Aayooba’s Diaries: A Letter to 26

I did not see the dreadlocks coming.

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I have always known you to possess a strong will and when at 21, you put scissors to your own hair to shave it all off, I knew you were capable of doing the wildest things on impulse, whether the world aligned or not. But see this one, I didn’t see it coming for a number of reasons. The most glaring of which is the fact that you loved your hair exactly the way it was. You even gave it a name, “Mr Popsicles” Lol. Honestly, if I said that I remember when you made up your mind on it, I would be lying. But hey, you did it anyway and all I can say is that it is LOVELY!

It’s been an oddly calm year, hasn’t it? I know, because I was there haha. You seem to have enjoyed yourself quite a bit. Especially with you going to concerts every chance you could get. Your sister even dubbed you “Queen of concerts” lmao. Yorùbá women and exaggeration are really inseparable considering how you only went to about four. But those four were pretty intense, I must say. They were the artistes you thoroughly enjoyed and it was nice to see you have fun like that. On the days you were not folding into yourself like origami, you managed to live a little and I really liked that for you. 😊


So I am writing this letter because I wanted to do something endearing, for you. Do you know that saying where they say being kind to yourself in the most ordinary way you know to show kindness? To be honest, I don’t know that saying either, I just made that up 🤭. But yeah, I thought it might be a nicer way to self-reflect like you often do and as opposed to previous yearly reviews which you’re now bored stiff of, letters are a bit fancier. Come to think of it, you’re quickly bored with things, aren’t you? Do you think there might be a deeper explanation for that? Anyhoo, this isn’t therapy so we best quickly move on from that, thank you very much.


Ermm, let me see. 26. Hmmm. It’s indeed the least rollercoaster-y year you have seen in a minute. Remember how you said your life went downhill after 21? LOL, that was adulthood showing you shégè. But we can both agree you’ve enjoyed a bit of sanity in the past year. Don’t get me wrong, I know you still went through it. In fact, you STILL are going through it. But in a way, you’re better equipped. Your lemonade stand is somehow thriving even with the influx of lemons life constantly throws at you, it’s a miracle. I guess that’s the singular most beautiful thing about ageing. With time passing, you learn to build capacity for more. Things or situations that would ordinarily have torn you apart two or three years younger, you’re here transporting yourself unto better projections, Jason Statham-style. I find that very impressive because personally, I struggle to see any upside to growing older. However that angle kinds of lets me glimpse things from another perspective.


Do you remember when Q came back and said “it’s been a year, can we talk?”, and you screamed internally because really what did he mean by it’s been a year and could you now talk? As if he had to bid his time for the earth to complete its revolution before he could find his tongue? As if a year was enough to undo the hurt? Mann, you were fuming at that statement. But I was very proud of your reaction though. You could have flipped, you could have been irrational and said many things you wouldn’t be able to take back. Instead, you took a deep breath and said “yeah, we can” to a conversation that lasted all of what, 10 minutes? A bit underwhelming, not going to lie. If we consider how long you waited for it to happen. If not for anything though, that was confirmation that some closures don’t come when you want them to and if they eventually do, you would have managed on your own all along and by the time they show, they are pointless. Nonetheless, it was a relief to close the door on that one.

Photo by Mike Tyurin


You’re a lot cleverer than you give yourself credit for, you know? Although not all the time (not being shady or anything 💀) but at least in that, you’ve managed to find what works for you and exact dosage of it. For that, I commend you for not setting overly gigantic goals this year. You took initiative from 25 where you were a bit of a proper flop and you used that initiative to your advantage this time. You set goals that were so tiny that they weren’t even obvious. That did the trick though because look at you winning. Albeit in small ways, winning is winning. You can confidently say that one part of your life you have comfortably hacked is being able to set actual realistic goals for yourself and not simply following every random person’s template. Instead, you did you and that included not doing anything significant at all on many days.


Do you know how much of a relief it is that you can now keep your feet on solid ground? That we don’t have to worry so much anymore that our head is stuck in the clouds? That you’ve gradually shed the saviour complex (I hope I’m using this expression the right way. If not, I trust that you know what I mean) because you’ve realized no one is coming to save you from yourself. That nobody wants to be saddled with the responsibility and particularly, how unfair it is to have such expectations of anyone at all. And more importantly, realising that you don’t need saving. Because you’re perfectly imperfect (ughh that is the weirdest thing you’ve ever said to yourself) and that simply, is your life. Es tu vida! y es muy divertida y bonita. Look at your Spanish flowing like Don Simeon vino tinto, you’re such a hot cake, oouuuf. 🔥


I appreciate many of your efforts to put yourself out there this year. Many of them were all so commendable but respectfully, can you never do that “reaching out blindly” to a stranger thing ever again? Look at how that ended, were you proud of yourself? Actually, you probably are, which is both aggravating and admirable at the same time. I just don’t think you should put yourself in positions like that again. It doesn’t align with the qualities that you wish to exemplify. While I agree that you merely wanted to experiment, unluckily for you, that went south. Like every other thing you’ve ever done just because others have tried it too. Frankly, copy copy is not in your destiny. Let’s not do that again. 👍🏾


I like that you’re learning to wait for things to unfold and I genuinely hope you’re able to keep that up. You keep figuring things out as you go like everyone else and that’s okay. Half the time when you thought you’d figured one thing out, many instances jump out of hiding just so they can say ‘I told you so’ but that’s okay too because you don’t give a shit anymore about having it all together. I hope you will continue to take one step at a time. ✌🏾


Remember Odin? Your right person, your wrong time. Remember how you grieved for the love you imagined you’d missed out on? How you told yourself this was the most beautiful thing to ever happen to you? Not gonna lie, at the time, it probably was 🤭. And I think that is why you held on to it for this long. As if your want of someone automatically entitled you to have them. I hope you know it’s time to let go though. I know it’s been harder than most. Whatever that was, was amazing but the fact remains it ended and it’s time to make peace with that. The best is yet to come, my darling. LOL before you take my word for it, please consider that I don’t know this for a fact either, but I hope I’m telling the truth. 🫶🏾


And if I ceased to exist? Oh, the universe would notice. The mess that would make? Oh, the hearts that would break. So I’ll stay. For the bad choices. For the great ones. I’ll stay, and cause a few hurricanes.” Last year when you said that, I could swear neither of us was exactly sure what that meant. But right now, in this moment? I get it so much and I am grateful to know that against many odds, you remained honest to yourself. I can boldly beat my chest that in this past year, you did so many things that involved staying. You found so much satisfaction in the little things and now I hope the big things gradually find you. 👏🏾


On that note, I hope that the coming year will bring you all your blessings. I hope when your blessings come, you revel in them. I hope while you revel in them, they stay for as long as you want. I am rooting for you, always. I don’t show it enough but that changes because the undeniable truth is that I am. ALWAYS. I love you and I am incredibly proud of you all the time. Even on the days you feel less than. Especially then! 💪🏾


And 26? Thank you. For everything, and mostly for the things 25 fell short of. 💛

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4 thoughts on “Aayooba’s Diaries: A Letter to 26

  1. Honey, I am smiling and tearing up reading this at the same time. How you manage to be one of the biggest cheerleaders for your peers while picking up the “lemons” life keep throwing at you is nothing short of amazing. This year you will no longer strive to survive, honey you will thrive!
    P.S. from one “hard girl” 😂😂😂 to another, please let people in. The world has a lot of people who don’t give a shit and others who are barely keeping afloat in their own situations but hey, that’s what we are all doing. So let’s do it together.

    Much love😘😘😘

    1. My sweetheart!!!

      Cheesing as I read this because you’ve just made me so happy. Amen to your prayers and seriously, thank you for your gift of friendship to me. I cherish it so much and I don’t ever take it for granted. In a world of so much disconnect, it’s comforting to know that you’re out there with the promise to always hold my hand. Love you so muchhhhhhhhh.

      PS: now that you’re my fairy godmother, does this mean I get a monthly allowance? Hay God, This is the life I prayed for 😂❤️❤️

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