Rebooting… Small Change #4: Keep a food journal

It is very nearly a month since I gave the #52SmallChanges project any kind of intentionality. I could blame a mini season of depression occasioned by my fixation on S,  or the fact that I have upcoming exams I am freaking out about, or work – which I have had loads of.

Bottom line is I haven’t been on the money with regards to the small changes I was meant to be progressing through till the next birthday. The barely there silver lining though is besides the ‘get more sleep’ change, I’ve pretty much kept up with the new habits I have picked up in the first three weeks.

So, this is me waking up again, rebooting; with change #4: Keep a food journal

Currently listening to Change My Life – Ashes Remain



2012 – The wrap

Dickens most eloquently captured the paradox that was the year I had in that most evocative of openings to A Tale of Two Cities:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. We had everything before us, we had nothing before us,

Milestones, surprise meetings, nostalgic memories, nights outs with the guys from work,  a Nigeria trip and a wedding, difficult conversations, un-requited ‘love‘ and a keenly felt dose of disappointment all contributed to what was an unusually topsy-turvy year. If I had to find one turn of phrase to caption the year, it would be that it was a season of detoxification, and that in many more ways than I had imagined at the beginning of the year.

On a positive note, there is a lot more clarity around a number of the uncertainties that followed me into the new year – and given what lies ahead, that just might be all that counts…



Full circle (the anatomy of a heart break)

They say there are five stages of grief… First there is denial. Everything slows down to an almost imperceptible crawl, leaving you with the numbness of disbelief and a full blown Fariku Singularity. You replay that final scene in your head again and again until it is etched in your mind like an indelible tattoo. You deconstruct the words hoping to find an iota of comfort; and when the lads ask you about her, you pretend the phone lines garbled that bit of speech, or mutter various incomprehensible answers.

After a while reality bites, and Anger rears its head. You want to do something to hurt, something that will somehow in your mind atone for the loss, even if it is irrational. You delete phone numbers, wipe out emails, cut off social connections and add details to block lists. It is all to no avail, like a giant worm chewing away at the insides of your mind, the dull ache of her name – and her face –  remain, never mind the fact that you have dialled the numbers and emailed back and forth so much so that you know the details by heart.

In a rare moment of lucidity, you decide that Bargaining is an option after all. You convince yourself that you both had so much invested that at least one more punt – however unlikely it is to succeed – is warranted. You fire off the first salvo, it takes all of six days for a reply to come back. When it does, it is cryptic, impersonal and reads like something spat out from an automated answering machine. When you finally get to talk, it is clear there is still a mental connection, only the original issues remain and time apart has deepened the chasm.

Then depression comes in swingingly wildly; self-loathing hits you in the solar plexus and like a bag of potatoes suddenly cut loose from the weighing string you crumble. You mope around for days on end, make sloppy mistakes at work and even get pulled up by the boss. You go over all the events again, playing various what-ifs and what-mights in your head: if you hadn’t forgotten the birthday, if you had braved the odds and flown over for a face-to-face, if snow and work hadn’t conspired to pare 14 days down to barely six, if playful conversations about wanting only one child hadn’t taken on an unintended palor of seriousness, if…. if… if…   It doesn’t help that normal life continues, and the odd lad still brings her name up in conversations. Each night, in the bits of solitude that the minutiae of the life she once shared excitedly used to fill, there are alternate overpowering urges: to call her, to cry, to kick a door in, to overdose on cokes, to just do something. In those unguarded moments when you lie awake till the wee hours of the morning tossing and turning, you wonder what it is she is up to, if she still thinks about you and if she’s moved on to another bloke.

In midst of it all, there’s you, and the one bloke who can relate, he of the listening ear who has walked these self same paths before. You talk, and cry, and finally find the release that unloading the hurt brings. You let go of the hurt and accept it wasn’t meant to be, and that only time can ease this pain. In the detached clarity of your new found pragmatism, you recognise the differences were always going to be an issue – red herring or not, and that there is no way back now.

Life’s finally come full circle, and with it a semblance of normalcy, the only reminders of the season of heart break are the holidays you never took and the sense of de ja vu – you’ve been here before and you survived,  even back in 2009.

The first day

…Of the last year. I suspect that today was my Newcastle moment; the day when my decision to head out to pastures new was taken. The UK is looking increasingly hostile ( I may be reading the comments section of the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph too much), but it certainly hasn’t helped that some drunk wanna-be pirate complete with an eye patch called me a f*ucking black bastard in broad day light in Aberdeen.  Even conversations at work occasionally centre around immigrants – mainly Poles, but surely its a short hop from Poles to Nigerians.

So, it looks like there will be another tweak to the 5 year plan – quit the UK in September 2012; complete my Materials & Metallurgy program in August 2013, and progress getting permanent residence status.

Marriage? I really don’t know. Ideally, Q4 2013 (after the kinks in the 5 year plan have been worked out) would make sense. There is though the small matter of not being in a relationship at the moment..

For a long time now, I have felt like needing to restart my life – even if I have to get in at the base of the Engineering ladder someplace else. Fingers crossed, here’s to hope!

New Starts….

The turn of the year is unique for the way it inspires one to try better. Plans from the last year, cast aside without thought or regret, suddenly return to the fore of the mind – seeking to exact their recompense for one’s neglect. Its a New Year.. The one thing I plan on doing this year is to articulate more of the thoughts floating around in my head. Hopefully I’ll write a piece each day on here.. Maybe I’ll not..December 31, 2011 will be the final judge of how well I fared…

When words leave a mark…

A chance meeting –  via the ubiquity of the internet – with Yousef Komunyakaa’s  poem ‘Ode to The Drum‘ left an indelible mark on me.

The sheer beauty of the lines,  rich imagery that harks back to a time of hunting for sustenance in Africa and the ritual of drum making are things that I have never been able to forget. In the poem  a hunter kills a gazelle, skins it, and uses its skin for a drum. The hunter maintains an ongoing monologue, almost apologetically stating the case for killing the gazelle. There is meat, and the need to drive trouble from the valley via the beating of a drum. In the process of creating a drum, the gazelle is reborn – from dead weight slouching in the grassy hush to a drum beat filling the valley and exorcising evil. This, to me, is the under-girding theme – transformation; from evil to good, from death to a different sort of life. As the year 2010 wraps up, perhaps the closing lines are apt..

Now I have beaten a song back into you
Rise and walk away, like a panther.

May 2011 be a year to be re-born indeed.

Of unintended consequences…

Sometimes even the best laid plains falter- tripped up by the most mundane of details which to the planner were irrelevant. What then can we do but stoically shrug, and move on to the next one….

When things unplanned lead to desired- yet unintended- consequences we must also hail our good fortune and take the chance proffered with both hands. It was Leonard Ravenhill who said:

‘the opportunity of a lifetime must be harnessed in the lifetime of the opportunity’….

That I must, this I will… 🙂

Busy as a bee….

I have been busy. I have spent the last couple of weeks up to my ears in work. No fault of mine – mind you – but yet another unusual turn of events has meant that I have been thrust into the eye of the storm at a new project. Needless to say, it is keeping with the over arching theme of my life – getting lucky breaks when i least expect them, or even deserve them. Two blokes overseeing proceedings on behalf of my firm at a prized client between them contrived to move on – one to pastures new, and the other to the ignominy of summary dismissal. I, the only available bloke, has thus been thrust in, in a moment, at the deep end. Truth be told, the tasks at hand are quotidian at best – ordinary run of the mill things that I in my field should be able to handle without batting an eyelid. The only dark cloud on the bright blue skies however is the sheer amount of paper work that yours truly has to sift through. There are mitigating circumstances – for the first time in seven years of slaving for various employers in three jobs and three continents, I am the only male member of a predominantly female work group. Truth be told, the ladies are fabulous to work with –  friendly, a wee bit too chatty, but great company all the same.  Throw in occasional gifts of a home made sandwich, and free lunch on the company and it is an excellent situation for my bachelor instincts.  All in all, it looks like it is shaping up to be a grand few weeks… and then we roll out the champagne..