2023 in Review.

Heritage Osofowora
9 min readDec 30, 2023
I like this picture of me from Creatives Connect this year — Shoutout to Obi for taking the picture.

This year, I had to write a lot, from reviews to proposals and even onboarding documents. In writing these documents, I’ve realized that creating a cohesive body of writing requires you to break it into digestible sections that make sense. The problem is that it’s pretty hard to do that for a year in review because it seems like everything happened everywhere all at once, and you forgot to press record.

But if there is one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s that it doesn’t hurt to try. I’ll try to break this into sections and hope it all makes sense. This may be long, and I would not blame you for not reading to the end; my attention span is equally as bad or worse. I added some of my favorite pictures to make it easier to read.

The TLDR summary is: Ten do usually happen, but GOD is always faithful.

Regardless, shall we?

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?….”

I know this is a dramatic start — but King David was going through it that year, and I could resonate with it so much this year. I had to face myself this year and it was not a very enjoyable experience lmao. Growth often requires that we be honest about our responsibility in our outcomes. This means asking and answering hard questions. Questions about where you are and the actions that brought you there.

I can’t say I have gotten the answer to all these questions, but I consider awareness progress all the same. It seems basic, but being confronted by your frailty, the limitations of your abilities, and the effects of your decisions can really vex your soul. Regardless, I am grateful that it has made the prayer “GOD help me” closer to my lips than ever before.

What made going through this phase harder was the realization that life must go on. The motions of time will continue despite how you feel, and you must learn to go with it. Your OKRs don’t care that you’re wrestling with yourself. Life will go on, and you may have to move with it. Think of it as healing in motion.

“Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

Songs carried me through this year. Hymns and melodies showed no better answer to the questions asked than putting hope in GOD. The LORD’s response to our weakness is that HIS grace is sufficient, not as an enablement to wallow in the human condition but as an encouragement that even as the storm rages, HIS grace abounds to calm the storm or keep us from being cast away.

I learned that our hope in GOD will not put us to shame. He does hold on to us and carries us along the way. This helped me learn how to be kinder to myself. I hope it’s a lesson I can teach other people, too.

You can find the songs that carried me through this year below:

https://bit.ly/3RWA0qy

Unrelated to the next section, but chocolate-coated biscuits had me in a chokehold this year.

“Prayer is the sound of a thirsty heart. — Pastor Sam Oyeyinka”

I learned this year that a lack of prayer comes from having a heart that assumes it has all it needs. A lack of prayer stems from not having the presence of mind to consider the gaps in your existence, the state of your soul, and its need for living water. I saw that the mercy of the LORD is seen when we are thrown into situations where prayer is the only way forward.

But I also learned that we do not need to be thrown to the limits of ourselves before we see how important prayer is. Daily, we ought to yearn for the LORD; daily, we ought to consider our limitations and pray for His mercy and grace.

I also learned that the LORD listens and works HIS way through every aspect of our lives. The one who believes — prays to the one on whom he has believed. He does not do it mindlessly but with all his heart because he knows he is not praying into a void but to the one who listens to his voice.

I learned that in sighs and groans, the LORD listens, that the muffled “GOD help me” reverberates to HIM. Pray without ceasing, in every moment, in every season, making an offering of prayer to HIM, knowing that HE listens and you can wait on HIM.

You can guess what the next section is about 😌. Here's a fun fact: I went to the beach for the first time in my life this year. Everything is overpriced, in my opinion

“I can’t tell where she ends, and I begin.”

2023 was a lot for my girlfriend and I. I saw clearly that the grace of GOD can be seen in how HE gives you wisdom to build. I found out even more this year that relationships take wisdom and work to build.

The funny thing is that the question is never about the work to be done but whether you consider your union “worth the work.” I am grateful to GOD for finding someone who is so wise — believes we are worth the work, and shows up daily to support that conviction. I am glad I get to experience the joy of doing life with her every day.

I’m also happy the passage of time has not worn us out; rather, it has strengthened our love while teaching our hearts to love even more gently.

I am loved every day in a way that makes me pause and thank GOD for life. I am made to laugh till my sides hurt, yet in the same breath, I am held accountable for every decision made. When burdened, I am carried in prayer by her. Constantly, I am reminded of what it’s like to have someone who is “for you” all the way.

I find that we become increasingly alike every day, up to the point where memories without her are few and far between. Poetry can be pretty hyperbolic, but as time passes, I can’t tell when she ends and I begin. I believe GOD saw what I needed, so HE gave her to me; I love you very much, Ade mi, and I am grateful I get to do life with you ❤️.

I end this section with a prayer because anything exists only by the LORD’s mercy. I am grateful for the LORD’s mercy that keeps us and causes us to triumph every day — So “may the mercy of the LORD hold us in unity and may HIS Grace grant us the wisdom to continually build a life filled with goodness, joy, and beauty.”

Amen.

I wish Google Meet did a recap of the amount of time I spent in meetings this year. It was draining, but I am grateful for the experience.

“Exertion is not the enemy; we must get comfortable wrestling against the discomfort new challenges bring and apply ourselves to them.”

I worked a lot this year. I was thrown into complex situations head first, trusted with crucial decisions, and with leading a team. I had good days and pretty bad ones. I share below a few of my learnings from work this year; I hope they prove helpful.

1.) While excellence is the undeniable quality of doing something well, it’s also the commitment to seek better outputs than you currently have. We are always in a game of continual iterations, and we must be okay with it.

2). It takes bravery to demand creative excellence and resilience to execute on the demand. I got to be on both ends this year, and I believe embracing the friction that comes with getting creative work to the client is essential.

There’ll always be moments where feedback is frustrating, but you must honor your commitment to doing great work regardless. Stay with it, build resilience, ma gba fun 🫵🏽 , you sef no small.

3.) The utopic pursuit of a “soft life” can distract you from the reality of life itself. That utopia is in heaven. At work/in life, you are always in a position where you’re trading up the quality of the problems you are given to solve with the privileges that come with solving that problem.

Being attracted to those privileges without considering the problems you’ll need to solve will often set you up for failure. We can always hope for a better life with more privileges, but we must not let it blind us from the work it’ll take. Whether hard work or clever work, it takes work.

4.) Unreasonable people cannot be pleased. They can, however, be managed. Your primary defense in handling them is ensuring your work is without reproach and praying for wisdom to address their nuances. Keep receipts, too; always keep receipts.

5.) There are levels to thinking. It takes a lot of work to come up with a good idea, yet the veracity of the idea itself is proven by its execution. It takes a lot of work to make things work.

6.) Documentation is the lifeblood of any venture. Document everything and backup everything. Learn to coalesce your thoughts into writing. It helps you test your assumed brilliance by confirming or disproving it.

7.) Refinement is the difference between average and excellent. Be obsessed with the fundamentals of design and apply them religiously. The solution to improving a design may not always be adding new elements. Rather, it may be about optimizing the design layout.

8.) Your team lead’s job is more challenging than you think. I hope you get promoted so you can see for yourself. Some shege cannot be explained; they can only be seen.

9.) All in all, prize competence above all else. Competence in execution, communication, leadership, etc. If it can be learned, you can be great at it. Practice humility, yet assume brilliance and course correct along the way. You bring more value to the table than you think.

I wasn’t very excited about my birthday this year, so my parents got me a birthday cake to cheer me up. Safe to say it worked 🥳

“A home is a place where you are loved.”

I’m so happy I can say that I am loved at home. Year after year, my parents have shown me why they are one of my greatest gifts, and this year was no different. Their kindness, wisdom, and love always leave me in awe. Shout out to my mum, the best to ever do it; thank you for always being there. Shout out to my Dad; I learn to be a better man daily by watching you, and I love you both very much.

In addition, I am grateful for the joy my siblings bring. I had to learn to be a better brother and cater to them individually this year. Sisters are unique; each one needs something different, and while I have the gift of their presence, I am committed to doing my best to steward it. I hope GOD continues to help me.

“Gratitude requires a present mind and a humble heart.”

I am still learning this, but this year taught me to be grateful. This year could have gone sideways in many ways, but I am thankful the mighty hand of GOD was there throughout it all.

I am grateful for friends who held my hands up when I got tired this year. I am thankful for mentors who held doors open, spoke for me at tables, and didn’t hold back on guiding me toward being better. I am grateful for all of it. It’s been quite the year, and I’m so glad I made it here.

Owambe-ing with my people 😌

“I often worry about what tomorrow holds, but I know I am not alone.”

Uncertainty irks me. The general advice is to embrace uncertainty, but that’s easier said than done. I have decided to trust that my life is in the LORD’s hands. I’ll work to show up daily, knowing that HE will carry me through it. Hopeful for what the future holds, and I trust that I will make the best of every new door that opens.

Let’s get it 🚀

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