One step back, two steps forward
The end of the year has always been a curious time in my opinion. It is a time that inspires reflection on the preceding 11 months. A period when some people take stock of what has been while others are eagerly straining towards the finish line, wanting and needing the clocks to strike midnight on the 31st of December, thereby somehow magically resetting time so we can start again at 1 (see what I did there?).
I will be honest, I struggled a little thinking of what to write for this final weekend review article in 2016 and it only makes sense to take a look at the year’s highlights in weekend ‘jollofing’. Reflecting on the places, people and things we should take with us into the New Year, and then look forward to promises that lay on the horizon of 2017.
It is important to take that step back so that we don’t forget to take some awesome things with us into the new year: like the ‘fit-fam’ movement and specifically mixed ability boxing classes in the form of Elite Box Nigeria. This Boutique boxing gym opened it’s fitness doors at the end of April and has grown from strength to style to rounding off the year with a “Rumble On The Atlantic” boxing tournament! The Elite Box movement and gym is not about fighting really, but more about fitness, and they are so passionate about getting people on board that they have mixed ability sessions, a gym and on the weekends, some Yoga. Meaning that whatever your fitness fix might be, they cater to it some way. And for those of you curious about the “Rumble On The Atlantic” tournament, well there’s a 2.0 version coming in April of 2017 where you get to train for a few weeks with the aim of competing at the end. If 2017 is going to be savage, you might as well prepare for it abi?
Looking back, it occurs to me that 2016 also gifted us with a food revolution in Nigeria. I can honestly say I ate some of the best food that I’ve eaten in this country this year. And this is thanks to the creation of platforms that have showcased incredibly-talented chefs and food Connoisseurs; from the Fiesta Of Flavours to the GTBank food Fair. It has been hard to pick out just a few but particularly delighted to have discovered Tarragon Restaurant in Ikoyi, pastry chef Alex Oke (@alexcooksfood of XO Boutique Bakery popping up in Victoria Island), and Ozoz ‘The Kitchen Butterfly’, a complete wizard with food combinations. Make sure to get on her blog: www.kitchen butterly.com.
These are just some of the incredibly hardworking and talented people spreading the knowledge and joy of good food and trust me, if I had enough word count space left I would list a number of others. Let it be known that I am a friend for food. A real friend, but let’s never forget that food brought us together (consider this a public service announcement my future chef friends and friends who cook).
What all this reminiscing does is, it causes us to look to the future and what it holds in terms of a work-life balance. If I were the betting type, I would put my money on 2017 unveiling a bigger and better version of everything and I mean everything.
Take the Afropolitan vibes for example, which has grown in scale from year to year, and this year (in fact yesterday and today) they are holding the Afropolitan Vibes Festival!
So not one but two days of Lagos’ favourite palm-wine selling, live-afro-music-jamming, multi-cultural gathering at Freedom Park, which also happens to feature some of this year’s best and brightest music acts from Adunni & Nefertiti to to Jojo Abbot to Falana, and Tomi Thomas, and that’s not all. There’s a beer festival, workshops, urban sessions and so much more, all for a comfortable N5,000 giving you access to everything on both days. The motto going into 2017 seems to be ‘Go big or go home.’
As we prepare to celebrate the Christmas season, let us be bold and brave for it better prepares us to face the New Year in the same fashion. Perhaps you are facing a tougher Christmas than ever before (I’m still praying for my MMM brothers and sisters) or your families are away and you are stuck alone for the holidays, you must look for new ways and new possibilities of ‘jollofing’.
So whether it’s joining the community of Paint the Night Africa who happen to be holding a Christmas day special event, or packing your bags and planning a journey to Ibadan in the new year, Carpe Diem and march boldly forward where few dare to go.
Until next time. Enjoy your weekend!