I read my post from January 2016 a couple of days ago and my excitement for the year ahead, back then made me smile.
Considering, we had lost our dad two months before, my eagerness to move on as quickly as I could from the pain and grief, was a bit naive to say the least :-)
2016 was indeed a year of grief, acceptance and gratitude as we lost more loved ones and so did the rest of the world.
I can feel this year has changed me though.
I’m not sure if I have changed in a good or bad way but I certainly feel different with regular siesmic kicks from my inner child who seems keen to get out and live her life to the full.
How about you!? How are you feeling a few days in 2017?
Business wise, 2016 was a big transitional year too. Closing the chapter on 10 years of my life when I sold the e-shop, was a big thing but I’m glad to say that it remains one of my best decisions ever. First, not taking care of all things shop-related, has considerably reduced my stress level and freed me so much time that I have been able to rekindle with a big passion of mine: photography.
I also started surfing at 40+ (how cool is this!? ) and opened a new Instagram account in the process, which has given me a great deal of happiness (and it’s important to have little things that make you happy). It had also allowed me to take the time to see what I wanted to do in the years ahead work wise (i.e. taking nice portraits of people like Mathilde above).
Last year, there were four things I wanted to achieve on the personal level and they worked well for me. This year, I want to fine tune these and add a fifth, important one.
BE FIT & HEALTHY
This one is probably on everyone’s wish list and it’s a year on year work in progress for me but I deeply believe it’s important you and I keep trying to make it happen until it happens. Let’s not focused on the things we didn’t manage, how many times we fell off the wagon but instead let’s look at all these small changes we make year after year which eventually add up.
I’m still building healthy habits and make small, manageable changes each time I get the chance and so can you. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
I constantly read things about people who transformed their lives at the age of 40, 50, 60 so we have plenty of time. Let’s sow now to reap good things later and make sure you write down your goals because it helps to make them happen.
When I realised half way through the year that I had yet to tick “surfing” off my list, it took me very little time to take action and enrol Mila and I to surf lessons and surfing has done so much for me. Not only, I have proven myself once again that it’s never too late to start over but I’ve also met some great people.
BE GRATEFUL FOR WHAT YOU HAVE
Travelling, meeting new people, catching up with old friends did us the world of good last year but I think it is being grateful for what we have rather than what we lost, that really helped us to get through tough times.
It is so easy to get caught up and think that the grass is greener over there but it’s not, it’s never is.
Everyone is fighting a battle, you just don’t know it. Nobody has the perfect relationship, the perfect job, the perfect house.
Over the years, I stopped comparing myself to others because let’s face it, we always think that the other is doing better, has better opportunities, more talent but it’s so untrue.
“Comparison is the death of joy” Mark Twain
Avoiding comparison and focusing on your own things will definitively make life better for you and a lot less stressful and anxious.
I’m not saying that I never compare myself to anyone but I make a conscious effort to not go down that negative, destructive path.
When “envy” start creeping back and for me, it happens when I read a blog I admire and found that they are producing a lot more interesting content that I do, then I stop reading them for a while until I’m back to simply appreciate what they do to be inspired rather than being envious.
I really think joy, happiness is a choice we make. Life is messy, painful and sad sometimes and then it’s great, amazing and fabulous again and it’s definitively how we handle it and the people we choose to have in our life, that will make a difference to our happiness.
I kicked toxic people out of my life a very long time ago but if you have still some of these people in yours, this year is the year you need to let them go and kick them out of your life once for all.
Hang out with people who make you laugh, who support you, who love you…not the ones who criticises you or not appreciate you.
Make new friends.
I’m lucky to still have very old friends from high school and University in my life. However, through blogging, Instagram, I constantly meet new women and “fall in love” with their spirit, tastes, styles or sense of humour. I’ve also met people through surfing and photography…
If you put yourself out there, you will make new friends and over the years, it may even convert into a deep, meaningful friendship or maybe you will just appreciate each other without becoming best buddies and that’s ok.
Seriously, Life is f**cking too short!
Have a ball, have a laugh, spend evenings with your girlfriends, binge-watch comedies on Netflix, go on a road trip (we are!!!), think about the places you were really happy and go back there.
If you’re not happy about your job, leave it and find one that will make you happy or change your perception, be grateful and appreciate what you have.
Last year, our family holidays took us to Comporta in Portugal, Hossegor and Marrakech. Work wise, I travelled to London, Barcelona, Ile de Ré, Paris and Airbnb flew me to San-Francisco which was just awesome.
This year, we have already scheduled Marrakech, Bali, Hossegor, Portugal and I’m hoping to add Copenhagen, Sweden to the mix as getaway weekends. Travelling has done me the world of good last year and forced me in the most gentle way, to not think about the people I had lost but about the new things I discovered and people I met. It also helped us tremendously to build new happy memories and something that I want to pass on to Mila so she knows when she grows up that after the storm, there is always peace and joy if you allow yourself to get there.
PRACTISE POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS
Last but not least, say positive affirmations on a daily basis (bear with me on this one…).
I consider myself a positive person, always looking at the half full glass rather than half empty.
Yet, I wasn’t always a positive person.
It’s a skill I taught myself twenty years ago when I moved to London and read a lot of self-development books.
In the recent months/years, I often tried to reach out for those books which had taught me so much years back and helped me to be the fearless person I am but each time I started reading one, I felt this massive, heavy cloud above me sucking all my energy and eventually I would put the book back on the shelf after reading a few pages.
Over Christmas, I realised that my positive outlook in the recent months, was more like the icing on the cake, my way of “surviving” things or issues that kept coming back and that really, I needed to either tackle these issues or take the people who caused them out of my life or change my perception.
I decided to change my perception.
Issues we have, come in various shapes, forms or emotions. It can be resentment, anger, sadness and in a worse-case scenario, depression or addiction. Sometimes we feel that life is unfair or we are not good enough. I don’t hold grudges and I have the memory of a gold fish so I don’t have a lot of anger within me but I had feelings of resentment and sadness and the occasional “I’m not good enough”.
Interestingly enough, I use a very positive language towards my daughter. I praise her, I constantly tell she is loved, smart and beautiful. I do my best to raise her to be a confident person. I teach to deal with bullies, negative comments. I tell her that the perception of others is not a reflection of the amazing, inspiring, kind kid she is but I’m not doing the same to myself.
The funny thing is that I never realised how many of my thoughts towards myself were negative until I made a conscious effort to be positive. Have you noticed this!?
So this year, I have decided to be my best friend.
Rather than reading self-development books, I’ve started listening to podcasts on youtube. My favourite by far, is this one by Louise L Hay which I listen to every morning. I also listen to this one every night to unblock things (will let you know if it had any positive effects at the end of the month) and I’m now teaching myself to push daily negative thoughts away and make room for positive ones. This is tricky to do and not as easy as it sounds but I have noticed a certain lightness and definitively more self-acceptance since I started at Christmas and I hope it will inspire you to do the same.
I will end this long post on this quote I heard today which made me laugh…