This Year

I’ve been meaning to post this collaboration—between two ladies I adore—for quite a while. Hila wrote the words and Lynn printed them into a beautiful, simple work of letterpress art. I loved Hila’s resolution poem when she posted it and I could relate to it completely. All of it rings true for me, but I’ve been particularly rapt in the part about being protective of one’s time. I agree that it seems to be in short supply—really, with every year that passes it seems to be more and more precious and I want to be more respectful of my own time and energy.

This past year was hard. I had to spend a lot of my time dealing with some frustrating and painful health issues (“lady stuff”). While I actually love working, I think I overcompensated for the lack of control over my symptoms by working as much as possible. I also retreated into myself and this extrovert wasn’t anywhere near as social as she has been in the preceding… well, decades, really. I think I got tired of talking about my health. I didn’t want to talk about it, but it was so time consuming and such a big part of my life that it was a hard subject to avoid. Yeah, I didn’t write about it here on my blog. I thought about it, but then I didn’t want to have all that muck infiltrate all corners of my life—if that makes sense. I wanted a space where I wasn’t the girl going through all the crap.

I’m not out of the weeds, but I’m trying to come back out of my shell a bit more. As I peek my head out—I’ve had a couple hurtful moments that have made me feel like retreating again. Finding out people aren’t what they seemed, being disregarded and letting friendships go are never easy things. There are a lot of feelings to untangle. I guess I’m learning some new things about myself and about my feelings about the sanctity of time and friendship.

And most importantly, I need to not let these hurtful scenarios overshadow the amazing friendships I have made throughout my life—these wonderful people really tip the scales in comparison! I’ve even made some phenomenal, unexpected friends over this past year. I have awesome people in my life who have stuck by me–even when I’ve been hiding, scattered, teetering or, at times, feeling shattered. I need to concentrate my time on the lovely people who deserve it, instead of spending so many hours feeling sad over the people who don’t. This is how I want to spend my time this year–I’m really looking forward to it. Thanks for listening!



Image courtesy of Satsuma Press.

40 Responses to “This Year”
  1. Stop saying yes when you really mean no is a very good sentiment… sorry you’ve had such a hard past year though. I sort of know what you mean about throwing yourself into things you can control – and how tiring it can be just talking about things that are so tiring themselves. I hope 2012 is a good ‘time’ year for you xx

  2. erin / dfm says:

    beautiful words – both in the poem and in your interpretation. i can definitely relate to everything you’re saying here – in more ways than one – and am so proud that you feel comfortable enough with us (and yourself!) to share those brave words.

    we love you, sweet jen! here’s to an inspiring year for us all. :)

  3. An awesome bundle of mantras to live by. Especially loved “be more protective of my time” and the one about caring only what those you care about think of you, rather than perfect strangers. Both hit the nail on the head for issues I’ve been dealing with lately also.

    A very sweet and honest post & piece of artwork that many people will identify with.

  4. I’ve seen this on Hila’s blog – I love it!

    I think of myself as a bit of an oversharer, but in fact there’s a lot I’ve held back from writing about, for similar reasons. I still need to wrangle time better – it seems like if I get up earlier or stay up later to be more organised the time somehow goes twice as fast! What’s all that about? Hope 2012 is a glorious one for you, and that those phenomenal new friends stay that way :)

  5. Melanie says:

    I love this post, Jen. Thanks for sharing it with us. It’s always awesome to visit Honey Kennedy and see your amazing sense of style and taste splashed across these pages, but I love getting to know the woman behind the fancy too. xo

  6. Love that print, what a strong sentiment to take into a new year. I hope your health continues to improve and your friendships grow even stronger!

  7. sheila says:

    i think it’s so great when people express what they’re feeling and going through and share this with others who may wish to be as brave (read ‘me’). i really enjoy your blog and i’m sorry to hear you’ve not been well. they say time heals all wounds and i hope this is true for you. i’ve also been learning things like ‘surround yourself with people who are good for you’ and this has helped me so i get what you are saying. best of luck for a great new year, Jen.

    • Jen McCabe says:

      That’s a good way too look at it. I think I need better boundaries from the beginning with people. I’m very accepting of people’s traits–sometimes to a fault. Thanks, Sheila!

  8. Anna @ D16 says:

    This is such a beautiful post, Jen. I’m proud of you—not just for writing this post, of course, but for a lot of stuff.

    I’m glad I met you this year. I love you.


  9. Siubhan says:

    I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been having a tough old time lately. Bad experiences can be really disheartening, but always a good opportunity for taking stock of the things & people that are really worth your time. I hope this year is a better one for you all round.

    I loved Hila’s resolutions too. So simple really, but so perfectly to the heart of everything – I’m sure everyone can relate to them, and I certainly can.

    • Jen McCabe says:

      It really is a tough old time for a lot of ladies I know right now. A lot of us are trying to find balance. Thanks so much, Siubhan! I hope your year is happier than the last, as well!

  10. Megan says:

    I am sorry you had such a difficult year. If friends don’t lift you up and genuinely care about you then they aren’t worth keeping around. I moved back home from NYC a few months ago and was expecting to be constantly surrounded by the friends I knew here and have known for so long. I’ve realized only about two of them are still true friends. I will take quality over quantity anyday but moving back to this boring town has been tough and lonely. I’ve been so unhappy about the way my life is playing out that I just want to hide as well. This is when those real friends are important, the ones you can feel comfortable with even at your worst. Thanks for sharing and for being real and thanks for always blogging beautiful things! Those pretty/inspiring things keep me going when all else fails.

    • Jen McCabe says:

      Thank you, Megan. Oh, moving back to a smaller place is so hard–especially after living in NY! It’s hard when you realize everyone’s lives have shifted in a way that ends up making you feel alienated or disregarded. I hope you find some new and surprising friendships this year–finding people who are open and fun always seems to fix things.

  11. Alyson Clair says:

    I am so sorry about the lady issues. (I’ve had some myself, and totally done the thrown myself into work thing as well). I hope all your parts are ok.

    I love the poem. One of the best self-realizations I’ve had over the past few years is to make sure to cultivate the reciprocal relationships in your life. And if they are not that way, then figure out how to best separate from draining and non-supportive people. It can be hard to deal with for sure, but the end result can be an arsenal of awesome people. I seriously feel so luck every day for all the amazing people I know.

  12. TieDye64 says:

    What a beautiful, heartfelt post. Thank you for sharing.

  13. L says:

    This is an amazing post. I don’t know you and therefore wouldn’t dream of assuming I know enough to say anything about what you have experienced and are experiencing. All I can say is thank you for writing something this affecting.

    Hiding when things are tough, really tough, is something that resonates with me. I started to lift my head this morning – accepting an invitation to meet a friend for lunch even though my instinct was to keep my head down – and your words have encouraged me to do more to stay connected to those I love and who love me.

    Thank you!

    • Jen McCabe says:

      Oh, good. I need to be reminded about this as well. I’m trying to make more plans with friends to get back to feeling more myself again. It’s so worth every minute. I always think “I will get some hugs and laugh a lot if I go”–always good motivators!

  14. megan says:

    what a wonderful and thoughtful post. i’m going through something similar with a friendship–it’s hard (and often a shock to the system) when the people you feel closest too do things that aren’t in line with the behavior you’ve come to expect from them, and it seems like a lot of people are going through the same thing right now. i’m sorry you’re one of them, but the way you’ve written about how you’re feeling is really beautiful, and i hope you get some comfort from the solidarity expressed in these comments.


    • Jen McCabe says:

      Yeah–I think a lot of people are going through this. For me, when I become friends with someone I make an unsaid commitment to work with them through any friendship hurdles. It sucks to find out that some of these people aren’t as committed to the friendship. I guess you don’t know until you know. Thanks, Megan. Good luck!! xo

  15. thank you for sharing this wonderful post. i saw your twitter message about how you were thinking of possibly taking it down, but i’m so happy that you didn’t. it hit really close to home for me as i’m currently battling some health issues myself & many times feel alone going through it. it’s difficult when it feels like the rest of the world is moving ahead, some friends who said would be there for you all of a sudden disappear or begin to toot a different tune and all through this one tries to live a ‘normal’ life.

    your post made me see that i’m not alone & helped me to stay focused on what is important. life is too short to worry about things that well… don’t matter. :)

    • First Lady Tammy says:

      the whole city of mt. holly is glad you keep going jen. and we send our love. xo

    • Jen McCabe says:

      Thanks, Satsuki. I can definitely relate to the feeling of watching other people’s lives speed past while you’re dealing with difficult health issues. You ARE NOT alone. xo

  16. Jen McCabe says:

    I LOVE THE ENTIRE CITY OF MT. HOLLY! Miss you, Tam. xo

  17. Nina says:

    what a beautiful post, thank you! It really resonated with me as the past year my health also changed everything upside down and I learned so much but that was tough! I am sending you a bouquet of white daisies and freshly washed sheets and pure health.



    • Jen McCabe says:

      Thank you, Nina. That’s so incredibly sweet. I hope this year is wonderful and full of good health and happiness for you. Everything will hopefully turn right-side up. xo

  18. Hila says:

    Oh Jen, it sounds cliche to say this, but I do know exactly what you mean here. I’ve been dealing with a lot of personal stuff ‘behind the scenes’ of my blog. Like you, I don’t want it to enter my blog and infiltrate every aspect of my life. I need my blog to be a refuge of sorts – not a constantly ‘happy shiny’ refuge, but just a space where I can talk about and share the things I care about without sliding into therapy.

    I am glad you shared this though, because it gives those of us who read and love your blog the opportunity to support you. That’s the best thing about blogging – the support. On crappy days when I’m sick of strange anonymous comments or vicious snarkiness on the internet, I take comfort in the wonderful people I’ve ‘met’ via my blog, including you.

    Take care and I hope this year will be better for us both.


    • Jen McCabe says:

      Thank you, Hila. I’m so happy that I met you! It helps so much to know that I have the support of so many awesome ladies who I respect so much. I hope we all have stellar years. Thanks so much for being a good person and friend. xo

  19. anne louise says:

    i’m late to comment here – it’s that time moving too fast thing, i guess – but just writing to say GOOD ON YOU for being so brave to let everyone know. not that you needed to, or had to at all but it must have been nerve wracking nevertheless to come out and say it.

    i had a really shitty 2011, too, health wise, both mentally and physically, and even though i never wrote about it on my blog – i wasn’t so brave! – it was weird posting ‘oh, i love this!!’ when i was feeling so shit. but, i never stopped posting, because as hila wrote, my blog is kind of my refuge, and it was a wonderful distraction and a reminder that life was going on. perhaps that sounds trite or whatever, but really; a welcome distraction is a welcome distraction, no matter what form it is.

    take care, and here’s hoping 2012 brings happier and healthier times for everyone x

    • Jen McCabe says:

      If there is physical duress–you really can’t escape the mental. I’m sorry your year was hard, too. You’re very brave–I’m certain of it, Anne Louise. And–you’re not alone. xo