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Please excuse the wildly cliche opener of a mirror in a room for a post about reflections. We didn’t take a group shot this year (at least I don’t think we did) so a beautiful room with a big ole mirror to talk about our big ole feelings felt appropriate. This is the very last post of 2022 and connecting with you on a personal level, sharing the good and some of the hard is exactly how we wanted to close it out. We are endlessly grateful for you all and hope that reading about our 2022s brings us all a little closer.
Oh, 2022. Huge life changes that came with a lot of emotions, including joy, relief, fulfillment, gratitude with a side of regret, insecurity and disappointment. What is consistent (and I think a big mid-life thing) is there are so many questions in which you can’t rush the answers. 2022, post-lockdown was one of the more challenging years in recent history for us. And that’s ok. I’m here to learn all the lessons. My kids are thriving, Brian is still my favorite person to hang out with, and I get to see all my best friends and siblings more frequently now that we live in Portland. The blog is still stable (thanks to you), after a wild pandemic year or two with spiking, volatile traffic (some incredible months, some just odd). I feel like the clarity that I had during lockdown is still here, priorities are firmer than ever, and who, what, and where I focus my attention is strong. This year we went to a happiness conference which was pretty enlightening. My book came out (and continues to do well, but we didn’t make the New York Times Bestseller list like Styled did, which was a bit disappointing, honestly). I went on Good Morning America and was reminded that live national TV is panic attack inducing. We moved into the farm and feel so grateful to work with so many partners on such an incredibly odd/exciting career of personal and home content creation for millions to see/view/like/judge and share. I’ve never been so hard on myself and I’m trying to figure out why. I have some theories. I found an awesome freelance team in Portland that I love working with every week (shout out to Emily M. and Kaitlin Green) and so love and appreciate that my team that you all know, Jess, Ryann, Mal and Caitlin who continue to navigate the exciting waters of the internet with me and add value to the world. Meanwhile, we are starting to dial in the house with decor, room by room which is lighting my fire again (and so much less fraught than a renovation – I LOVE STYLING). I’m writing a full post about how it has been living in Portland so more to come. All in all, I feel like it was another year of joy, questions, desperately trying to stay slow, lessons, and being grateful for my team and all of you who spend time here (especially the long-time readers that keep me going when I’m down – thank you) xx
I didn’t realize it until I sat down to write this, but this year has been all about change. My Life™ has changed and I have changed, and I don’t think I would have fully appreciated that fact if I wasn’t asked to reflect on the past 365 days. But whew, where to begin?? Oh right, I got married this year!!! And everyone loves to ask “how is married life?” and “does it feel different?”. I swear most people expect us to answer “Nope it’s the exact same as before!” But it isn’t. It is different, it feels deserved, and things did shift after we got married (for the better). And I know marriage is not always easy (a narrative our society is addicted to perpetuating for some reason) but marriage is great right now and I am so grateful. What else? Oh *goes to Italy once* I am also a world traveler!!! Earlier this year we went to Italy for my husband’s brother’s wedding and it was the first time either of us had ever traveled internationally. That experience was not only fun/exciting/new but it also taught me that I can travel without having a panic attack and that my husband and I are great travel partners. I am famously an anxious traveler but we had an incredible experience that prompted us to book our honeymoon in 2023–this time to Japan. Amazing. But sadly, life isn’t revolved around me jetting off to another country once a year. Life, as we all know, is obsessed with ups and downs. And to be honest, there are far too many downs for my taste. I believe most people know that my brother passed away on August 8th, 2021 at 29 years old, and this year I found that I will always move through life with grief. The grief transforms and reshapes itself constantly, but never goes away. I also witnessed people closest to me experience their own devastating losses this year and I’ve come to realize that the best things I can do in life are nurture my relationships, show up for the people I love, and make honest connections. In 2023, I can’t wait to watch my brother’s daughter grow up and become more like him every day, travel with my husband, and continue to change/grow as a person. What a cool life <3
I was trying to see if I could give this year a letter grade but that feels kinda impossible. My initial thought was D+ but that’s likely a little dramatic and due to emotional exhaustion. But honestly, in terms of my personal life, this has been a rough year. I’ve been battling depression due to probably what are still the after-effects of the pandemic (not that it’s over) and all the horrendous things happening in the world and in the country daily, but also because of some things I don’t want to talk about on the internet. Everything on that front is manageable, thankfully, but that doesn’t make moving through it easy. Depression during lockdown felt a little different. While still extremely hard and 0/10 stars, there was at least some weird solace in knowing I wasn’t missing out on living life. I’ve never really suffered from “FOMO” but when you’re dealing with depression in “normal” life there’s just a general sadness of not having the ability to fully experience it while others are/can. I also know that clearly I’m not alone in these feelings. Most of my friends are going through something similar even if they are for totally different reasons. I’m wildly grateful that we all have each other but it’s easy to then not to want to burden your friends that also have their own struggles. And to be fair my depression really only kicked into high gear in the latter half of the year and even then I have had some truly wonderful moments. Like my dear college friend and cousin getting married (not to each other:)). Jess Bunge LOVES to dance so weddings are right up my alley. I got to go to NY for a long weekend to see some of my best friends as well as a longer trip in the summer. I went to go see Rodrigo Amarante, Stevie Nicks, Florence and the Machine, and Alicia Keys in concert! All so incredible and moving. In the spring (the better part), I went to Mexico again and felt more alive and like myself than I had in years. Also, in terms of daily life, I still love my job and know what a huge deal that is. I think the real issue is that in my personal life I have been mostly just letting life happen to me. I’ve kind of lost a sense of real ownership and going through the motions which I know just comes from a lack of feeling worthy. That’s something I’ve battled with my whole life and I know it’s only ever been alleviated when I make strong decisions and put myself even just a little outside of my comfort zone. So that’s what I plan to change this next year. I already have plans in the making to hopefully apartment swap with someone in New York for a month or two (not before my living room is revealed:)), visit my dad in Paris (yes, the already coolest dad on the planet has decided he’s living in France for three months starting this January), and a few other ideas I’m still figuring out that are more inside job things. I’m just tired of feeling stuck but I’m the only one to unstick myself. So that’s where I’m at and hopefully, if you are dealing with similar feelings you know that you are absolutely not alone. 2023 here we come…BE BETTER, OK???
Do you want the good news or the bad news first? (Hope you picked “bad,” because that’s where we’re starting here.) When I look back, a lot of 2022 felt like I was bouncing from crisis to crisis – the year started with two back-to-back deaths, followed by an unending slew of personal stresses (my favorite: the multi-month black mold nightmare in my apartment), and December’s highlights included a rough bout of Covid (my first time – had all the symptoms; tested positive for 15 days straight; do not recommend) immediately followed by my 12-year-old cat’s first-ever trip to the kitty ER. But a lot of the negative emotions and stresses related to these bad things were blunted because…
(This is the good news part.) GUYS. It finally happened!!! I fell in love in 2022!!! For the first time ever!!! At age 31!!! (If you couldn’t guess, it’s with that guy up there on the left! AHH!!!) As it turns out, a lot of sucky things happen to suck a lot less when there’s a kind and patient and thoughtful person around who’s willing to help you navigate all the murky and mucky stuff. I’d never been able to ~get there~ in previous relationships (very NOT Libra of me) and was pretty sure I was destined to be the fun brunch friend – like, if your squad is in need of a gal with a bad date story, I’ve got hours of them – so activating a new part of my brain and feeling a whole bunch of new feelings has been VERY EXCITING. (I could write 2,000 words about the ~meet cute~ and everything else, but I’ll just say this: he’s the best, I love him, and he reads the blog so SAY HI TO DENNIS, PLEASE.) Also exciting: it was a great year of travel and friendship. I flew cross-country 16 (!!!) times; watched a ton of my best friends get married in NYC, Vermont, Delaware, and California; went to Firefly (in Delaware, very fun) and When You Were Young (in Vegas, also very fun, but in the “it’s an absolute disaster” way); enjoyed Seattle and Northern California with the EHD team; watched my favorite band play in both Boston and Philadelphia; welcomed a slew of new babies (congrats to all my new mama pals!!!); and capped off the year by traveling through Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary with my mom (could have done without the Covid we both brought home, though). The highs were high and the lows were low, but I’m just feeling really lucky to have my mom and my friends and my cute boyfriend and my sweet coworkers and all of you, too. Life’s looking pretty okay right now, I think 🙂
The phrase ‘new chapter’ gets thrown around a lot when it comes to resolutions and reflections for the upcoming year, but I mean it when I say 2022 has felt like I’ve entered one (in the best way). While the year has been slightly less ‘eventful’ (comparatively) to some of the others in the recent past (In 2019 I moved to New York then to LA for EHD, 2020 was obviously weird but memorable, and 2021 felt like such a massive contrast to 2020 with ‘normal’ life trickling back and some big travel moments), but being more stagnant this year has brought a massive amount of personal growth and change I never would have predicted. 2019 me and 2022 me are two very different versions of myself: the new me has developed strong goals and wants in life & has figured out a lot more about who I am and who I want to be. It’s been a year of reaching for new heights. I started a TikTok account and got a few of my first (and extremely awesome) partnerships which has been a dream come true!!! and I’m learning more and more about how I can reach my fullest potential while still being happy (which is so important). I’ve always been a big ‘work hard, play hard’ kind of person, and lately I’ve been honing in on what both work and play should look like in their highest form. For example, when it comes to ‘play’ I’m realizing how much I love having TICKETS to literally anything & that having meaningful connections & making memories are the most important things. I’m so thankful to be surrounded by so much love in my life – both from my family, friends and my very special person, Chase. Having a life partner like him through these years of turbulence has been so special, and I will never take that for granted 🙂 And when it comes to work, I’m loving where I’m at and am so grateful to be a part of this team. Having a job that creatively encourages me in this very specific (but incredible) field that I never would have known existed if it wasn’t for EHD and you all –– so THANK YOU. I can’t wait to see where 2023 takes us as a team & I’m so excited to continue learning, evolving and growing into the person I hope to be. Now let’s kick this new year off right!! 🙂
Well, that’s all EHD wrote:) Happy happy New Year’s Eve and cheers to a brighter 2023.
Love you, mean it.
Opening Image Credits: Design by Julie Rose for EHD | Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: One of Emily’s Best Friends Gets The Cozy Yet Sophisticated Bedroom Makeover She Really Deserves
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