2018 has been a doozie, friends. I know that I am not alone in this. Sometime in the spring, for the first time in my life, I started reading more about astrology. I don’t know how many grains of salt I’m taking regarding it, but it did provide some comfort to know that I am not alone in this. Planets in retrograde, multiple eclipses, planetary shifts… (obviously I only know enough of the lingo to be dangerous)… 2018 is a year of seismic changes for humankind.

(If you happen to not know why I’m so dramatically calling this the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year, you should check out this book. It’s one of my boys’ favorites. Not sure what that says about me.)

So many people I know have been affected by big, life-changing events– many of them not fun. Deaths, illnesses, divorces– things like these have seemed to thrive more than usual.

For those of you who follow the blog, especially those in my reading challenge, I know it’s been obvious that I’ve completely checked out of A Literary Feast for most of the year. I’m here to apologize and explain. The first reason I hadn’t posted for a while is because I was focusing my writing efforts on a new blogging adventure centered around my career path: www.labormom.com. But that was only the beginning. Hold on tight– I’m about to be very vulnerable and transparent with you.

2018 is my 40th year on earth and it was time for a… mid-life crisis? I prefer thinking of it as a mid-life evaluation. Where am I? What am I doing that I love? AM I doing what I love? What will the next half of my life look like? I took a good, long look and didn’t like what I saw.

To make a long story short, the first and most drastic change of the year for me happened in May, when I separated from my husband of 11 years and moved into my own place. A decision like this is never easy or made lightly. Even though it brought me peace, it is the hardest and scariest life decision I have ever made. 

Work problems, multiple car repairs, weird illnesses… each month threw a new wrench into the works.

Reading for me has always been escape and a comfort. This year was no different and when I was able to focus enough to read, books continued to be a solace. I’ll share more here about some of the books that carried me through 2018. First, a thank you. To the active members of The Literary Feast Reading Challenge, I am so grateful for you who have continued through the monthly challenges even when I was largely absent.

You see, even though reading is an escape, writing — especially in such a public setting as this– takes a great deal of creative energy. And blogging, done right, takes a whole lot of time and effort. In this year of transitions, I felt that I needed to reserve that creative energy for my own self-care.

It is through the encouragement of friends and my reading challenge group that I have started itching to write again. I am working on a new reading challenge for 2019, and will be posting that soon! So, thank you. Thank you for being there even though you didn’t know I needed the support.

(As a side note, it has also been many months since I paid attention to the technical side of running a website. There will be glitches. Bear with me.)

For the first time since I started a Goodreads account, I didn’t keep track of all of the books I read this year. That is because I haven’t been broadcasting the news of my separation, and I knew that certain titles would certainly provoke questions. ๐Ÿ™‚ I thought that now would be a good time to reflect on the books that had an impact on me during this eventful year.

When I first was going through my marriage breakup, I read The War of the Roses by Warren Adler. Hahaha! This was a humorous and macabre road map of what NOT to do during divorce proceedings.

I started devouring dating and relationship books because, obviously, I had royally botched mine. My new YouTube BFFs are Matthew Hussey, Mat Boggs, and Brian Nox, lol. I also read a couple of books by Brian Nox including one irresistibly titled F*ck Him! Nice Girls Always Finish Single.

On a deeper reading level, I read Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Sue Johnson, and Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. I was reading that book one day at a coffee shop and was amazed by how many people came up to me and commented on it. It truly is an essential read.

Positive thinking books have also played a role in my self-care this year. I haven’t gone through the whole book yet, but I started reading The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. I am an optimist by nature and I have to say that I like the premise of this philosophy, that the universe gives back what you project into it. Can’t hurt, right? Along with some of my co-workers, I just started the book Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. I’ve already repeated just the title to myself many times as kind of a mantra, haha.

If you need a good, cathartic, ugly cry, look no further than The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. A hauntingly beautiful saga.

There are some Instagram accounts that have brought me many positive vibes this year, namely @beautaplin, @jairekrobbins, and @whitelightpublishing.

Overall, 2018 was a good reading year for me. I expanded my usual diet of current fiction and found books that truly enriched my soul and contributed to my ongoing emotional journey of self-fulfillment.

2018 isn’t quite over yet, and it is not giving up without a fight. In the past week alone I’ve had a dental filling and my first mammogram, I was dumped by a guy that I really liked, and I lost my 4-year-old at the trail of lights and needed security to help me find him. Ugh. Merry Christmas?

If your year has been like this too, please accept my deepest sympathy and solidarity. How about we just bring a big stack of books to bed and don’t leave it until January 1st? ๐Ÿ™‚

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In the spirit of self-care and focusing on the positive, I’d love to hear from you. What are your go-tos when you need emotional encouragement? Comment below or on our Facebook page!