When looking to the media over the past few days, it seem pretty universal that 2016 has been a rough year. Watching the news these days can easily weigh heavily on our souls and it can be hard not to be dragged down by the current state of affairs. On my personal side, 2016 has been one of the most challenging years yet. We’ve had to say goodbye to some very special people in our lives, there have been health challenges, and a whole lot of soul searching for personal direction.
This last week has been one of quiet introspection – cozy days at home; my first real holiday where there is nowhere to go and nothing to do. As much as I spend my time looking and planning for 2017, I don’t want to discount 2016 just because it was hard. We also had some really amazing times this year; just because there were some bad times mixed in doesn’t mean the year was overall a negative one, there is also a lot to be grateful for.
It was our first full year as home owners. While we didn’t do a lot of visible renovation work, we made this place feel infinitely more like us. We got a BBQ and crafted some patio furniture from old palettes which meant summer days in the garden and lingering over dinner until the mosquitos chased us inside. We set up a home gym in our garage (because #fitgoals!) although we need to work on getting out there more often! Inside, we’ve slowly been creating a cozy space which has been amazing to retreat to these last days.
I went to some amazing new places this year and back to some old favourites as well. While the year felt overall more like nesting, the world exploring continued from our big trip to Indonesia, to destinations within Europe like Lisbon, Champagne, Manchester, and Amsterdam. Not to mention all the “local” Belgian destinations we visited to get to know our home country better.
Family and Friends
I’ve definitely enjoyed entertaining more this year, and I hope I can do even more of it in 2017. From barbecues to my boyfriend’s surprise 30th birthday, we have had a lot of fun gathering everyone in our home. We’ve had several weekend guests and my parents have visited twice to stay with us. They help us out loads during their stays, and it feels amazing to have them here now that we have the space to not trip all over each other!
The Little Things
Cozy mornings snuggling with the cat while I drink my coffee. Lazy evenings with my boyfriend as we just enjoy peace, quiet, and each others’ company. Cultivating a meditation and journalling habit (53 days and going strong!). Walks in the countryside right outside our door step and Saturdays spent in the city enjoying the best of both worlds.
This is definitely not an exhaustive list of what I am grateful for this year. But it does help put in perspective that this year was not so terrible. I think no matter how rough our year may have been, when you look really closely you will always find positivity and gratitude in there as well.
Title photo: 10am early December sunrise in Lapland, Finland (2005)