Ebbs and Flows of Serendipity

My 2023 in Review

Keyukemi Ubi
9 min readDec 28, 2023

“It is impossible to write and not expose your soul.”
- Nitya Prakash

Writing a year in review seemed pointless to me. This is because, at every point this year, I have written to you about the things happening in my life. Maybe not in great detail (I must keep some things for myself, no?), but I have written and carried you through my year.

To my day ones, tiri gbosa for you!!!

A picture of me sitting and toasting to the festive season
Sisin Greetings to you and yours.

Before reading this, I highly suggest you read my 2022 review. This essay gains weight and meaning when you read that. It's not a prerequisite; you can very much pass this course without reading it. But it makes the story more compelling, robust and exciting when you understand the journey's beginning. However, if you are okay with jumping on the train while it's moving, hop on; it will be a wild ride either way.

The Ebbs

I started the year really low; I was dealing with loss, grief, pain and anxiety. I was considering making many bad decisions, or to be more exact, going against my better nature — not making plans, being indecisive, and just being bad (safe to say I failed on that front).

But first I will tell you that I had a good year. Correction! I had a fantastic year. I am not one of those people who will take on a form of faux humility and tell you a sob story about their year. Nope, mine was good, really good. Not because everything was perfect and honky-dory but because, in simple math terms, there were more positives than negatives in my year.

At the beginning of the year, I wrote down a list of things I wanted to do or achieve. One afternoon in January, while taking a lonesome walk down the alleyways of my chaotic mind, I realized that if there was ever any form of apocalypse, I had no life skills to survive (I know it is a bit paranoid and borderline wild, but sue me; this is how my mind works). So, I wrote down what I call simple goals for the year and set out to start ticking them off one by one.

By the way, I was also a bit hopeful about the Nigerian elections, but we all know how that went. So I won't say much about it.

I was (probably still am) the least athletic among my siblings. I am also plagued with a lot of medical conditions that make my life a tad more complex than the average person's. But I was determined to be more deliberate about my health this year. So, I signed up for the gym in December 2022 and shared a guide on navigating this arduous endeavour sometime in March.

I started logging my visits to the gym sometime in February, and according to my app- Strong, I have been to the gym 130 times this year since then. This means at least 35% of the days this year, I spent ~2 hours at the gym. I think I have successfully earned my title as muscle mommy, haven't I?

I can say with a massive smile that this is the healthiest I have been in years. I still spent some days in the Hospital, but less often than in previous years. I spend a considerable chunk of my monthly paycheck on food and other necessities to ensure I stay healthy. I am not proud of the state of my bank account and finances in general. But like Earn in Atlanta (which I haven't yet finished; gosh, I have so many unfinished Hollywood shows) — I want to eat today, not in September. I will always choose my current good health over anything else.

Make I just dey Craze dey go.

Earlier in the year, I tried to see a therapist again. I couldn't return to my previous one for reasons I can't get into right now. Finding a reasonably priced, helpful, non-judgemental one was hard. The first person I tried to see only listened to me for 20 minutes before trying to shove antidepressant pills down my throat.

I get it; I was really fucked up between insomnia, parasomnia, nightmares, hurt, anger and bitterness, plus a history of anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation. It was not looking good, babes. I was a real shell of a person and a hot, raving mess. But even though, even though!

I have an innate fear of becoming an addict, so I ran faster than my legs could carry me and never looked back. I was getting worse, I was self-aware enough to recognize it, but I didn't care.

With time, the gym began to help, my thoughts became more precise, and when I wore my body down after several hours of sacrificing my body to the god of iron, I often passed out on my bed and was lost in the abyss of dreamless sleep. I tried to explore faith again (they say it helps); if you read I lost my face but found peace, you would know that didn't quite work either.

I decided to "self-therapize". I actively started to work towards having 5 minutes of peace every day, which meant breathing exercises, meditation, sensory deprivations and journaling. So yes, every day this year, I wrote in detail about my day, and sometimes, at the end of the week, I would read my logs for clarity. This was me sharing one of the entries from those reflection and journaling sessions.

I am still crazy, but at least now I am not as close to the edge; I no longer have suicidal ideations. I know this edge is very slippery, but at least for now, I am adept at navigating it.

Flames, Family, Friends, and Foes.

I often hesitate about writing about my romantic life because it involves two people (or more if that's your thing). Whether I like it or not, it will require telling someone else's story from my perspective, which they may or may not want to be told.

But if I told you about my year and didn't tell you this, I would be disingenuous, dishonest, and incomplete.

“Love is many things. It is varied. One thing love is not, is unsure.
- Maya Angelou

One of the best things that happened to me this year was meeting Cee. With them, I finally knew what it meant to like a person and be liked as equally. Everything we did together was perfect, and I mean everything- The good and the bad. With them, I knew what it meant to be sprung and have no shadow of doubt about how a person felt towards me because it showed in everything they did — words, actions, thoughtfulness.

In the indelibility of romance, I talked about marks and scars. I had just come out of a long-term relationship in 2022 that left me with a load of scars. Scars that hurt and looked like they were never going to heal.

I remember seeing a post on social media asking if you are healed or just isolating. If I am being honest with myself, I haven't completely healed, but I don't feel as damaged anymore.

With Cee, all I have are marks- that kind that serves as signals to the love I think I deserve. In another world where our principles and personal convictions didn't restrict us, we would be together forever. And even though it might have hurt a lot to let go, I am forever grateful to have experienced them in my life. Like they say, it's better to have love and lost than not to have loved at all.


Contrary to whatever notion people might have due to my social media, I am quite the hermit. I am so reclusive it can get very difficult for me to build any form of connection with people.

I feel a little guilty about friendships — I have been a remarkably absent friend. I try to tell myself that maybe I didn't do so badly and that I showed up when it mattered, but I am not so sure about that.

The truth is, I am also not sure how I can be a much better friend, but I want to be. I wouldn't mind my friends telling me how I can be a better friend to them.

As a person, I am a little bit of a do-gooder and miss two goody shoes, so I try my very best not to hurt people. But I know I may have hurt a few; at least, I am sure of one friend I hurt.

Not because I did it intentionally, but sometimes our actions have unintended consequences, and we have to live with it. Is forgiveness possible? Yeah, very much so, but hurt leaves a scar too. So you either have a broken friendship with hurt hanging in the middle like a looming storm forever brewing, or you go on to mend it and forge something more substantial.

Regardless, I know that my friends and family love me. I may not be the best daughter, friend or sister (okay, DFKM, my siblings think I am the best human in the world). I guess in 2024, I will keep trying my best in this regard.

I know you are wondering when I will get to the "Foe" part. Well, there's not much to say here. Except that, I learnt that I can keep a grudge for a long time and be petty till the very end. Now I know what it's like to loathe a person. It doesn't affect me, though; I don't feel any heavy burden in my chest, weight on my shoulder, or whatever they say. Sometimes, I low-key feel good and proud of myself for this.

Saying goodbyes

By nature, I am not one to miss people. I am mostly out of sight, out of mind. It doesn't mean I don't care, but missing them is highly improbable when a person is not a significant part of my daily routine.

However, I began to feel a sting of this feeling this year. A couple of my friends and family left this year. I had to say goodbye to my favourite cousin in September.

After that, I fell into a funk for a few weeks and couldn't figure out why that happened until later. I am sort of sad that this is the reality. I will keep saying goodbye to people as they move to other parts of the world. But, C'est la vie.

The flows

I didn't get to do three new countries thanks to Bubutinomics and their entire cohort, but I visited one of my favourite places in West Africa again, which made my year.

Amid the ebbs, I had some good flows. Career-wise, things got better. I am still not where I want to be, but I am closer and think that counts for something. I got to throw a few intimate but elaborate parties — especially my birthday, with the people important to me (I might do more of this in 2024).

I spent a lot of time in solitude and sober reflection. I learned much about myself, my interests, hobbies, desires, etc. My most fascinating discovery is my love for physical activities. I learned how to swim, how to cycle, and some self-defence. Most importantly, I learned how to take defeat gracefully.

I am an all-round happier person.

A blurry image of me riding a bike
Cycling at midnight in one of my favourite cities


I have things I want to do in the coming year. Mostly, the same things as 2023, especially the goals I couldn't achieve. I want at least 5 minutes of peace and joy every day; if I have that, I am content — that is the metric for measuring a successful year in my books.

I would love to take a giant leap to where I want to be career-wise. Of course, I want more money; no one ever says no to more money. This means that I will be doing some heavy pursuit of capitalism.

Lastly, I would love to return to travelling the world (quarterly, if possible). Travelling is one of the few times I truly feel alive.

My baby brother said he has a feeling this year will be a good year. Hmm, I don't know if I share his sentiments or faith. But a lot can happen in a year, right?

2024 is a leap year. I better be leaping for joy or leaping off a bridge. (okay, just kidding, just kidding. Y'all can't take a joke.)

With new-year-new-me vim,
Keyu 🖤

Ps: I wrote 16 personal essays in 2023. If you enjoyed reading this, you can make this post more visible to those who may like it or learn from it by clapping as many times as possible. 50x is the best number, but whatever you do works too.