A Disappointing Year, What Went Wrong?

2021 is coming to an end. In less than two weeks, we’ll have crossed into 2022, and I have little to show for it. Do I deserve to see next year? Many of the things I set to achieve by now are just dreams locked in the back of my mind, like old clothes in the last drawer. 

My focus is gone, and targets have shifted. I now know less about my purpose than I did in January. 

What happened? And why exactly is this pattern repeating itself as years go by? 

I fell into the mediocrity pit hole a long time ago, can’t remember precisely when and ever since, I have struggled to get out of it. A couple of common behavior patterns characterizes a mediocrity pit hole. 

First, you only do the bare minimum of any work you have. As long as it’s presentable, you’re okay. Secondly, you rarely make sacrifices to achieve your goals, and for the little moments you can, it lasts less than a week. Lastly, you rarely reach your goals, let alone surpass them due to your work patterns.

I have little to be proud of about 2021. I started the year with so much zeal and expectations. I launched new projects and made big optimistic moves. But slowly, these ambitions lost touch, and I lowered my expectations.

I now look at the portrait I created in my workroom that projects me in the next five years, and I feel like I’m looking at a distant dream. 

I’m a relic of my 12-year-old self, a kid who had a vision and strong will. 

Don’t get me wrong; I have made some progress anyway; I landed a writing job that pushed me out of my comfort zone… Mmh! I guess that’s all. And I lost the job in less than three months.

It sucks to be in my current state. Yet this is a state many youths can relate with. When we graduate from university and face the world, we expect to land good jobs or spot business opportunities to exploit. 

Then the world grabs us by the neck, tosses us around like spineless chickens and beats us to the ground. We realize that things aren’t smooth out here. We lower our expectations and settle for what we can easily have. 

Most of us then fall into the survival path within no time. We do what we do no matter how boring and draining it is to get that wage or salary at the end of the month to cater to our needs.

Fortunately, I don’t have the strength to drive on that road. I am terrified of life in the rat race. I SHIVER when I think of the boring lives that most middle and old-aged people live today.

Yet, I’m also keen enough to observe that I could turn out worse off than them without patience and determination to materialize my dreams. 

I have been way over my head, thinking that having grande dreams is what matters. I’ve looked at employed colleagues and scoffed at them because they’ve allowed themselves to put aside their dreams and work for somebody. 

I have ignorantly thought that I am way better off by following my dreams. My dad has repeatedly advised me to get a job, work for a couple of years and build enough capital to start my business, but his words have fallen on deaf ears.

Time is rushing by as I cruise through life in no particular direction. I am afraid of waking up one day, a 30-year-old man in a bedsitter and wondering what the hell happened. 

The idea of remaining mediocre petrifies me. I am scared of not meeting the expectations of my family and friends. Most importantly, I am terrified of lying on my deathbed, having achieved none of my dreams.

But I can’t afford to lose hope. I know time is running out, but this has to work. I cannot look back.

So I will start by acknowledging the things I think went wrong. By listing my shortcomings, I’ll have a template to use to work my way up.

  • I don’t have a mentor. When I got the writing job, my employer was like my mentor. He pushed me every day to get work done, and in the few months we worked together, I did more work than I had done for years. I should either get a mentor fast or be my own mentor.
  • I wasn’t ready to make sacrifices. Yeah! This has been going on for ages now. I never wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone. I enjoy the soft life, dad says so. Mediocrity is a consequence of this character trait. Nevertheless, I know I’ll make great strides once I learn to get out of my comfort zone consistently.
  • I made my relationship my life purpose. As a hopeless romantic, I often make my significant other the focus of my life. Do I regret it? Honestly no. I enjoy every bit of it because it makes me feel alive. But I guess if I shift this energy to my work with support from an understanding partner, my dreams will come true, I’ll be happier, and she’ll share in my joy.
  • I did not network enough. Actually, not at all. In my line of work, you need to network often to find opportunities. I should reach out more to experts in my industry and offer value. With sustained efforts in networking, I’ll reach my goals way faster than when alone.
  • I have not focused on one thing. I was blessed with an innovative brain. I have so many ideas that I want to work on, and occasionally, I deviate from my main gig to work on them. With diverted focus, I never stuck around long enough to see the fruits of my efforts. If I can sharpen my focus well enough, I know my dreams are a hand stretch away.
  • I lost touch with God. As a primary school kid, I prayed to God daily to thank him for life and ask for His blessing. And He never disappointed. Sometimes He delayed, but He always came through. Nowadays, God has become an afterthought. I only remember him when I’m in trouble. Redemption is my only hope.

By acknowledging my mistakes, I know where to start to change the trajectory of my life. I want to rectify each of these errors from now on, and may God keep reminding me what’s at stake so I can put in the effort.

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