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BN2015Epilogues: OJ Counts the Lessons Learned From a Really Difficult Year



Last year BellaNaija Features put together an inspiring feature series to round off the year. The 2014 Epilogues featured 10 real people who took an introspective look at their year and wrote about it. This year, we decided to make the call public to our readers. {Click here if you missed it} It is our hope and desire that we will have enough entries to have a story up every day from the 1st to the 31st of December. We have received an impressive number of entries and we hope that you will share yours with us.

We kicked off the series and so far we’ve had the following entries: Jennifer G , Morountodun , Victory, Mayowa ,  Harmony and Dekky.

We’re starting a fresh week with one of the most heartfelt stories we’ve received in the series. OJ keeps it real with this one. 

Describing 2015 this month of December when I should be praying for my 11th hour miracle seems absurd, but here it goes:
I started my year pregnant and in tears, praying to God to save my marriage. I don’t believe I can live in a loveless marriage just for the sheer purpose of being married. I prayed and made promises to God, if he saves marriage.

He did save my marriage, but I’m seeing the signs all over again and I’m wondering for how long.
Then I put to bed – a baby I felt came too early. I thought I would rest for at least 3 to 4 years before my next baby. But she has been nothing but joy. Her pregnancy so light, not stressful… nada. Her labour? So swift, so quick and very little pains.

My son’s frequent hospital trips has caused my consultants to think that he might have Asperger’s. Currently still not professionally diagnosed. Sometimes I can’t bring myself to get him labelled. Don’t crucify me. That’s what I think a diagnosis would do. Still he’s the light of my household and I doubt if he’s truly anything but normal. They do have a positive side, they are extremely intelligent but very anti-social and developmentally late.

And my big 3-0 came. Amazing, how all of a sudden I now feel so old. Wondering if I’m not slow in conquering my borders, meeting my targets and changing the world. Just when I thought I need to set things in fast motion to meet up, my postgraduate studies hit the rock.

Education in Nigeria can be a big task. Did I say task? I should say hell, especially postgraduate education. By and large I didn’t meet my target of getting a PhD before 30, and it’s not even in sight as I have to re-route.

Oh, and the big one. No Job. I haven’t really set out to seek for employment. I believe grants and consultancies can handle my financial needs but as it is now I think I need to get a full time job. Just to be fully financially independent.

Did I mention I need to lose weight? At least 15kg. Story for 2016.

So from 2015 events I have learnt some new lessons and have/will apply them:

1. You can’t make people love you. They either love you or they don’t. It’s your decision to stay with them or leave them. This is going to be my flagship for 2016 with respect to my marriage.

2. Some things unplanned and unanticipated happen for the best. My baby girl has been the sibling for her brother. I look at her and remembered I complained and I laugh at myself.

3. When you miss targets, you set new ones. I missed the PhD at 30 target, I am setting a new one and even changing institutions to see it accomplished.

4. In everything give praise. This December, instead of asking for the innumerable things I want and need. I’m just going to spend time praising God. This I have started but it’s becoming harder. You know what happens when you decide to be happy all the reasons of being unhappy begin to creep in. But it’s important I stay in thanksgiving mode.

For 2016, I’m just going to go back to my tables and set new goals, having a loving marriage or leaving a love lost marriage (I’m getting counsel for that); getting another grant for a new PhD (Written to my sponsors and applying for new ones); having a steady source of income (Seriously applying for opening and using my contacts), writing romantic novels (really I love them and I want to write them, not started though) and raising my kids. By and large, life happens and when it happens, whatever happens, I am going to keep moving till I get to where I want to be. I might be late I don’t know whose standards is used for measuring lateness. What counts is that I am fulfilled. If Christmas would bring a miracle for me- I’d ask to be truly happy and more prayerful.

That is my amazing 2015 story. Oh, I am still waiting for the 11th hour miracle: who knows a job, consultancy or even internship with any UN arm would make me scream.

In the meantime, I going to pack my things and head to villa, blast music in my ride as if things are all splendid with me. Visit friends and family. Dance during night mass. Scream when I see the masquerade. Eat my hard-to-find native foods. And pray that God gives us health and life to see the coming years. Once there’s life, it can only get better. Merry Christmas to everyone, it’s a season of joy, do not let anything take away that joy this season.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Wavebreakmedia Ltd



    December 7, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    Oh dear, the pressure we put on ourselves over the supposedly big 3-0. My darling you have so much to be thankful for. I join you in praying for your 11th hour miracle. I know mine is on its way, the perfect Christmas present… I don’t know what it is but I’m certain it will come. Amen.

  2. titolu

    December 7, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    ohhh…. l love this. Talk of straight from the heart.
    May God give you the happiness you desire.

  3. cub

    December 7, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Awwww….Im right in your address babe. I see the signs all over again. But i’m really holding unto God. With Him nothing is impossible. And then the job ish too. God would definitely come through for you. E-hugs.

    • OJ

      December 8, 2015 at 7:10 am

      Big hugs dear. Nothing is impossible really.

  4. vee

    December 7, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Usually won’t comment but this touched something in me. He will come thru for us. I believe 2015 will end in praise. 11th hour miracle loading…

  5. Papoose

    December 7, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    Nice writeup. It is well with you..

  6. Tk

    December 7, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    2015? Uhm…….a year I wish I will get over because it’s hurts so much…….sincerely it hurts and hurts deeply because nobody could see how shattered my heart is?

    • N.O

      December 7, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      That’s how I felt at the end of last year/beginning of this year.
      I remember crying so much at the beginning of this year… I was crying to people around me and taking my problems to them. You can probably guess where my mistake originated from.
      All I can say is I decided to change my attitude to life. Concentrating on what is weighing you down and all your problems will only cause more unnecessary worry and end up in a vicious cycle.
      In conclusion, 2015 wasn’t all I hoped it was going to be BUT I HAD SOME PEAKKK MOMENTS that i am thankful for.
      Search your heart for those times in this year and just take everyday as it comes and if things don’t go your way; as hard it sounds, GET BACK UP STRONGER AND MOVE AHEAD.

      I hope 2016 brings joy and all you need. <3

  7. The real D

    December 7, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    My comment today is going to lean towards the religious and maybe a tad long but I feel a need to share this.
    I even contemplated writing something about my year so far but decided against it (i am not a good writer).In 2015, hubby and I relocated from a city we loved to a small town that we totally dislike for better job opportunities, for me it was job growth/promotion, for my hubby it was a job opportunity we had been praying for, for almost 5 years. Within 3 months of making the move both job opportunities tanked. I knew then God had a plan although it was and sometimes still difficult to comprehend. But one thing God revealed to me recently was that I needed to accept him. Acceptance is loving someone for who they are, flaws and all (God is flawless) , but it is like the love a mother has for her child, yes my child does this and that but he/she is still my baby kinda runs. I need to accept God not for what He has or his capable of giving me but just for who He is. So I set out on a week of worshipping God solely for who He is. No asking or even thanking him for what He has done, my focus here is have nothing to do with me but all about God. Who He is. I quickly found out that it is not easy at all. I quickly realized I had turned God into my personal ATM and made everything even my walk with Him all about ME. I am 1/2 way through my week and contemplating extending it, there were days I did not even pray because I did not know how without making it about me but it is getting better.
    Prior to this morning I would have stated that 2015 sucked but not anymore even if nothing else happens this year. I can boldly say this lesson I have learned has not only taught me true acceptance but true humility, and a spirit of sincere selflessness. And that is plenty.
    So to OJ and anybody else out there, yes life may not be what we envisioned at the beginning of 2015, but the question is what is/are the lesson(s) we can take away from our current “predicaments” if we figure that out, we will most likely realize that 2015 was not as bad as we originally thought. My thoughts and prayers go out to you (OJ), God will give you double for your trouble. Selah.

    • OJ

      December 8, 2015 at 1:09 pm

      Nothing is harder than Prayer of thanksgiving. That’s the solid truth.

    • juki

      December 9, 2015 at 5:32 am

      To ‘The real D’ thanks for sharing.

  8. beautiful

    December 8, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    Am not big on writing stuff, i just love to read but today…i think it will do me good to share what my 2015 has been like…..
    This year alone i she more tears than i have ever shed in my life, even more than when i got divorced afew years ago. I lost my job in march, a very good job, and in the most humialiating way possible. It was like someone knocked the life out of me. It was at that time the most devastating thing that has happened to me in my short 28yrs.
    I loved my job so much and took like family the people i worked with. For a long time i was angry and hated a colleague who betrayed me during the course of the investigation that led to my dismissal. Am not a hateful or angry person, as a matter of fact, am always happy and smile all day long so i knew i had to get rid of those feelings.
    I went back to God. I prayed, I cried……i cried out of a deep sense of hurt, of betrayal, i was the most loyal employee anyone could hire, i took my job to heart and did it while smiling and to be thrown out like that over something that seemed so small was more than i could take. two months i spent at home fighting depression and panic attacks…did i mention am a single mother with two kids.
    But slowly peace and calm came…and with it i realised i had to take some responsibility in what happened, forgive myself, forgive my colleagues and just move on. I started a new job in June…I love it, doesnt pay as much but enough to keep my kids and I comfortable. Once i let go of all that negative vibe i started learning new things, making new plans….I love where my head and heart is now…am doing things i could never have had the opportuinity to do while at my old job ….an then i suddenly realised that if i were given that job back, my answer would be a sincer no thank you. God is so faithful, pray, believe and trust
    I am so excited about next year because beautiful things are coming. I will start my own shoe line next year while working and hopefully my masters too. There is so much light its hard to remember it was once dark

    • OJ

      December 8, 2015 at 4:29 pm

      Amaka, I am so inspired by your 2015 story. Goes to show there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. Merry christmas dear.

  9. AMARA

    December 8, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Please how do I share my story. This stories inspiring

  10. temi

    December 15, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    this is one of the most beautiful pieces i’ve read all year. the points you highlighted are straightforward, true (i should know) and honest. Goodluck to us all in 2016…..we’re gonna rock it! xx

  11. DD

    December 21, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    Very well-written and inspiring. God bless you.

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