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  • Writer's pictureIbiyemi Balogun

Year-end Reflections for 2020 a year like no other

It’s the last day of 2020, the year that showed me pepper, but also brought A LOT of sweetness by the end of it.

I’ve been saying it all year long, that if you have not learned anything about yourself this year in a global pandemic, with the world burning left right and center then WOOOW, I don’t know how to help you!

Yesterday, as I was getting my hair done in the salon in sunny Lagos, I decided to take stock because what else do you do in the 2-3 hours you are just seating there…..I started with the highlights.

The Highlights of 2020

  1. Jan 2020 – I plunged into the year with 21 days of prayer and fasting and it was HARD but it set the foundation for how I would relate with God.

  2. March 2020 – I became a Canadian Citizen after 12 years of living in Toronto PLUS the biggest bonus was that my mom just happened to be visiting while attending a conference, so she was there, it was also literarily the weekend before the world LOCKED DOWN

  3. May 2020 – I started this BLOG, shout out to everyone that has been on this journey with me, it’s been 7 months 😱

  4. June 2020 – My sister got MARRIED to the love of her life

  5. July 2020 – I was nominated by my team and WON the Talent Egg “Career Coach of the Year Award” in 2020, a Nationwide award given to Career Educators in Canada.

  6. Oct 2020 – I got a new JOB

  7. Nov 2020 – I celebrated with my mom on her 60th birthday after 12 consecutive years of missing out on her birthday…. shoutout to remote work.

  8. Dec 2020 – I finished my 2nd year of the MBA program + My sister had her traditional and white wedding ceremonies

I mean what a year!!!

The Lowlights of 2020

  1. All of the emotional breakdowns between Mar – June because the world was on fire in a global pandemic.

  2. Amidst this pandemic, every part of my identity was also being attacked in some way. As a black woman from Nigeria, the number of negative stories from around the world that resonated directly with me was WILD. From killing black people in the street or their home in North America to raping young girls in Nigeria and domestic abuse on women in Turkey there were 3-4 weeks where I did NOT sleep. As you all know by now, I feel everyone’s pain like it were my OWN.

  3. Due to the emotional burden, I also struggled with my physical health. I got in and out of shape about 2 times during this year where I lost 10-15 pounds and put it all back on.

  4. Just as I was about to recover, we were hit with the #EndSars protests in Oct in Nigeria where my entire family lives…. The rollercoaster of emotions from feeling incredibly proud of the Nigerian youth to feeling deeply sad by the responses of the Nigerian government through the massacre and needless loss of so much life…… It can make one feel completely helpless.

Now on to some of the lessons, I learned…..

Here is a list of things I went through and learned spiritually & personally in 2020

  1. Jan – Started with prayer & fasting to set the tone for the year

  2. Jan – March – Completed a 12-week spiritual program called “Freedom” which unearthed A LOT of negative things that have been holding me back for years.

  3. March – September – God and the Holy Spirit revealed WEEKLY, yes I said weekly 🥵 truths and lessons that challenged me to think about all my relationships. Relationships with ex’s, daddy issues, relationship with my sister, closest friends, relationship with God, and the HARDEST of them all, my relationship with myself.

  4. In that season, I learned about how I relate to money, security, identity, family, insecurities, emotions, physical and mental health in specific messages……to say it was TOUGH would be an understatement, at one point, my therapist encouraged me to take a break from all the emotional heavy lifting & self-awareness because it was starting to wear me out.

  5. I also learned about myself in romantic relationships……I realized that in years prior (2018/2019) I wasn’t ready, and I didn’t want to be in a relationship even though I actively pursued it. Let me explain, lol…..I thought that as a late 20 something from a Nigerian home, I had to be ready because if I wanted to have kids by a certain time, I had to be married by a certain time which meant I had to meet and date by a certain time, its simple Math..... Baby by 32 means, start the process yesterday hahaha…. except, I had not yet recovered from the last relationship. What I learned in 2020 is to acknowledge the hurt and then LET IT GO and forgive! God even allowed me to meet a man in 2020 who made me understand that dating and being in a relationship doesn’t have to be overly complicated as it had been in the past with emotionally unavailable men. Needless to say, even though it didn’t work out, I learned to effectively communicate what I want and learned to better deal with triggers as they come, so 2021 dating come at me looool.

  6. Coming closer to the end of the year between Oct & Dec – I realized that somewhere along the way, I had picked up this narrative that I needed to PROVE my worth to everyone. I needed to prove to my family that I was a member, I need to prove to my bosses that I was good at my job, I needed to prove to my friends that I was reliable, I needed to prove to myself that I was consistent and I needed to prove to God that I was worth loving.

  7. The HARDEST thing that I have struggled with this year is reconciling the Ibiyemi that is CONFIDENT and strong and brings a lot to the table VS. the Ibiyemi that has “low self-esteem” ……even writing this now feels very unnatural. How can I be “that girl,” I asked myself for this WHOLE year, how can I have low self-esteem, it doesn’t make sense…..I spent the whole rejecting that concept instead of just understanding that I am a whole person who can be “That B*tch” but also have flaws and insecurities” and that one does not cancel out the other……I wouldn’t say, that I am 100% here but I will say that in more than halfway there, maybe 79% lol till then, I will be loading….loading…..loading….ding…ding (lol if you know the song, it will make sense).

Thanks for coming on this journey with me, and I pray that you reflect on your year, find the lessons, and have a stronger and more fulfilling 2021.



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