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Tuesday, December 1, 2020


Me: I wish I had more time to do my tasks.

2020: Say no more!

Boy, was I in for the surprise that this year had in store. It’s not officially over, but I’m only projecting good vibes until the finish line! I can only speak for myself that the ups and downs that came with twenty-twenty have taught me more about myself. The unfoldment of each morning resulted in deep gratitude at the end of the day. I’ll share a bit of what I call ‘pandemic wahala,’ and I know most people would echo my sentiments.

Like many people out there, in 2019, I had plans for the year 2020. No, it had nothing to do with a new year’s resolution on exercising more. It had to do with making more strides as an author and public speaker. My new book was going to be released, and I was going to have meet-ups, book talks, and book expos. 2020 was going to be my year of breaking out of my writing cave. It was exciting and nerve-wracking to plan, but I was up for it because I was practicing hard.  

January – smiles, writing, coffee, and complaints about the cold weather. Typical Emem.

February – birthday and more complaints of cold weather. Typical Emem.

Mid-March – trying to understand what Covid-19 was and getting hit by mandatory quarantine and shutdowns. Confused Emem.

April – the dawning of what life was going to be like with a looming pandemic and confusion in the air.

May – everything becoming virtual, including my book release and author talk. Cancellation galore and homebody activated.

And now, Pandemic wahala:

The feeling of the eyes: they felt heavy whether wide awake or sleepy due to indoor lighting. Natural light became a bit too bright. Vamps, I see you!


The tale of a stuffy head: it sometimes felt like when my box braids are wet and wrapped in a towel. If you know, you know.

The uneven skin tone: I usually say I have ‘summer skin’ or ‘winter skin.’ This time it was ‘little or no exposure to sunlight skin.’

The slug walk: it is known to those active people who stopped exercising and had limited movement within their abode.

I continued writing, so I was still busy, but there was a notable difference between my regular schedule and quarantine schedule. There were more indoor tasks and no outdoor tasks.


I caught up with my ‘to-do’ tasks at home, like mounting paintings and photos that I meant to do a gazillion years ago. I finally started tackling my ‘to-read’ pile of books. I started projects that were lagging because of the ‘no time’ excuse. 

While I got busy, I also struggled with not doing what I used to do regularly. I had subconsciously set out days and times of the day for tasks when life was “normal.” And so, my preferred movie day would come along, and I would be sad. Or my preferred eating out at a particular restaurant day or just a simple stroll day. It was gloomy to be indoors during those moments. Sometimes I would peek at the perfect weather and imagine what I could have been doing and with whom. Times like that were not easy to bear. 

What about canceled appointments? Yes, these were tough. Some cancellations helped me save money and get much-needed rest. I needed a reset to my mindset. I needed to be more appreciative because I had so many reasons to be grateful. I started by giving my calendar a makeover:

I woke up one morning thinking of using this spare time to better myself. I still had so many things to do. Some became harder, and others easy to manage. I decided to simplify things with the use of a timetable. I tweaked my daily/weekly activities with the purpose of self-improvement - body, and mind. While I was already doing some of these things, I had to do better while finding a balance with the new reality. Exercising indoors was added to the list, and communicating virtually with others outside my small circle was also added. I added more time to things geared towards growth and less time to useless things. I did a schedule haul.

Verdict: it feels better. It’s not great, but it’s way better than when quarantine started in March, and I just watched the days pass, wondering when life would go back to normal.

What difference has 2020 made to you and your regular routine? What have you learned about yourself? What advice do you have for those who are still finding everything difficult to bear?

Please, don’t take yourself for granted. Don’t rush out to attend gatherings because you miss people. Stay safe so others can also be safe!

*wahala: a Nigerian slang that means "Problem" or "Trouble" depending on the context.

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