09 Oct The Past, The Now, The Future
As Fall arrives in the Netherlands and it’s getting colder, I’m reflecting on our summer. For me and my partner it was a working summer mostly. Despite the fact that we live in a recreation area, by a big beautiful lake and we have a lovely boat, we didn’t even make one boattrip on the lake during the whole summer, which I do regret, to be honest.
At the same time, when I reflect on the growth and progress we’ve made with Wulterkens, I know it was worth it. Building an empire, requires lots of time, work, sacrifices, blood, sweat, tears.
It’s easy to get carried away in your future plans. Basically all we do every day is planting different seeds and watering them in the hope they will sprout in the (near) future. This is a must if you want to live a life on another level, however, constantly focusing on the future might make you miss the Now. The Now is just as important as the future, because it’s the only thing you have with 100% certainty. The future is not certain, you never know if you get another tomorrow.
So as I am writing this, it’s also a reminder to myself to enjoy the Now more. Luckily I am a person who enjoys the little things, and I am grateful for everything in my life now, even if I am not yet where I want to be in life. I know every day I am one step closer, but only because I am healthy Now and constantly developing my skills, intelligence, knowledge, resources etc.
One positive thing in my case is that I do what I love, so I am enjoying my work everyday, but in chaos of the work I sometimes forget to for instance, plan some free time for myself, to be social (with the very few people still around), to plan a date night with my partner etc etc. And just like the summer flew by, the weeks fly by, and life flies by and I don’t want to regret things in life.
So I guess the key word is Balance, finding balance in life to be able to work hard and efficient towards the Future, yet still be able to enjoy the now to the fullest. Still working on this, though, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
As for the past. The past is not something to dwell on yet is full of wise lessons that we can use to make a better Now and a better Future.
If I think back to 5 years ago, I was a student at the Technical University in Eindhoven, living in a small ”box” (student dorm, in the form of a box of 18 m2) on the university campus. I was studying Innovation Sciences, which I didn’t enjoy at all, but I was smart enough so I thought, ok let’s just get through these few years and then we will see. I didn’t have my driver’s license, I wasn’t exercising, eating a lot of unhealthy stuff, not in shape, no work, lots of sleeping, watching tv series, lots of ”empty’ friendships, basically living a typical student life. I had just met my partner, who at the time was managing an Italian restaurant for his friend in a very boring little town, he had a boat, but no car and no driver’s license. We were both not happy with the situations we were in.
Eventually, I decided to stop with Innovation Sciences, because it just wasn’t what I wanted to do and I took half a year off, got myself together, moved to the Hague (and then to Utrecht) and signed up for International Business Administration at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. I got my driver’s license, which gave me so much more freedom. My partner decided to make changes as well, he started his own company/website selling funny, but handy gadgets, he bought a car, also got his driver’s license. This all happened within a year, maybe a year and a half. We both used to live in big buildings that were empty. In the Netherlands we call it ”anti-kraak”, which is basically to prevent people from claiming the buildings. There used to be a Dutch law that stated that if a building was empty for more than 6 months, anyone can claim it and live in it. So to prevent that, they let people (like me and my partner) live in the buildings (for very low rent) and watch over them.
It was a really cool phase in our lives, it was adventurous and in one of the buildings my bedroom only used to be like 100m2, which was very luxurious, but also a pain in the ass to clean.
Two years later, and during the last year of my Bachelor IBA, my partner and I decided to start our own clothing line together (I skipped a few less important parts, because otherwise this post will be way too long). This lead to me having to do an extra year of my Bachelor, because it’s simply not possible to start your own business AND do a full time university study at the same time. We started with some crazy t-shirt designs in 2012, which we launched on a beautiful catwalk with 9 male models in the middle of Amsterdam City Center during the Amsterdam Fashion Week in July 2012, and the rest is history. We also moved into a ”normal” house where we live now for 1,5 years already, with a gorgeous lake view.
So now in 2014, when I think back to our lives and that moment when both my partner and I weren’t happy with the way our life was going, but we didn’t have any idea what we wanted to do; and to see where we are Now, in the Wulterkens Office, with a beautiful showroom, It’s just amazing what can happen in 4-5 years. I could never have thought that I would be having my own fashion brand, let a lone in sportswear, while I was developing a particle accelerator for particles with a certain density (yes I used to be a big nerd). Let alone a bachelor degree in International Business, being highly active in Fitness, and doing a part-time Master study in Marketing.
I am so excited, when I think of where we will be in the next 4-5 years. When the seeds we are planting now will be trees, growing taller and taller. Anything can be done. You just have to be brave to make certain decisions and take steps towards changing your life, even if they are small steps at a time. Eventually all things will fall into place and you just have to follow your path to live your dream.
I am so lucky and grateful to have met my partner. I don’t believe in coincidence, I truly believe we are meant to be, and Wulterkens, as a brand, is meant to be. From the beginning we supported each other, we literally inspired each other and lifted each other up to become more, to become better, to grow. Without him, I wouldn’t be co-owner of Wulterkens and without me I’m not sure he would have taken the steps to create ”Wulterkens”, which is his last name, as a brand.
I will be doing another reflection in 2016 and 2018, I think it will be nice to look back again to today. There is so much that can happen in 2 years. Life is constant growth, and constant change; it’s up to you to steer it in the direction you want to grow/change in. Make the most out of the now, make every day, every hour, count, and it will pay off in the future. Remember every Pro was once an amateur and every expert was once a beginner. Dream big, start now, make it happen.
Top: BBarbarella, my favorite boutique in Hilversum City (The Netherlands)
Hat: Don’t really remember!
Earrings: Gift from a lovely friend