6 Things 2016 Taught Me

It’s been a week since we bid farewell to 2016, which was bittersweet for me. It would be an understatement to say that 2016 was a transitional year for me with big changes and new unforgettable experiences.

So much happened last year: old friendships grew stronger and new friendships were born; I visited places I’d never been to before which re-ignited a spark, that had fizzled out in me in 2015, to take from life all the experiences that you can.

Last year taught me a lot of things that I’m taking with me into this new year and will use to continue to improve myself and make 2017 just as great if not better than 2016.

Here are six of the most important lessons I learned last year that I’ll take with me into this new year.

Negative environment/thoughts won’t bring about positive results.
Negative people and environments are toxic!  They can do horrible things to your motivation and self esteem.  We need to really think about why we stay in these negative situations. Perhaps it’s fear of what’s out there, hope that things will improve, or just a sheer depletion of energy to change.  But, we all reach that point, that breaking point, or rock bottom, where you have no other choice but to make a move. In the beginning of 2015, I did just that. From that moment, everything that felt so out of line and out of control started to fall into place. The cloud had lifted and the beautiful rays of sunshine were finally able to reach me.


Take time to do things you love.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day grind. We find ourselves tired and unmotivated, putting off the things we love until another day. The problem is, before you know it, a year has passed. Taking time to do what we love helps us escape the mundane, release stress and feel fulfillment. It may take some extra effort on our part but the results will leave you feeling satisfied. In 2017, I want to make the things I love doing more of a priority in my life whether it’s reading a book in the hopes of achieving my Good Reads Challenge, or trying to write more.

Take care of you, no one else will.
Physical and mental well-being are important for living a full and healthy life.  So, make yourself a priority and nurture this incredible gift of life that we’ve been given.  My roommate and I began watching more closely what we were eating, and portion sizes.  At first, it wasn’t easy.  I mean, Italian food is amazing to the say the least, so how can you possibly resist a second helping of pasta or just one more slice of pizza!?  However, it wasn’t long before I began feeling healthier and saw numbers on the scale that I hadn’t seen in probably a decade.  I also started practicing yoga more regularly and now find myself feeling out of whack when I miss a practice or two.  These small changes have led to better habits and I feel stronger, more ready to take on the daily adventures, or challenges, I’m faced with.  Who knows, maybe this year I’ll finally be able to do the crow pose!


Home is where the heart is.
If you ask me where home is,  I get tied up trying to answer it.  I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada but I’ve been living in Calabria for over 6 years.  Calabria is the first place where I’ve lived alone, until then I had always lived at home with my family.  I spent the greater part of my life in Toronto, which molded me and built the foundation of the person that I’ve grown into, but at the same time, living in Calabria, I’ve learned so much about myself and what I’m truly capable of.  So, where is home?  Canada will always be, at the very core, “home” to me but I’ve also come into my own since I moved to Italy.  When I’m traveling between these two places on opposite sides of the world, I miss them both like one would miss home.  It’s true what they say, “home is where the heart is”, even if your heart happens to be in more than one place.

Travel is food for the soul.
I love travel.  I need travel.  Without it I feel empty.  There is something invigorating about getting on a train, bus or plane heading towards a new destination.  Maybe I suffer from wanderlust, but whatever it is, I’ve come to realize that travelling is something that keeps me motivated and feeling alive. Last year was a great year for travel as I continued to explore Calabria, visited both the east and west coast of Canada and finally seeing the Luci D’Artista in Salerno.  These trips have given me new life and energy, a high if you will, that I don’t want to go away. In 2017, I hope to discover new places.


You don’t have to have it all together, appreciate the journey.
We often overlook the fact that the future is unknown.  There are so many paths yet to choose, so many unexpected turns of events we must face and things that are completely out of our control. If someone had told me when I was younger that I would move to Italy, I would have laughed. Italy was never part of my “life plan” but life gave me quite a blow that turned my world upside down. Moving to Italy wasn’t easy and I learned quickly how deep my insecurities were, but I also learned that if you really want something and you work towards it, you can do it.  I didn’t have everything planned out, I went with the flow and learned so much about myself along the way.  I won’t lie, there are still moments when I feel completely and utterly defeated but we aren’t perfect, we are only human and at some point we’ll be able to look back on those good, and bad, times and appreciate everything we had to go through to get to where we are today.  Throughout 2016, I learned to take advantage of opportunities that came my way and enjoy every moment on this ever-changing path of life.

With each passing day we live and we learn. I am optimistic for this new year and can’t wait to share my experiences and adventures with you.

If you don’t want to miss out on what’s happening in my life, be sure to follow my blog and follow me on Facebook and Instagram.

What was your greatest accomplishment in 2016 and what do you hope to accomplish in 2017? I’d love to hear all about it, so please share in the comments below!

Happy New Year!


  1. whimsicalwolfblog

    March 14, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    What a love post! I really enjoyed reading it, and I couldn’t agree with you more. My name is Brandy, and I am new to the blogging community, it is very nice to meet you! Have a blessed day! http://whimsicalwolfblog.com/

    1. LuLu

      March 16, 2017 at 2:50 am

      Thanks, Brandy! 🙂 I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog. Welcome to the blogging community and I wish you all the best!

  2. Jonnie March

    March 11, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    Love this especially the one about positive vibes!


    1. LuLu

      March 14, 2017 at 3:25 am

      Thank you so much Jonnie! Positive vibes do wonders! 🙂

  3. karenincalabria

    January 7, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    You ask a very tough question. Reading your post and then flipping back to your post at the beginning of 2016, I was impressed with your courage. Breaking out of a rut, which is of course to some extent negative, however big or small, and perhaps a greater leap, leaving security behind, are difficult things to do. I look back at 2016 and ask myself what my greatest accomplishment was and I think that it all went by so fast and that the years continue to fly by quicker every year. I suppose I can say that my biggest accomplishment would have to do with my book and my language accomplishments. I was very proud to be invited to a school in Calabria that adopted my book about their region in their English classes, and also to go on local TV and to be able to express myself with relative ease in Italian. And in 2017? I hope to finish the translation of my book into Italian with the help of a friend.
    Congratulations on 2016 and I wish you all the best in 2017! Buon Anno!

    1. LuLu

      January 13, 2017 at 4:23 am

      I feel like as I’m getting older, time seems to just fly by and my years are sort of melding together. I think that’s why I always make an effort to review my past year and remember all of the positive and amazing things I did or accomplished. It motivates me going into the new year.

      Your accomplishments in 2016 are definitely things to be proud of! And I wish you continued success in 2017! Thanks so much for supporting me and my blog!

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