This year felt like a constant gut punch with resistance around every corner, but you know what? I’m so, so happy that it did. Everything that did change was worth fighting for. I fought for my business, my family, my marriage, my friends, my self-worth. It became clear what wasn’t necessary, who to let go, and who to let in.
But there was one lesson that changed everything, and I didn’t realize what it was until I sat down to write my thoughts about the past year. Here’s what 2019 looked like in my world.
We started cookbook club and I felt full in my belly and heart. I learned to paddleboard and discovered I absolutely love the Caribbean sea. I learned to never book a flight over naptime.
We began the remodeling process again and I realized how burnt out I actually was. I went to Paris to seek solace in pastry, wine, and retail.
August got his first stitches. I toyed around with the idea of closing W&D. We started demo on our main floor. I second-guessed ALL my decisions regarding the design of our space.
Joe and I fought a lot about the renovation. I started to learn how to play the guitar. My kids started to sleep through the night.
My brother got married in England. I slept for 24 hours in a Chelsea hotel room. Joe and I made up.
I finished the renovation but I was feeling less and less interested in work, in life, in everything. I realized I needed to reparent myself now that my kids didn’t need me 24/7. I started reading—a lot.
I decided I was sick of my own bullshit. I went to Jackson Hole. I cried on a hike. I slept, meditated, prayed. I remembered nothing lasts forever, even depression. I felt a little better.
I walked every morning. I drank water. I joined a gym. I joined The 5 AM Club. I started to journal every morning. I started using new adjectives to describe my emotions. I realized there are about one hundred different ways you could label the emotion “stressed.”
I focused on my thoughts. I learned to adopt new ones to replace the destructive ones. I regained faith in myself. I drank more water. I went to bed early.
We traveled all over. I brought my good habits with me. I enjoyed socializing again. I watched negative thoughts come in and allowed them to leave without holding them as true.
My mom had a stroke on her birthday and we almost lost her. I focused on the present and tried to not focus on what could have happened.
I left The 5 AM Club. I drank just enough wine. I made new friends. I worried about money. I felt proud of the team I had built in 2019. I drank my water and went to bed on time despite being extremely busy. I was kind to myself. I realized I was a completely different person than 12 months ago.
2019 taught me I can do hard things. I also really grasped how hard life is and that it is not necessarily going to get easier. I think it was possible to take the heartbreak of life and turn it into a new kind of freedom—freedom found from the seeds of acceptance.
What I learned from realizing I can do hard things is that the dialogue you have with yourself is EVERYTHING. So the next time you want to give up, throw in the towel, and call it, keep going. Listen to the thoughts that build you up instead of the ones that tear you apart. Celebrate the small wins, even if all you can do that day is drink your water and get in the shower.
The next time you want to give up, throw in the towel, and call it, keep going. Listen to the thoughts that build you up instead of the ones that tear you apart. Celebrate the small wins, even if all you can do that day is drink your water and get in the shower.
We can do hard things, friends. And that’s the mantra I’m bringing with me into 2020.
If you’d like to journal about your 2019 in a similar way, I suggest opening your photo album and sorting by month. Pictures have a way of bringing back the most important nuggets of wisdom.
Happy New Year.
Kate is currently learning to play the Ukulele, much to the despair of her husband, kids, and dogs. Follow her on Instagram at @witanddelight_.
BY Kate Arends - January 6, 2020
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Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.
Hello Kate, nice to meet a fellow Midwesterner! (IL)
Reassuring words, thanks for the reminders!
Hi, Laurie! Nice to meet you, too! Thank you for reading—I’m glad this resonated.
What a year you had. I appreciate your honesty and I wish you a wonderful 2020!
Thank you, Jen! That’s so kind of you. Here’s to a wonderful 2020 for us both!
This was everything. I appreciate you, thank you so much for sharing this with such honesty.
I appreciate you, Tieranie. Thank you for reading! It means the world.
Such a beautiful and honest reflection on your year, thank you so much for sharing! I love how you tried new things throughout the year in order to change what wasn’t working for you. It was also a great reminder that something that served you in a positive way one month may not be what you need in the next one. Wishing you an amazing 2020!
Thank you for your kind comment, Kristin! Absolutely—it’s all about staying in touch with where you’re at and what you need on any given day (easier said than done sometimes). Wishing you the same for the year ahead!