2022 Retrospective

Mfonobong Umondia (Bella)
10 min readDec 31, 2022


I wasn’t sure if I could do this, but writing reviews every year has become a habit since 2019. Want to read about the past year again? Here you go; 2019, 2020, 2021

So what happened in 2022?

This year began with a lot of unknowns for me. Just coming out of the worst year of my life, 2021, and entering the new year with no idea what to do next or how to go about it; plus, I was still burnt out and living every day without purpose but guess what? It was more manageable than I thought. The fact that I was still alive was the only thing that gave me hope.

So what happened, and how did I manage to stay sane?

I am still trying to figure out how best to write this because there is much to unpack from my head. It has been a long ride, and I am thankful to God that it’s the end of the year and we are now in the next phase.

24th Birthday 🎂

Lol, there's nothing much to say here, just that I was not ready for the age I turned this year, but I handled it well after all.

Still in the spirit of my birthday, I resumed office as the Friends of Figma Regional Lead for Africa, and that’s not all; my contract was renewed twice, which means I am doing something right. BTW Happy 1st Anniversary to me 🥰

I didn't have any special celebration for my birthday; my best friend took me on a lunch date and got me gifts; I also received cash gifts from amazing friends, and my sister made two massive cakes for me (oh well, I did not cut the cake specially to mark the occasion if that’s what you are asking) I only cut them into portions and delivered to all my friends. Weirdest thing I have ever done on my birthday lol… I just wasn’t interested.

Contributed to the Open Source Festival Design Team 🎨

I think by now, I can say that I have contributed to the design team twice (in 2020 and 2022). This year, I collaborated with Mark to design the OSCA Fest Swags. Thanks to Perrie for always giving me the opportunity and believing I can make a great addition to the team.

Accepted a Six Months UI/UX Design Instructor Gig 👩‍💻

It wasn’t the best time of my life, but I accepted to teach UI/UX Design in the JAUIT’s six months training program, stayed in Warri, Delta State, for the first three months, met new people, made new friends, and generally just lived life. This contributed at least 30% to my healing process, and I am grateful I accepted this gig. Thanks to Timothy, Jamin, Marvis, Raymi, Purity, and Anthony for being great hosts. I learned the pidgin language, too, finally, lol.

I got a part-time role as a Designlab Mentor 👩‍🏫

This was another milestone reached and a dream come true because I had previously applied to join Designlab and was served breakfast. I am happy they served me breakfast at that time cause I would not have been ready. It’s been a fantastic teaching experience, and I have outstanding students doing awesome stuff.

Not sure how long I would like to stay at Designlab, but I will make sure my stay there is worth it.

Transitioned from Design to Golang Engineering 👩‍💻

“Oh no, Bella, you shouldn’t have transitioned” “Why go to backend though when you can just do frontend?”, “You were not even that good, so shoo!,” “I am rooting for you, Bella,” “You can even become a Design Manager; it’s kinda something you are naturally good at,”… etc.

When I first made the announcement that I was transitioning, I got reactions from many people, and trust me, some of them were not good, but you know what I did; instead, I took the good ones and comforted myself, then spoke with a few friends who motivated and supported me. Didicodes, Jonesky, Ifunaya, Mark, and Felicia, much love from me to you. I will dedicate an entire article to my transition; it’s just not time yet.

Made new Connections 🤝

I would not call myself an introvert because sometimes I can be extroverted. I feel like I am in between. As an introvert who doesn’t know how to start conversations with people they are meeting for the first time, I made incredible connections. I am not the best person to keep up with conversations or friendships but trust me; I am learning each day; I want to make new friends, have good connections, and maintain them. Share tips if you have any 😉

A special shout out to these fantastic humans; Bami, Precious, Shebuel, Emeka Boris, Toria, Victory Brown, Joynels, Paul, Ogochukwu, Saviour, and Ekpes. We had an excellent 2022. Let’s take over in 2023 💪

Lost Friends 🚩

No, nobody died. I lost friends because I did not want to have specific energies around me no more. I discovered I am naturally a people pleaser because I do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but when I decided to prioritize my peace, they all just disappeared. It saddens me that I have lost them, but if it’s going to cost me my peace, I’d rather let them go for good.

I started schooling at Nexford 🏫

I started learning Business Administration at Nexford University. Another BA loading. My journey has been incredible, and I highly recommend this school for BA and MBA programs. I made a new friend too… Ebiere.

I finished my Final Exams at Uni 🧑‍🎓

Again, little to say here. I am just grateful to God that I finished my final exams at the University of Uyo; I still have a few more things to do, like my project defense, clearance, and NYSC or not. I may write about my experience as a Communication Arts Student at the University of Uyo someday.

I moved on finally, lol 🚮

Took me a whole four years to be able to move on from a relationship heartbreak. Old emotions have been buried for good. Lol, as crazy as it sounds, it’s the truth. I have finally found peace, and life has been so much sweeter.

Friends that kept me sane 🥹

Just before I begin, I did something I had never done before. I discovered that I hadn’t spoken to many people since the beginning of the year, including my brother. So I made a list and called and spoke with everyone on it. This was one of the best decisions I made in 2022 because it rekindled many friendships and kept the conversations going.

This year, I have fought many silent battles and am grateful to the people who have held my hands through it all. In the darkest and brightest moments, they still held me firm. I have experienced pain in its rawest form and joy in its unrefined form, and sometimes I wish I didn’t have to be this strong, but God knew I could handle them.

Having friends with good hearts and positive energy is a blessing, and I am grateful to have you all in my life. Much love to Mark, Joseph, Nnamdi, Cynthia, Mercy, Ifunaya, Faith, Felicia, Enobong (my sister), Mum, Dad, Fitness Junkie, Chris, and Socket. Thank you so much for being in my corner and keeping me sane. I love you all so much.

I wish I could mention everyone’s names and express my heartfelt gratitude, but I may do so in a separate post.

Last but not least, I want to thank me for not giving up on me and being the strongest woman on earth, and making it this far. All the pain, the tears, the sleepless nights, and the hardships I faced. Mentally, I nearly lost myself, but I could not let myself break because I was alive, and life gave me “hope.” I have become more substantial and am so proud of myself.

I could finally afford my treatment 🥳

It’s a flex because I was dying slowly and losing myself because I could not afford hospital bills. Glad I was able to do that this year… still in the process, but I feel so much better.

Became debt free 💃

Lol, It’s the most significant flex of them all. Only close friends and family will truly comprehend the gravity of this situation. I give thanks to God.

Worked with amazing people 🏆

Because of the nature of my job and the tasks I have to complete daily, I decided to outsource some of my work, which turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made. I worked with incredible people such as Uduak, Saviour Inyang, Enobong, Eugene, Joynels, Saviour Udoka, and Jamin. Thank you for helping to make 2022 less chaotic.

Other highlights 🌚

  • I joined Treford as a part-time design learning partner and worked with the fantastic team for five months to help shape their design learning tracks for their online boot camps. Shout out to Thelma for the referral.
  • I hosted lots of twitter spaces and spoke in other spaces too.
  • I did not have many speaking engagements this year; it was intentional. I just was not mentally ready for such engagements.
  • I accepted an influencer gig from Aya, worked with them to promote the brand for a month, and left. My mental state did not let me continue — it was supposed to be for three months.
  • Contributed to lots of teams to host events and execute projects.
  • I had another failed attempt at becoming an open-source contributor at outreachy (I made it to the contribution stage, and we go again next year). I need someone to hold my hand and show me how this open-source thing works.
  • I got my passport, finally lol (I have intentions of traveling a lot next year)
  • I turned down some offers; some companies and individuals really need to do better.
  • I got a new laptop
  • I got a new phone
  • I started gyming (I am beginning to feel more confident in my body and at peace)
  • I had more alone time and some time outs with my friends
  • I still did not hit my savings and investment goals; we go again next year, purr!
  • I had a staycation twice (one was out of my city, and the other was within)
  • Re-launched my business Heleczo
  • Sadly, I could not get an iPad
  • Moved into a new apartment
  • Friends of Figma Africa started gaining a lot of visibility
  • Started vlogging again. Please subscribe to my YouTube Channel

Other notable things happened to me this year, and I am super grateful to God.

Valuable lessons I learned this year 💭

  • Doing things at my own pace and owing nobody an explanation for it. This helped me not give in to peer pressure and realize that people are different, and so are their journeys. That someone else is going faster than you does not mean you ain’t making progress.
  • Celebrating my wins and analyzing my failures and how to turn them into wins. It’s one thing to win and celebrate. It’s another thing to acknowledge your failures and. think of ways to make them better.
  • Mastering the art of planning, organizing, and strategizing has helped me manage everything I do (work, school, church, hobbies, etc.)
  • Coming to terms with the fact that people will always look out for themselves first. It’s just simple maths. Do what you want to do for people, and do not expect them to prioritize you… just be good with no expectations. Such expectations will only make you get hurt if you dwell on them.
  • No matter what you do for people, they will always look you in the eyes and say no. Even if you are dying, it’s honestly no one’s business. Do you first; if others come through, it’s a bonus.
  • Not everyone is meant to be in your life; some are seasonal friends. Respect the end of their tenure and move on.
  • I learned not to share everything. Not much to explain here; don’t be the oversharer, it has its many downsides, and you’d definitely regret them. A bit on the surface is enough, lol.
  • Health neglection made me shed tears at the hospital. Prioritize your health, people… if anything happens to you today, work will go on.
  • Stopped waiting for the right time to do things. I took on many responsibilities and created opportunities for myself in the process.
  • I stopped trying to impress people, lol. I picked up my suitcase of pride and boarded a flight to freedom, landing in a valley of change. My happiness and peace of mind come; first, you don’t like it that way, shoo!
  • I learned not to lie to myself; if it is not going to work, it won’t. MOVE ON!
  • My mental state is fragile, so I learned not to waste my time arguing. If it requires my sorry, I will apologize; if it requires me to say my mind, I will say it. If it is just baseless and trying to mess with my peace, then ✌️

Next steps? 🤔

I’m not sure yet and don’t want to overwhelm myself, so I took some time to plan my 2023 and the goals I want to achieve in various areas of my life. Most of them will not be made public for reasons of privacy. But, aside from that, I’d like to;

  • First of all, I am not ready for the age I am turning next month, lol
  • Remain consistent in content creation and grow my YouTube channel to at least 3k subs before the end of 2023
  • Travel more
  • Write more
  • Read more
  • x6 my income
  • Learn a foreign language
  • Meet my savings and investment target
  • Buy more gadgets
  • Setup my apartment
  • Setup my workspace
  • Give more time to my brand and be more intentional about its growth
  • Change my fashion statement and wardrobe
  • Go out more
  • Become more consistent at the gym
  • Learn to swim
  • Learn to drive
  • Be more intentional about taking pictures and generally creating memories etc.

A new year of massive growth and opportunities has just begun, and I am so ready for it. Here’s to 2023 🥂

Oh wait! before you go, January 26th is my birthday, and here is my birthday wishlist just in case

…a gentle reminder

You could be the reason someone feels hope, understood, at peace, validated, seen, and loved.

Do not give up on yourself; I am rooting for you 🫰



Mfonobong Umondia (Bella)