My 2014 was filled with lots of downs, yet the few ups managed to overwhelm the downs so much that to go on another of my whining rants will make me worse than the nine lepers. But good stories don’t make for compelling reads so, before I talk about the good, let me tell you about how, at the end of the second week in December, my laptop joined my Blackberry in mutiny and made me realise how much I depend on those electronic things.
The primary casualty of that mutiny was an online journal I was keeping at the start of December, both as a way of reviving my writing habits and paying attention to the small moments. This act of trying to slow down the day enough to notice the inconsequential things was what I spent most of the year doing; well, that and sleeping, eating, reading and daydreaming.
Although I’ve had a lifelong love-affair with books, this year was different for me because I gave myself the permission to read all sort literary fiction: from the popular to the obscure to the ones with cult following and the oft-maligned. In those books, I gained more insight into the human condition, expanded my capacity for empathy and learnt a lot about writing. The only regret I have about books in 2014 is that I didn’t spend time to read the bible through.
Reading, for me, is a solitary act—I’m one of those people who close my book once I see you peeping in the bus; because of this and a many other reasons, I spent most of the year indoors. There’s a chance some of my neighbours think I’m disturbed. Those of them who have watched too much American TV might think I’m a vampire, while the elderly ones with acute paranoia must have been whispering to their children during morning prayers: let us pray for that boy o, so that one day we won’t open his door and find out he’s been stinking for days.
This near-hermitic lifestyle, and my hatred for phone calls, implied that most of my contact with other humans was via writing: text messaging, emails, IM chats and blogging. Writing as an activity did many things for me in 2014; some of them were contradictory. Apart from being my way of making sense of the world around me, it also made me happy and sad, kept me up at night and helped me sleep, boosted my ego and inflated it occasionally, but the best thing it did was to connect me to people.
There’s Timi who featured me on her blog, twice, and Tolu, who included my story as part of a series on his blog and is the reason most of my stories are not error-ridden and puke-inducing. There’s Uju, Tunrayoh, and Monale, bloggers whom I’ve never met but made me think I wrote things worthy of note, and Freeman who had more faith in my writing than I’ll ever possess.
But writing was not all about blogging; I had two friends who kept me true on Skype, a brilliant not-friend I chat with on Twitter, and the five on a Whatsapp group that have been the guinea pig for many of my writing and are brilliant and better writers than I am. These folks made 2014 an amazing year in writing for me.
Writing can, however, be overrated; there are many more folks who did things for me that did not involve the written word yet kept me through most of the year. To attempt to include all those things in a blog post is to attempt the impossible. 2014 is the year I realized I have more people in my corner than I can ever imagine; folks who just want me to do well and have faith in my ability to transcend my present state (whatever that state is). They are the reason 2014 turned out to be an amazing year in retrospect.
At the end of 2013, I promised to focus on the small moments, to savour events rather than keep rushing to the next big thing. How much success I had with this is still impossible to tell, however, I have learnt that the events do not matter as much as the people who we share them with. I could have had all of life’s good things in 2014 and it would have mattered little if I had no friends to share the moments with.
I journeyed through 2014 with a lot of people (characters in books, friends in cyberspace, buddies in flesh and blood), and I wouldn’t trade what I had with them for anything else in the world.