In December of 2012, I decided that 2013 was going to be labeled “The Year Of Experiences.” I had recently come to the conclusion that at the end of my life, it would be the non-material aspects that I would remember most: new environments, challenges, people, and places. I wanted to dedicate my resources that year to living a life full of opportunities for adventure and growth, and fortunately my husband played along. Little did I know what was just around the corner.

During January and February, I battled illness and depression while coming to the realization that my marriage of over five years was failing. In March, I moved out of the home I had made for us, and spent many of my hours curled in a ball on my parents couch feeling lost in my identity and worried about my future. As time passed, I began to leave the house more and more often. I frequented coffee shops, loitering for hours just so I wouldn’t have to be alone. By June, I had made dozens of new friends and was going dancing every weekend, escaping the confusion and fear that haunted me, and waking up with hangovers and regrets most Saturdays. I spent the summer in a state of stumbling exploration. I devoured self-help books, struggled with my new found independence, and attempted to stand firmly on my own two feet, falling time and time again. In August, I moved out of my parents’ into an apartment just outside of downtown. I filed for divorce in October and our final court date was scheduled for New Years Eve. I decided beforehand that I wouldn’t let the heaviness of that day interfere with ringing in the new year, and after an emotional afternoon, I went to one of the biggest house parties I had ever witnessed. When the clock struck midnight, everyone cheered and kissed, and my friend, Heather, who was my date, looked me in the eye and said with heartfelt intention, “Happy New Year, Kayley.” She was one of the few people in that mansion full of acquaintances who understood what 2014 signified to me. It was the end of The Year of Experiences and the beginning of a new calm after 365 days of hurricane.

If there’s anything I’ve learned the past several years, it’s that the process of becoming is really, really hard. It doesn’t come easily, and it certainly doesn’t come without pain, but the joy I’ve found in my moments of intentional unfolding is the ultimate reward. The beginning of The Year of the Work (2016) marked a new commitment myself for purposeful personal growth. I want to invite you to come on this journey with me. Whether you find yourself in a place where hard work needs to be done, or you just want to travel alongside as an observer, you are welcome here.

Given my history of blogging, it’s my natural inclination to create an online journal, but I’ve found that some of the most meaningful text I’ve read has come to me in the form of letters. The feeling of opening my mailbox to find something other than Comcast bills and weekly coupons never loses its luster, and I have recently gotten in the routine of writing letters to those I love, even if they don’t have the time to write back, simply as a reminder that I am thinking of them. I’ve come to find that my favorite mornings are the ones spent with a pen in my left hand and a warm mug of coffee within reach. The happiest walks always lead to the mailbox down the street, knowing that someone I care about will be receiving a piece of me within a matter of days. Because of the joy snail mail brings to me and also to those who receive it, I have decided that each month I will send out a letter full of reflections on what I’m learning, how I’m growing, and what I’m wrestling with. I have no map of what each letter will look like, and will be taking each month as they come. I am committed to staying transparent regardless of where this year may lead. My vision is a community of individuals who treat their lives as gifts, support each other, share their stories, and read a monthly letter over their favorite cup of tea on an afternoon that they are feeling especially lonely, finding comfort in the reality that they are not alone. 

I also realize that my personal journey is one of many and it is my desire to touch the lives of others with my story, but I know that I need your voice, too. I need your lessons. I need your perspective.  My goal is to connect those who are striving to live lives full of inspiration, purpose, and meaning, and are excited to share it with others. The community aspects of TYOTW are constantly growing, and currently include a members-only Facebook group, Live broadcasts, an Instagram account, letters sent between members, and hopefully someday, retreats. 

I am so thankful for each and every one of you for being here. You are not alone. To sign up, please use the form on the right (or below if you're on mobile).

I look forward to taking this journey with you,
Kayley Anne

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