Column: The three most important things I learned in 2022


It is a year never to be forgotten. 2022 came with mountains to move and challenges to overcome. But at the same time, it was also a year in which I learned an enormous amount, mostly about myself. That’s precisely why I’m sharing with you today the three main learning points I went through in the past 12 months and how they are going to help me make 2023 a better year.

Make Waves.

Moves Mountains.

Never Give Up.

Lesson #1. You don’t need anyone more than yourself

It’s no lie, when you spend your life between two different continents, it asks quite a lot of yourself. If you thought you were already mature, take this challenge and look back on it later. Mature? I really grew up thanks to everything that came with this new adventure. And I who thought I would never be able to do it all, did it all by myself.

Because never before have I “lost” so many friends or consciously stopped contact with certain people. For my own happiness I severed all contact with whatever brought me negativity, but people also forget you once you are out of sight. At one point I felt so alone, I was lost for a moment. To get my mind off it, I created my so-called “me-time” days where I would spend a morning/afternoon doing what I felt like doing: going out for coffee, breakfast, going to the nail salon, hairdresser,…. and I found so much peace in these moments that I now do this at least once a week.

Me, myself and I. You don’t need anyone but yourself. Do what makes you happy and focus on positive souls around you. It really does make your life a lot easier!

Lesson #2. Dreams do come true when you manifest them

I really think the word manifest is my word of the year 2022. Not only have I had it tattooed on my right arm, I have literally been manifesting the word every week. Knowing that in 2020 I didn’t even know its true meaning, I now know that if you believe in your dreams and manifest certain events, they really do come true.

Because who would have ever thought that I would one day actually stay in the Caribbean for an extended period of time? Those who have been following me for years know how happy I am there, know how hard I dreamed about this. And I have persevered. I persevered to do something with my passions. That includes photography. Finally, after years, I took the camera back in my hands. Duende Prints is my photography story that I finally got out of the ground. And now it’s up to me to keep manifesting and working on what will make me happy in 2023. So that everything I made true in 2022 will only get better and stronger.

Lesson #3. Self-love is still hugely underestimated

The terms and meaning behind self-love and mental health is something I have greatly underestimated over the past few years. Because between October and November, I really felt how important it is to have both in your life.

Because I had been working solely on apartment paperwork for months, my biggest adventure was going from and to the lawyer, to the bank and back home. Then adding work hours and some photography sessions, and my days flew by. Realizing that I then have 180degree ocean views from my apartment, live on an island with the most beautiful beaches in the world and didn’t get to rest outside for 1 day, in the sun, drove me crazy. In addition, I then had a relationship that was mostly one-sided. I was completely drained. Mentally and physically. I was surviving day by day, getting out of my healthy routine and realizing that I couldn’t do it anymore.

I made the decision in time to come back to Belgium to get out of this rut and be myself again for a while, in an environment I was completely familiar with. So for 2023, I decided to come to Belgium for at least 3 to 4 weeks during my travels. So that each time I can take enough time for myself to give space to my mental well-being and what I really need.

As cliche as it sounds, 2023 is a fresh start for me. I am leaving behind a lot in 2022 that I am immensely grateful for, but also a huge number of challenges that I know how to respond to better in the future. To avoid becoming life lessons that I learned by falling. I wish you all the very best for the new year and remember: self-love is hugely important. Believe in your dreams and know that you can do it! Alone or with someone by your side.

This article has been written by @Cindy Van Dyck

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