This one actually feels hopeful

Mo Isu
6 min readDec 21, 2022

Sometimes I sit in my room and think about how every single thing in it -everything about it -is mine. I spent money from my own bank account to own it*. It is a complete and refreshing feeling. It’s a new feeling. For a space to truly belong to me in all ways.

In the conversation I had with my parents, one that has been asked about many times by friends, I brought up this issue of the ownership of spaces.

“Oh, you moved out? How did your parents take it”

I should start by expressing the gratitude I have for my parents. And the way they took it, they weren’t stoked to see me leave their home but they were happy to support me in doing so. They gifted me the fridge that now stands in my kitchen. My father lent me his car to run the errands necessary for setting up a new home. They drove me to my house the day I made my final move. They showed me so much kindness, the same kindness they have repeated to me time and time again as I attempt to figure out adulthood.

I feel like growing up in this way, becoming an adult but staying their child, has been a learning experience for all three of us. I have learnt that I don’t always have to speak up about everything I disagree with them about. There are times when it is important but it’s often not. I have learnt that nursing this relationship is just as hard for them as it is for me. They are doing their best for me as they understand the world, and because we don’t understand the world the same way does not mean they are against me.

I brought up moving out to my parents one night after we said our evening prayers. I told them I had something important to talk to them about. 18 months earlier, the conversation about my choice to quit my job had started in a similar way. They asked me why I wanted to move.

Don’t you feel comfortable here? Do you feel like we don’t let you be yourself?

It wasn’t about them and what feelings they made me feel. My parents make me feel mostly good things and conversations like this are always representations of how lucky I am. I told them it wasn’t that.

“There’s just a limit to how comfortable I can be here. I feel like I need to be moving forward — progressing. I have all my friends doing all these things. Making more money, living on their own, and getting married. I am not comparing myself to them. They have been doing these things for many years. But I want to move in a direction too. I want to feel like I am progressing in life. And there’s just a limit to the ownership I feel here. It’s always going to be my parent’s house. If I wanted to set up a studio space, I can’t do that here. It’s not my space. I just can’t ever feel that full ownership here.”

I can tell you now, after three months, that feeling like you have full ownership of your space, even if it is a small space, even if it isn’t nearly all the things you dream about, even if your neighbours' generators make it difficult for you to sleep — for you to even think, I can tell you now that this feeling, it’s worth it. It’s a good feeling. I was beginning to doubt my ability to attain it.

It might be a small space, but it’s mine. I will create the magic I want it to have.

Sometimes, I flatter myself thinking how good at living on my own I am. There are evenings where I find myself cooking to the ambiance of lovely music and enjoying my life. It’s a far between phenomenon but it comes and when it does, I appreciate that I didn’t imagine I could do any of this.

These moments have been sprinkled throughout the year. Moments where I feel that perhaps there is hope for my future yet. Perhaps It is possible, likely, that I do not remain stagnant forever. At the same time, I don’t feel like I made much progress this year.

I was chatting with someone recently and they asked me how work had been for me so far.

“It was good in terms of recognition for my work but very slow for output”

I am being generous when I say that it was good in terms of recognition. I do not have nearly any extra fame or popularity but I do have a more solid community. I have support and friends in the audio community that span wider than Nigeria. I have a small community of people that would be willing to vouch for me (more than I would vouch for myself)and the quality of work I am capable of. I also feel more secure here. I understand in a way clearer than I did last year that this is where I am meant to be. I don’t doubt my place and I spent less time this year wondering if I had made the right choice changing career.

The unfortunate thing, however, is that the anxiety did not simply disappear. Instead, it was refocused on more immediate things. Like emails and approaching deadlines and figuring out how to be the person I want to be.

I started a newsletter with the intention of documenting the story of my progress through life. At the start of the year, with naive enthusiasm, I thought the newsletter would serve as space to tell stories of how I achieved things. What it ended up being was a story of all the different ways I could let anxiety prevent me from doing work. If that was a career path available to me, it would be one I’d excel in.

2022 was not a spectacular year in any way. It was not particularly noteworthy for being good and it wasn’t bad in any major way which perhaps should always be a thing of note. I wished so badly to travel more this year. Senegal was a place I hoped for many months to visit but I decided instead to spend all of my savings on a house. I travelled to one new place this year, Cote d’voire, and I caught covid there which was more of a good thing than a bad one in retrospect. I wished to be able to make a living for myself which I can say I managed to do in a very small way but at the cost of all my personal time and mental clarity. I wished also to share the year with friends which I did. I saw three of my closest friends who I hadn’t seen in many years, one of them, on the event of her wedding. I did not see my sister but my parents did and it was a joyful moment to watch. I did life with love this year, as I always have and that I was grateful for.

In general, this year, I did not have any great disappointments because I honestly did not have any expectations either. This was the first year in recent times where I did not write down any goals. I simply let be what would. It was not a bad strategy. It freed me.

But I won’t be repeating it in 2023. In 2023, I will want things again. I have already started to.

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Mo Isu

Writing what I can| Being Vulnerable and confused| Making podcasts