New Themes

Opemipo
3 min readJan 15, 2023

My themes for 2022 were migration, community and money.

Migration: I tried to move away but ended up moving around. It was good motion though, and now I have community in Nairobi and London. I’m still a few steps from integration, but I’m as close as ever to having other places that feel like home.

Community: I seeded a maker collective (wuruwuru), bonded with more folks at work, cultivated small circles of friends, and got closer to my mom and siblings. I withdrew from the internet significantly and was more intentional about the bounds of my reality.

Money: I stopped bleeding cash. No more studio salaries, no more big projects, no responsibilities, better savings, living within means, more conscious spending. In a surprising flash of adulthood, I kept all the receipts from setting up my Nairobi flat.

Well — new year, new themes.

1. Sustainability

I was pleasantly surprised by how much cooking I did last year, and I want to sustain this habit.

Also, swimming. I’m tired of saying “I can move around but I’ll drown if…”. I want to get comfortable enough to go diving later in the year.

Other “lifelong pursuits” I’d love to be consistent with are tennis, French, building my website and writing stories, but I have to be measured with my energy.

My first theme for the year is sustainability. Across travel, work, people, habits and hobbies, I want to do things sustainably so I can be more consistent.

2. Connection

Last year, my sense of responsibility clouded my sense of purpose and triggered an identity crisis. So I’ve been on a journey to rediscover myself.

I’ve hired — for the first time — an assistant and a coach, and I hope that by working with these people who need to understand me to help, I get to understand myself better.

Across my communities, there are also deeper layers of connection to achieve e.g. learning more about my family history, reaching out to friends consistently, bonding with older people, studying local ingredients and cuisines, creating space for the collective etc.

But I’m starting with myself. Refer to the first theme.

3. Discovery

I plan to be in Oslo later in the year, and the Bakken Baeck team has graciously offered to host me. Of all my trips this year, I look forward to this one the most. It’ll be the first time I’ve travelled for adventure — not community or relaxation — since the pandemic.

I’m also looking to try new things with dating and sex. For many reasons, I suck at meeting new romantic partners. I’ve been slowly opening up to this part of myself, but I’m struggling. Regardless, I hope it’ll be an interesting year of loving and being loved.

Connection is about building a deeper sense of self and place, and discovery is about allowing myself to experience new ideas, people, spaces and ways of being.

This might just be my year of LSD.

I’ve always distrusted the form of the personal essay because I recognize the lie here, recognize how easy it is to put together a satisfying narrative conclusion about an incident in my life, one that delivers on a certain promise made to the reader — a satisfaction entirely built on smoke. These neat, pat resolutions at best can only describe one facet of one’s life, at one particular moment. Meanwhile the rest of you — these parallel lives — remain messy, untidy, ambiguous, complicated.

Colin Dickey — Lateral Thinking

Future thinking like this never captures the complexity of my life or the often-chaotic state of my mind.

It doesn’t reflect all the things I struggle with — the insecurities, addictions, anxiety, confusion, the constant questioning.

It gives me clarity, and helps me to articulate where I want to be. If I can make it make sense in writing, then maybe I can do it in real life.

But it’s never as simple.

Keep that in mind.

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