Looking back to 2016

Okay, get ready for a pretty personal post. This period of the year usually stands for reflection, but 2016 definitely deserves some extra attention in my case. 2016 was a difficult year for the world, and for me personally it’s been one of the craziest years of my life. It’s been a rollercoaster of heavy emotions, unexpected plot twists and figuring out how I want my life to look like. The year started out pretty troublesome, but during Summer literally everything changed so that I could end the year in the most happy state of mind I’ve had in times.

To quickly summarize; in 2016 I ended an 8 year relationship, moved into my first own apartment together with one of my best friends, traveled to lots of new places, unexpectedly met someone very special, quit my parttime desk job, started my own business with this blog, started modeling again too and decided to just kick ass in general. Quite the year, right? I decided to reflect on 2016 and look forward to 2017 in 50 personal questions. Hope you’re reading!

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ABOUT 2016

1. What one event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about? This Summer my friends and I spent loads of evenings hanging next to the river in Antwerp; drinking wine, listening to music, enjoying the sunset and ordering pizza. Bliss.

2. If you had to describe your 2016 in 3 words, what would they be? Independence, unexpected, fun.

3. What new things did you discover about yourself? I apparently have more self discipline than I initially thought. I’m quite a lazy person, but I’ve never missed a deadline and don’t mind working really late to finish my work.

4. What single achievement are you most proud of? Turning my blog into a full time business! Let’s hope the success story continues in 2017.

5. What was the best news you received? When diagnosed with Pfeiffer’s disease earlier this year, my doctor prescribed me a relaxing holiday. YES PLEASE. I immediately booked a trip to Seville with my mum and lived according to doctor’s orders during the whole of Summer 🙂

6. What was your favourite place that you visited in 2016? THAT is a difficult question. Probably Berlin or Seville. Berlin because I went there twice — once with my best friends and once with my boyfriend — and Seville because it was the exact relaxing getaway I needed to get my life back on track at that point.

7. Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year? Cooking. Ahahaha, my friends know I nearly starved myself to death when moving into my apartment because of my poor cooking skills. No, um, probably the art of relativizing.

8. Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on? My mom. Cliché, but true.

9. Which new skills did you learn? I tried to learn to play the bass, but I still need looooads of practice. I also tried a hand at video editing – this needs lots of practice too. And does doing the laundry count? So many new skills!!!

10. What, or who, are you most thankful for? My parents, for giving me the best opportunities and insights in life and business! Dad and I work together on our company for example, which is something that I could never have managed myself.

11. If someone wrote a book about your life in 2016, what kind of genre would it be? Probably a pretty unrealistic love story with a happy ending.

12. What was the most important lesson you learnt in 2016? To make myself and my own dreams a priority. There’s only one person that can make me happy, and that’s myself.

13. Which mental block(s) did you overcome? I think I finally started loving my body 🙂 If you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, read this post about insecurities in the modeling industry!

14. What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with? Difficult question! Some of my best friends I only see a few times a year, while other besties come knocking at my door every other day. So let’s not limit my friends to a list.

15. What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise? I quit my part-time desk job and started my full time self-employed career in November. That was and will be super exciting!

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16. How did your relationship to your family evolve? I guess my twin brother, younger brother and I grew older and a little closer this year. Living with my parents for 2 months earlier this year also helped us grow closer! And of course my dad and I became business partners – so cool.

17. What book or movie affected your life in a profound way? I’m not much of a movie watcher and unfortunately haven’t read too many new books in 2016. However, I started reading the Harry Potter series again (ahh, nostalgia) and they now remind me of those relaxing weekends at the seaside I did with Lisa in times when I really needed to clear my head.

18. What was your favourite compliment that you received this year? In March of 2016 I completely “reinvented” my blog: the concept, the content and the layout. I was extremely happy when people told me that the new website perfectly reflected my personality, and that it really stood out in the current blog world. Score!

19. What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life? Coffee moments with friends, the lovely afternoon sun glaring through my living room’s windows and my boyfriend playing guitar on the couch while I was working from home.

20. What cool things did you create this year? I bought myself an old school photo album and started capturing life through disposable cameras again. I now have a real cool album of 2016 that I can cherish foreverrrrrrrr.

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21. What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)? The first half of the year I spent totally worried and stressed out , but luckily the other half completely made up for that. I couldn’t end the year in a happier way.

22. Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year? I booked an exotic two week holiday for myself to another continent. Vamos a Mexico!!! More on that in 2017!

23. What was your favourite moment spent with your friends? The river evenings I spoke about in the first question definitely qualify for fave moment with friends, same goes for the plenty of home parties we held together!

24. What major goal did you lay the foundations for? Obviously getting self-employed and starting a company with my dad to work on my full time blog.

25. Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary? This year I started modeling again after I sort of paused my career a few years ago due to studies and other work, I was really worried that as a 25 year old I wouldn’t get any jobs… But apparently my face still works!

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Photo by Dena Huys, make-up by Crystal Die

26. What experience would you love to do all over again? Shooting my campaign for VILA at Sziget festival in Budapest (in store somewhere in March!) was the best experience ever. Next time with my own designed collection maybe?

27. What was the best gift you received? An imaginary cat, from me to me. No, I don’t want to choose one material gift over another one, so let’s say that the fun moments with friends and family was the best gift of the year. *blinks back tear* Also, a reindeer head with Christmas lights.

28. How did your overall outlook on life evolve? I think that my positivity got an extreme boost this year, and this reflects on my outlook on life. This sounds so overheard, but I became super motivated to live my life to the fullest instead of just letting it happen.

29. What was the biggest problem you solved? Probably practical stuff about the apartment. Turns out I can be a grown up too! Who knew.

30. What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you think about it? Weird story, but my fingers are very flexible and can practically bend over. I always thought I was the only one in the world with these bizarre fingers, but one drunk night a friend of mine showed me the same trick. I couldn’t stop laughing for half an hour straight, and we’re soulmates now 😀

31. What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever? A new closet to stock my huge collection of clothes 😀 An even bigger one would have been even better though, but ah, lack of space.

32. What one thing would you do differently and why? Maybe I would quit my part time job earlier. Honestly, working for myself makes me so happy that I don’t understand why I haven’t started doing it earlier.

33. What do you deserve a pat on the back for? Fixing my roomie and I a pretty awesome apartment in one of the best neighborhoods in Antwerp! If you haven’t seen it, check out the hashtag #maisonpielaun on Instagram.

34. What activities made you lose track of time? Watching bad reality tv? Which is exactly the reason we don’t have tv at home. I would probably be watching Ex On The Beach or Geordie Shore all day long.

35. What did you think about more than anything else? My personal state of mind and “discovering” myself, although I NEVER thought I would say this (I usually *eye roll* when other people do). But I have to admit, turning 25 years old turned out to be a changing point.

36. What topics did you most enjoy learning about? In 2016 I experimented with my first vlogs, and really enjoyed creating and editing them! It took me ages though, but good things take time, right? Also, having a musician boyfriend helped discovering new artists and new music the past year, which was loads of fun.

37. What new habits did you cultivate? Throwing out my spoilt food before my entire fridge goes mouldy. Quite a pleasant change.

38. What advice would you give your early-2016 self if you could? Everything is going to turn out pretty fine. Take the time to sort out yourself and your life, and don’t let anyone interfere this mission.

39. Did any parts of your self or your life do a complete 180 this year? Well yeah, that must be just about EVERYTHING, as you could read in my introduction 🙂

40. What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year? My love. Definitely.

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What about 2017?

41. What do you want the overarching theme for your 2017 to be? Fun!

42. What do you want to see, discover, explore? THE WORLD, obviously. I’m starting out with a trip to Mexico in February, and hope to travel a lot more the next year. On my wishlist? Vietnam, Malaysia, LA, St. Petersburg etc etc etc…

43. Who do you want to spend more time with in 2017? My old school friends and I meet up only a few times a year, so it would be fun to get the group together more often in 2017.

44. What skills do you want to learn, improve or master? In 2017 I would like to find out how I can become an epic vlogger. Like, a really epic one. And a funny one!

45. Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen? I always have lots of fun ideas but sometimes I don’t carry them out, which is a shame. So for 2017 I’d like to be more bold with my ideas and as Nike would say, just do it.

46. What do you want your everyday life to be like? Blame it on Winter and the hectic past year, but I currently crave a relaxed and peaceful everyday life with lots of tiny happy moments. I do however need my spontaneous bursts and getaways!

47. Which habits do you want to change, cultivate or get rid of? I would love to become a morning person, so I can be productive during the day and have more evenings off.

48. What do you want to achieve career-wise? Saying no is something that I’ve learned to do more over the year, but for the next year I’d like to be even more selective, careful and focused when it comes to managing my blog business. This way I can drastically improve the quality of my content, make my blog stand out more and rise everything to a higher level. So in 2017 I basically want to become the best blogger ever. And vlogger, I’ve told you that.

49. How do you want to remember the year 2017 when you look back on it 10/20/50 years from now? The year I became an epic, independent and creative girl boss that partied hard and traveled the world. Is that too much asked?

50. What is your number one goal for 2017? Get the most out of my personal qualities and do as many fun things as possible!

Et voila! That’s it – a personal overview of my year! How was your 2016? 🙂

  • I love this post, might use these questions to figure some stuff out for myself, haha! We seem to have so much in common too: I got into modeling for a while, I study English lit and linguistics and my boyfriend is a guitar player! Anyway, you’re very inspiring, so I hope you continue your beautiful blog successfully in 2017! <3

    htttp://bathinginculture.com

  • I’ve discovered so many thing about you! Happy new year Paulien <3

  • love this post en ik ben superblij voor je, trots op wat je hebt bereikt dit jaar!