up being one of the most stress-free, smooth sailing & enjoyable experiences ever! We even got to experience Florence, Italy for a day – #incredible
11. JULY – AUG ’18 Summer in London – watching my friends graduate!!! There’s something so special about graduations, the smell of success & celebration in the air is like no other. It’s a reminder of how happy God must be to see His children win at life not just via graduation but whenever we walk according to his will! Also, having all my sisters around during summer was honestly the greatest joy!!!!
12. AUG ’18 Spending time with Aunty Stella : my Aunty Stella is one of my best friends. Whether she knows it or not 😂 I love her more than words can describe. Finding a kindred spirit in my mum’s oldest sister is something I never for a million years thought would happen but I am so grateful it did. And I am so grateful for the wealth of wisdom & encouragement she imparted in my soul as she spent time with us for a few weeks. What a blessing she is to my life and all the lives around her!
13. AUG ’18 YANA Exhibition – my bezzie mate Ife is a genius, a pioneer and brings her dreams to life in the most inspiring way. Being there for her collective, YANA (Young Aspiring Nigeria Architects)’s first ever Exhibition was such an amazing part of my summer and I loved every second of it! She’s incredible, check out more about YANA here. Also!!! Watching Ife get baptised was just too incredible, brings tears to my eyes thinking about it! Watching her win in general is such an amazing thing to do, like it’s actually so much fun because she deserves to be celebrated meyhn. What a precious soul she is.
14. SEP ’18 Kezzy’s birthday: so I planned my little sister’s 18th and it was an amazing and fulfilling experience that though was frustrating at times reminded me just how much I enjoy planning events under my company ERAYỌ. It was such a good night that I’m happy both her & her bestie (they had a joint party) enjoyed 💃🏽
15. OCT ’18 Final year, Term 1 Chronicles: My flat is amazing. We all get on so well and it blows my mind till this day how easy going everyone is. Also, the flat that lives above us prove to me that there are men out there who are not afraid to be themselves and don’t force themselves into a toxic masculine stereotype and can sing to HSM at the top of their lungs and not feel weird about it and can go so deep so quickly, man they inspire me. I love the connection the two flats have made! Toni Conde is a beautiful human being. Only here for a few months for his Erasmus year yet made such an impact on all of us as a flat that thinking of him makes me wanna cry cause I miss him so much. Ellie & Lily are heaven sent – we applied to live in the same flat as a group and I didn’t know I could love two people I lived with so much again after Lolly & Behi. Being a part of something bigger than me like Africa Summit has truly been a blessing. It reminds me that Africa is so great and powerful and we need to keep narrating our stories ourselves and encouraging more growth from within the continent. And the executive team reminds me of the importance of being a piece of the greater puzzle and doing your work diligently so that the puzzle is the best it could possibly be. An honour, truly. Going for a Sex Education event in Birmingham was a confirmation as to how much I love Lolade Olagunju. We went together and I didn’t realise I could feel the way I felt praying for someone else – wow, she’s a true gem. Sleeping over at Nifemi, Fayo, Nnenna & Wura’s House for a night made my heart so happy. The laughter was resounding and the gist was so sweet – Chaii I love those girls meyhn. 2019 Tolz interjects -> My thoughts are so sporadic in this but I love it, hence I will not be editing this part of the post to sound ‘coherent’, this is coherent enough.
16. NOV ’18 Gwen’s Prophecy Night: I can’t lie when my beautiful friend Gwenny told us she wanted to celebrate her 22nd birthday by having a prophecy night I was so nervous. I thought to myself, Tolz what do you even know about prophecy? But I was encouraged by Camilla to realise that we prophesy to one another all the time. When we speak life and positivity inspired by the word of God into another person’s life – we are prophesying. All I needed to do was to key in to the Holy Spirit and let him take control of my words. And what a glorious night it was. I cannot wait to see the promises over Gwen’s life come to fruition. Mark my words – She is going to be a GREAT FORCE to be reckoned with, in fact she already is.
17. DEC ’18 Christmas in Lagos: even though I was mentally asleep for a few days on end upon arriving eventually I got myself back and this was honestly because of a worship night I went to that was just what the doctor ordered. S/O to Becky Larry-Izamoje and her whole team for staging what healed me and put me back together. Sabor with kari & mummy and the amazing, laugher filled conversations ; The House with Ridwan and more laughter-filled conversation , La Brioche with Ebunife and my sisters. Ebunife, my big sissy (the Black Womens’ Project – a society at Warwick had a big sis, lil sis scheme in my 1st year and she’s the big sis I got paired with, what a blessing forreal) finally met my blood sisters and of course they got along (DUH), hanging out with Tobi and Anlaade & her children was so amazing like I just love being around my cousins honestly , watching Gangaa with Aunty Osaretin and Mona was so amazing, catching up with Dunsin on New Years’- like truly it’s the small moments that make Christmas in Lagos special for me when I can see my loved ones and simply enjoy their presence.
This is possibly the longest post I’ve made but bear with me man, I’ve been on hiatus for too long but I’m back. 2019 is about consistency with this blog. I wanna go back to why I started and enjoy using this as a platform for expressing myself through all I enjoy doing!
So a Happy Happy New Year to anyone reading this! And God bless you for joining me on this crazy ride called life. I pray you’re able to reflect back on some special moments and realise that God sends them to you to truly understand what it means to have a heart filled with joy – when life is not based on the circumstances around you but rather on the gladness that only Jesus Christ brings and will always bring.
Memories II by Big Sean ft. John Legend:
“Let’s reminisce on the good times & the bad,
Reflect on everything we missed cause we will never get it back”
Self-Reflection is so important. And this song epitomises that message. I’ve always loved this song even back when it was a good background song when making Flipagram videos (😂) But now that I’ve finally accepted that I truly listen and assimilate lyrics when listening to music – I’m grateful I enjoyed this song so much because it truly represents exactly why I live for nostalgic moments. I’ve had some beautiful moments in my life – memories that make me smile and some where there were missed opportunities or a lot of pain. But they’re all part of my story being woven by the master creator himself – God (Father, Son & Holy Ghost). My prayer is that as you listen to this, you’re invited to reminisce on your life thus far and take the good, the bad and the ugly and surge forward to create even better memories, even more special moments with your loved ones and better yet – a beautiful relationship with your creator.
Peace & Love,