If I could summarize my 2016 in one sentence, it’d be the question, “What do you have to lose?”
Early in January 2016, I received a call from threesixtyGh asking if I would be interested in joining their writing team. I had only been writing for a year or so and had been blogging for less than a year prior to the call and had never managed to do either of those consistently. So while the opportunity to write for one of the fastest growing alternative-media bodies in the country was an opportunity I was excited about, it was repressed by the fear of not being ready, of not being consistent, of not appealing to a larger audience. Then while talking with a friend about our plans for the year, I happened to mention the offer and his reply was the topic of this post. He didn’t calm my fears; he just showed me how ridiculous those fears were. If I wasn’t good enough, this would be an opportunity to find that out quickly. If I was however, did I want my fears to prevent me from finding out? Needless to say, when the call came to ask what my decision was, it was a “Yes”, and as much as possible when I was confronted with a problem or a fear of doing something, I always asked myself what I had to lose.
The year also marked another step in my journey of acclimatization. As a third culture kid, it hasn’t been easy to acclimatize to the culture of my parent’s birth. But various events and occurrences have moved me a step closer to accepting the differences and not necessarily viewing them as disadvantages. For example, I had always had a problem identifying with and being proud of my Ghanaian Ewe heritage. A social media experiment on Ewe names helped me to reflect on, accept and be proud of my Ewe heritage as well as aid in my continued search for my identity while a panel discussion about bridging the gap between local Ghanaians and returning Ghanaians from the diaspora, I was finally able to understand clearly, the disconnect that sometimes occurs between these two groups; It was something I had experienced but never really bothered to understand.
My journey of discovery continued apace in 2016. I tell myself I have always been interested in the minute intricacies of life; the things that make people tick; the reasons for things happening; the perspective of others. In truth, it’s only in the last few years that I began to really take notice of these things. It’s like the difference between knowing not to add salt to the beans while cooking until it is soft to knowing why not to. For years, I had done the same things without knowing why or bothering to figure out how all these things affected me. Now, I try to. There’s a better sense of appreciation of an event, a program or even a message if you’re able to recognize and understand its context.
Part of my journey of discovery included quitting my job. It was a part-time job I did along with my studies. The hours were favorable, the wages were helpful and the workspace was friendly. But my life had become a daily monotony of just school and work and I felt I needed to do more. It was a difficult decision – giving up a steady source of income, especially as a student, is not an easy choice to make – but the decision has been worth it. I am now involved in more activities that will aid my personal development. I helped in the organisation of a conference in August; I have spent more time volunteering for various activities and I’m even beginning to plan activities and events of my own.
In between all of these, there have been some really nice memories. My scholarship was renewed to cover my final year of University; I won a writing competition and was recognized for my good work in two others; I was recognized for my hard work for an organization at a conference and I made some absolutely wonderful new friends while connecting better with old ones. I am working on my social awkwardness and learning to be more open. Perhaps, the most incredible occurrence has been joining the most absolutely talented and wonderful team at threesixtyGh. I have never really been part of a team before. I have always been more of a loner. The transition hasn’t been easy. There are times when I feel the need to withdraw into myself and shut everything or everybody out. It’s slow going but I learn and get inspired by them every day.
I still have much to learn, discover and create. I also have to conquer this circle of fear and doubts that always seems to engulf me like a second skin. But I am more excited than ever for the future ahead. After all, what do I have to lose?