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Unfiltered Moments: A Candid Journey Through 2023

Posted on: Jan 1, 2024

8 mins read

Unfiltered Moments: A Candid Journey Through 2023

So, here we are again, at the beginning of another year, looking back on what went down in the past 12 months. I've been avoiding this reflection thing for a couple of months, but hey, it's January 1st – better late than never, right? Let's jump into it.

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The Backstory: Metamorphosis

2022 last year, my tech community, Nsonye, asked us for our word for the year. I went with "metamorphosis" because I thought 2023 was going to be my glow-up year. I had a rough plan, or maybe not really a plan, just going with the flow and letting God take the wheel, as I mentioned in last year's review. It turned out okay; I learned stuff and ticked some boxes. I thought, why not do the same for 2023? If you're curious about the no-plan journey, you can check it out here.

How It Went Down: The List of 39 Goals

So, 2023 kicked off with me jotting down my goals. It was more like a to-do list for the year, not really life-changing stuff. Looking back, maybe that was my first mistake. Unlike 2022, where I was all about finding myself and spiritual stuff, 2023 lacked a clear focus. Still, by the end of the year, things turned out pretty good.

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Big Move: Quitting the Job

In the first half of the year, I snagged a part-time gig at twoMatches. It was cool, but life happened, and I had to leave. I still had my full-time gig, but working for a Nigerian startup was draining the life out of me. I spent a year there, hearing promises about the company launching, getting better pay, etc. But after hearing the same story for a year, I had enough. I wasn't growing, learning, or seeing any benefits. So, in June, I quit.

Reality Check: The Breakdown

Before that, though, I was drowning in everything – being a developer, writing, volunteering, and trying to handle side projects. It was a bit much. That's when I decided to take a chill pill for the second half of the year. I had some savings and a few writing gigs, so I figured I could survive.

Then came August, and bam! Mental breakdown time. I was sad, confused, and lucky to have friends like Bibi, Lanre, and Tobi. Bibi had this idea for me to write a letter to God, and surprisingly, it helped. Lanre was my constant chatterbox, and Tobi let me rant, even when half of what I said made no sense. 😂

The Sneaky Feeling: Productivity Guilt

Here's the kicker – despite doing a bunch of stuff, by the end of the day, I'd still feel like a slacker. You know how it goes. You've got a ton of things on your plate and not enough time, and suddenly, you're convinced you're lazy and not achieving squat, even when you are. It's this weird feeling that you should be doing more, but maybe what you actually need is a break or just doing less. It's like a silent struggle that sneaks up on you.

That productivity guilt? Yeah, it was my shadow for most of the year, growing darker with each passing month. I tried all sorts of tricks – apps, calendars, organizers, and even went old school with pen and paper, plus a whiteboard. I even bought a fancy timer for my desk. I trimmed down my commitments to the essentials, but it still felt overwhelming.

Honestly, some days, I just lay there, staring at the ceiling. When you have a laundry list of things you want to tackle, you feel like you are stuck in a mental traffic jam – can't decide where to start or how to dive in, so you end up doing nada.

As much as I wish I could gain superpowers or sneak in extra hours into the day, I haven't cracked the code on maxing out my productivity. And this dreamland of doing less for more? Not there yet. It's still about grinding and leveling up skills. But you know what? I've learned to tell myself, "Hey, I'm not lazy, just hustling too hard."

The Curveball: Taking the Dive into DevRel

In July, my friend Tobi threw me a curveball – and invited me to be a DevRel at Million.js. Never saw that coming, but I'm not one to shy away from a challenge, so why not? It was tough, and honestly, I'm still figuring it out. Battling productivity guilt didn't help, so I decided to treat it more like volunteering for an open-source project than a full-on assignment. It made things a tad easier, and for now, I'm just enjoying the ride, contemplating if DevRel is my thing.

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The Bright Side: The Wins

Even if it feels like I didn't achieve as much in 2023, the truth is that I did more than I give myself credit for. The outcomes might not be visible yet, but the seeds I planted should sprout soon, as long as I keep at it. I checked off a decent chunk of my goals, leveled up as a developer, and lent a hand to plenty of folks.

I penned over 30 articles and took part in three hackathons (no wins, but hey, it's the participation that counts, right? 😅). Treated me to a new laptop and built a killer workstation(speaking in faith 🙏🏽). My proudest moment? Wrapping up my Hacktoberfest article series – again, mental breakdown, productivity guilt, hello 🤷🏽‍♀️. It was tough, but I stuck it out.

Also, I built my blog from scratch and revamped my portfolio and link page. It was a wild ride that took the whole year, but man, was it exhilarating.

Before and after photo of Timonwa's work station

Before and after photo of Timonwa's work station

Lessons learned: The Top 6

  1. Acknowledging My Efforts: I've learned the importance of giving myself credit even when the results aren't immediately evident. Progress isn't always visible, but that doesn't mean it isn't happening.

  2. Prioritizing and Letting Go: Understanding the art of prioritization and knowing when to let things go has been crucial. Balancing commitments required a shift in my mentoring style from facilitating/teaching at bootcamps to giving talks at them, allowing me to still contribute without overwhelming myself.

  3. Managing Emotional Burnout: Constantly juggling multiple tasks can lead to emotional burnout. Recognizing the signs and addressing overwhelming emotions is just as important as managing the workload.

  4. Setting Long-term Goals: While short-term goals have their place, I was reminded of the significance of establishing specific long-term objectives. Aligning plans with the recent reset and realignment I've experienced provides a clearer path forward.

  5. Alignment of Desires: Toke Makinwa shared a powerful perspective on a podcast that deeply resonated with me. She expressed her practice of asking God to align her desires with His. It struck a chord because, in our pursuit of various goals, our desires might not always sync with what is truly meant for us. Being on the same page with the divine plan ensures we're working towards the right goals, saving us from unnecessary detours.

  6. Anthem of the Year: Tom Odell's song "Stranger" became a sort of anthem for me in 2023. The poignant lyrics, especially "Isn't it strange, how people change, from strangers to friends, friends into lovers, and strangers again?" resonated deeply with a personal experience this year. Life happens, and understanding these changes becomes a part of the journey. 🥲

Plans for the New Year: The Top 5

  1. Career Move: My primary goal is to secure a new job, and I'm eyeing roles as a front-end engineer or a technical writer. If you or someone you know is on the lookout or has leads, please connect me! Here is my CV.

  2. Project Launches: I plan to roll out some exciting projects this year. From ideation to execution, I'm ready to bring them to life and see them flourish.

  3. Community Building: Crossing my fingers to nurture and grow a community or two. The dream is to connect with like-minded individuals, share experiences, and build something impactful together.

  4. Public Speaking: I aim to improve my public speaking game. This also doubles as a personal challenge to tackle social anxiety. The memory of attendng a mid-year tech event and nearly sprinting home due to a panic attack is still fresh – tough times indeed.

  5. Content Creation: This year, I'll be creating content on navigating social anxiety and introversion, along with web-dev content. I invite you to follow me on your favorite social media platforms – I'll be sharing my first set of posts by mid-January, so stay tuned!

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Wrapping Up: The Candid Journey

In drawing the curtains on this year's review, I must acknowledge that life, much like this recount, isn't always the smooth narrative we expect. It's not always about achievements and triumphs; sometimes, it's about grappling with the raw realities of mental and emotional breakdowns. These moments shape us, teach us, and remind us of our shared humanity.

It's easy to paint a picture-perfect image of our lives. But the truth is that we all navigate through challenges, uncertainties, and the occasional chaos. This review might not align with conventional expectations, but it honestly portrays my journey in the past year.

As we turn the page to a new chapter, let's embrace the imperfections, celebrate the victories, and acknowledge the lessons, for it is in the messy intricacies of life that we find our truest selves.

Here's to the unfiltered journey of life, with all its ups, downs, and everything in between. May the coming year bring growth, resilience, and a tapestry of experiences that add depth to our stories.

Share your experiences, challenges, or moments on unfiltered moments of 2023? Share your experiences, thoughts, and reflections with me on . Let's connect and exchange stories using #UnfilteredMoments2023. Your journey matters, and I'd love to hear from you!

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