Why Am I so Excited About 29

Alexandria Old Town

If you follow me any where on social media, you will know I have been raving about my birthday for about a month now. And I will tell you why.

I am one of the most special people in the world who were born in 1989. No one can argue with me, 1989 is the best year of all years since we started counting. Are you about to argue? Stop it.

Also November. Please let’s not get into a fight about it. The best people in life are born in November. Ask around. It is fact. LOL.

Finally, as my mother likes to remind me, today is All Souls Day. To be honest, this didn’t mean anything to me until I lost my dad seven years ago. Wow! Can’t believe it has been seven years already!

Every year since then, we all attend mass on his behalf (even though he was Muslim. I will explain this in another post).

And on my birthday every year for 7 years, I have said a variation this prayer to my dad …..

“Dad, I know you might have been worried about your last baby who was barely an adult when you left, but I pray your soul is at rest now knowing that she is somehow getting by.”

But this year is different. When I woke up this morning, that last line changed to

“ but I pray your soul is at rest now knowing that she is doing excellently well”

And that is why I am so excited about 29.

I typically do not celebrate birthdays. I used to be one of those people who thought “I’m not doing enough”, “I could be doing more”, “what am I even doing with my life” … what this meant was — every year on my birthday, I would focus on the things I didn’t do or all the things that didn’t happen and guess what? I was sad. Year in year out, rinse and repeat.

But that is such a miserable way to look at life. I didn’t celebrate landmark birthdays like 21 and 25 because of this nonsense behavior.

And now when I look back, the things that were making me sad don’t make sense anymore. At 21, I was upset because I couldn’t buy myself a new car — now I don’t even want to own a car anymore.

At 25, I was sad because some boy misbehaved — now I don’t even want a …(never mind before someone reports me to my mom).

When I knew this behavior was terrible was my 28th birthday.

My friend had called me and said “wow! you are now an adult oh. You are actually 28”. I was like “who is 28? I am 27.” True story.

She thought I was joking but I wasn’t.

I had to bring out a calculator and punch in the current year minus 1989. I had no recollection of my 27th. I tried and tried and I couldn’t remember. It means I didn’t celebrate it. I wasn’t grateful for the year. I didn’t do anything special. I couldn’t remember.

For my 28th, I just stayed on my friend’s couch in New York, but that year, I promised myself that I would make sure every birthday from then on will be birthdays I would not struggle to remember!

So this year, I am going underwater diving and swimming with sharks in the most beautiful coral reef in the Americas (I’ll post pictures! I promise)

The one thing I am most proud of this year was that I took up mentoring.

I had been reluctant to do this because I mean “what could I mentor? Me sef I need mentoring”.

But then I remembered that in my early 20s, I was so lost. I was doing a lot but I was lost. My dad who was my career coach wasn’t there anymore. He gave me my first law book on Law of Contracts before I was 10.

It was the same book he had used when he schooled in England in his 20s and I used the same book when I schooled in Lagos State University.

So when I remembered how lost I used to feel, I decided to do it. And the young women and men I mentor have now become family and are doing amazing!

It is such a good way to give back, so please do consider mentoring.

Now I am going to do a run through of some of what happened to me this year and you decide for yourself if it is still strange that I am this excited.

Nov — 2017 (my new year starts on my birthday)

I co-organized and taught a Impact Investing Workshop at one of the most prestigious Universities in Kenya. This was done in partnership with one of the biggest law firms in the United Kingdom so was pretty exciting for me.

Now you know my real name.

December 2017: I quit my job.

This has to be the most scary thing I had ever done and I have gone Sky Diving.

I didn’t have any offers or anything like that. I was not even looking when I quit.

I LOVED my job but I knew in my heart that I wanted to focus mostly on Impact Investing.

Leaving this job was so emotional for me because my colleagues were my first friends in a new country (I had interned there for one year while I was in Uni). They made me this lovely card.

The dollars in my bag was to signify “investing”

January 2018

I was floating and frankly confused. What had I done? Who quits a job with no other options? I was so afraid but I didn’t show it. I spent some time in Lagos and during that time organized a workshop on Negotiating Term sheets with VCs for the entrepreneurs at Workstation Lagos. It was amazing!

February 2018

Someone I met in December through an old connection rang me up and literally offered me a job after our first conversation. It was love at first speak for all of us on the phone.

My now boss is one of the best in the world of Innovative Finance and was the author of the first health-focused impact bond in the world. I was sold. This was a job that set my heart on fire. This was it!

March 2018

At the STER — HACEY UN CSW Panel in New York.

I had a team workshop in Dubai and met all the amazing people I would be working with. We have team members all over the world so we all convened in Dubai in March. They were all amazing! I had found my tribe.

I also co-organized a panel on ending gender-based violence on behalf of Stand To End Rape at the UN Commission on the Status of Women yearly conference.

April 2018

I spoke at the Africa FinTech Summit in Washington D.C. My panel was filled with all people I looked up to in the Venture Capital world so that was a big one for me.

Then I was part of another Impact Investing panel at the Chicago Booth Africa Conference. Again, another panel filled with rock stars in the Impact investing space.

We were so happy to do this!

May 2018

I spoke at a conference organized by Fordham University New York on Impact Investing and then I recorded a fire podcast on same topic with some thought leaders in the space. Another humbling experience. I’ll link the podcast to this post.

June 2018

I went to Russia for the World Cup and after exploring three historic cities in Russia, I decided it was one of my top 5 best experiences in life so far! It deserves its own blog post if I am being honest.

This was also the month, I worked with the Impact Investing Legal Working Group and New York University to organize the biggest conference on legal issues in impact investing and social entrepreneurship. Surreal right?

He sat beside me during the Nigeria- Croatia match

July 2018

I started Scale My Hustle. This is a project super close of my heart so again it deserves a separate write up.

Hop -on hop-off Tour Bus Moscow

My friend and I (Tosin) where in this exact bus when we spoke about the idea of @scalemyhustle and she encouraged me to actually start it. I’ll always be thankful we had that conversation!

August 2018

I was a mentor on the Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa. I met so many inspiring entrepreneurs doing pretty cool stuff. Super incredible experience!

Google is so colorful. Love it!

September 2018

I got promoted at work!

As my best friend will say “you are now a director of an American company so don’t let anyone talk to you any how” LOL!

October 2018

This one is huge,. I taught a class at New York University School of Law on Innovative Finance and Impact Investing. The feedback I got from that class actually made me cry. I’ll be collaborating with NYU on other projects so I am so glad this happened.

November 2018

Today marks the beginning of a New Year for me and I am super grateful for the year that past. It taught me so much about myself and showed me that I am stronger than I thought. I know it sounds cliche but it is the truth. I had no idea I had 2018 in me.

It has also been the year I connected with women who are finding their voices in the world and these women inspire me everyday.

That’s another reason why for my birthday this year, I want to help keep 16 girls in school so please do reach out to @scholarXedu (on Twitter) if you are interested in helping to make that happen. It will help us make some girls and their parents very happy.

Thank you so much for getting to the end of this. Is it now more obvious why I am so excited about 29?

My real face.

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attorney | traveller | writer

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Moe

Moe

attorney | traveller | writer

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