Reflection: 43 Reasons 2022 Was MY Year (Even With Fresh Grief)

A year ago, 2022 was going to be MY year.

I was going to come in like a wrecking ball and make it my bitch.

2022 was going to be the year I not only got my shit together, but the year I was going to become a new me.

Both those things happened.

And I did come into 2022 like a wrecking ball, making the first 4 months of 2022 my bitch.

But then I started drowning. I couldn’t see past the fog and I just drifted, barely even holding on.

For 6 months, I sat on my ass, on my mom’s couch, watching TV, listening to music, and binge-reading.

Until one day in mid-November when the fog started lifting.

I told my husband I think we need to change how we interact with our own home because we spent…


Ignore the dirty bathroom mirror. This is my FIRST bathroom selfie. I LOVED who I saw looking back at me and HAD to take a photo. There was no time to clean it first.

I wrote the above introduction to this post while getting comfortable with what we thought was going to be a long night at the hospital waiting for my Papa to pass away and cross to the next realm.

The moment I got comfortable, my mom and Aunt came out to tell me the news. He passed.

So now I am here sitting in the truck with my husband driving and our girls in the backseat and the direction I didn’t know where I was headed towards with that introduction has pivoted.

Just like how most of 2022, I had to pivot.

Knowing your Papa, your hero, is about to die, is not the same as when he actually, finally, crosses the veil.

Today, we are headed to help my husband’s grandma move from her home to a rehab/nursing home.

And then we are going to go to Powell’s because our 10yr old has been begging to go for the past month after one of her aides told her all about it because our 10yr old fell in love with books this her.

E even wrote us a letter, saying she wanted to go so bad.

Powell’s Book it is in Portland and I want to go to it.” – E.R.S.

I put that note on my Instagram as part of my new photo of the day self-challenge, and I tagged Powell’s. Next thing I know, they reached out and asked if they could send E a special package.

I said yes, of course.

That was back before Thanksgiving. Their bookworms got distracted and I totally understand because I am also a bookworm and bookworms + books = shiny squirrel.

We finally got the package and E opened it on Christmas, and now it’s New Year’s Eve and we are hitting up Powell’s. Finally.

I am not sure where I am going with this introduction to my 2022 reflection.

My brain is all over the place.

I have grown and healed in so many ways, that I don’t even recognize who I was at the end of 2021.

And, at the risk of sounding selfish with a cold, dead heart, I feel like this last month of 2022, is a test.

I hate tests. Test anxiety is no joke.

And maybe that’s because if I fail this test, I will relapse into the old me. I know I won’t. But that’s not how my brain works.

But I also don’t necessarily want to pass this test either. Because if I pass, I feel like I will have lost a part of my humanity. Again, I know I won’t. But again, that’s not how my brain works.

I have worked really damn hard this year on healing and controlling my actions and reactions.

I have worked really hard to remain calm, neutral, happy.

I have worked really hard to stop doing the things that only brought me stress, anxiety, pain, and anger.

At the end of 2021, I declared 2022 to be MY year.

I may not have accomplished all the things I set out to make 2022 my year, and I may have lost my way for 6 months out of this year, but dammit, 2022 was still MY year.

2022 may be ending in heartache. But it’s ending the same way it started.

With hope that 2023 will be MY year.

Only this year, unlike last year, I KNOW 2023 will be my year. I now have unwavering confidence in myself to make my dreams come true.

Because I have made quite a few dreams come true this year.

I loved hard. I adventured hard. I lived hard.

I stepped outside of my comfort zone and submitted my photos to a Call For Art be featured in a local art exhibit. Whether I am selected or not, wasn’t the point. I just wanted to find the courage to hit submit.

2023: I WILL be featured in a local exhibit.

I learned how to box. It made me sweat and it hurt in such painfully good ways. And had it not been for developing Covid lung after having Covid, I would still be boxing. But my lungs are not up to par.

2023: Yet. But I might try Krav Maga or MMA instead. We will see.

I tried Sushi. And I liked most of it. I went with a couple of girlfriends after kayaking and taking an adventure after flipping my kayak over.

2023: More Sushi Friend Dates

I attended a Full Moon Ritual that I didn’t know should have been on my Living List.

2023: I plan to go to at least a few more and become more connected to my spiritual side.

At the very beginning of summer, I cannonballed into the pool without fear. I only did it once this year.

2023: Cannonball every time to get into the pool. Or maybe not.

I froze my toes off doing the Polar plunge this year! It was cold and so freaking worth it. Although, I did it so early in the year that I forgot I even did it until I relooked at my list for this post.

2023: Might do the Polar Plunge again, but with family members.

I finally published my book! I may have published it in December instead of June, but I freaking did.

2023: I already have the title and first chapter for my next book, so there will be another book this year.

I learned to longboard but it isn’t marked off because I only learned/had the guts at an indoor skatepark.

2023: find all my pads and go longboarding alongside E while she skateboards at a local park.

As of this writing, I have lost 91.2lbs since I set that 150lb goal. 40 pounds this year alone. However, I didn’t math right, so technically, my goal is to lose 170 pounds.

2023: Lose at least 40 more pounds.

Since I am writing and posting this on the final day of the year, I DID read at least 5 days. In fact, I have read every single day since Jan 8th, 2022, making it 358 days in a row and 313 books DONE with 1 more with less than 50% to go. I should check that off.

2023: I plan to keep reading, but I hope I only read 100 books. 300 is just too much.

As for how much I wrote this year, I didn’t make my goal. I didn’t even hit half my goal. But I did write 105383 words.

But that’s because I lost my way for 6 months.

I am ending the year strong and with more confidence about my writing schedule than I have since I started this journey.

Mainly because I am writing for the pure pleasure and passion of writing, and not to clock my time and mark off all the things.

2023: I am keeping that 250,000-word goal. I think I can make it this year. Or, at the very least, make it damn close.

I was supposed to learn how to make coffee, but then that appointment got canceled because we needed to move Papa’s stuff out of the memory care home and back home.

The one goal that I was SUPER excited about accomplishing this year, I did not, in fact, accomplish it. I did hike 34 hikes for a total of 160.57 miles. That is a major feat in and of itself. I stopped hiking during that 6-month hiatus from life. While I am sad I didn’t hit this goal, I was OK that I ran out of spoons for 52 hikes.

2023: I WILL hit 52 hikes next year!

Other than those things I accomplished this year, I also learned a shit ton about myself. I learned I don’t take shit, I don’t give a fuck, and I love who I became, who I am, this new me.

Yet, this new me is so new to me that I have no fucking clue how to talk about it, describe it, without sounding conceited, snobby, better than others while wanting to help people achieve this same feeling. This is something I will need to work on in the upcoming year.


We just got home from running around today and doing all the errands.

The 10 AND 13yr old loved Powell’s. The 10yr old ended up overwhelmed, which we expected, but thankfully, she cannot wait to go back.

Just next time, we need to have more time than an hour.

(P.s. do you know how many stairs Powell’s has? I don’t know the exact number but according to my quads, I am pretty sure there are 16,000 steps.)

Anyway, they both got to pick out 2 books each. One of which, for both kids, we kind of expected. One of which, for both kids, we didn’t see coming from left field.

B brought home Shadow Mountain; E brought home Land of the Dead. Both completely unexpected. And both I really, really want to read too.

One of the things that happened this year, that surprised me the most, was just how much me and my girls were able to connect.

I don’t know how much of that is because this was my first full year working from home, or how much of our relationship growth was because of my healing journey.

Regardless of how it happened, I hope some of the memories we made this year – like our rainy scout campout when B had to sleep in the car, or our 6-hour 8th Annual Christmas Light Hunt Adventure, or even any of our morning car conversations – I hope some of these memories stick with them for life.

I know they will stick with me until my dying breath.

Out of everything I wanted to come from this year, to make it my year, my deepening connection with my husband was not one I had even thought of.

And I know that’s because after I wrote my book last Nov 2021, my healing journey kicked into high gear.

I started advocating for myself. I started putting myself first. I stopped letting my past dictate my present and my future. And I stopped spending my energy and spoons on things that didn’t make me smile.

And that is what I hope to continue to practice in 2023: patience, balance, understanding, self-love, happiness.

With that being said, what I don’t need to continue into 2023 includes: anger, being numb, passive living, and shame for finally learning and fine-tuning this new me.

It’s been a fun year. That’s for sure.

I think I have laughed more this year than I have in the last decade. Even during those 6 months I was drowning and floating from shore to shore, I always found the laughter. If I didn’t find any, I made it.

It’s also been a rewarding year. Hands down.

I became a published author. I made my dream of becoming a paid writer come to life. It may have taken me 6 months more than I had planned, but sometimes plans are meant to be broken, and not just because the Universe laughed but because I wasn’t ready to hit submit.

However, it’s been a year of growth. And loss.

I have grown this year mentally and emotionally as I strived to embrace stoicism. A philosophy I will never perfect but one I will never stop living.

I have also lost 40 pounds. No. Scratch that. I ELIMINATED 40 POUNDS. Period.

And those eliminated pounds are proof of just how far I have come this year.

2022 was my year and I am not afraid to shout it from the rooftops in fear of embarrassment, and I am NOT going to walk quietly OR softly into 2023. Much like I didn’t last year.

Because for the first time in my life, I am proud of who I am. So proud in fact, that I don’t care what other people think about me. I am here to be unapologetically me 24/7.

I started working with a Holistic Health Coach who quite literally put my future in my hands, transforming my life forever.

All because my Freelancing journey led me to her.

I am a full believer in serendipity, synergy, fate, connections, full circle, or whatever you wish to refer to synchronicities as.

I haven’t learned everything yet. But I do know that, because of Colleen, I will never follow another diet again because diets are BULLSHIT.

With her help, I have been able to work on remaining calm in stressful situations. I still have to work on my ability to be so calm, I balance on the cliff’s edge of too numb.

But I am getting damn good at balancing. A practice I will continue to practice every day in 2023.

Balancing the good with the bad, the must-do’s with the want-to-do’s, the sun with the moon, and everything in between until I find the center where I am not magically happy nor in shutdown mode.

And because I have become damn good at balancing, I have had the opportunity to learn the following 43 tidbits about myself:

  1. I actually WANT to do a vision board bc for the first time in my entire life, I KNOW it will happen.
  2. I watch out for, listen to, and understand when I need to sleep on something rather than diving into the deep end until the wee hours of the morning.
  3. I accept the things that cannot be done because I don’t have the spoons, the time, or maybe because I am just not in the right frame of mind to complete said thing.
  4. I let go that what cannot be positive. And if I cannot avoid what cannot be positive, I make it a positive. The negatives are just not worth my time or energy.
  5. I step away the moment frustration comes to the edge of my mind and this lesson I finally learned goes along with #2 up there.
  6. I now watch the world while being present, and it is quite enlightening.
  7. I can multitask if that is where my train of thought goes. I no longer feel like my train is veering out of control. And I no longer feel like I am breaking under the stress, going from tab to tab or project to project. I just go with the flow. And that is where my brain is happiest.
  8. I no longer care how outrageously crazy my idea might be. I am no longer scared. I fully commit until I know it’s not possible, but nothing is impossible.
  9. I no longer drop everything and run to fight fires that might not be my monkeys or my circus. Unless it’s an emergency that must be attended to immediately. Like an actual fire because I forgot to turn off the stove and then set pizza boxes on top of the stove. But if I can do the thing AFTER I am at a stopping point, then it’s going to wait.
  10. I listen to my body. When it is tired, I rest, relax, recharge.
  11. I feed it when it requires fuel.
  12. I feel no shame in telling people to give me a moment and then follow up with an ETA of when that moment will end if possible.
  13. I have learned that I will eat pizza 5x a week if it doesn’t mean I have to cook or make decisions about dinner after using all of my decision-making spoons that day.
  14. Why save dreams for tomorrow? Dreams are meant to be lived today. And that is how I am going to live, this moment forward.
  15. Honesty. Honesty. Honesty. Whether I have to tell the hard truth or listen to the hard truth, I demand honesty and expect nothing less. This is a lesson I am trying to teach my children, and one day they will get it.
  16. I am damn fucking proud of how much my writing and photography skills have exploded this year. I am damn fucking proud of my empathic abilities which have truly strengthened this year. And I am damn fucking proud of my talents for finding solutions.
  17. I love water. Although to be fair, I think I have known that for a while, but this year cemented that fact.
  18. Minus covid lungs, I’m moving easier.
  19. If you read a lot, straighten your arms once in a while. Your elbows will thank you.
  20. I have been referring to this year as my third (1/3rd) Life Crisis, These past 18 months have turned into a much-needed gap year where I could focus on myself and where I fit in the grand scheme of the universe.
  21. I am NOT a salad eater. No shame. So if you find me eating a salad, it’s because I really wanted it.
  22. I am ending this year with the ending of a book series that I not only started at the end of last year, but this series started my obsession with reading. Or rather, it reignited that bookworm spark, reminding me of my roots. Full circle. Everything is connected.
  23. I have stopped timing my passions – writing and photography. I have discovered that my art is not something that can be timed and shouldn’t be. Art should be allowed to flow without restrictions. Timing and logging when and how long it takes for me to create, drained the passion. It became work. Art shouldn’t feel like work. Making and viewing and reading art should be fun.
  24. To piggyback off #23, I am learning to trust that I know how long it will take me to do projects. This is something I will need to continue working on next year.
  25. I am an old soul And maybe even a spiritual elder and that doesn’t scare me, and I don’t feel embarrassed for believing that.
  26. Life’s too short to wear clothes, shoes, and accessories that don’t make you feel a. Comfortable or b. Fabulous.
  27. I need more quickies in my life.
  28. I love apple cider. Hot apple cider. MMMMMMMMMM. I have zero clue how to make it so I might need to add that to my Living List.
  29. I now know it can be done. The life I have always envisioned is closer than its ever been.
  30. I am finding my balance and speaking up for what I need.
  31. I am a badass beast who doesn’t back down from a challenge.
  32. To piggyback off #23 & #24, I don’t need to track everything on a time sheet. In fact, I am even more productive and creative without the clock.
  33. Habitica. Period.
  34. Scheduling out my week on Sunday has been a literal life changer.
  35. I am no longer saying no to food because “I can’t have it” but I AM saying no to foods and drinks because my body doesn’t feel good after that thing, or because I just don’t want it, or need it
  36. Practicing being OK with not doing all the things right away or marking off every single to-do that day. That it’s OK to take a day for rest because for once, I know I am going to get to it tomorrow. And if it means I have to push back my schedule by a day, I am learning how to be OK with that too. It’s fucking hard because I have ADHD and am restless. But some days, my physical body just needs to rest and I no longer suck it up, buttercup because I now hold my rest days sacred.
  37. I am excited to get up in the morning and get to work. Yep. You read that right. 2021 me would either be stupidly proud or want to know what 2022 me is smoking.
  38. Getting to work on a different project every day is fucking fun and exactly what I’ve been wanting. A different problem to solve keeps my brain happily busy.
  39. We are gonna get rid of days after days of doing nothing productive. That old me habit HAS to go. I am OK with being stagnant and ignoring my to-do lists for 2 days in a row. But after that, I NEED to work on getting back on track. 2023 GOAL right here. I am NEVER going to feel what I felt earlier this year for 6 months. I don’t like it there. I like it out here. On the page.
  40. Every day is still a battle. Every new vulnerability that pops up is a battle to silence the inner critic and put that toddler brain in time-out. Practice makes progress because I threw perfectionism out the window when I left 2021 me in the dust.
  41. Everything connects and I LOVE that my spirituality has strengthened because I am acknowledging the signs now and the abundance of synchronicities.
  42. I snapped at my kiddo a little bit ago because I was exhausted and she was chaos because she purposely didn’t take her ADHD meds. The moment I snapped, I felt disgusting. I felt gross to think that being snappy used to be old me’s M.O. For the new me to have such a visceral reaction to my snap, I have come a long way. But I still have a long ways to go and I am not stopping in 2022.
  43. I learned this year how to have crazy dreams and goals. I also learned how to remain realistic. Dream: I published a book. Crazy Dream: I want to sell so many copies that it gets adapted to the Silver Screen. Reality: Whatever happens, happens. And THAT’S OK. 

Just looking at those 43 reasons makes me realize just how much I have grown in the past year.

If you look back at my letter to myself last December, I may not have hit ANY of the financial goals that I set forth for myself, and I definitely didn’t jump out of a perfectly good airplane or any of the physical goals I set.

But, I read every single day, AND I didn’t just step OUT of my comfort zone the entire year, I also SOARED right over the walls that no longer served me.

I also may not be fully booked with clients, but I have changed the world of the people around me by just being unapologetically me.

This next year, I KNOW that 2023 will be MY year because 2022 WAS my year.

2022 WAS the year I accepted my strength, my power, and my curiosity.

It may have taken me an extra 6 months, but I can honestly say, I am in the healthiest place in my life that I have ever been.

I needed those 6 months of pure struggle and hell.

Had I not had those 6 months of drowning fog, I would have taken this growth, this healing, this point in my journey – for granted.

And that is why 2023 is going to be MY year.

Because I am no longer taking anything for granted.

I am going to lose 40 more pounds. I am going to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, work out at least 2x a week, take a pole dancing class, go paintballing, and wear a 2 piece bikini dammit.

I am also going to get my diabetes under control by focusing this year on the fuel I give my body.

I have learned the foundations of willpower and desire thanks to my health coach, Colleen. 2023 is just going to add another layer to that foundation to take me to the next step.

I am also going to learn how to finally take nighttime photos after I purchase a new Mirrorless camera, taking my art to the next level.

2023 is also going to be the year I take boudoir photos, buy shitkicker boots, learn how to apply makeup, learn about my past lives, and learn how to professionally wrap presents.

2023 will be MY year because I am going to finally be financially stable, paying my bills on time. The final piece to my stress-fueled nightmares.

But 2023 will be MY year because I am going to laugh until the sun rises, cry until the moon goes to sleep, smile as the sun pirouettes across the horizon, and love as the world passes us by.

2023 is going to be my year because I will only become more secure in the human I became in 2022.

To 2023, may courage remain present, may fear hold me accountable, may confidence keep me going, and may patience keep me anchored.

May the New Year give you the bravery to learn how to be unapologetically you, the strength to keep going, and the courage to dig deeper.

In the meantime, Adventure on with Curiosity,

~Kelly “Beast” Steele

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