An Ibadan Girl’s Guide to Bouncing Back

Happy New Year 2022!

I took a break from writing to focus on other things and I had no idea how much I had missed writing until I started again.

Anyway, I am back and I am adding a nice twist to this space….Drumrolls…’tis fiction! Fear not, it is flash fiction but pretty enjoyable. Here you go –

A lifetime of You

I only remember that it was rainy the day I first met you.

I remember because the rain fell incessantly as though attempting, unsuccessfully, to obscure my view of your imperfect face. I recall how comically narrow your nose appeared. Like it had been stuck awkwardly by an impatient potter on your skinny face. How full your small lips seemed, because you had been biting at them like you always do. But it was your eyes for me. Your big beautiful eyes full of hurt. I felt a tightening in my tummy as I gazed into them and I knew I would spend the rest of my life attempting to undo that hurt.

I spent the evening talking to Efen but gazing at you. Ohh, but he understood when he saw the way I gazed at you. And I know you know as much because you spent the evening with a beautiful, little thing in your arms but with your eyes firmly locked on mine. When we each slipped our contact cards into the other’s coats in the cloakroom, we knew we had found what we had spent a lifetime searching for.

I hope you enjoyed this read! I am happy to hear from you if you did

An Ibadan Girl’s Guide to Being a Tech Bae (Part 2)

And so our story continues, the captivating tale of my foray into the world of technology.

After the years of on-and-off attempts to learn Python, I have restarted learning programming. I am studying to become a front-end developer and my learning journey began with HyperText Markup Language (HTML). Having gained some level of mastery of HTML, I have gone on to start learning Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and Bootstrap. I have also begun to pick up Javascript.

It is important to let you know that this is not a story about a final destination. It really is a tale of my journey. I hope to share my tale with you as it unfolds.

The simple, yet profound advice I got from the near-stranger remains with me. And I would like to pass it on to you. It is to carefully select what you want to learn and to understand what you intend to do with the knowledge you are about to expend time and resources gaining.

I spent all those years wandering in the maze of tech, near-blind. Technology is not a one-size-fits-all and learning Python did not have to be my only way of entering tech even though it was my first exposure to tech. I needed to understand that front-end development was where I wanted to be and Python did not need to be the way to get there.

I hope this helps if you, like me, would love a foray into tech and you are unsure how to get in. Know your ‘Why’.

PS: I would love to learn about your tech journey. Share it with me via the contact button below or in the comments!

An Ibadan Girl’s Guide to Becoming a Tech Bae (Part 1)

Spoiler alert! This is a guide.

I recently started learning to become a Tech Bae. For the past seven years, give or take, I have been trying to learn software development (unsuccessfully, if I might add, LOL). Everything changed a couple of months ago when someone gave me genius advice which changed the game for me. I needed to start at the bottom. But first, a little backstory.

My interest in Tech was piqued when I took an Introduction to Computer Science course in my second year of University. The course was compulsory for all law students and boy, was it a source of grief for too many of us! All the knowledge from every computer science course I have ever taken failed me. We were being taught Python and it was a sob fest all the wayyy.

Anyway, even after I was done with the course (which I aced by the way, Lord knows how), I would go on to study numerous YouTube videos on Python. I would spend hours at my desk trying to figure out programming and every time, I failed. It seemed like this tough enigma that I could just not figure out. Spent, I would gather my energy and move on to the next thing that caught my fancy. I eventually concluded that Tech = maths, maths + Oyinkan = sworn enemies, therefore Tech + Oyinkan = Montagues + Capulets.

Part 2 …

An Ibadan Girl’s Guide to Your Dreams

I think my generation is pretty focused on huge achievements and hitting goals. That is a pretty awesome thing to be focused on but I sometimes wonder if we tend to sacrifice longer-term, sustainable achievements on the altar of shiny, glossy, immediate rewards that kind of look like achievements.

There has been an ongoing debate (sorta) about people publicizing the age at which they achieved what and organisations creating thirty-under-thirty type of lists. I think that is a strange thing to debate. If people achieve a feat at an age where most people are yet to achieve such, I think they should be celebrated. Now, I understand that this might put other people at that same age or older under some sort of pressure … but that is unnecessary, if you ask me.

Anyway, this is a guide to your dreams and not everyone else’s …. so here goes.

  1. Arguably the best advice I have ever received is “Do something everyday to get you closer to your goals”. Breaking a huge goal into tiny, bite-sized bits that you work on everyday can actually help you achieve that goal faster.
  2. I kinda thought this one up myself but its so fundamental and I think everyone should run with it – Do not obsess over mistakes. You are probably going to make a lot of mistakes. A whole bunch of them. Its okay to make mistakes but its not okay to wallow in those mistakes. I say make the mistake, learn what you did wrong and move on to the next mistake. Just try to never make the same mistake twice. And even if you do, that is okay too. Just keep moving.
  3. Speak positive. Religious or not, there is something about positive thoughts and affirmations. Speak your dreams and goals into existence. And make sure the people around you are doing the same too.

If you do not achieve what you hoped you would, when you hoped you would, do not beat yourself up. There is really no yardstick for achievements and success. You are your yardstick.

And if you achieve amazing stuff really young or early, celebrate yourself. Its not your problem that “people” might feel pressured by your successes. Flaunt your thing and flaunt it hard.

I really love this quote by Abe Lincoln. I hope you love it too –

“I walk slowly,

but never I walk backwards”

~ Abraham Lincoln

An Ibadan Girl’s Guide to Climate Action

Did you just scoff and murmur “Climate change is a myth”. Well, if you did, I am side-eyeing you right now. Climate change is real, it does exist and there really is no planet B.

Ice caps melting in the Artic might seem pretty far away but rising sea levels in Lagos is not as far off as you might think. If you wondered why the weather was so hot in December or why it was raining in January, its pretty close!

A lot of our everyday actions impact negatively on the environment and here are a couple of simple, easy-to-do actions you can take to help save planet earth –

  1. Reduce – Cut down on your use of plastics. Resist the urge to get nylon (plastic) bags every time you go shopping. Tip – get you a cute shopping basket that you can reuse several times.
  2. Reuse – Now, we all make those unplanned, emergency shopping trips. You made just a couple of purchases and now you have got a whole bunch of plastic bags. Instead of tossing them out, why not put them to good use? You could use them as garbage bags … saves you the money for getting garbage bags and you save the environment twice over!
  3. Recycle – Imagine if you saved up all your plastic waste in one place and had someone come get them from your (at no cost to you) and you get paid just for saving up plastics. Sounds good, huh? The best part, it really could be you!

This is not all you can do. There are a ton of free resources on the internet you can check out. This is not a guide, but I really hope you become a climate action champion [insert climate action rallying chant].

An Ibadan Girl’s Guide to Love

The 20’s can be a weird period. For some people, it is that awkward time when they take those first, uncertain steps into adulthood and each step they take takes them further away from the cocoon of safety that was their teenage years.

Love, I guess, is one of the many choices that comes with adulthood. There is something to be said about loving (romantic relationships, really) as an adult. They mostly lose the heady recklessness that was the tune of teenage relationships and take on this strange “who are we to each other” seriousness. They become less casual. New people one meets are met with the critical internal probe “could they be ‘the one?”.

In all the uncertainty that tends to swirl around adult relationships, I will say this one thing. In that sea of people and faces, sometimes, if you get real lucky and the big sky daddy shines benevolently on you, you might meet someone who makes you feel different but the same. Being with them might make you find yourself chiseling and working on yourself, perfecting all the itty-bits of you. Gazing at them might bring you this deep, profound peace. They might unlock something in you that you never knew existed. And being with them might feel like the most perfect, most natural thing in the world.

If you ever get lucky, real lucky, hold them tight and love them while that moment lasts. And remember that it is okay if that moment ends … because for that brief spell, you were loved and you loved.

An Ibadan Girl’s Guide to Living

Lol, yes. Here’s a guide to living.

Too often, I find myself waiting to live … simply existing and going through the motions in the present while I set my sights and all that is within me on the future that I envision for myself.

I remember wondering, when I graduated from law school, where all that time had gone. It seemed like I had slept one night as a first year law student and awoken on the morning of my Call to Bar.

This is as much a guide for me as it is one for you (if you are anything like me). Savour today. Be it a bright, sunny day or a dour, cloudy one. Love it with everything in you and live it just as fiercely.

I vow,

To enjoy today,

Not because tomorrow is not assured,

But because today is beautiful,

And today’s beauty won’t come tomorrow.

~ Oyinkan Adebimpe circa 2016

An Ibadan Girl’s Guide to Grief

“The cruelest words

to say to the recently bereaved are

“Life goes on”.

True, life goes on.

But life tomorrow,

will never be what it was yesterday”

~ Oyinkan Adebimpe, circa 2016

Grief is such a deep, hard-to-fathom emotion.

I remember the first time I encountered grief. I was in primary school and was no older than seven at the time. A classmate had lost their father and we were all asked to observe a minute of silence for the dearly departed.

Grief is a strange emotion and rather uncontrollable in its strangeness. I remember, years later in University, when I lost a dear one and was told of his death unceremoniously and over the phone by a meddlesome family member who should have known better. I remember that my chest seemed to enlarge as the gravity of the news dawned on me. It seemed that a huge gaping chasm had formed in the very center of my being. I do not remember standing from the library desk where I sat and walking all the way to my hostel room. But I remember, I remember as I clambered on my bed and grabbed my pillow over my head. I screamed into my pillow, as though my tears could fill that hole in my soul.

I did not know then, of course, but I would go on to lose a friend barely two years later. In the years that have followed, friends have lost loved ones and the harshest truth is that there is no one way to mourn. Some, like me, will cry. Others will stare, unseeing, stunned into silence by loss so profound. Others, yet, will laugh, disbelieving that which they know to be true.

Not everyone will cry and that is okay. What is not okay is policing how people express their grief. It is also not okay to echo empty, hollow phrases like “God gives and God takes” or “Life goes on”. It is okay to ask them how they would like you to be there for them and to let them know that you are available if they need you. This is not a guide but I sure hope it helps.

An Ibadan Girl’s Guide to Work-Life Balance

Here I am. Seated at my desk at 2:00am. Writing about work-life balance.

Here’s the thing. I cannot think of any 20-something I know who has full-time employment and has gotten a hang of this work-life balance thing.

I remember seeing a random twitter poll asking 20-somethings if they thought their workplace allowed them work-life balance. The poll had an addendum – something along the lines of “work-life balance does not mean having enough hours to sleep after work. It means having enough time outside of work to pick up other interests”. I remember being stunned. I had always thought work-life balance meant having enough hours of sleep, LOL.

If like me, you are a 20-something living and working in a fast-paced city like Lagos, Nigeria, I guess work-life balance might be something of a fantasy.

You already know this is not a guide but here goes nothing. You have to take that time out anyway. You have to take time to figure out the things you want from life and how to go about achieving them. You have to give yourself a closing time from work or steal an hour or two everyday for yourself. Even if you are an entrepreneur, building your business or startup from the ground up all by your lonesome, you still deserve those hours to develop other interests. Your life should not revolve around your work, no matter how much you love your work. Pick up a hobby, some new skills, a side job. Your future self will thank me for it. LOL.

An Ibadan Girl’s Guide to Lifelong Learning

I bet you have already figured out that I am definitely not an expert on this topic. Heck, I am hardly even qualified to speak on it. We both know I am almost a good five decades away from the global average life expectancy. I reckon anyone who has passed the global average is an expert (expert being defined very loosely here). Anyway, we are here. Might as well delve into this.

My first tip would be healthy curiosity. You are probably thinking “But curiosity killed the cat!” Well, true. Curiosity did kill the cat but hey, guess what, satisfaction brought it back. Yes, yes, that is indeed the lesser known end of the well-known saying.

Another tip would be to select your company. It just so happens that the kind of content that the people in your immediate mental, social and physical environment consume dictates a lot of the kind of content you consume. I bet that, as kids, we all heard the saying “Evil communication corrupts good manners” more times than we cared to hear it. Urgghh. Turns out our parents and those annoying teachers were right. The people you closely and constantly interact with can determine a lot about you. Including your approach to learning.

The final tip is to learn. Yep, to learn. On your own terms and rules. Determine the kind of knowledge that you want, your approach to learning and where you want to source the knowledge from. Pick topics and issues that genuinely interest you and not the hot topic that everyone seems to be raving about. Learn in your own time and at your own pace and in ways that make learning pleasurable.

Well, well, well. It turns out I ended up creating an actual guide. LOL. I hope you found this helpful!