Life is crazy. It’s full of ups and downs, highs and lows, and moments where you just want to shut the door to the world and hide in the closet. There are days when something makes you cry and then before you know it you turn around and laugh from deep inside your soul.

See the heart to the left here? I still remember that moment from 2019 when after a written attack against my integrity and character, I was in a very dark place. Someone who I thought was proud of me and loved me deeply opened my eyes to how they really felt about me. With the ugliness of their words, I doubted everything I thought I am, and everything I’ve done to be the best me I could be. Their bitterness got deep into my soul and rocked me to the core—making a black stain spread across my heart. I struggled for weeks, asking myself and God whether who I thought I trying to be was in actuality far from how everyone sees me. You could say I was in an emotional crisis.

One afternoon during this crisis, I took a walk with the dogs and where I usually turn left, I was drawn at the last minute to turn right. There at the end of the street were piles of pine straw scattered all across the road. As I was arguing with the universe about if I was doing everything I could to be a good person, I came across this perfectly formed heart that stopped me in my tracks. There’s no doubt to me that it was a message. A love pat. Whatever you want to call it. And it brought me a deep sense of peace when I most needed it.

Even so, as I’m going into my fiftieth decade on this spinning ball of energy, I find myself doing a lot of thinking about who I am, where I’ve been, and what impact I’ve made on the world. I’ve had my share of heartaches and crawled out of the muck to claim my happily ever after, rather than settling for what my beginnings tried to pacify me with. I’ve helped people and I’m sure I’ve unknowingly hurt people. I also know that when I love, I love hard. And when I hurt, I hurt deep. And I spend too much time agonizing over how some people choose to live their lives and whether I can change it. But 2020 is here, folks. And suddenly I look in the mirror and it’s frightening to see the face looking back at me with all it’s unfamiliar lines and wrinkles. Reminding me that I’m not here forever.

It’s time for me to re-set life and how I want to live it. Time to be true to me.

What does that mean? Like most wives and mothers out there, I usually put myself last, putting all my energy into raising my girls, caring for my husband, and doing things for others. I’m certainly no martyr or Mother Teresa, but I’ll admit that I have found it hard to be good to myself. So this is the year I’ll begin to focus more on my spiritual life and finding what brings me peace.  Part of that I already know is tapping into more volunteer work, not for what others think of me but because it makes me feel good inside to do it. I’ve already got an idea of where I’m needed next, now I just have to make it happen. I will also focus on health, for myself and my Ben. After the hectic health scares of 2019, we know it’s time we make our well-being a priority, instead of an afterthought. I will continue to love hard, and let those who love me back know how much I appreciate them.

To those I love who don’t love me back, I will still love you, though I’ll no longer let your indifference bring me pain. I am choosing joy and you are welcome to be a part of it or watch from the sidelines.

Another important mission for this new decade is that I’ve got to stop blaming myself for any mistakes my adult children make, and realize this is now their lives and I can’t choose how they live it. I can only continue to try to guide them in the right direction but whether they take it or not is up to them. I will celebrate their accomplishments and sympathize with their troubles.

Though I must work to make a living, I will spend less time at my keyboard and more time loving the critters in my life, for I believe God sent them to me for comfort and such gifts need gratitude.

Continuing on a quest to build a stronger relationship with my twin sister will also be a big part of these next years. Such a close sisterhood can be difficult but I’m determined not to let us take each other for granted any more.  We are two strong-willed and successful women and should be tackling the world together as a team and not as rivals. I will continue to strive to be a positive role model in the difficult lives of my grandchildren, showing them as much affection and care as I possibly can.

I guess you could say that this is the time I decide to work on my legacy.

Between all that, with continued self-motivated study, I will try to quench this thirst to know more about life, death, and why we are here.  For starters, I believe we are all on this earth to learn lessons.  Our souls each choose this journey already knowing what sort of obstacles we will face. How we live this life, and how we treat others and what ripples we send out to the universe are important for our spiritual growth. Do you have someone in your life who is difficult and you struggle with the responsibility versus the challenge? Think of it as a life lesson and treat it as though you are training for the biggest exam of your life.  And know that when you’ve done everything you can to mend a connection and it never seems to heal, it’s okay to walk away and protect yourself. Let no one make you feel less than.

Keep working on self-improvement! We are all a work in progress. Especially me.  I could give you a whole list of how I need to change but I think I’ll keep that to myself a while longer.

Above all, the world is a chaotic place right now so as we go into 2020, please choose kindness. And when you can’t choose kindness, at least choose a quiet peace.

34 Comments

  1. Elizabeth on January 21, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    Your words speak so much truth to all of me. I’m with you in many areas. Reaching my 7th decade in a couple of years I want to look back and smile. Lots of mistakes, lots of sadness and yet, I am alive and living. Thank you for speaking those words into me.

    • Virgie Lane on January 21, 2020 at 2:17 pm

      Thank you for those words. I need to also put myself first and think of me. My children are grown with children of their own. I must make every day count and live it to the fullest. I want to be that strong person I once was before I lost my way. I seem to have given up when I lost my husband my best friend my sole mate my life. How does one learn to go go? I look around and see my beautiful children and grandchildren and realize how proud he would have been of them. Life has many ups and downs . I need me back and I am going to concentrate on me for once. Thank you Kay I saw a different light today as I read your message.

      • Diana Bradley on January 21, 2020 at 8:17 pm

        Beautiful!!

    • Kay Bratt on January 21, 2020 at 4:00 pm

      Reaching a 7th decade is quite an honor, Elizabeth. I hope this year you will focus on being good to yourself. Think of it as a reward well earned for making it so far!

  2. Kelley Blair on January 21, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    Great way to look at life Kay. If you have not read The Untethered Soul it is a good book.

    • Kay Bratt on January 21, 2020 at 4:00 pm

      Yes, I’ve read it. Great book.

      • Traci Golden on January 21, 2020 at 8:51 pm

        Your words always move me, and these are no different! Kudos to you, and I’ll be here for you through it all!

        • Kay Bratt on January 22, 2020 at 10:06 am

          Thank you, Traci!

  3. Jessie Lanier on January 21, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    Thank you for those words. I needed them. ❤️

    • Kay Bratt on January 21, 2020 at 4:00 pm

      You are welcome, soul sister. Much love to you.

      • Janice Knight on January 21, 2020 at 4:08 pm

        Kay, your words always mean a lot to me! ❤ You say it all so much better than I, so that is why I read & follow…..Th a k you for sharing!

        • Kay Bratt on January 21, 2020 at 4:14 pm

          Thank you, Janice, for being a part of my circle.

          • Jean Zaspel on January 21, 2020 at 11:40 pm

            Thank you, Kay, for your inspiration. I am working on choosing kindness- one day at a time. Much appreciated!



      • Rhona on January 26, 2020 at 6:38 am

        Thanks for those words i needed them x

  4. Debra Fortenberry on January 21, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    I can relate a lot to what you are going through. My sister and I have a rough relationship which I’m not sure can be mended at this point in our lives. She is six years younger than me and believe it or not six years can make a big difference in the way we live our lives. I am on the uphill of my 6th decade of this life and I am going to strive to do what is best for me as well. I hope one day to find me a little critter to love but right know I travel and would have no one to take care of a pet, and I don’t like the idea of boarding. Anyway, your words are very inspiring and I look forward on the coming year to all your books, and adventures with your Bratt Pack – <3

    • Kay Bratt on January 21, 2020 at 4:03 pm

      Debra,

      I also have a sister that is 7 years younger and you are right, that is a lot of living in the years between. I hope you can find a way to approach your sister and ask for a fresh start to enjoy the rest of your years as closer siblings. If she doesn’t want to try, then you’ve done your part and can rest easy.

  5. Tena Bremmer on January 21, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    Love this! My feelings exactly! Someone once told me, don’t lose who you are. Every person we meet and let into our lives changes us. I am happy you have realized you can only raise your children so far and then just be there for thenm, it’s hard I know. My daughter and I talked every day when she had her son then she got a job, had a family and I felt like I lost my best friend. I cried for days but I knew I had to let her grow up. I don’t have a best friend but I have a lot of friends. Take care of yourself!

    • Kay Bratt on January 21, 2020 at 4:04 pm

      I love that, ‘don’t change who you are’. I remember when I was going through that painful time last year and my husband looked at me and said, “I’ve been with you every day for more than 25 years. I KNOW you and KNOW your heart. They don’t know you.”

      –it was salve to my soul. He loves me for who I am and of all the people in the world, he is the one who knows me best.

  6. Cathy Waugh on January 21, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    Thank you Kay. I too struggle with my adult children, always wondering where I went wrong. Your words help me to understand that I did the best I could and I’ve tried to mend fences, but I realize that I can’t do it alone. Bless you and here’s hoping 2020 is better for all in this position.

    • Kay Bratt on January 21, 2020 at 4:06 pm

      Yes, Cathy. WE have to let it go and just work on a new way to interact with our children. Less telling them what they should do and more telling them we hope they work it out successfully. After all, we can’t do it for them and we aren’t responsible for their choices. I’ll keep telling myself that and you do the same. [hugs]

  7. Trish Flippin on January 21, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    You are such a blessing, Kay. Your books, your blog, your Facebook posts, everything you put into writing touches the hearts of those who read what you share. This blog really touched me. Going into my mid 50’s, I can relate to many of the feelings you describe.
    I love you my dear friend. And I am so, so, so glad we met ❤

    • Kay Bratt on January 21, 2020 at 4:06 pm

      YOU are a blessing in my life, Trish. I’m so happy to have found you. #SoulSisters

  8. Tina Hottinger on January 21, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    Well said! You’ve said exactly how I feel some days.

    • Kay Bratt on January 21, 2020 at 4:15 pm

      Thank you, Tina. Hang in there this year when life gets hard!

  9. Pam Kleiser on January 21, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    Wise words Kay, that come from a place of pain and growth! Thank you. I have chosen to take care of me this year also, physically, spiritually and emotionally. I have had a couple of pretty tough years, and I pretended all was okay, when it wasn’t. Take a toll. Am reading, watching the DVD, and doing the workbook the” Life Isn’t Supposed to Be This Way” by Lysa TerKeurst. She has become my second favorite author next to you ♥️. Check her out. You take care of you. Love you and praying for you always ❤️

    • Kay Bratt on January 21, 2020 at 4:07 pm

      Thanks, Pam. I’ll take a peek at that book. And yes, please work hard this year to be true to yourself. Much love back at you! <3

  10. Marilyn Grable on January 21, 2020 at 3:41 pm

    Love your words…you spoke to many.
    I wish you and Ben, fun days ahead. You’re right, you can’t fix children’s problems but o how I wish we mama’s could.
    Take care if yourself, Ben and all your fur babies!!

    • Kay Bratt on January 21, 2020 at 4:08 pm

      Thank you, Marilyn. Take care of yourself and yours too~!

  11. Lisa McFerren on January 21, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    Thank you Kay for always sharing from your heart!! I too , have decided that 2020 is the year for me to do the things that bring me great joy and to work harder on all of me! 💗

    • Kay Bratt on January 21, 2020 at 4:16 pm

      Yes, Lisa! This is OUR year. Let’s rock it.

  12. Natasha Westerhoud on January 21, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    Thank you Kay for your honesty and sharing your journey with us. It is a chaotic world. Thanks for the reminder of choosng self love and choising to be kind. Thank you for the reminder of knowing when to walk away and taking the time to breathe.
    Peace to you in 2020. Peace to each of us on this journey called life.

    • Kay Bratt on January 22, 2020 at 10:06 am

      Thank you, Natasha. We got this!

  13. Nancy C Reedy on January 21, 2020 at 10:54 pm

    Kay….what a way with words….you would think you wrote books for a living😃 This very well be some of your best work yet!!!!Peace within is so elusive and the journey to find it so challenging but we keep trying !!

  14. Beth Lillis on January 21, 2020 at 11:15 pm

    Well said Kay and I hear what you are saying Most of all learn to be good to yourself.

Leave a Comment