2015- MY YEAR OF ‘ABSTRACTS’
I would have said that the highlight of my 2015 was my part 2 MBBS professional exams. I mean, the events leading up to the exams were quite remarkable to be easily forgotten; the stress of practical sessions, laboratory reports and field trips interspersed with accumulated daily boring and interesting lectures -which you had to read and remember enough of to write an essay on any one of them in the almighty Part 2 pros, cannot be forgotten.
Contrary to last year’s 200 level, I started 300 level with a little more determination; I remember when I would sit in front and try to read up lecture topics before the class, till I was way behind the lecturer and was forced to flee to the back row for fear of being asked a question I could not answer.
The overnight classes were memorable, not because I had so many of them- I mean, for most of my 300 level I tried to read during the day and sleep at 12 midnight to wake up in time for early morning mass (that greatly helped plan my life amidst the hustle), so most of my overnight studies were during the professional exams. Of course, my reading partners were very helpful, both in boosting my confidence at certain times and making me look totally lost and ignorant at others. I remember having to read till 4:30 am, wake up at 6am to continue, all because I wanted a Distinction in Chemical Pathology and Haematology, the brain-block and tears I shed at the end is testimony enough that I would never do that again. I still had my distinction though, which I am thankful for. I also remember feeding my body to mosquitoes while lying on the bare floor trying so hard not to fail microbiology. But of course, I am thankful that I have to talk about those in the past now.
The remarkable things about my year surprisingly are a series of life-changing realisations that have left me a really different person with a quite different perspective about life. As the year began, we gathered as a youth fellowship to celebrate the new year, and during that event, one of us exhorted us to “be happy this year”. Of course this seemed like a mere wishing away at worst or playful advice at best. It was however a little later that Pope Francis directed me to Sirach 14:14 where the bible says that God does not want me to lose out of each day’s happiness and enjoyment. A lot of things have indeed caused me great sadness this year, the betrayal of friends, disappointments and other times just me not being in the mood. But I began to realise that allowing these things to take away my happiness is definitely a waste of the time I have to be happy.
This year I have had cause to remember some of my friends who have died, especially my secondary school classmates. This has caused me to have more value for life as a gift and has taught me the importance of seizing the happiness in each moment. Those times when I allowed people’s words get to me, when I allowed the stress of school to weigh me down and the lack of reciprocated love to take away the joy I experience from loving were but a waste of opportunities to be happy.
Speaking of love, I fell in love again this year!!! The painful thing about this love is that it was weird and a bit awkward. The person I loved could not reciprocate or possibly understand the depth of love I felt deep inside, and due to my pride I hated the very fact that the love I felt for this person put me in a sort of vulnerable position in our relationship and so yes, I loved someone this year and I hated that I did. It did take a lot for me to realise that the opportunity of love which I was given was more than what I could gain from being loved as much, a beautiful opportunity to be happy loving. In the end I have come to realise that I was created to Love and not doing just that will eventually culminate in a sad life. Guess what, unlike many others who close themselves to love after they’ve been hurt once, this realisation has made me more open to Love. Love in this world would not be perfect, and sometimes it is in these imperfections of love that we experience the need to love more and the desire for a higher form of love.
On the other hand, I made new and wonderful friends, restored old and dear friends and intensified certain already existing ones. Top of the list was a friendship I really treasured that was dysfunctional for about a year and some months; you cannot imagine the joy I felt when I received the phone call of reconciliation. I challenged myself this year in a way I have not in years, I questioned my faith, my personality and my passions. I dared myself in ways I have never done. Of course, some of them left me sad and distraught while others caused me great joy. But the truth is, knowing oneself is indeed the key to living this life, a life that is yours and not another’s. I have dialogued with my ‘weaknesses’ and peculiarities to such an extent that I have realised that we are not all the same and that I can in fact face my weaknesses and master them. Apart from my weaknesses, I have also dialogued with my strengths, I have urged myself to reach for certain greater heights. I have come to understand that the error is not in trying and determining to do things but in not even attempting.
Towards the end of the year I paid a visit to the cemetery to pray for the souls of the dead and seeing the various tomb stones with names on them of people of various ages I realised that some of them would have had gifts and talents that the world has been deprived of, I realised that not reaching for heights and engaging my strengths and talents is purely depriving humanity of the gift of me- a very peculiar gift indeed. I have set certain goals for the coming year, things I would greatly aspire to achieve and God-willing I would.
Have I made mistakes? Yes… I have failed both myself, my God and humanity in so many ways. I have failed in my attempts at living, at loving and at happiness. But the beautiful thing is that I have realised and am still realising my mistakes and not just that, I am marching forward, seizing on life in order to make better use of this gift which I have been given. As the saying goes, if you have not failed then you cannot be sure where your weaknesses lie.
As 2015 has largely been for me a realisation of abstracts, I do project that 2016 will be for me an actualisation of dreams. Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!
Chibuzor F. Ogamba