Looking back at 2016 like…

looking back at 2016 - LFC

I don’t want to repeat myself, thanks to my previous article about the New Year “resolutions”, but I did want to take a look back at 2016, and see what I can learn from it.

I also want to show people that it’s not because that the world is facing some tragedies, that we have to stop being positive. If we start that way, what good can it bring? Honestly?
Yes, there was a lot of terrorism, but to be realistic, terrorism was never resolved with crying out hate. Everybody has to face their own problems, but I think it’s time to look back and see what good we can bring out of it?

2016 was the year I decided to try to get back on my feet. Trying to clean up all the messes I had done (or let go) in the past. To be honest, I’m still working on it… I have a hard time opening some of my mail being too afraid of what it contains. But I bring myself to do it, because I know things will get worse if I don’t (I use to avoid everything, hoping it would disappear somehow… yeah right!)

I decided to work more on my blog, and on my social media, yet still keeping my identity and my personality… So far so good! It took some time I admit, it was especially hard when I was still working full time, but still, I feel like progress has been made, and keeps on going.

2016 made me realized, I’m not that good at being an employee. Or more precisely an employee of a big company, where everything has to be really tight, and scheduled. I can work my ass off for any project I’m into, as long as you let me decide when I can work on it. It can be during the day, the night, the weekend, however. I can never be the best of myself feeling like “a prisoner” (ok that’s really harsh but I can’t find a synonyme so far…)
I have also grown up with two free-lance and entrepreneur parents, so I always leaned towards that direction, even though I always had the choice to do whatever I wanted in life. I will be forever grateful to my parents, who taught me to do what I loved in life. Not to do a job for the money, but because it would bring me happiness, and joy, and if I really loved what I was doing, I would be great at it. And if I was great at it, it would bring me money at some point. But earning money was never the main focus, and I think it helps me a lot in the way I picture my career.

looking back at 2016 - LFC
Now morking with Juju on creating our own projet: Juju & Lulu (@julu_comm)

Taking the step to become free-lance is not easy though, but despite all the bad things we can say about being free-lance in Belgium, we have the option of starting things slowly and carefully, thanks to SMart. So far, it allows me to do my free-lance jobs, while keeping my unemployment paycheck. And whenever they think I’m ready, I will take the step to become full time free-lance. It’s scary of course, but so exciting and so thrilling to finally be able to do what I really love (which is a bunch of things, another reason why it took me so long to figure it out).

I can sound really positive, yet, 2016 took me one of the person I loved the most on this planet, my american mom, Maureen. She was one of the best human being I have ever known. She was loving and generous, took me in 10 years ago and made me part of her family. I was just a lost kid back then, kicked out a various host families (I wasn’t a bad kid I promise! 🙂 I think it was a lot of bad luck, and a little of misunderstandings…). Anyway, we met one day, she took me to her house, and I never left, for the following 6 months. And for the next 10 years, I came to visit as often as I could. But the last few years, I couldn’t make it, or for once, I decided not to go to the US, but instead go some other places. When I came back last june, it had been 3 years since my last visit, and I felt bad and sad that I didn’t come sooner. I felt sad that I came a little too late (maybe) to say goodbye, even if I’m forever grateful I got to say goodbye, and I was able to tell her that I love her, and that I always will.

looking back at 2016 - LFC

She was the person I was the closest with in my american family, but I felt like this event brought us back together, and somehow I feel closer to them. I miss them and I hope to make it back in 2017.
Looking forward, I will keep her love in my heart, and her voice in my head, always pushing me to be the best of myself, with others, but also in my career choices. I remember how she didn’t like me working in a bar, I could tell that she knew, even from miles away, it wasn’t good for me. And somehow, I believe she’ll stay around, somewhere, with me, to help me keep on making the best decisions I can.

2016 taught me also that friendship can change, and it’s ok. It’s hard, and it’s painful. Sometimes it even feels like a breakup. Maybe it’s not forever, because never say never… but even for a while, it helps. It doesn’t make any point to force things, when they don’t feel natural anymore. Yet, it doesn’t mean that there’s no love anymore, I think love stays, and always does. Mutual interests fades away though… maybe to come back later. Let’s see what the future brings.

Once I stopped working at Vente-Exclusive, I decided I wanted to travel more. As I explained before, it wasn’t the best timing since my bank account wasn’t at its best we will say. Still, from then I was able to make it to Ibiza, USA, Bordeaux and finally Bali. It made me realise that I really enjoy travelling, even by myself (sometimes especially by myself), and even if I love my hometown Brussels, I could be travelling all the time and it wouldn’t bother me. That’s also one of the reason why I love being freelance, it allows me to do most of my work from my laptop, wherever I am sitting in the world.

looking back at 2016 - LFC
NEW YORK – June 2016

It also got me thinking, that I always loved sharing my trips with my readers and followers, and the place I discovered such as restaurants, bars or shops. I created a hashtag on instagram to find my favorite hotspots around the world #lulushotspot and also #travellinglulu for my different travels. I have also the travel category on the blog. And this is definitely something I want to develop in 2017, sharing my travel tips with you guys.

In 2016, I finally discovered Yoga! It is something that I kind of always wanted to do, but never made it happen, or when I did, did it wrong. I tried yoga many years ago in Brussels, and the teacher wasn’t that great, or didn’t seem inspiring to me. So I ended up forgetting about yoga for a while. But my trips to Bali made me think of it again, and since I was looking to do some kind of sport, it seemed obvious to go in that direction. First year, first try…nahhh. Still what I was looking for. Last year though, I pushed myself to try again, and took a beginner’s class at Serenity Echo Guest House in Canggu. They are quite specialised in yoga and have a bunch of different classes. And that was it! I was sold, right then and there. Until this day, it stays my happy yoga place, and my favorite place to practice yoga. I’m really happy about how it changed me in one year, how I got into it, and how much I love it. I haven’t done any sport since many many years, but this is just awesome. That feeling to push yourself to be your best, and the kick it gives you afterward. Sometimes the pain it gives you also, in every one of you muscles, but it’s a good pain. My goal for 2017 is to keep on practicing Yoga as much as I can.

looking back at 2016 - LFC
Aerial Yoga Class at Serenity Yoga (Wearing Bebillie Yoga Wear)

So far I have done yoga at Yoga Room in Brussels. I love the place, really pretty, peaceful, and somehow friendly. I dislike a little that the rooms are quite small, and you are really close to the person next to you, but I also know that it was thought like that. And the yoga spaces in Bali are probably luxuriously big 🙂

Since I was taking a more healthy turn in my life, I also decided to reduce (or avoid completely) Gluten and Dairies. I’ve been told to avoid dairies since I was 12 (and sugar as well) but never really listened. You know, when you’re a kid you don’t really realised the impact of food in your daily life. But I reduced it back then, which helps me a lot avoiding it today.
I’m not allergic, but it always gives me stomach ache, makes me want to sleep,… It’s funny because I remembered that years ago, my ex boyfriend made me realised that I was always complaining about having stomach ache all the time. And I do remember complaining about it quite often. I just didn’t know why it was hurting. The answer is simple though, we were eating pasta like everyday! (I got into cooking right after we broke up, thank god!)

looking back at 2016 - LFC
Homemade Vegan Chili with Quinoa

After one year without gluten and dairies, I can really tell a difference! I feel a lot better in my everyday life. And I got used to it. I eat delicious food, and enjoy all of my meals! There are a lot of options, trust me… if you want to have some ideas, check #luluscooking on instagram. I usually post all of my home cooked meals up there (when they’re pretty enough to be on Instagram).
It doesn’t mean that I never ever eat pasta or bread anymore… it happens from time to time. But as soon as it does, I can feel it in my body immediately.
Now, my next move is: reduce the quantity of my meals (sometimes I just love food so much that I eat for five!). Eating less helps me feeling lighter. I guess not being able to move after a meal is never a really good sign, or is it?
I also want to reduce my drinking. It’s not that much, but I want to keep it down to once a week. Or at least try. Thankfully I have stopped drinking wine for like, 5 years now? It sounds crazy to a lot of people but if you don’t REALLY enjoy it (I guess I’m not the only one on the planet not really enjoying wine, yet not finding it bad!) and drink it only to do like everybody else, then just stop. It reduces your alcohol beverages a lot! Like during dinners or cocktails, if it’s wine being served, I just go for water.

Ok, now after taking a good look at the good and bad things of 2016, let’s hope to make a year of 2017 to remember!

looking back at 2016 - LFC
Echo Beach, Bali – January 2017