Growing Through The Struggles: My 2022 In Review

Growing Through The Struggles: My 2022 In Review

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Joy Nwaiwu
·Jan 6, 2023·

6 min read

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I lost myself in 2022, but at what point did that happen?

Yup! I know I’m pretty late to the party. It’s 2023 already, so why am I publishing this now? I don’t know either. A part of me wanted to do this, and the other part just couldn’t.

I remember starting 2022 with high expectations, lots of positivity, and I was excited about the new year. I wrote about all the lessons I’m taking with me into 2022. It was going to be a good year, or so I thought. The first quarter was all about me doing my thing and being excited while at it. I was ready to smash my goals and felt I could take on the world, so I did.

I started applying for paid and volunteering jobs not because I didn’t have a job but because I wasn’t happy at it. I felt grossly underpaid. I was working remotely at a reputable U.S.-based company, but I feared that if I was living alone and solely taking care of my bills; rent, electricity, internet subscription, feeding, etc., I’d have gone bankrupt in a jiffy. However, I was comfortable at the time, and the pay didn’t bother me much, but I knew I deserved more!

And even though I didn’t know this then, now that I reflect on my year, this was how I started losing myself. Fortunately or maybe, unfortunately, I landed those roles; writing gigs, volunteering roles that I still love to date, and of course, I even got scammed in one of my applications (story for another day). All of this while still juggling NYSC. Please don’t ask how I did it, God did! 😩

Going into the second quarter, still in my quest for more, I started working towards applying for the GSoD program and came 🤏 this close to getting in, but that didn’t work out either. Here’s something good that came out of it. You might have wondered since I felt so underpaid, I should have just asked for a raise. Well, I finally summoned the courage to do so, only for my expectations to be dashed yet again. Although I received a raise, it was not even half of what I had requested. However, I ended up accepting it because I was offered a 100% increase from my previous salary. While I appreciate the opportunity for a higher income, I also recognize that the company prides itself at getting cheap labour.

At this point in the second quarter, leading up to the third, I had rejections pouring in, from job applications to school and a host of others. I was juggling all that and dealing with my emotions, one day at a time. I had lost the excitement of working at that company and felt like my year plans were already shattering right before me, but somehow I was still hopeful. Optimism all the way, right?

Something good finally happened, I passed out from NYSC. Whew, what a relief! I hoped to write about my experience but never got to it. The year went on and on with little milestones here and there that I’ll outline below. Finally, my highlight; a popular saying here in Nigeria: the breakfast go reach everybody, if not now, later, and it did!

Breakfast means Heartbreak

I was laid off in November 2022. It was an unpleasant news that I was happy to get because I really just needed a break!

For the most part, from the end of the third quarter into the last quarter of the year, I spent my quiet time reflecting on how the past months had been. How I had seemingly not achieved much, and how I had failed in 2022. I felt stuck and at crossroads. I knew what I wanted but was too mentally drained to go after it, so I went with the flow. For once, I adopted the phrase “let’s see how it goes” as a working principle (someone would smile at this 😅). So, forgive me if I said I was excited to lose my highest-paying job. Nonetheless, I had a great experience at the company, met wonderful people, and learnt a lot. I’m thankful to have had a really wonderful manager and team.

Now DJ, play me Onwa December Oruwego!

Meaning the month of December has come.

As you’d imagine, I entered into the holiday mood quite quickly. I was on an eat, sleep, do-what-I-like, and repeat regimen. I had a well-needed, fantastic, month-long holiday, but I feel like I need to snap out of it or perhaps, I already did. Writing this is a step in that direction. Above all, 2022 was a good year. It was a year of several firsts, and some of the things I loved in no particular order include:

  • I loved how I started the year with lots of optimism, regardless of how things panned out

  • Yes, you can now call me a certified first aider (bragging rights, lol).

  • One of the many things I wanted to explore in 2022 and succeeded at was public speaking. Had several speaking engagements and wrote about how I conquered my fear of public speaking.

  • Had the opportunity to host interviews on YouTube.

  • I went out more, tried new delicacies and wrote reviews; here’s one.

  • Made new friends and reconnected with a few oldies.

  • Learnt about the power of gifting and gifted people more.

  • Finally had my convocation, a day I always looked forward to. Sadly, the excitement was no longer there since it happened 3 years after graduating.

  • Took a chance on love, but unfortunately, that didn’t last either.

  • Ran a marathon of 16km, went to the gym more and learnt to swim. Still learning, though.

  • Lastly, I was blessed with good health throughout the year.

Things I’m looking forward to in 2023:

  • Developing a better relationship with God.

  • I want to read more (I mean start and finish a book, I always start and never finish) and write more on this blog.

  • Improving my skills in SEO and documentation.

  • I want to travel out of the country or state, somewhere I’ve not been to.

  • I want to be intentional about putting myself first and doing things that make me happy.

  • And, yes! I should practice what I preach, saying no more often.

2022 had its ups and downs, but one lesson I have learned is the importance of self-care and taking breaks when needed. It's okay to step back and recharge, especially when you're going through a lot of stress or facing challenges. It's also important to set boundaries and prioritise your well-being.

Your mental and physical health is of utmost importance. You can sometimes put yourself last when you’re trying to reach a goal, but without the above two things in check, everything you are trying to achieve becomes much harder.

Another lesson I learned is the value of resilience and perseverance. It's normal to face setbacks and failures, but it's important to continue pushing forward and striving for your goals. Remember that it's okay to make mistakes; failure is often a necessary part of the journey to success.

Finally, I learned the importance of self-reflection and introspection. Taking time to reflect on my experiences and feelings helped me to better understand myself and identify areas for personal growth. That is the reason I finally decided to pen this down. This would serve as a check, helping me to make more informed decisions this year.

Well then, cheers to the new year, 2023!

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