Thursday, January 21, 2016

Spotify stats for 2015



I love my music. I love my data. Spotify does a good job of giving me the option to include and personalize both. 
My stats for 2015 are so random, I love it! Among other revelations, click on image above for a playlist of my 100 tracks from last year.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Ajala

My little brother just called me on FaceTime.

"Wait, why are you at home? Every time I call you, you're always inside! Oya, OUT!"

LMAO!

In which weather biko? Plus I'm still recovering from my Lagos trip abeg. I was out almost everyday for three weeks! This hibernation is wholehearted and intentional. On top of that, I have turned in my nocturnal card, and have been going to bed at 10.30pm and waking at 5.30am.

You can say "wow" again. This is a leap year.


Image Credits

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Life is a Fridge

I got ready for work and stepped outside to see my car looking like it was dipped in snow.

"What do I even do with this?" were the words that ran through my head.

I ended up emptying a bucket of cold water all over it, which helped peel off the frost. Then I turned on the engine and the defrosters, and waited patiently for the ice to melt off the windshield.

Not bad for a rookie, eh?

Weather like this makes me wonder why I didn't take a job in Texas. *Sigh!* On the brighter side, each day brings us closer to Spring.

Kai, New York! If I can make it here ...




Sunday, January 10, 2016

Vacation in Chaos

Finally, a leap year! That the new year is a leap year must mean something! Or maybe not.

I like new years for their ambitious resolutions brimming with optimism, replete with bursts of faith and child-like hope. At the same time, new years could be so banal. Nothing more mechanical than digital time tellers incrementing their counters and resetting themselves. However, life is time and the time of life, like everything else, is easily managed and measured when broken down into intervals.

class Counter(object):
def __init__(self, start=0):
self.value = start
def incr(self):
self.value += 1

counter = Counter(1)
counter.incr()
print counter.value

While I like new things, I believe that new years, or resolutions, could start whenever you decide to take stock and be resolute about something, and not only on the first day of January. That being said, I am starting this one off with a large chunk of joie de vivre. Following a listless second half of last year, I took a break just before the year ended, threw some bikinis and sun dresses in my suitcases and headed to Lagos.

The irony. Who really vacations in chaos?

The timing was perfect, it was mid-December and Lagos was in holiday mode - as I was. The energy was always on, and you could recognize it from the constant humming sound in the background from generators, or keke napeps, or water pumping machines or all of it together. Not much had changed though. It was still as receptive, electric, entertaining, tenacious and noisy as ever. I wasn't even mad at the neighbors for blasting Burna Boy's Don Gorgon a little too loud. It was good enough for me to find my groove in the kitchen. I wanted everything - the sound, the food, the spirit, but of course without all the hardness. 

In terms of infrastructure, there was ongoing construction of the new Eko Atlantic city, and real estate was sprouting in areas like Maryland and Lekki. The social scene was vibrant, teeming with youth, entrepreneurs and creatives of food festivals, musicals, pool parties, football matches, corporate end of year parties, concerts, fashion shows, house parties, beach parties, night clubs, joints. Also noteworthy was the fact that the naira weakened to a record during this period. The forex scene was seeing the dollar selling at about 200 naira, and as high (or low) as 280 at black market rates. Preposterous! Oil prices were at an all time low (in the low 30s), and there was conversation around the Central Bank of Nigeria being unable to meet the majority demand for hard currency. Circulars were also flying around about forthcoming directives placing even more restrictions on imports and international spending. Hardship.

My perception was two-edged: I came back and fit right in - like nothing had changed since I left, but at the same time, everyone was moving. The people hadn't essentially changed but it was more like a metamorphosis - they had unlocked new phases of their lives. For the most part, no one was loafing around. They seemed okay: adjusted and content, sort of. More content than comfortable. My friends seemed to have their careers and/or parenthood going for them, old crushes and toasters alike were engaged, near or actually married. I read between the lines and heard gripes in conversations at times, but those were few. No one really complained about their jobs, the traffic, or the fuel scarcity, like I gripe about NY traffic tickets, or insurance premiums :| Was it because it was holiday season? I wonder.


Without a doubt, spending time at home did me a world of good. Reuniting with family on Christmas day, ringing in the new year in prayers with old friends, catching up with former schoolmates and coworkers over delicious Nkwobi, rocking out the social scenes, spontaneous and hilarious Youtube karaoking into the wee-hours with my best boys and their roommate, feeling out the corporate scene, running into Wole Soyinka at the airport, attending weddings - even having our first family wedding, savoring those one too few walks on the beach, and quieting down for heartfelt conversations. My only disappointment was that I was unable to access my personal library and journals at one of our homes, which would easily have been a major highlight of my trip. And on New Year's day, I had a case of food poisoning, which was a careless, honest mistake - I threw my guts up and felt like crap for the next twenty four hours. Great start, innit! Yes, after being gone for almost four years, it seemed three weeks was just enough before the scene and toxins started to do my head in. 

On my way out of Lagos, I stopped in Paris and reconnected with Jolie, whom I last saw in 2012 but have Skyped and texted practically everyday since. We had about 5 hours, which was quite a stretch but we made the most of our time with a few touristy things, and prayed together. Hello was almost as fast as goodbye, but it was well worth it.


So here I am back to my reality, where it's 47F outside and raining. Where shoveled snow sits idly on the pavement refusing to melt, and the ducks outside are also not interested in leaving the frozen pond. Cheers to the New/Leap Year!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Of Piggy Banks and PlayStation Consoles

Walahi, New York City can be a shit hole sometimes, and driving there is never a good idea.

I was going to buy myself a Sony PS4 game console for Black Friday, and had started to set titbits aside for the big buy. Alas! The fateful Friday came, and I drove out to run a couple errands for people. I usually ride the train and/or metro, and this was really against my will.

Parked my car right around the corner, paid at the meter for parking and made the quickest dash into the French building to pick up my documents. Came out in less than 5 minutes and met an orange envelope with two tickets tucked underneath my wiper. I was served with two fines: one for parking within 8ft of a fire hydrant, and the other for leaving an expired registration sticker on my windshield. The fines combined cost nearly as much as the Black Friday game deal. So crushing.

Guess it's back to playing YouTube Wii :'(

Friday, December 11, 2015

100 Percent of the shots

If it's true that you miss all the shots you don't take, would it also be valid to say that you hit all the shots you do take?

It's another year's end, mid-December.
Consciously numb for a large chunk, and I told myself I would kick out of it by the year's end.
Well, the year is over. What's my formula for regaining my drive?
How much travel, food, literature and naps do I need for a balanced equation?

Momentum
I dare ask myself: what keeps you running? What ignites my flame?
And then without looking too far, I find it, where I had expressed myself in an older post. All I had to do was search my blog for an era where I was spirited and could clearly articulate what that was. One was literature. And it shook me to see that it was in February of 2013.

Sojourner
... Source your own life from its presence.
... What sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
... Be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

Emotions
I am human, an emotional being, and no human emotion is too alien to me.
The thing with feelings is that you can't unfeel them. You can try to mask them but you might have to rethink that if staying true to yourself has any value to you. Like it does me.

Fear
Of disappointing myself and conforming. Where I have claimed to be numb. I have felt but probably refused to acknowledge.
Lust
Uninspired
At work with my day job

On the contrary, I've been a social butterfly at work. And I have had some exciting emotions this year that moved me to tears.
At GHC, when I realized how much responsibility rested on my shoulders.
And when I moved into my own apartment.

I worried a lot about some things I hoped I had control over - like buying my car
Excitement - when I had to travel - even though it was for work
Confusion - when two of your friends asked you to date them a day apart

Some boys are sharp guys. Know better, you break out of my friend zone. But it's never about them - what they did, or how they did it. It's about me. How I feel vs. what I know.

Pay attention to what I want and need, live without fear, and keep reaching for your best life.
I am a single choice away from a life defining moment.

Having said all this, I haven't done any real travel. You know, the 'pointless' travel, where you travel for the sake of travel. The last trips I made were for work and missed the real elements  - of exploration. I typically tried to squeeze that into other purposeful trips, but it's about time I took a just because one and I'm thinking Europe.

The more I spend time with myself, the more I realize that I'm no fake. 
My habits and outlook may have changed, but I am essentially the same person - evolving. My thoughts complement each other. My life has been moving in one direction even if I can't place a finger on a specific place. 

I remember to pace myself but not in competition because I don't know what other people's journeys or life purposes are. I remember to keep probing myself to move in the direction of fulfillment, enlightenment, impact. That's what my life is about.
It may not work out, but never for a lack of enthusiasm.



 "May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

— Neil Gaiman

Happy to say I took a chance, and I kissed someone who thinks I'm amazing. I am amazing, I know me, but I only know me. How do I know they are for real? When do you trust them? Why?

Best days that come to the top of my head:
Good Friday, Graduation.

This year, my favorite book was: How Children Succeed, by Paul Tough. Favorite article was Conscientiousness, in Time magazine.
Grateful for income streams and corporate jobs but paychecks brought an initial feel of gratitude, relief and happiness, which was fleeting and gradually routine.

Spikes: Some things that made me happy were: Contribution, mentorship, participation, rewards, adventure, relevance, appreciation, complete, progress, acknowledgment, recognition, growth, recommendation.

The year has been outstanding but if fulfillment is by any means an indicator of success, I know I'm not there yet.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Morning Breath

Mornings are for praising God.
I wake up, and whisper softly to the One who gave me breath.
Breath means life.
I'm thankful.