True Success. What 2013 Taught Me.

I’ve blinked  and its already 24 days into 2014. For the past 23 days I had anticipated curling up under a quilt and spending a few minutes (hours) typing this blog post….board games with the kids and late night homemade pizza dinners with Mike have taken the front seat.

I’ve thought a lot about how to encapsulate last year into a blog entry nutshell. Its not possible. FB posts and Instagram photos give just a few pieces of the puzzle for all of us. 

Without a doubt, I have had an incredible year, I won’t lie. I’ve had lunch with the President of Cartier International in Normandy, France and chuckled as he said the words, 'eat cake, drink whiskey, talk shop'. I’ve started a magazine that was just named one of the ‘Hottest Launches of 2013”. I’ve won awards, spoken at events, been in meetings that would be the envy of any CEO in any part of the world. But that reality…and yes, for me that was reality~ still isn’t the entire story. The entire story will require a few hours, many pots of hot tea and a lot of honest, heartfelt words.

I won’t be that candid here. 

But I do want to share with you the ‘behind the scenes’ of 2013. Because, at the end of the day whether I am running a magazine or not.  Writing popular Huffington Post pieces or not. Jet setting to London or not. I am on a journey just like you. A journey that has the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. A journey that tests me at every turn. A journey of inward truthfulness and outward courage. And a journey that sometimes leaves me utterly rattled with anxiety and insecurity.

2013 was the hardest year of my life. 
Hands down. 
I am not sure I even would have the capability of repeating that year without a straight jacket. 

But 2013, for better or worse, allowed me to find out, for the first time in my 35 years, who I am at the core, what I truly value and how that shapes my future. For the first time in my life I drew close to incredibly wise mentors and truly authentic friends that walked the journey with me. They didn’t take (I’m naturally a giver)... instead I learned to receive. It transformed me.

Most of all, I fell more deeply in love with my family than I knew was possible. My children are growing and maturing more quickly than should be legal and each day they become my most cherished friends.

In 2013 I was utterly humbled and in awe of the man I married 15 years ago. We traveled some deep, treacherous valleys together over the past 12 months~ and my respect for him soared, watching as he battled through the darkness for us….for me…for our future. Even through the parts of the journey that made Mordor look like Disneyland he gave me a smile with the morning cup of coffee, left my vitamins in a wine glass on the counter before going to work (just for fancy-ness sake) and reminded me often of his love and devotion. That’s pretty powerful stuff. 

And now as I look ahead to 2014, we're already in the thick of it.  
December 31st brought about yet ANOTHER layoff for Mike thanks to shifts in the pharmaceutical industry...Jeez….again!? (having an "Are you there God, its us the Smith's" moment~). 
Some huge decisions lie ahead for CAKE&WHISKEY's growth and we weigh out a possible relocation with the uprooting of schools and daily life. 

Yet I’ve never felt more sure that this journey, with its manic twists and turns, is truly about searching out the tiniest bits of simplicity, joy and love along the way. If we can do that, we’ve found the key to true success. And that’s the only success I am seeking in 2014.