2022 in hindsight…

Mariebelle
10 min readJan 20, 2023

If 2022 were a colour, it would be orange. It had so much warmth, beauty, and elegance that I am very grateful for. Ironically, it started out rough, very rough!

This time last year, I was house hunting in Lagos, Nigeria and if you understand this clime, you would know that this is one of those experiences that can literally frustrate anybody or test their faith, no cap.

I also had a strained relationship with someone dear to me about this time, so it was a roller coaster of emotions. However, in the middle of all of these, I had a couple of kairos moments — Got an opportunity to switch teams at work, Etsebox started on a high, and I met a friend, now Pastor Ernest through Shantell who referred me for gifting service. These 3 kairos experiences in January that I remember set the tone for the year with— Opportunities, Favour & Growth.

February — I was looking to make valentine's packages and all that gift stuff but I could not execute my ideas. I was settling into a new project at work, house hunting and did not even have the head space to do business but guess what your girl did? She hired a social media manager to keep the page running because she wanted to keep showing up. Of cos, you can tell the result, orders were coming but I could not fulfil them. Looking in retrospect, it was not the best decision for that moment but I learnt from it and the fact that I showed up gave me the momentum to continue when I was quite settled by month's end.

My flatmate & I were really stressed this month, we finally got an apartment in a better location and by the favour of God & man, we enjoyed premium luxury at the same time. We stayed in a luxury short let for about 7 days, while we were cleaning, painting & settling into our new space.

March — the year just started for me. I was a bit more settled this time. The month of the Holy Ghost was the theme in church, I attended DDK’s women’s conference and read a book about angels. I honestly believe I actually enjoyed the ministry of angels that month especially when I slept off on the wheels while driving to Ibadan with my brother. (Yes, I slept off on the wheels, and I almost hit a trailer but somehow swerved safely off the road).

I met Ayomide from Dojah, who just took interest in Etsebox. She believed in me and gave Etsebox the opportunity to curate birthday gifts around the year for her start-up.

Tbh, I am not sure I can recall month on month in detail, so I will summarise some recurring themes, high lights and low tides.

High lights

  1. I travelled to Germany. This was one of the most memorable times of the year for me. The experience was mind-shifting, the sights were beautiful, my hosts and sponsors were great, and I am inspired to do more travels/exploration
  2. I chose consistency over perfection at the beginning of the year, and this greatly helped my process for Etsebox. I kept showing up, got confident in my craft, and this brought more opportunities, people and resources my way. I legit won in 2022.

3. New adult friends and acquaintances — I made new friends & acquaintances as an adult, met Pst Ernest at the beginning of the year (he introduced me to BMG, Daily Audio Bible, sent me money when I was unsettled with the house, shared ideas to improve Etsebox and referred me, chai! I do not take these for granted o, oremi), I met Gbemi too chai, I don’t know any other way to describe it but this girl has to be my soul sister cos the way we connected, had similar goals, mindsets & style was mindblowing, It is not even up to a year yet but this girl has impacted & supported me in ways I cannot count anymore. There is AJ too, my amiable comrade and partner in some career pursuit! Summarily, I know for sure that God indeed sends men for seasons of our lives. I am grateful for these guys and even more — the beautiful people whose names are not mentioned here.

4. Had purposeful business circle. For instance, Ife Agboola & 1 jointly saved over 400k for our businesses and never met in the year, we would genuinely check on each other, advise & support ourselves. It was honestly beautiful. Bolu & I set goals with each other and held each other to get over inertia! Kelly Praise spoilt me with gifts & discounts from her brand. Had quality conversations with my sugar mummy, Rona. Yo! women supporting women on fleek for me o.

5. I met someone I really really do like. He is a good & gentleman. Makes me feel good, looks out for me and listens even to the things I have not voiced. I liked him so much that I was taking notes of details about him on my note app — the things he likes, dislikes, aspirations etc. I was really basking in euphoria. He gave me thoughtful gifts, and I enjoyed the bliss of being in love, though it was short-lived.

6. Family — My family showed up for each other. We would travel almost every month to visit my brother who needed us. We were deliberate. My WhatsApp group with just Sam & Tj was on fleek. Toni clocked one, Boyin gave me food every time I visited, Tayo & PJ hosted us at his house on Oct 1 and we saw Anikulapo. My brother is back in school. Mum had a bad accident and God saved her. My siblings and I came through for our parents. Summarily, we held each other. Esp grateful for the examples of kindness I have in Teejay & Samuel. Those guys are real OGs.

7. Business Spotlight — Since I registered my business, I opened an account with Brass and I have not had any reason to open a mainstream bank account cos I enjoy the service and customer experience from these guys. Shout out to Jennifer Othaki. Brass was kind enough to put a spotlight on Etsebox (me) and shared my story to the world. This brought some traction to my business page and made clients trust and respect me more.

8. My house felt like home — I was content, looked forward to going home, and enjoyed the company of my flatmate and the many people we hosted throughout the year!

9. Support system — I cannot even describe this one well with words honestly. God really used men for me! All I can say here is for each facet of my life through the year, I had help through people — family, friends, acquaintances, network, and even strangers.

10. My Church & Community of Faith — this one has to be the source for all the other highlights. God thanks! My convictions were constantly strengthened, and I got to grow and serve alongside amazing people in the vineyard of God. My life is better for it! And I’m glad I was also able to influence other people for Jesus too 🥰✨

If you are reading this, and not rooted and planted in church, I challenge you to find a good one. Stay consistent for 6 months, serve, take your devotions seriously and see how your life will get better for it. (Btw, I worship at Celebration Church International and you are welcome to join us)

11. Winning circle — Muyiwa got married, Korede got a job, Benita graduated & got a job too, Kemi gave birth, Samuel got a job and travelled twice too (This guy was on Jireh fr) . Bimbo got married & relocated with Victor, Teejay also got a job, Yomi bought a car, The people with Japa aspirations made it, Zilla is doing amazing, wedding engagements here and there. Gbemi got good jobs, Orhoghene mastered it, Eva slaying her MBA, Wura became tech sis, Tayo was able to travel!, and Ife switched jobs. Looks like better jobs was the highlight for most, Keji & I also grew in our sisterhood through consistent weekly prayers. I cannot mention all names here honestly, so no vex if you are my person and I didn’t write your name. Most important thing is y’all are winning & I love et 😁🥰

Low tides

  1. Strained relationship(s)- Started the year with this and I felt low. For once, intention was to prioritize myself and set necessary boundaries but while I thought I was genuine with my expression, I was naive and I hurt someone I considered more than a friend, more like a sister. We were both heartbroken and forgave each other but the relationship never remained the same. I have taken my lessons, which most importantly is to communicate how I feel when I feel it, and not bottle up emotions.
  2. Genotype showed me that she calls some shots, hehe— Now you know why my highlight with the man was shortlived.
  3. Failure — For context, I have always been an A student. I studied one of the most difficult courses in the university and graduated with a 4.17 so I know that I Sabi (small). Irrespective of this smart background, I still did not pass GRE two times. (laughs in GRE) but we what? We move.

4. Japa — At a point, it felt like it was just me in Nigeria. sigh. Korede left, Taiwo left, Tayme left, Tomi left, Pst Pelumi Kumuyi left, Helen left, Demi left, Gbemi left, Dami left, Wema left and a large chunk of colleagues left too. Wo, I cannot even mention half of the names. Hehehe. I am honestly happy for them all. Love it for everyone. However, the exits were painful, felt like holes dug up every other month in my heart.

5. Despite overcoming imposter syndrome, my risk appetite was still low and I doubted myself a number of times, even while showing up.

2022 was indeed the year I anticipated in my look-ahead write-up. It was a defining year, and I was happy! Like Dr Tayo defined happiness — I enjoyed autonomy (directed by the spirit though cos I cannot take credit for the ordered steps & kairos moments I entered) + fulfilling career & business + relationships (support system, fam friends and all in between & around).

I know it can only get better, I have seen some patterns and confident that this same God who started a good work is keeping me and sustaining me for the years ahead come rain come sunshine.

#I get backing

Picture gallery

L-R — Bimbo got married; Muyiwa plugged me with one premium client whose order I look forward to 🥰, My birthday
L-R — Meal at Zaza when Tayo first came to Nigeria, that night out was really memorable (hahaha); Adeola in Germany; Photo shoot for Etsebox ft another Bimbo.
Etsebox is an online gifting company where we curate bespoke gifts for individuals and corporate clients.
L_R Google photos did a collage of memories with Bisola & Korede
Chocolate Ice cream Bisola gave me during one of my visits. Every visit is a moment of rest, I love it 😻
Family
L- R — Humans of Etsebox in 2022, and more Etsebox works
L-R — Sept 11 when we rounded up Rev Up, the gift I got from my team and a cross-section of beautiful women of God I serve with
L-R — Ife, my MVP! (sugar mummy,, boyfriend, flatmate, everything, I’ll honestly miss you when you get married😭), Tolu (google photos had to do this to remind us that are still friends), and Kemi wrapped up the year by blessing us with Jason on Dec 31, around 2pm Nigerian time.

If you read to this point, you deserve a bottle of coke as you give this a clap. Thank you for reading and please leave me a comment if you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it ✨

I’ll hopefully write more this year, publish my aspiration for 2023 soon but I may not announce it. Feel free to follow me to catch up 😁🤗

Cheers 🥂

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