As the year 2022 comes to a close, I have been reflecting on the events and experiences of the past 12 months. Looking back on the year has helped me gain perspective and insight into my personal growth, as well as identify patterns and trends in my life. It’s also been an opportunity for me to set intentions for the year ahead and make plans for how I want to move forward. As I look back on the year, it’s important for me to be kind and compassionate with myself, and recognize both the challenges and successes I have encountered. So, here is my personal year review for 2022.
Guess what? Everything you just read is generated by ChatGPT with this prompt: “write an introductory paragraph to personal year review in the first person”. I only replaced 2021 with 2022 because the AI engine is not aware of 2022/current happenings, yet. Same way, I’m not aware of what’s in 2023. But I can take stock of my year, like I’ve been doing for the past four years, and look forward + plan from a place of gratitude.
That is why I wrote this recap. So, enough of the geeky stuff, you may click on any of the titles below to navigate to the 3 parts of this article:
What went well in 2022
1. The 30th Birthday Party
Do you know how some movies have the perfect opening (Baby Driver, 2017 ?) and some songs have the perfect intro? That’s exactly how the year started for me on the 16th of January, the Sunday after my 30th birthday. My wife threw me a surprise party at our home in Ketu, Lagos.
She knew I wanted to invite my friends to the house and play games with plenty of food and she made it happen. Lured me out of the house, my sister’s cinema reservation was part of the setup, so everyone could arrive before we got back home. How she pulled the entire thing off with my friends and siblings was amazing. I knew she was up to something, but I didn’t know the details.
There was a proper invitation designed by Habeeb Sanni. Over 30 friends in attendance waited to shout “Surprise!”. Videos from families and friends outside of Lagos merged by Joseph Akinsanya. MCs by Caleb and Maria Olaleye, barbecuing powered by the organizer of laiveeee, Atinuke Bello. Pictures by Francis Odeyemi though I’m yet to see them till date (I’ll tell everyone). Decorations by Funmi, Fola & Mayowa. Cakes, gifts, et etcetera.
When I look at the photos and videos on my phone, I smile and thank God for my partner, and for that moment, surrounded by some of the best humans I’m blessed. It’s a memory I’ll cherish forever.
Two (2) years ago, I didn’t see myself leaving Nigeria. There are moments my wife would bring the subject up and I wasn’t really open to the idea. By indications in previous recaps, we are doing fine (I mean above average) in Nigeria but the EndSARs protest in 2020 and other personal events in the last 2 years culminated to the point of considering moving out of the country.
That said, this year’s attempt was not the first time I’ve taken a step in this direction. Sometime in 2019, I wrote the IELTS exam as one of the requirements for moving to Canada. Had a good score (Listening: 7.5, Reading: 7.0, Writing: 8.5, Speaking: 7.5) but didn’t do anything with it. In 2020, I learned about the UK’s Global talent visa (GTV) through friends who are beneficiaries. I applied then, nonchalantly, but the endorsement, which is the first stage of the application, wasn’t granted. Maybe they sensed my unseriousness or it wasn’t God’s time yet. Or both.
But this time around, I was more serious about it and GTV still looked like the best route. I believe it (or its equivalence in other countries) is the easiest and fastest route for tech professionals who desire to migrate to another country. I took it more seriously and dedicated a month to preparing the required documents for the Technation endorsement which came back positive. Over the next couple of months, we did passport renewal (no Nigerian passport office waka till 2032 baby!), visa processing, and kickstarted the logistics of leaving Nigeria. A country that has been home and place for things and people we’ve known and love all our lives.
Earlier in February, we made a list of some important people to visit should this work out, because we’ll most likely not see them in a long while. Saying goodbyes to almost all of them and boarding the flight to Heathrow in July wasn’t the easiest but it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I mean apart from being saved and marrying my wife, I can’t think of anything else more pivotal. It feels like I unlocked a new level of access, productivity, and experience. It’s been ~ 6 months in Newcastle upon Tyne and we’ve had the smoothest transition. Having a friend, Caleb, here has made settling in the UK, accommodation and finding a community of believers nothing but easy.
Like another long Marvel movie cast, this seamless transition took a village. Blessing, Uwem, Imole, Wale, Mayokun, Oluyomi, Atinuke, Habeeb, Jesse, Caleb, Joshua, Okesola, Dara, Olude, our immediate family members, and a lot of people made the journey smooth and easy. Thank you all. I can’t say this enough.
My advice to anyone about moving abroad is simple: don’t japa, relocate. I believe the former term has a desperate undertone, while the latter has more plan and finesse to it. And if you’re working in tech, check out Global talent visa, its endorsement requirements, and this forum. You’ll have answers to every question you’ve not even asked.
Now you know the two (2) reasons why we sold our car in May, to buy kèké (bicycle) in the UK
This is the second reason my wife and I sold our car this month.
Last October, I had a similar experience with traffic hoodlums 3 days in a row.
No be me driving in Lagos go kill with trauma! https://t.co/AjmXbmnr8D
— Rufus Oyemade (@Oluwarufus) May 31, 2022
At Flutterwave, I was able to make a lot of contributions to Disha to enhance its value and usability. I worked on features like multi-language support, improved payments with multiple products & orders, and a discovery feature for Disha pages. I also led other collections-related projects and spoke at an international conference on the Internationalization and Localization of products at an event in April. We also travelled to Ghana in March for company retreat.
The plan last year was to work out at least 100 times which is approximately 9 times per month or 2 times per week. That didn’t happen. I went in and out of the gym at some point for like a month or so and I’m sure my muscles can’t remember that happening. But one thing I’m glad I did this year was to learn how to ride a bicycle. Habeeb, thank you for the lessons.
It was recreational for me when we were in Lagos. Now in the UK, there’s no better way to explore a new city. It’s been beautiful riding in Newcastle during the summer and early autumn, on the Hadrian path and along the River Tyne, sometimes with my wife. My Google Photos is filled with a lot of pictures and videos I took on my rides. I still don’t know the best way to share these photos with the world.
I cycled 16 times in the last 6 months and covered over 131km and I’m sure that has helped me maintain a clearer mind and a slimmer belly this year.
Just before we left Nigeria, the Shanyi Organics team reached out for a brand ambassador partnership and I said yes because of 3 things:
- I have the looks. I know this and you should know this already ?
- This is something I’ve always wanted to do: take (micro) influencing more seriously. This explained why I made 26 Instagram reels this year.
- I love the brand so much. I’ve been using their product for my beard since 2019. I’m not saying this so you can use “OLUWARUFUS10” on shanyiorganics.com to get 15% off, though you should.
I’m eyeing Google next. They should be paying me for every time someone thought of Rufus and thought of Google/Pixel, or vice versa.
What didn’t go so well
I will use my Crypto investment for example. So, I use a google sheet to track how much I’ve “invested” in Crypto so far using Dollar Cost Average and the total is $2,000. But the last time I opened my exchange wallet, it is all worth $730+ now. That’s – $1270. With the FTX crash and other crypto exchange events of 2022, I’m thinking of selling and using my money to order suya from Nigeria. Yes, from Nigeria! Because the last suya I ate in London was served in a takeaway pack ?
Investments esp. crypto ??? https://t.co/5YOEHjtj2h
— Rufus Oyemade (@Oluwarufus) December 20, 2022
In all, investment taught me a clear lesson this year: I, Rufus, am one of the best stocks I can invest in.
In the last 3 years, I’ve prioritized learning new technologies and gaining new knowledge and it’s given me the highest returns: increased self-confidence, improved job prospects, career advancement, and more money than any other investments. Also, I’ve been grooming my beards, skincare conscious (thanks to my Beautician – Temitayo Oyemade), and physical and mental health conscious, and I’ve gotten ROI on that as well: I’m paid for my looks, and derived satisfaction from making a good impression and overall well-being and happiness.
Don’t get me wrong, this year’s down market won’t stop me from carefully looking for ways to grow money in the future. But while I do that, I will keep paying my current self and investing in my future self. My future valuation is through the roof.
Though I studied to improve my knowledge of some technologies I use already and prep for interviews, I didn’t study or attempt any certification exams as intended. Rufus didn’t read a single book this year. Shame on you, Rufus ??♂️
What I want 2023 to look like
It’s been 6 months in the UK and the new year is another chapter in the transition to UK life.
2022 is almost behind us. Sent in my notice at the Wave and looking forward to all the changes the new year offers, starting with moving to another UK city and starting a new role.
I’m going to be extra silent on the 2023 list as well. I have long-term goals, but one thing I’ll do is: put systems in place to ensure I have the desired outcome, work towards them daily and adjust where necessary.
For example, fitness is a top priority for me, so a resident gym was on top of the list of the must-haves for the place we’ll be living in in 2023. Now, the gym is on the ground floor. If I don’t crush my fitness goals in 2023, then maybe this dad-bod is part of the unwritten will of God for mankind.
Also, buy a good camera in Q1 and have photoshoot every other weekend. Why? ??
@Oluwarufus secure that content creation bag. it's plenty.
— o ga adi mma (@Orethebrave) December 29, 2022
Anyways, thank you for reading this point. As I use available media (social and this website) to document my life, I always hope it encourages someone to live theirs as well.
Have a happy new year celebration. Cheers to everything 2023 will be. ?
Have a comment or question? Let me know via Twitter.