My 2020 Review: the Nine-Layered Gift.

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Welcome to my 2020 reflection and musing!

We made it to the end of 2020. What? I can’t believe it! I am super pumped and grateful for this year and I’d like to share my 2020 gains with you. Buckle up for some ramblings of sorts from here onward. Haha.

This year started on a fantastic note for me, that is, until March. Here I was a final year medical student, three months short of being a full-fledged medical doctor, and my life was suddenly put on hold because of drum roll… Pandemic! (in Elsa Majimbo’s voice). Thanks to COVID-19, I was in limbo from March till May; unsure what to do with myself. I was sad about how the pandemic extended my stay in school and wrote an article about it that you can read here.

On a fateful day in May, Mr Kunle Adewale of Arts in Medicine Fellowship called me. We had a 2hr 30 minutes long conversation that changed my perspective about everything!

I appreciate what I currently have and remain optimistic about the future. It turns out that 2020 was a multi-layered gift and I would love to share my nine-layered gift with you.

The first layer is reading and writing. While I was contemplating my existence at home, I did two things: I read and I wrote. From May till now, I have read 35+ fiction and non-fiction books in finance, storytelling, writing and self-development. I joined Scriptathon, a screenplay reading group curated by Dr Tolani Ajayi. Thanks to that decision, I have read over 40+ screenplays alongside some of the most down to earth badass creatives I ever met.

Writing refused to let me alone. I was always crafting stories or putting down story ideas so decided to study the craft of writing and storytelling because I had nothing to lose at that point, I couldn’t stop even if I tried. Scriptathon put me on steroids as well. I wrote several short film screenplays (click here to watch one), one stage play, two features, a novella and several short stories, one of which got long-listed for the 2020 African Writers Awards (AWA) and the Wakini Kuria Award for Children’s Literature. You can check it out here. The goal is to keep on telling stories and improving in the craft.

The second layer is public service. I have been a volunteer for The Neo Child Initiative since 2017. This year, I was the Content strategist team lead. I worked with awesome colleagues and superiors who made work fun. I helped to organise our annual major outreach by providing health education content. I also directed, scripted and produced a short video to mark our anniversary which was launched at our 5th anniversary virtual hangout on 31st December 2020.

I became an Arts In Medicine Alumni in 2019. Since May, I have been an Arts In Medicine Alumni relations committee member, charged with handling our Friday alumni programs. Thanks to my service, I was honoured as part of their celebrating excellence series. Another thing I would like to speak about is service in the church. I joined the youth council of my local church and planned our annual youth week alongside some of the most diligent and dedicated people. The youth week was successful and I cannot wait to see what we can do next year.

The third layer is my profession. I applied and secured a spot as a Student intern at Oncopadi Technology. I was able to write the Lagos University Teaching Hospital internship exams (fingers crossed). I am currently figuring out how to be an intern at Helium health because I love how they are digitalising healthcare. I don’t mind someone shooting me in the right direction so feel free to type your suggestions in the comment section below.

The fourth is the layer of mentorship. Mentors like Mr Kunle Adewale of Arts in Medicine and Dr Tolani Ajayi of Scripthathon. These people and many more have helped point me in the right direction in areas of healthcare and storytelling. They have put in words that have opened doors for me. Life is easy because of mentors.

The fifth layer is finance. I am learning how to monetize this writing of a thing. I earned contracts from referrals, Upwork, Instagram, worked at NSIA-LUTH Cancer Centre, Dixera and Mother-drum Healing Arts Foundation. All these catered for my needs and enabled me to help other people achieve their dreams: this is my greatest delight. I got an investment course on a scholarship from Subomi plumptre investment, read lots of books on finance and understand that whatever I want to do moving forward, I need to consider the cost implications and payoffs.

The sixth layer is the gift of friendship. This year, I met great people who have added some colour to my life and vice versa. My circle grew larger and so did my heart. I also rekindled some old relationships and built stronger bonds with my current friends. I learnt to be more open and forgiving because life is meaningful with people you love, not alone.

The seventh and most important layer is the gift of family. This year, we bonded in ways that we have not been able to in a long time. My parents and siblings have been invaluable in my life; they are my greatest support system. From my immediate siblings to my cousins, uncles and aunts, I have learnt that family is all that matters in life. I’d also like to shout out to my significant other who does the most. We won in 2020 despite everything that would have made it otherwise. Family is everything, the one you are born into and the one you choose.

The eighth layer is my gift of faith. My faith in God has evolved in 2020. I asked earlier this year that he draw me closer to him. He has not disappointed me yet. He also helped me through people, especially Pelumi Otetubi, to whom I am indebted.

The ninth layer is the many wins of the people I am surrounded by. Many of my friends, church and family members got married. My family members all celebrated big wins. People in my circle also celebrated big time and some discovered purpose.

So, I believe that even though I lost my grandmother, there was a pandemic, a nationwide protest, many failures and things that did not go as planned, I am grateful for the tumultuous year that was 2020. My significant other asked me a question last week. He said, “Babe, do you remember how you wanted to take a break from school to evaluate your life? Isn’t God wonderful?” I laughed because deep in my heart I realise that 2020 was my answered prayer after all.

You’ve followed me on this journey so far and I am glad you did. My memory is more like flashes than actual detail, but I think this post summarises everything for me. Thank you for reading. I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Medical doctor. Creative writer. I write about stories, writing, health and wellness.

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Chinaza Ebere Eziaghighala

Medical doctor. Creative writer. I write about stories, writing, health and wellness.