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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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Megan Reister

Friday 16th of December 2022

This! I needed to hear this.

I'm at the beginning of a similar journey, and like you, tackling things in steps and building and rebuilding as I go. One of the more recent steps I've taken is seeing a functional medicine doctor/practice. Learning about the interplay between nutrition, hormones, gut health, and sleep is so eye opening. I recommend it to everyone. Yes, it can be expensive (not covered by insurance), but I see it as an investment in my health. And if I don't optimize my health, I'll certainly be paying for it later in disease, medications and treatments, and I know which I'd rather spend money on.

Cheryl Olson

Friday 16th of December 2022

Megan, I could not love this more! 💕 Your articles have helped me much over the past year, cleaning, purging, rocking it! It’s like I absorbed some of your energy and drive and I feel 100% better, stronger and more “together than I did before. Keep going! You are an inspiration even if you didn’t know it! 😊


Friday 16th of December 2022

Oversharing? Not a chance!! I am in AWE of you. I really needed to hear your message. It seems I try to do all the things that are "expected" of me and take care of everyone except ME.

God's Blessings to you and your family.


Friday 16th of December 2022

This is just lovely.. thank you for sharing!

Nancy Evans Nardiello

Friday 16th of December 2022

I thank you for your candor and I applaud your courage and your journey.You are an inspiration in so many ways and I will follow your advice and begin my own journey. I’m vowing to prioritize my painting and regain control of my eating and begin walking. Instagram: @nancyenard


Friday 16th of December 2022

love, love, love.

thank you megan. :-)

peace and love for 2023!


Friday 16th of December 2022

Love you, Meg. Don’t ever change your core: Brian and your girls are lucky to have you.

Lianne MacGregor

Friday 16th of December 2022

I love this and I commend you for your courage and fortitude. As a spiritual care coach I routinely burn things down (I love a good bonfire) and your story reminded me of a couple of things I've been holding onto that would make great kindling.

I wish you and your family continued hope, peace, and joy in 2023.


Friday 16th of December 2022

Thank-you, Megan, for sharing. Everything you wrote (and I mean everything) struck a chord and it was like THIS! You put into words things I have been feeling but just could not put my finger on with what that inner voice has been trying to tell me. It is never too late to reinvent yourself as I am learning at almost 60. It is absolutely freeing. God Bless you and your lovely family. Have a wonderful holiday.

Ruth K.

Friday 16th of December 2022

Thank you for sharing this, Megan. Bravo to you for having the epiphany to realize change was needed, and for doing the hard, slogging work to make those changes. Most of us need to take the time and have the courage to look hard at our lives and see what needs to change. I love the wardrobe challenge because it makes me look at myself. It may seem like it's just my appearance, but the process ends up going deeper. Letting go and getting rid of clothes and looks that no longer fit who I am gives me space and freedom to figure out who I am and what I need now. Wishing you and your family a positive and satisfying 2023!


Friday 16th of December 2022

This is so good. Not that you suffered, but that you are being vulnerable enough to share it all. I believe we are all there at one point in our lives. I turned 50 in May and subconsciously adopted the attitude of ‘what’s the point?’ (What’s the point of trying to get fit or lose weight or look nice or do my hair or journal or pray, etc. on and on.) What an abusive, neglectful attitude about myself! I’ve let go of everything I’ve prioritized as important. Something clicked yesterday and it was the first day I haven’t gorged on sweets or chips in three years. This post is definitely to be shared, even if it touches only one person (it has me!). I so admire your strength and perseverance and vulnerability. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve inspired me!

Amy Smith

Friday 16th of December 2022

Such a beautiful generous post! Thank you for trusting us with your story of growth. Wishing you and your family continued strength and peace.


Friday 16th of December 2022

What a joyful and inspiring post, thanks so much for sharing! Lots to think about as we head into 2023 but delighted to hear that this has been such a transformational year for you! <3


Friday 16th of December 2022

Bravo Meg, bravo


Friday 16th of December 2022

Thank you so very much for sharing your story. I am 66 years old and have lived through plenty of dysfunction and sadness, and I agree that the hard work we slog through to get through is so worth it. May you and your beautiful family enjoy a very Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with blessings!


Friday 16th of December 2022

Hi, I am 33 and your story resonates with me SO MUCH. 2020 was the start of my personal transformation. It started with being laid off from my job, and "ended" (its never really over..) with me and my husband moving across state lines, finding our dream location, buying a house, and... having our first child. Im so so so thankful I started to see myself as an investment and worthy of my own time before I had my daughter in Feb of this year. Motherhood has rocked my world, both positively and negatively, while I learn to navigate new paths for me and my family.

We are all on this journey to find what works for us, and I like your mindset of "I can try anything once." Im looking forward to what 2023 has instore for us.

Patricia E Ferguson

Friday 16th of December 2022

Megan, I am right with you! My husband died 6/1/2016 of Parkinson's Lewy Body Dementia. I was his full time caregiver. It sucked the life out of me. I consider myself so lucky that he only really suffered with this for about 3 years. Your website taught me how to dress myself again. Even though it's been 6 years, I am still healing, still finding myself. It's a process. I laughed when you talked about throwing everything at your problems, sounds just like me. Leaves no stone unturned. I look forward to your future posts. You always teach me something!


Friday 16th of December 2022

I loved reading this post today! Thank you for sharing...I think what you have been going through before this year, is an example of "everywoman". It's a tough time to be a woman. Maybe it always has been. But the more we share our inner most experiences I think the more it empowers other women to do the same. We all need to speak up and share with each other "how it is" so that other women know they are not the only ones feeling and experiencing craziness, chaos and unhappiness. By sharing, we share the load and the solution. I'm 63 but in my mind I'm still 33 and I love your style and all that you offer here but this was just the icing on the cake for me today. I applaud your efforts to move forward from trauma. That is amazing work. I've had my own share of childhood trauma and abuse to overcome and then the culture that women are raised in to be what others need that I had to overcome. Keep up the great work. Love, Dawn


Friday 16th of December 2022

Wonderful post, not over-shared, but very helpful. Can you tell us more about the spiritual healing part, inner dialogue, and working on anger? In that place!! Would love some more information as a guide for myself...


Friday 16th of December 2022

Very helpful post. Thanks for sharing. Could share the podcasts that helped you the most? Thanks in advance. :)


Friday 16th of December 2022

Beautiful share! Thank you!


Friday 16th of December 2022

Thank you for sharing such an inspiring post. This totally resonates with me and I have been floundering over the past year with major changes in my life and feeling blah! about me. I have been contemplating needing a change FOR me. I tend to begin and not follow through and your post inspires me! Hopefully 2023 will be my greatest year of personal change and gain! Thank you💗


Friday 16th of December 2022

I so hear you. I am embarking on some very unexpected life changes at this time. It's scary and exhilarating at the same time. Thank you for sharing! It's empowering to find out others feel the same way as me.


Friday 16th of December 2022

Megan, thank you so much for sharing and opening this part of you up to all of us. I am also undergoing a transformation - in June, at the age of 56, I was diagnosed with ADHD and suddenly my whole life makes sense. Traits I have always interpreted as a character flaw or personal failure I now see as a result of the unique way that my brain works. I have felt shamed for my entire life over my messiness and disorganization, and always wondered what was wrong with me that I couldn't manage to stay consistent with any new habits I tried to adopt. My husband and I have been married for 33 years and for most of those years, there has been tension, arguments and hurt feelings over the state of the house, my impulse spending, and my lack of follow through. I tried everything I could think of and any method I saw online. I pulled everything out to Marie Kondo it, then got distracted and lived with a HUGE pile of stuff in the guest room for months. I set all my bills on autopay, but set up the water bill for a set amount and forgot to check the bill each time to make sure my set amount covered it. One month we had an extra large bill, and when the payment didn't cover it, our water got turned off. When my husband called the water company, they said "we sent notices to your house", which we found two weeks later in a pile of unopened mail. My husband has this elaborate budget set up on a spreadsheet, but every time he wants to sit down and go through it, my eyes glaze over within 30 seconds because it is so overwhelming to my brain. When I was first diagnosed, I went through a grieving process, thinking "how much better could our marriage have been if we had only known?". Now, I am focused on thinking how much better the next 30 years can be now that I know how my brain works and am figuring out tricks that work FOR ME!


Friday 16th of December 2022

Thanks for the Pep Talk. At 72 years old, I am with you. It took me many years to take the steps you have made. This year has been tough with cancers, and other disabilities. That is how life works. You have to make peace with what you can't change and work like crazy to change what you can!

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