My 2022 Story

People who have been following me for the past 5 years would know that I am always sharing my reflections at the end of the year and for once, this year I thought if I should share or not. It is not that there is not something to share, it is because this year was a year I had to fight my current state of comfortability. In the past, I have not always had what I wanted. I would probably have to fight to pay for a visa to attend a conference I have been selected for or raise money from family or friends or even probably, not have money to even book a flight. I was always dealing with not being able to contribute at home and my source of depression was because I lacked and that made me fight. In fact, those little things I could not afford were one of my inspirations to change my circumstances while fighting for a cause that I am also passionate about. 



Likewise, the rejections. Back then, I had applied for many things and I would weep at rejections. Some of those rejections were because I lacked experience and some of those were because it was not just my time yet but they drove me. They moved me to create things and make things happen. So at the end of every year, it is always interesting to share how I was able to overcome them, and even, when it seems there was nothing, I made something. However, this year was not those days and I was comfortable, I have had some wins and to some extent, I could get my hands on and afford things that I usually pray for. I was comfortable but there came an issue. My comfort became uncomfortable for me. I wanted more and I wanted to fight. Maybe because I am in a new environment and maybe for some things I had to start all over again but I was very uncomfortable with my comfort and that made me take some steps. I went all out and added more roles to my feather. I was juggling multiple roles. I was involved in one-time contracts and others and at the same time overseeing KLCI. I was also reading applications and accepting speaking engagements as I could. Traveling to Paris to speak at UNESCO headquarters (one of my greatest wins) and many more. Now, I am uncomfortable but it did not end well. I kept on moving and moving to the extent that I was not paying attention to myself. I had even forgotten about myself in the equation.  





At the same time, I was dealing with either one request or the other and it was as if they were coming on autopilot. During my master's programme in 2020/2021, I had a schedule and it saved me a ton but I have even forgotten how to put stuff in schedules. 


Then I traveled to Nigeria in September to launch my book and organise a learn event. I enjoyed putting that event together and the impact was mind-blowing. I reconnected with friends and family, and I felt really happy. The heart knows where the home is. I enjoyed chatting with uber drivers and okada riders (bike men). I connected with people on day to day basis and visited one of our project sites where we help children in rural communities develop life and 21st-century skills through our Skill2Rural Bootcamp. I met loads of people. I took many unsolicited consultations. I wanted to help and I was very happy. I was working on my other roles/responsibilities remotely at this point as well and in between an important application. 



I could recall returning to the UK from Nigeria and as I was opening the door of my room, I opened my laptop to complete a task for an application and created a presentation for an interview I had later that week. The next day I resumed my two jobs. It was a Wednesday and they are always busy. I probably would get home at around 10:00 pm. Every Wednesday evening I visit my project site at the British Red Cross where I work with young refugees and asylum seekers to help them develop life skills through weekly sessions and they bond over food and drinks. I enjoyed the role a lot but it was exhausting. That week I did not prepare a session, so I had to facilitate based on the resource I had prepared in my head. The next week, I did prepare a session but the young people did not really turn up and the session was not interesting. I also got feedback from my project assistant and volunteer about what is happening. It seems the whole project was crumbling in my face. I actually hate to see things crumble but here I am, and the uncomfortability I have created is becoming more uncomfortable. I had one of the most uncomfortable conversations with myself that night and made some key decisions. I said to myself “I am going to face this problem and I am going to ensure that the project does not crumble.” Then I did. I reduced the time I spent on social media. I started sleeping by 9:00 pm and put my phone on airplane mode. I started working to get external facilitators to facilitate my sessions so that I do not have to run them and focus more on engaging with my young people and being present for them. I started running in the morning to maintain my physical and mental health. I was not applying for anything until I felt 100%. I communicated boundaries to people and even if I still review scholarship applications for people, I stopped at some point except you are really close. When I was going to work, I tuned in to a podcast. I also was not taking any additional or extra responsibilities at this point until I found my way back to me. My eyes started opening. I started seeing the need to put myself in the equation. I could recall there was a day I had about four applications to read for people, I had an application to complete myself. In the past, I had chosen myself last but I chose myself first. I finished mine before working on that of others. I started learning to also consider my feelings, that I also matter in the equation. Giving can become toxic if you do not give sustainably. I learned hard lessons. During this period of recovery, some who could not understand thought I was snubbing them but I had to live too. In fact, I learned to offend people positively and you would not guilt trip me. I have paid my dues and I hope to continue to pay them forward in a sustainable way. I learned that and it was difficult. I had to fight with change. 



I also stopped one of my jobs and my energy was high. I was smashing my goals. November became one of my best months. Completed three major applications and got into the final of one major application. I already got accepted for one. One even required that I took a course as a prerequisite to apply. I finished a four-week course in one week. I said this is me. This is who I am. The energy was high that month and those who were connected with me could feel it. It was my best month of the year. Honestly, I had forgotten how to believe in myself but I started to. I started aiming high again because now I can see. They say the truth shall set you free and having truthful conversation with myself does set me free. I learned about myself again and even if it seems uncomfortable I am so grateful for all the great things I have been able to achieve and made major wins which I have shared in a previous post (read here


Here are some more lessons I learned from this experience 

  1. Do not be scared to offend people and not everyone is your friend. Communicate with kindness and love and let that be. 

  2. Differentiate friends from acquaintances. Sometimes old friends could become acquaintances at some point. Learn to move past that. 

  3. What get you here might not get you there might seem to be true but sometimes reflecting on the past is what gets us to be present and aspire for a greater future

  4. Listen to your body and know when to recharge 

  5. Your comfort might become uncomfortable but both moments teach you something. 


One of the things I said to myself often is Hammed “I am so proud of you” and this is because it takes a lot of courage to know that there is a problem and you are willing to solve it. That is where growth comes from and I am glad I found my way back to myself. There is more context to many of these stories and maybe in the future, they may become stories for another masterpiece. There are also parts of my 2022 reflections that I am yet to share but I hope someday in the future when it is the right time, I will share them. In all honesty, I love the year and I love the fact that I had to deal with my comfort. 


Last year, I said self-awareness and reflection was the key for me but this year, I practiced self-conversation and compassion even more. To speak to me and to learn to forgive myself. That I am human too. 


Thank you for reading and I am constantly rooting for you. 





2 comments:

  1. I’m proud of you Hammed. Boundaries are important and thank you for your kindness towards me as well even in your busiest of days. 2023 ‘was’ indeed a great year for you.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Mirabelle. Thank you for reading and your comments means so much.

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