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The Year I Burnt It to The Ground

This is likely the most personal thing I’ve shared in all my years talking to you. And maybe I’m nuts, I’m sure I am, but this is on my heart and I think someone might benefit from it. 

My husband jokingly refers to 2022 as “the year Meg burnt it to the ground.”

I like to think of it as the year I let go, but, he’s right. I set things on fire this year to reset and reclaim my life.

So, as you start to think about the New Year, if you’re feeling a pull to make a radical change, let this note be the thing that moves you forward.

Consider this your sign.

Because this time last year, I was in a spiral, and today I can say with all sincerity that I have never been happier or more at peace.

And, listen, I’m no expert.

I’m just a 43-year-old woman who woke up one day 12 months ago sick of everyone’s shit, including her own.

Related: The 12 Amazon Wellness Products that Made My Year Better

Only a few people know that for the last two years my life was filled with tremendous personal turmoil.

I’m fine, and my husband and children are wonderful, happy, healthy, thank God.

But I spent 2021 utterly heartbroken.

I realized I couldn’t live in grief and bottled up anger anymore when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror on Christmas morning.

Was this the mom my girls were waking up to?

I guess I thought I was hiding the pain better, but there it was, all over my face and I was done.

So I committed to healing myself from the inside out as we started the new year.

Let me tell you; it’s everything they say it is: messy, at times lonely, and very humbling. But it’s also the best thing I ever did for myself.

I quickly learned that living in dysfunction is a lot easier than living in the process of removing yourself from it. Only when you’re out of the crazy, do you understand just how crazy it was.

But I would do it all over again for what I gained, how I’ve grown, and how my life has improved.

When I say I did everything I could to feel better, I mean it.

I didn’t know where to start, so I began working out regularly and eating well. This was the easiest step, which wasn’t easy at all.

I also limited drinking, started meditating, tried hot yoga, turned off the news, and listened to inspiring podcasts instead, where I tried to learn as much as I could about trauma healing and inner child work.

Then, I created a healthy morning and evening routine. I wrote in a gratitude journal, took all the vitamins and drank all the green juice.

And because I take everything to the extreme, I bought crystals; I saged my house, found a spiritual healer, and started to have regular fire-cupping sessions.

Yes, you read that right. I told you, I did everything. I threw the kitchen sink at it.

The hard part, the spiritual healing part, changing my inner dialog, learning painful lessons, and forgiving myself in the process is a challenge.

I’m still working on this, but I’m eons from where I started.

I didn’t do it all at once; instead, it was like serendipitous baby steps that took the full year.

A walk turned into a run.
A friend mentioned a friend that had cupping done.
A yoga studio opened up down the street and I gave it a try.

It wasn’t overwhelming; quite the opposite.

It was invigorating!

I just decided to say yes to whatever came my way. I can do anything once, I thought.

Every time I saw my strength improve, or woke up clear-minded, felt like a tiny victory. I would literally hear myself say, look at you!

And that kept me willing and open to trying and adding more.

Don’t get me wrong; there were plenty of messy days. I cried a lot.  I second-guessed myself.

Working out in your 40s is NOT the same as in your 30s. You’re constantly sore and tired, you have to wake up at an unholy hour and it stinks.

Healing your soul is a whole other thing that takes a different toll. You need rest. You have to go to bed early or take a nap. You just need to be gentle with yourself.

And this all led to evaluating my relationships and intentionally pulling away from people who I probably should have walked away from years ago. I was as ruthless as I am with a pair of capris in your closet. Toss, toss, toss.

But by burning it all down, new sprigs of life started to pop up.

I finally had the strength to not only close the chapter on numerous unhealthy relationships but to also start to release the anger. Again, not totally there, but working on it.

And as I did, peace covered my home like a warm blanket, and all the drama disappeared.

Old and new friendships emerged as if by magic, and all my relationships, for the first time in my life, feel safe.

And what is incredible is that all the internal remodeling left space for me.

For me to hear my own voice and let it guide my thoughts and decisions.

For me to understand the difference between my anxiety and my intuition.

For me to consciously choose to be the woman, the mother, the wife, the daughter, and the friend I know I’m supposed to be.

For me to build my business with integrity and make choices in alignment with my mission.

I regularly hear from women in our community who are also going through significant struggles. That might seem odd coming from a site about clothes and makeup. But our seemingly frivolous topics can be a catalyst for bigger conversations around being a woman in this season of life.

Maybe today’s message inspires you simply to going for a walk with your neighbor and get some fresh air, or call your doctor to get your hormones checked.

Maybe you start a gratitude journal or take that multivitamin in your pantry.

Maybe I’m oversharing.

I don’t know.

But I’ll tell you this: my life and my family’s life changed dramatically for the better when I said enough to the b.s. surrounding me. I learned to take accountability for my choices, unapologetically prioritize my physical and mental health, learned to protect my peace and let go of all the people, thoughts and things that were holding me back.

And if this resonates with you, I hope that what I experienced prompts you to start now so your 2023 can be just as transformative.

It’s only 12 months, imagine what you can do with it.

Related: The 12 Amazon Wellness Products that Made My Year Better

Related Posts

 Join Megan Kristel for a comprehensive, 3 hour long, LIVE Virtual Workshop sharing personal style and shopping tips for women over 40 on March 31, 2023.


Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

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Christine Coates

Monday 26th of December 2022

Thank you. This really resonates with me after two very difficult years. I now feel much stronger and ready to get rid of the people in my life who drag me down. Happy 2023 to you and everyone x


Tuesday 20th of December 2022

Thank you for sharing and well done, you! There are few things better than saying to yourself: “look at you!”


Tuesday 20th of December 2022

Megan, what you are saying is very thought-provoking. I've been exploring these same topics. I'm 63, retired, and tired. Tired of not living my best life, so I've decided to stop allowing depression, anxiety, and fear rule me. I said recently to a friend, "You can't expect a different result, doing the same thing." So, I need to be in charge of my life again. I'm taking small steps to get there. Thank you for your insight and openness. Veronica


Tuesday 20th of December 2022

I am so glad you wrote this. I’m 64 and looking where to start, what to do first. No one gives very many hints just say start now. How? I’m always thinking. So now I will start with eat well, take the vitamins sitting there and move. Thanks for opening up.


Monday 19th of December 2022

I just want to echo what others have said in that you're undoubtedly helping others by sharing your beautiful story. Thank you! I'm so happy you're finding peace in your body, mind and spirit!


Monday 19th of December 2022

Look at you! Go...go...go!!! yay!!!


Monday 19th of December 2022

Thank you for sharing your story. It made me stop and think about changes I need to make. I appreciate your honesty and am sure your words are going to help me and others. Your part about drama really hit home. I don't need to participate! Thank you so much ❤️


Sunday 18th of December 2022

Love this post! It’s brave of you to share, and inspiring! I’m in the midst of setting some flames to things myself. “Burn it to the ground and start anew” will be my mantra for 2023. Also, just thanks for what you do; I can’t even count how many improvements and purchases I have made. Happy holidays and hope you have continued renewal in 2023!


Sunday 18th of December 2022

Wow! Thank you for the inspiration.

Linda Powell

Sunday 18th of December 2022

Thank you for sharing your experiences. It was confirmation to me. I too started walking this year and stopped bad habits. I started volunteering. I was so lonely and doing those things opened up my life so much. I am feeling happy and fulfilled. Thank you.

Bonnie Davis

Sunday 18th of December 2022

Meg, it is so encouraging to hear about other women who are working hard (like you!) to improve your physical, mental and emotional health. It takes SO MUCH work and willpower! Congratulations on your focus and determination. I hope 2023 is your best year yet!

Sandra Shaffer

Sunday 18th of December 2022

Thank you for sharing Megan. I also, when I was 40, had a devastating thing happen in my life. I had a great friend who taught me the truth. I put my complete body and soul in God’s hands through faith in Jesus Christ. I now live in peace, not without problems, but I have God to help me through the storms of life. It is so comforting to know God is watching over me and my family.


Sunday 18th of December 2022

Meg, thank you for such an honest post. I am 60 and I believe at some point in all our lives we hit a point that you describe. If we are truly honest with ourselves and want peace in our lives it is a journey we must take. I believe I did this same when I was about your age but I have continued the practice of re-evaluating where I am on a yearly basis. At the beginning of each year I write a list of goals for my emotional, physical, financial, spiritual, professional, and personal growth. I feel that writing it down makes me more accountable to myself. In this list is also what I want in my home as this is my place of peace. Doing this yearly keeps me in a much healthier place. As a result my world has become smaller but actually fuller as the places, things, people that I am surrounded with all serve to preserve that peace and my relationships are richer, deeper and so much better. Congratulations on your past year and may you continue to grow. I thank you also for this wonderful group that has become a source of inspiration for me and so many others I am sure.


Sunday 18th of December 2022

It's very brave of you to share your experience on a public forum. I hope the responses you receive help you to feel supported. Thanks for sharing and providing support for those who are on the same journey.

Jeannie Jonassen

Saturday 17th of December 2022

I love your story! You are my inspiration. Thanks for sharing!


Saturday 17th of December 2022

People think I crazy in my 70's but I ride my bike most mornings while others are sleeping. That way nothing stops me from getting exercise. I also workout several times a week and do yoga. I can't say I've got my clothes very organized but I'm working on it. I want to feel good about what I have on so it takes me a while to get dressed. Thank you for all your suggestions. Some have worked for me and some have been returned but it's all good. I also watch what I eat most of the time. Thank you for your help in many ways! Merry Christmas!


Saturday 17th of December 2022

Thank you for sharing. I just turned 64 and need to do what you've done. One thing I did do was to let people go that didn't bring me joy. That's powerful. Now, I just need to get on a regular exercise schedule! God bless and Merry Christmas :)

Maxine Teller

Saturday 17th of December 2022

Megan, What a beautiful journey. Thank you so much for sharing with this community. Sounds like you have been going through a lot, but you should be super proud of yourself for being proactive, what is it first uncomfortable, and just making it happen. Life is what you make of it. There's literally no point in being unhappy. Your strength and journey will inspire so many.


Saturday 17th of December 2022

Thanks for the RALLY CRY!!! Yes I CAN!!


Saturday 17th of December 2022

Thank you for having the courage to share your story with all of us. You are incredibly brave and stronger than you probably realize. Loving ourselves is the hardest thing to do sometimes. I am learning that I cannot pour from an empty cup and if my cup is breaking then it will become useless if I don’t repair it. Your story inspires me. I am blessed beyond measure with a beautiful family, a beautiful home in a beautiful community, a dream job for a company I have worked for for 17 years and a large circle of friends. However, none of those things mean we don’t struggle or suffer -sometimes (oftentimes) in silence. Putting on a happy face is what is expected and Social Media makes that ten times worse. Two of my three children suffer from moderate to severe anxiety and depression and all three have ADHD (as does my husband). This means I am the one who has to juggle, balance and organize our world. I am the encourager, the fighter, and the champion for all of them. Their struggles have taken our family on some frightening paths but I am thankful to have traveled those paths because they brought us to a better place than where we started.

I have spent much of my energy trying to keep it all together for everyone else so 2023 is going to be my year to fill my cup so I can continue to pour for the ones I love. My words for 2023 are love, creation, gratitude, connection, change and purpose. Your blog has been a source of inspiration to me on a variety of levels since I found you and while we have never met, you have made my life better for having made the connection. I am going to try to have the same courage to “burn it down” and rise anew in 2023. My own health, including my mental health need to be as important to me as my children’s health and mental health. Continued blessings and peace to you and yours this Holiday Season Megan!

Meredith Oliver

Saturday 17th of December 2022

Having just turned 50- here's they very hard lesson I've learned the very hard way. If you don't burn it to the ground, life/fate/God, will do it for you. Because I didn't do what you've done in my 40s, I now have a chronic health condition that has burned social life and my career to the ground for me. Congratulations to you because this cautionary tale called my life can attest- when dysfunction is at work eventually it burns your health to the ground for you. And once you lose your health, all other losses pale in comparison. May 2023 be a beautiful year for you body and soul. <3

Linda Scott

Saturday 17th of December 2022

Thank you so very much for sharing this, Megan. Today, especially, I needed to hear this and find encouragement. You are truly a blessing and I am so grateful I’m part of our community, The Well Dressed Life. I’ve learned so much. Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Here’s looking forward to a magical, peaceful 2023.



Saturday 17th of December 2022

Thank you for your post. I have a very special friend who is going through the exact same thing you were experiencing. She is trying to work out these problems and get her "happy" back. I will be sharing this post with her. This is an excellent post for everyone!

Terri L

Saturday 17th of December 2022

Thank you for writing about your struggle. I can't tell you how much I needed to read this right now. It's nice to know that there is a way out.


Saturday 17th of December 2022

Megan, congratulations! I am thankful that you shared this and happy for you. I’ve been with you for almost all of 2022 and would never have suspected you were going through anything. Five years ago two long time friends hurt me so dramatically that I too set on a journey to heal my soul. Fascinating to look back at what my life was like before that happened and now feel so much peace, calm, and grace.

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