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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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Friday 16th of December 2022

Megan, thank you for being vulnerable. We all have to do inner healing work and own our bodies and minds. It is hard work. Thank you for showing us how to find a path forward.


Friday 16th of December 2022

This is very helpful to me. Sometimes it's hard for women to create emotional boundaries due to guilt or rejection. But taking care of yourself isn't selfish. I'm glad you pointed out how it can be exhausting work. My therapist told me I need to rest more. You gave me great ideas to help me on my self care journey. Thank you for sharing.


Friday 16th of December 2022

You are awesome!


Friday 16th of December 2022

THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR STORY!!! You are courageous and I applaud you. I started a similar journey in late 2021. Made some remarkable progress in different areas of my life. You’ve inspired me to refocus and complete the other work that needs to be done. Half finished is no longer good enough!


Friday 16th of December 2022

Thank you so much for sharing! I had major change forced on me 10 years ago - and I embraced it. Moved 1000 miles away to a city where I knew no one, and dug in. Now I’m looking forward to getting married to a wonderful, moral, intelligent, curious, funny guy who my kids love and whose kids at least like me 😉. We are 69. Rejuvenation can happen at any age!

Have a blessed, fabulous Christmas with your beautiful family..I look forward to your posts next year 💕


Friday 16th of December 2022

Thank you for this! Lots of food for thought that we could all use!

Lisa MacNair

Friday 16th of December 2022

Dear Meg, Thank you for your willingness to be vulnerable with us, your readers. I have been following you for years and your content has been invaluable. Your post today reminds me that we all have the ability to take our “lives”and make changes, take baby steps, get healthy, mentally & physically. I think I’ll start today. Wishing you & your loved ones all the joy & light the holidays can hold. LIsa


Friday 16th of December 2022

You never cease to amaze me, I’ve read this piece twice this morning. Thank you.


Friday 16th of December 2022

Thank you so much for sharing this! I need to do this too. I began the process in 2022 but am not as far along as you. It helps to know I am not alone. If you are open to sharing the podcasts you listened to for healing, I am interested. If not, that’s okay too. Thanks so much!


Friday 16th of December 2022

God bless you, I am so glad you shared and totally understand. It took me turning 59 to say enough was enough I am not going into my 60’s like this! The work is hard and painful but the freedom that comes from it is worth every early morning, painful muscle and all the tears. Take care as you journey on your path. Thank you for all you do to encourage and help us all!

Kimberly von Brandenstein

Friday 16th of December 2022

Dear Megan, I’d like to thank you for this exceptional Post. Your reflection is so honest. Your words touch so many that are afraid to look in the mirror. Some of us can’t see the sign, and appreciate the fact that it has to be noticed. I really appreciate your regular attention to women “ of a certain age”. We are mostly invisible to all forms of marketing. Unfortunately, clothing and make up have not been considered for the needs of a hip aging woman. Until now. You have successfully given us a place for advice and vision. I sincerely thank you. Kimberly von B

Tammy M

Friday 16th of December 2022

Thank you for sharing!!! Great for you and instead of thinking about “changing it all” I love how it was one tiny step at a time. As always your posts are more than fashion and beauty (which is wonderful) and I love you for both! Going to start planning my own burn it to the ground xo


Friday 16th of December 2022

THANK YOU for sharing this - I will likely re-read it several times over the next few weeks.

I've really struggled since 2020 (when my daughter was born) of how to manage a household, a career, and yet still find time for me in the midst of all the chaos. I literally had the same thought of throwing it all away yesterday because I feel so much guilt for prioritizing myself, but deep down I know that if I don't take care of myself, not only will no one else but my family and friends who love me will suffer as a result.

I needed this reminder so much today, and thank you for being courageous and sharing with us. Congratulations on your journey in 2022 and best wishes for continued success in 2023!


Friday 16th of December 2022

Awesome post on your website I myself am going through issues that I’m not sure I can work through but after reading your post I believe I can. I’m much older 69. I’m still trying to start over. Thanks Meg!


Friday 16th of December 2022

Megan, what a beautiful post. Thank you for your openness, for sharing your struggles, for putting yourself out there to help others. You rock! Keep it up! :)


Friday 16th of December 2022

Way to go with focusing on yourself! Your story is what WE all need to hear as women. We take care of everybody first & make us last. That is not right. Thank you for sharing your journey & I’m starting my journey today. Sending you all the positive energy & love for 2023!


Friday 16th of December 2022

I love you and this message more than ever. It feels like I was reading about myself but without the steps to get better. You inspire me. I can do this. One step at a time. With deep gratitude, Gailya

Mary Ziebell

Friday 16th of December 2022

This is exactly what I needed...right here, right now, today...validation. I'm a bit older (a very young 69-haha), but engaged in the same battle with myself and the universe. Took a step back from all the chaos and began to work on everything you outlined above...and did it all at the same time (not my style to take on one thing at a time...I'm a Scorpio :-0. Lots of missteps, steps backward, but enough forward progress to make a difference. I crafted a map and a plan and wrote it down. I need visual and tactile reminders I can reference frequently. You're absolutely, right, I like the evolving me way better after engaging all the power and light I can find. May the Force be with you ;-).


Friday 16th of December 2022

YES! Thank you for sharing and inspiring 💕. My 40’s were crazy hard and I didn’t understand why. I wasted a lot of them half heartedly trying to figure it out. Congrats on doing the work and living this wonderful life to the fullest!


Friday 16th of December 2022

Very inspiring post and wonderful of you to share. So many women hide their struggles out of embarrassment, yet there is nothing to be ashamed of. I'm happy you are doing well and hopefully other women take the necessary steps they need to change unhealthy elements in their lives.


Friday 16th of December 2022

Thank you Megan for your incredibly honest sharing of your journey this year. I have always believed the quote, "When the student is ready, the teacher will come." Today YOU are the teacher and I have a feeling there are a lot of "students" out there that needed to hear your beautiful message, including myself. Have a beautiful holiday season.


Friday 16th of December 2022

Good for you! We all struggle with living our best life. Thanks for being real and sharing your journey!


Friday 16th of December 2022

I am a 70 year young woman. I think your sharing is good. I would think at some point in a woman’s life, a bottom is hit. With all the responsibilities with home, family, work, volunteering a “reset” is important to find a better balance and to learn or strengthen self care. Reading the bottom is a blessing. E cause we can learn that we are not in control of it all. It’s a time of growth in our lives to find a new way to stay balanced. If more of us could at least share a little bit of our story, we could let go of shame and guilt we carry with us. Thank you for sharing, Megan and welcome to a newer way of thinking!


Friday 16th of December 2022

Congratulations! So happy for you and your family! Working out is my mental therapy! Enjoy! Thank you for sharing! Its nice to know we are in this together.


Friday 16th of December 2022

Meg- you are a constant source of inspiration! Thank you for sharing the story of your incredible year. It is hard work - but so rewarding in the other side. I so appreciate your honesty and vulnerability. Certainly resonated with me - looking forward to a growth filled 2023. Merry merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family. Looking forward to planning a girls weekend with you. 🥰

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