Connect with us


2014 Epilogues: Getting My Rocket Into Space – Ayodeji’s Peridot



2014 has been a very interesting year. As it comes to an end, BellaNaija seeks to showcase a human interest segment, dedicated to looking back at the year. We’ve teamed up with a diverse group of individuals and asked them to share how their year has been. The brief was ‘a personal look back at the journey thus travelled. The idea is to use 2014 as a focal point. The honest and heartfelt piece should talk about your ups and downs / victories and failures – a general self assessment. It should be a raw piece which shows you as a person – the human angle is important.

Each of the participants has graciously sent us amazing pieces about themselves. As you read these pieces, and take stock of the year you’ve had, we encourage you to get inspiration from our 2014 Epilogues.

The 2014 Epilogues gemstones will be dropped at 2pm everyday till the end of the year!

How do you get a rocket into space? That was the trial of my 2013. If you’re familiar with space expeditions, you would know how time-consuming, frustrating, draining they are. You are trying to get a gargantuan piece of metal to travel into space where it has no control whatsoever of its surroundings and its fate, no matter how much science may argue, hinges on hope and a prayer. There is no room for error. You cannot make mistakes.

My life was the rocket. Space was my goals.

2013 was a exhausting year of preparation. I went through a few highs and many lows. I felt it had to be leading up to something. I had been through too much. So 2014 was make or mar year I thought. I had spent 365 days making sure the rocket was ready. Experiments had failed. I had lost opportunities, time and relationships. I had lived and I had learnt. I was ready for take-off.

On 31st December 2013, I wrote down my goals for the year and took them to church, praying with tears in my eyes for the things I wanted.

Enter 2014.

The most important thing on my list was a new job. I am very ambitious and felt I was underutilized where I worked. Three months into the year my prayer was answered. The first time. And I still got to keep my old job. I could do both.

A seemingly random phone call on a hot Saturday afternoon came with a job offer. I didn’t apply or pitch for it, I didn’t even know it was available! I was commissioned to manage a huge editorial project. I know it sounds vague but it’s currently still in the works so I can’t give details. I have read once before that the best miracles are the kind where you don’t even realize they have happened. This was me going about my business (which wasn’t much at the time admittedly) and getting called to manage this project. I hardly think I was the most qualified for the job. The people that worked with and reported to me were in some cases, at least a decade older than me. Oh, I’m 24! I was given the kind of responsibility I had dreamed and prayed for. The kind of challenge that frustrated and excited me at the same time to end. The kind of work that literally had my blood rushing.

For the next three months the project was all my life was about. My social life suffered, I stopped keeping in touch with friends, I was fairly distant from family. (I mean, what is a friend when there’s money to be made? Hahaha I kid. Errr not really) In the midst of all this, a little movie project came to town, ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ and I was chosen to interview Oscar-nominated Chiwetel Ejiofor: I didn’t quite believe it until I was sitting across from him. As a writer/journalist ,one’s life is about that big story and this was it. Sure, a thousand and one other people interviewed him but I was chosen. I, Ayodeji Abiodun Rotinwa was chosen. To be honest, it hasn’t sunk in till just now as I write this.

Fast forward a month later, it was becoming apparent that the editorial project wasn’t going to launch when it was initially intended. I was disappointed but I was happy to wait. Then another bundle of good news was delivered to me. My nephew was born. You have not known love until you give it to someone who has no obligation to give it back. When most people see my nephew, they think he’s my son. It’s just as well. (Hopefully his father doesn’t read this) I may have had the most horrible day but when I see him, his smile; hear his laughter, completely oblivious to the world and its troubles, that day becomes a lovely day. That day becomes a happy day. He’s undoubtedly my biggest blessing of 2014 if I make so bold to claim ownership. (it’s his parents place to say that, no?) As if God hadn’t blessed me enough, he brought to fruition, another goal on my 31st December 2013 list: Buying a car. Better still, I was able to buy it on my birthday, June 23rd as a gift to myself.

As work on the editorial project winded down, a new opportunity came forth. Before this, I’d been praying again for (another) new one. I applied for and was made the Content Producer of an Africa Magic show that was moving production from South Africa to Nigeria. I had never worked in TV before. All I had was my wit and my hunger. I was thrown wide-eyed into the deep end. It was the most challenging three months of 2014. Here I was in another job where I was perhaps not the most qualified for, but chosen regardless. I was stretched mentally, physically and emotionally. A typical day would involve me writing about 2,500 words of scripts, booking interviews, managing relationships, temperaments and egos of interview subjects (celebrities!) co-ordinate a shoot/set sometimes if need be, research and source tons of supporting footage. On some days I loved it, after all it was what I asked for. Other days, not so much. I soon realized It wasn’t that the work was that back-breaking and it was but I didn’t love it enough. It didn’t get me riled up in the morning. It didn’t occupy my thoughts. It didn’t consume me. It should have. The pay was great but no amount of money can buy fulfillment and satisfaction.

I’ve come to see that job as a period that I had to learn valuable lessons. Not everything that fills your pocket will fill your heart. It may sound absurd to you but trust me your happiness is important. Any job that makes you miserable is NOT worth it, no matter how much you’re earning. After three months of an unforgettable experience: meeting colleagues some of whom have now become family, dealing with new challenges everyday but not getting the job satisfaction I needed, I quit.

After this, I was in limbo. I went through a month of depression, self-doubt, questioning what I really wanted, Revisiting my goals, what my direction in life should be. I just didn’t want to get out of bed at some point. Yes, I wasn’t fulfilled at my last project but what exactly would give me fulfillment? Mind you, the editorial project mentioned earlier was still ongoing but work was at a bare minimum at this point.

By this time, spiritually, I had lost bearing. God had been fighting for me all year, I thought, why this lull now? I know, pretty ungrateful right? I stopped living and started existing. In my mind, I didn’t recall the triumphs. I only thought: the editorial project didn’t kick off when it should and the TV gig, I quit.

It’s a very lonely place to be in, not being able to figure out where to go next. What the next step should be. It’s hard to put into words.

In my state of finding myself, I got an email with a job offer to be Media & Communications Lead for The Future Awards Africa, a great opportunity with a fantastic initiative but my first thought when I saw the email was not to jump for joy. Doubt and anxiety cascaded over me like a waterfall. I thought, why me? Can I do this? Will I fail (again)? But after a month of not doing much, I needed a challenge and was ready to learn new things. I accepted. Again I was thrown into the deep end but this time with the right kind of guidance, direction and support, I was able to swim against the tide and still am currently.

It has been rough. I thought TV was challenging, this one is even more so. More than ever before, this job has tested my belief in myself, my resolve to achieve. Fear and anxiety were merely words until I started this job. They are real. Tangible but I have lived through and I am still learning…

2014 was the year of the take off. It took a while to get the rocket together, experiments failed, accidents happened mid-air but I think I’m ascending. I don’t have all the answers yet but as long as you’re on the way I believe that’s what counts.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Yolanda Van Niekerk

Ayodeji Rotinwa is a writer with a keen interest in documenting, reviewing and critiquing the arts / (pop) culture of our time. He also comments on how technology and business play into these fields. He is a columnist, the lead features writer at THISDAY Style (Newspapers) and a contributor to Forbes Africa magazine.


  1. Derin Odugbesan

    December 29, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    I’m so so proud of you Ayodeji, keep it up..
    God Continue to Bless and take you higher..

  2. TA

    December 29, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Absolutely spot-on with this observation ‘the best miracles are the kind where you don’t even realize they have happened’… Wow! Didn’t even know Ayodeji Rotinwa was that young. Dude! Keep hustling. Looking forward to reading your short stories. Please make them available on Okadabooks, an e-book app available on google play. Yes, shamelessly advertising Ofili’s App. 🙂

  3. mystory

    December 29, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Dear lord, I’m in a difficult place right now! 21years old and still not certain what what my niche is.
    It’s mixed feelings for me when I see people aged 23/24 doing great things.
    I’m a graduate of Economics and though my love for economics hasn’t cooled off entirely, my goals have changed. I know many people would say I’m ungrateful coz many of my mates aren’t in school yet, I was even the youngest in my class in uni but the truth remains that I can’t hold on to these as my achievements. I’ve tried to acquire some skills, develop myself and I’m currently job hunting but I’m a bit scared if I’d have achieved a lot by the time I turn24. somewhere in my heart, I believe the undiscovered niche is in branding; I’ve reached out to brand agencies to see if I can try my hands on a few things so I can get the brand experience but they all turned me down even when I tried to show my passion for it and didn’t request for pay, I also tried getting training in that field and my search led me to Orange Academy but sadly, I can’t afford it.
    As Ayodeji said, it’s a lonely place to be but I’m still grateful for my 2014 but praying earnestly 2015 works better for me.
    Thank you BN and all its contributors for this feature y’all have touched my live inn ways I can’t put to words.

    • Esperanza

      December 29, 2014 at 9:01 pm

      I’m also going through same. I’m 23 and I have a lot of passions but I don’t seem to know how to go about them. It can get really frustrating and discouraging. I won’t stop pressing forward though. 2015 will be a better year.

    • Eby

      January 5, 2015 at 11:48 am

      Dear my story, I want to believe you are a girl, but you are worried about so many things. Its way too early in life. And like you rightly said, you sound ungrateful, eventhough I know its spurred by ambition. But…. Take it easy!! Ordinarily, you should still be in school and you know it, so why this?
      You owe God nothing but gratitude for keeping you ahead of your mates. And since you have time on your hands, explore opportunities that come your way. Do as much as life & time permits you. Try different things and then you will begin to decipher which way you should go in life even as you keep talking to God about your life. He won’t fail you. Child you are so young and you have the world before you. Take it! But with God’s wisdom. And keep fear and anxieties far from you,that way you’ll make less mistakes. I’m happy for you really, and so should any parent….and you should be too, and not worry. But again that’s because its your age. As you get older you’ll know better. You’ll be amazed at 24 you’ll have done as much as this lad, Ayodeji. God bless you

  4. jcsgrl

    December 29, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Wow I’m nodding to all these epilogues and bookmarking them. They have been insightful. I cant quite put my 2014 into words. I just take am like that but kudos to you all. May our stories change for the better in 2015. Amen

  5. Torera

    December 29, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    “Not everything that fills your pocket will fill your heart” This is the best quote ive heard this year. Ayodeji is my friend but i hear him better when he writes.
    Deji…youre by far the most ambitious 24year old i know. I cannot wait for the world to hear you too.
    For me, i thought i would launch one of my big dreams but i refuse to see it as a dissapointment, but rather as preparation.
    The highest point this year was finding love; unbiased, giving and so selfless. Shallow it may seem, but it was the kinda miracle i ddnt realise had happened.
    For this im grateful for 2014.
    Hello 2015, we are on our way!!

  6. tunmi

    December 29, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    I liked this article. It was honest and direct (no ambiguity and nonspecific specifics). However rockets are not launched based on hope and prayer, that significantly diminishes the many and great work that so many people have done (and the many lives lost in the process).

  7. ucheoma

    December 30, 2014 at 8:55 am

    It’s rare to find people who are in touch with all facets of their lives- spiritually and mentally. Ayodeji, this is only the beginning. Greater things beckon.

  8. Tosin

    December 30, 2014 at 9:24 am

  9. Gift

    December 30, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    I celebrated you Ayodeji and thank God on your behalf. It only gets better…*winks*

  10. seun oluyemi

    January 1, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Ayodeji well done on your work.pleasure working with you and your dedication is awesome.all you did with The Future Awards was magic.dude is just!

  11. Eby

    January 5, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    And he’s just 24? I mean they are tons of people in their 30’s who are still trying to find their nich in life. He shouldn’t even push the hand of God too much. He should just be on auto-cruise cos he is already ahead of the pack. He doesn’t realise how blessed he is. In Africa, there aren’t many young people who can define what they really want and what will bring them fulfillment, this early in life. And even those that do, don’t have the opportunities or know how to create the opportunities, to fulfill their dreams. I’m so amazed at him… And inspired as well. At my age I’m still looking out for such opportunities

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Tangerine Africa
Sign up on Netflix

Star Features