Ayọ̀délé Ìbíyẹmí
6 min readOct 12, 2023


2023: Baby Szn!

What a year! Russia and Ukraine are at war, Gaza is on fire, Bola Tinubu became Nigeria’s president. Inflation is at an all time high in Nigeria. It’s an hour to my birthday, I am here in my hotel room, struggling to write a birthday post as I always do. Since I started this in 2017, I always say I will write it before my birthday eve but I never get to it. I just never get to it. Previous years were busy but this year has stretched me. It has been the best year of my life but it has stretched me beyond my ability. I spent half of the day traveling in the company of some of the best people I have met in my entire life who I have the good fortune of working with. Before writing this, I had to complete a presentation I have tomorrow. I am still nervous but I am always nervous before presentations even though I always do well eventually.

I almost didn’t write this because I have been overwhelmed with work and life for weeks. But here we are, writing it for posterity and gratitude.

i. “The greatest of this is love.”

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

-1 Corinthians 13:13.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I quote the Holy Bible. It guides my interaction with people and even my work. I always have a verse of the Bible to defend my actions and positions. At work, in my research, I always find a justification and by the grace and mercy of God, it has not failed. Apostle Paul in this chapter talks about the importance of love. Even though he was a man of great faith, he understands that love is greater than hope and faith. I would suggest reading the entire chapter. It has helped me and I am sure it will help you too. Love is the most important thing in life. The good apostle explains how important it is and some of its features.

There are so many people I do not agree with but I love them. I love them because I owe them love. One other person who has influenced me greatly is James Baldwin. I think anyone who wants to understand the United States of America should just read and watch James Baldwin. He has quotes on love of country, love of people and long distance love. My personal favorite is this:

“The trick is to love somebody… If you love one person, you see everybody else differently.” — James Baldwin

To love people is to see them fully, to let them see you too. To do without holding back, to love people with all their flaws. I try to show love in all that I do without holding back. I love my friends and they all know I try to show it as much as I can. I owe the world love, I hope to always show it.

ii. Acceptance is a thing of the heart

“Acceptance is an act of the heart. To accept someone is to affirm to them that you think it’s a very good thing they are alive.” — Damilola Sofowora

Sometime in 2012, I was gisting with friends behind Auditorium II, waiting for the class holding in the auditorium to end so my class could go in. I can’t remember what we were discussing but Dami said those words and I posted it on Facebook. Apart from posting it on Facebook, I remember it everytime. For me, to accept someone is part of my faith. It is a part of my faith because it is an affirmation of God’s work and wonder. That God spent time creating this person and I owe it to God to accept them as human, a wonderful creation of God. It is an act of faith and not simply between me and the person. It is between me and God. Now do I accept everyone without any caution? No, but I love everyone and I want to do my best to treat people as God would treat them. It is a tall order but it is something I aspire to. To see people as God sees them. God created such a complex system and gave us all unique identifying markers like palm lines. I have to respect God through His creation.

Also, no one can do life alone. Someone told me one time that “you get the energy you give people.” It is not necessarily true all the time but most of the time, people would respond to you when you show them love and respect. I am human because I am a member of the human race. Without others, I would not be identified as what I am today. Being a part of a global brotherhood is as important as existing as an individual. There is no me without others.

iii. Just do your work — TG

One of my mentors recently told me to forget all the distractions and just do my work. He told me everything will fall in place. Another day, he told me “you will do well.” Another mentor told me yesterday “your voice is needed.” I am surrounded by people who tell me I will do well and support me to do well. I am thankful for them and I do not take them for granted. If I ever mention my friends and mentors here, they will fight me so I will keep it private. I hope someday I will look back and say I have indeed done well as predicted.

v. Nothing fails like failure.

This year, I learnt that people would naturally gravitate towards anyone they think is doing well. I have always known this but it became more pronounced this year. Everyone wants to do well so they will align with success. One of the ways to stay relevant in life is to keep doing well. I won’t fail, I will do well in life. I know that. The cost of my destiny is expensive, I just have to remind myself to bear the cost.

iv. Baby Szn

I am in my baby szn. Writing it like a gen Z because I have been telling everyone I identify as a 23 year old. There is no law against that, I think, lol. Even though I am a grown man and my dad thinks I should be a father already, I am enjoying being taken care of by people. You never outgrow care and support. I am kinder to myself and more receptive of help. I have the good fortune of having people who care about me greatly. Two people recently asked me if I needed anything within the space of 24 hours. These are people who owe me nothing! Yet, they care so much about me. I hope I can pay it forward and pass down the kindness,

v. Sacredness

For several reasons, it seems nothing is sacred to people nowadays. Not friendship, not love, not honor, not loyalty, not family. I am fully convinced that certain things should be sacred to us as humans. There has to be personal boundaries apart from societal boundaries. One of my favorite Bible verses is from Paul(Paul again, lol). He says in 1 Corinthians 10:23: “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” Apart from laws that guide us as a collective, every individual has to have certain personal values that guide their behaviors. I am wary of people with which anything goes and a society where anything goes. I have no power over others and I am not writing this for anyone. I am writing this to remind myself that “as for me and my house,” we will hold certain things as sacred and it won’t change.

Till next year, by the grace and mercy of God.