REFLECTIONS

2019 in review

My Highlights and disappointments in 2019
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2019, in a nutshell, was a very gbas gbos year for me. It was an amazingly challenging year for me and I am so glad I got through it as well as I did. If no one tells me well-done, I’ll tell myself well-done.
I feel like I went through challenging experiences that could have broken me but instead built my character and strengthened my resilience.

In Q3 2018,. I was sitting jejely in my house when my dream job offer landed on my laps.. I didn’t even think twice before accepting it. Then came the struggle for a visa which I carried into 2019. This was how I started my year. January 2019 welcomed me with 2 visa rejections and it seemed like I wasn’t going anywhere in 2019. Eventually, God came through and I got a visa to start working in Europe. I moved almost immediately before someone changed their mind.. 🙂

I started working in February 2019 and while I was working my dream job something just didn’t feel right. I was plagued with a form of depression, imposter syndrome and uncertainty I had never felt before. I just couldn’t do anything right. It felt like my village people had caught up with me which is really weird because my village people ain’t got my time. Oh, I wish I could share the negative impact depression had on my life but this post is not a pity party so we move.

I didn’t feel like I could share this feeling with anyone so I filled my time with a lot of activities… I travelled a lot, I joined a theatre group, I used social media, slept, cried… a lot., Netflix and YouTube were my best friends.. Lol. These things are not bad but when you start to depend on them unreasonably then you know you have a problem.

Eventually, I had to start talking to people about these feelings and I am grateful for friends and family that carried my matter on their head. I am in a much better place and still a work in progress but still great full for the opportunity to live everyday. .. so no worries here. 🙂

Some things I remember fondly about 2019 include:

1) The ability to Travel.

2019 was a great year in travel for me. Moving to Europe really helped as its really cheap and easy to move within EU countries.
My first destination was to Akure, Nigeria. I went with some friends to Erin Ijesha waterfalls in Ondo state and it was an AMAZING experience. Travelling with dope people makes any experience the best.
My next location was Dubai, UAE. I had a long layover and tried to maximize it as much as possible
3rd location was Hamburg and Berlin, Germany: Beautiful, quiet and amazing city.. I made a lot of great memories in these cities
4th Copenhagen, Denmark: This became my second home because I have family here. Every time I felt homesick, I jumped on the next bus/ flight to Copenhagen. PS: the parties here are awesome
4th Amsterdam Netherland: Went with another awesome group of friends to experience the coffee shops of Amsterdam
5th: Berlin, Germany: Attended events, visited friends and had some epic experiences with friends.
6th London, UK: Had to go to an English speaking country to clear my head. South London felt like Lagos and I loved it.
7th: Edinburg/Glasgow Scotland: Amazing trip with my best friend. We attended a birthday party at a grand castle.
8th: Malmo, Sweden: Casual solo trip, Then I ran into an extended family member.
9th, Bremen, Germany: Visiting a good friend of mine.
10: Brescia and Milan Italy: To attend a friend’s wedding.

Phew… That’s a lot of travel even for me…
I think the best thing about these trips for me was how I knew and met with someone from my past in each of these cities. It shows me how powerful/ important your network can be.
Just looking at these just shows that God has a way of granting you the desires of your heart at his own time.
I didn’t plan/ map out any of these trips. They happened organically. I remember some years ago when I wanted to travel soooooo bad because it was what the cool kids were doing. God made me grow out of that phase before providing these opportunities.

2) The second best thing 2019 brought was an advancement in my Career


I switched fully into product management in 2017/2018 and I became a Product Owner at a startup in 2019. This was a huge leap in my career. This switch gave me the opportunity to gain the hands-on experiences I need to succeed in this field. I have 3 dedicated posts about how I switched into product management for anyone who is interested. I’ll probably post in March because I also want to create videos about them.
Courses:
In q2 2019, I gained the CSPO certification thanks to my company, in q3 I learnt Excel like a boss and in q4 I started learning UX with the Interaction design academy. Not as many as I would have liked but at least I didn’t do zero.
I also interviewed with Google and Airbus for Product management and Data Analyst roles. I didn’t get job offers but I advanced quite well in the interview processes for both companies in a way that showed that I was doing something right.

3) Reading 25 books.

I started a Goodreads reading challenge to read 25 books and I am glad to say I did it!!! incorporating audiobooks really helped as I could listen to books during my commute to work.. Notable mentions include:

My best audiobooks were

  • My best foray into audiobooks was with Bad blood: This book blew my mind.
  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah.
  • The last book I read was Nicholas Yoons the Sun is also a star. I finished it right before Christmas
  • First hard copy book of the year was Fela’s this bitch of a life.
  • Erotic stories for Punjabi widows was really interesting
  • I disliked eat pray love
  • Easy Motion Tourist and When trouble sleeps by Leye Adenle really impressed me
  • My best book of the year was Elizabeth Gilberts City of Girls.
  • See my good reads list to see the full list and let me know if you want a review of any of the books.

4) Joining Communities:

This was another lifesaver for me. Joining offline and mostly online communities helped me learn a lot of things and supported me in ways I didn’t know I needed. If you are moving to a new country, please join communities. I found a lot of offline communities on Meetup.com. My best communities were:
– Finance With Topes Whatsapp group: I joined my friend, Tope’s finance group on WhatsApp and she shares a lot of great, practical financial advice. I also did mini investments in stocks, mutual funds from all around the world. Hopefully this year I can wear my big boy pants and do some major investment moves.
– Gone Girl Facebook group: For female travellers in multiple cities. I got recommendations for things like gyms, therapists, Yoga meetups, movies and even salons from the Gone girl Facebook group in my city.
– Moin world: I volunteered for Moin world, A women I Tech community in Hamburg Germany and this experience deserves a post of its own.
– Tech Ladies: For helpful resources and job-related questions
– Women in Product: For help with my product-related questions.

5) I couldn’t post on my Blog

I wasn’t in the mental space to do this and honestly, that’s fine. I tried to publish some posts but you could tell that my heart wasn’t in it so I eventually took them down. Hopefully, things change this year. I have to add that even though I didn’t have new posts, I still got traffic from some of my old posts. It helped that I automated sharing to my twitter account. Let me know if you want a tutorial on how I did that.

6) Speaking

I spoke virtually at 3 events.. One of them was an offline event organized by my friend for world book day and I sent in a video speech which was really good. The second opportunity for a WhatsApp community where I spoke about how to make yourself relevant globally (I sent voice notes and a slide). The third was a twitter chat with Careerlife where I tweeted about Product management… (Tweets and GIFs).. Isn’t Technology Wonderful?

7) Spiritual growth

I learnt to talk to God a lot more in 2019. I have always struggled with praying the conventional way. So this year I turned a lot to reading the bible and gaining an understanding of Gods word. I tried to find comfort in the word of God. I was able to complete 35 bible plans intentionally.

8) Random experiences

Oh in 2019, I had the most random experiences and this was my best part about the year. Some good, some bad but a lot of them were unplanned. Some examples

  • My sister became a Lawyer and my cousins got married and had babies…
  • My friend had her dream wedding for free, Another got engaged and my best friend got a great job
  • I attended a Vogueing event and I loved it!!! 2018 Yewande would never have done that.
  • My friends and I were bored so we booked tickets to go to another city to party and we ended up staying the whole weekend there.. Homeless, clothless and planless.. Lol.
  • I moved to a new country, where I didn’t know anyone or speak the language.
  • My international passport got lost (and then found)… ooo.. My stress level this period was HIGHH!!
  • I joined a flashmobish theatre group… We did a play in a random park and we did amazing!!!–

I could go on and on but I’ll stop here because even I am like WOW!!! Writing this post is making me look back and I am silently kicking myself at how ungrateful I have been. It’s amazing how I never considered these blessings because for the most part of the year, I was focused on the negatives.
Long and short, I am super grateful for 2019.
Let’s see what 2020 has for me… I think I am ready.

What was the highlight of 2019 for you? It might seem all bleak especially when you compare to another persons own but trust me when you start to write down everything, you’ll find out that you had a lot of blessings too. You can start from the comment section below. Share it!! I really want to read yours.

Hi, Im Yevandy.

7 Comments

  1. Wow! Very very interesting read. I was glued to the end.

    Ever since I read your article about Forbes 30 under 30, I’ve been a fan

    Keep it up! I’ll chat you to learn how to automate blog post on Twitter. I noticed it and wanted to ask you but you have already said you will teach us

    • Thanks, Namesake!!
      I am also a fan of the great work you do.
      I’ll try to make the tutorial a video so that everyone can follow easily.

  2. John Gideon Utong Reply

    This was truly an interesting read, I enjoyed your style of detailing and looking forward to return for more engaging reads, do have a Great year going forward.

  3. Olufisayo Adeleke Reply

    Hey Tolu! Happy birthday again!!! This year will be filled with God whispers to you! Congratulations on the job and move…Pele on the visa struggles…I can totally relate…
    Re the feeling of uncertainty and impostor syndrome….I also understand the not wanting to talk about it, the one person you can always talk to is God!

    Highlight of 2019 for me was moving to my own apartment!

    I’m always here to talk too…have an amazing year!

    • Thank you for the kind words Fisayo!! Amen!!
      Congratulations on your new apartment, that’s a real adult move 🙂

  4. Wow, just wow! I feel like there is so much that I can relate to there, especially in terms of moving to new country,new job and the writer’s block (or blogger’s block!), the struggle is SO REAL. But I am so glad things have picked up for you and you are finding your feet with communities, travel and your theatre group. Super cool! I hope 2020 will be an even better year ahead for you and all goes well.

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