Summer 2017. One of the hardest summers I've been through, but also one of the best, because I gave myself room to breathe. What does room to breathe look like to you? //

Room to Breathe

Summer 2017. I think this is a summer that will stay with me for a long time. Back in June I mentioned I had left a workplace that wasn’t a good place for me anymore. It turned out to be harder to leave than I anticipated because there were details that weren’t resolved until July. I left this job for a few opportunities that feel pretty nebulous–they have from the start and it’s caused a lot of stress and anxiety. I entered the summer–and went through June–feeling pretty beaten up.

When I think of all that, Summer 2017 is a summer I’d love to say goodbye to and wipe from my memory.

But I can’t.

You might expect me to say something like, “I’ve learned so much and grown through all of this.” And I suppose there’s probably some truth to that, but I’d prefer if the lessons I take away from this summer are more eloquent than the first two that came to mind when I wrote that sentence.

Summer 2017. One of the hardest summers I've been through, but also one of the best, because I gave myself room to breathe. What does room to breathe look like to you? //

No, I can’t say goodbye to Summer 2017 and I can’t ask all the memories from this summer to leave, because it’s also been one of the best I’ve had in a long time. (And I’m excited about what’s ahead in August!) The stress and anxiety aren’t gone and I don’t know what my life is going to look like this fall, but there’s one reason this summer has also been so great.

The other day I pulled this mug (an old school Curly Girl Design mug) off the shelf and I realized this summer has been one of the best I’ve had in a long time because I’ve done exactly what this mug says: I’ve given myself room to breathe. And after how I’ve felt throughout the last year… and how I felt throughout June… I needed to breathe.

In Summer 2017, room to breathe looks like:

>> Frequent trips out of the city. I’m an introvert and for the last three years I’ve been in a position that’s an introverts worst nightmare. And throughout the last year I also packed my schedule with so many different events. I was exhausted and I needed a break. Taking some time to get out of the city to soak up the peace and quiet of the country has been exactly what I needed.

Summer 2017. One of the hardest summers I've been through, but also one of the best, because I gave myself room to breathe. What does room to breathe look like to you? //

>> Reconnecting with old friends. Last week I attended a meeting and realized during our discussion that I haven’t spent time with a lot of people this summer. Again, I think I needed a break from being social; I was maxed out! But I’ve reconnected with some people who have been so important to me at various points in my life and it has felt so good to see them and talk to them again.

>> Spending time with my horses. Okay, so maybe they’re not my horses, but they belong to a friend of mine who has been an older sister to me since I met her when I was in high school (true story: she taught me how to drive), so they’re like equine nieces and nephews. Which basically makes them my horses. #logic

Summer 2017. One of the hardest summers I've been through, but also one of the best, because I gave myself room to breathe. What does room to breathe look like to you? //

Seriously, though, my stress disappears when I stare into their eyes. (And this little guy? If you think he looks young, you’d be right! He’s four-months-old and shortly after he was born he became really sick. It’s kind of a miracle he’s still alive, but he’s a spitfire and he made it through. He’s the cutest, most awkward and gangly little guy and he makes me so, so happy. The night I took this picture his mama let us spend some one-on-one time together. He pranced and played and tried to eat my clothes and it was the best!)Summer 2017. One of the hardest summers I've been through, but also one of the best, because I gave myself room to breathe. What does room to breathe look like to you? //

>> Soaking up time with Little One. The only downside to my city breaks is that I haven’t been able to take her with me… although maybe that’s a good thing… I can guarantee I’ll come back from them because she’s not with me! 😜 She’s the best.

>> Taking a writing class. You might remember the creative funk I went through last fall. I had been thinking I needed to leave my workplace, but that creative funk confirmed it. I’ve been taking an online writing class this summer, and the feedback I’ve received from my teacher has been so motivating. I think the assignments have helped me to flex my creative muscles again. When the class first started it would take me at least a day to write about 600 words, but as the class has progressed it’s been easier to get into the flow. For awhile whenever I’ve said, “I’m a writer!” there’s been a voice in the back of my head that has said, “But you’re not writing!” And now that voice is gone. I can own my title and not feel guilty about it anymore.

There are three albums I listen to when I head out for a city break/to visit my horses: Kamelot’s The Black Halo, Epica’s Design Your Universe, and Bon Jovi’s Have a Nice Day. Different songs from each of these albums hit me differently each time I make that drive, but one song that always catches my attention is “Welcome to Wherever You Are” by Bon Jovi. There’s so much about this song that I’ve always loved, but right now this is what resonates with me:

Welcome to wherever you are
This is your life, you made it this far
Welcome, you got to believe
Right here, right now
You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be

This summer I questioned a lot of decisions I made in the last year… and in the last three years. How would my life be different right now if I had made different decisions at various points along the way? But when I’m not swept up in the stress and anxiety or, as Bon Jovi would say, “drowning in the shadow of a doubt” I can’t imagine this summer being any different.

So, Summer 2017, there are no words to describe you. And I know that for a fact, because I’ve just written about 1000 words and I’m not sure if they’re valuable/made sense/made any point.

But I guess I wanted to put this out there to say if you need room to breathe, know that you’re not alone. We’ll get through this.

What does room to breathe look like for you?

Summer 2017. One of the hardest summers I've been through, but also one of the best, because I gave myself room to breathe. What does room to breathe look like to you? //


  1. Beth Kondrick

    July 26, 2017 at 10:53 am

    I’m glad you’ve given yourself room to breathe and that it’s felt good in the midst of all your changes. I hope the rest of the summer continues to be that way for you!

  2. Kim Munoz

    July 26, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Giving yourself some room to breath is so very important. This summer has been one catastrophe after another for us and it might be the first year ever I am actually looking forward to school starting for the boys. Every day is just one foot in front of another until I can find some breathing room. Outdoors with sunshine and preferably the beach. I need fresh but have been cooped up at home all of July! Cheers to making the best of the rest of the summer!

  3. Lindsay @ The Flynnigans

    July 26, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    Sometimes things take time to work themselves out, even though sometimes we’d like to push through them and get beyond it… I hope things settle down for you and you feel a sense of calm and certainty as we move into the fall.
    Take care of yourself babes. xoxox

  4. Mia Sutton

    July 26, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    I was in that place in early 2016, so I can totally relate. It’s so hard to put ourselves first, but it’s so necessary. Glad you are taking care of you and giving yourself space. Lots of love and hugs, friend! xo

  5. shootingstarsmag

    July 26, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    I’m sorry there has been a lot you didn’t love about this year, but it sounds like you’ve found some great ways to just breathe and enjoy life. And those are the main things!


  6. Leslie Nichole

    July 26, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    It is good to take a break. I left my job in the begining of January to persue freelancing full time. However, while working 10hrs a day doesn’t offer a lot of free time. So i quit wih no clients & a promise of a job 2 days a week (to pay big bills). Monday i picked up another part time job and haven’t freelanced since May. Life is very unpredictable, but it’ll lead you to where you need to be.

  7. Charlotte

    July 27, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Oh wow, Crystal…I love this post so much. And I get it truly–every word. I think I just realized that at my core, I’m kind of introverted, too… but spending time with animals and in nature and with good friends–it truly is the best medicine for the soul <3 I love your photos and that you have horsies to play with and a cute dog to come home too. And that you are taking care of your needs. Sometimes you have to step away or take a car ride out of the city to clear the ol headspace 🙂

    Xoxo and much peace, my friend!!

  8. Gabby @ Gift of Gabby

    July 27, 2017 at 9:17 am

    As an introvert myself, a lot of this post resonates with me as well. I also tend to coop myself up and not interact with people much, and even as an introvert I know that’s not good. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Lisa

    July 27, 2017 at 9:32 am

    This is important for sure, especially for introverts. Also I’m jealous of the horses, I haven’t had a horse in years and miss it.

  10. Eli @ Coach Daddy

    July 27, 2017 at 10:42 am

    I love that you embrace the unknown. When we trust in ourselves and in our spot in the universe, it allows us to appreciate the surprises and new paths that are now unrevealed that we might end up on. The best things happen in that moment you take to just breathe – and be.

  11. Christine Powers

    July 27, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Room the breathe is definitely important! My room to breathe sounds a lot like yours… getting away, time with friends, and writing. Glad you’ve had the chance to reflect and see the silver lining!

  12. Catherine McCormick

    July 27, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    That is such great and well needed inspiration!

  13. Mistle

    July 28, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Though you had issues with leaving your old job, it seems like you’ve had a great Summer so far! I feel that when I look into my dogs eyes they make me calm. Reconnecting with old friends is always great as well!!!

  14. Shannon Paige

    July 30, 2017 at 9:48 am

    I wanted to stop in and tell you how much I loved and could relate to this post. First off, your style of writing and your photos you chose remind me of a post I might write, too! Secondly, I can totally relate. I went part time at my safe, yet not totally satisfying job, to also work at an animal hospital and discover if I wanted to continue schooling to be a vet tech. I decided that is not the path I want to take and I think I would rather do something a bit more creative and will take some classes in the fall to kind of (hopefully lol) figure that out. So now I have asked my other job if I can come back full time because that job is very flexible with me (thank God) and allows me more time to pursue those other things. (Like blogging and school.) SO a lot like you- this summer has been a whirlwind, of my own doing. Lol- but I feel it has helped me grow too. I hope you can take something away from it, even if it was stressful and anxiety inducing at the time! Your post made me feel not so alone in this crazy/ doubtful/ indecisive mind of mine, so thank you! *

  15. Chelsea Jacobs

    August 3, 2017 at 11:09 am

    I relate to this so much, so my heart hurts for you. But you are strong, and you are doing what YOU need to do.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Met this handsome fella today. His name is Chauncey. When he blooms he’ll smell like eau de rotting meat and will make everyone swoon. 😍🥴😷 (If you live in the Twin Cities and visit him on Tuesday you might be able to see/smell him in all his glory.)
  • “Spread love wherever you go.” [Mother Theresa]
  • Whether you had a case of the Mondays or you had a great Monday, a photo of a cute dog is always in order.

PS - There’s a new post on the blog featuring this guy and a few other cute dogs. 🐶
  • If you’re looking for me, I am probably buried in the snow someplace, waiting for mail that never gets delivered and wondering if the only greenery I’ll ever see again are the plants that fill my room. What colors do you see when you look outside?
  • Just booked tickets to head back to a city that captured my heart last year. And I’ll be there a little longer this time! Tell me your NYC faves! What should I do? Where should I eat? Where should I get coffee? And any tips for being social while at @vox_con? I can be an awkward one sometimes. 😂
  • Happy #nationalloveyourpetday to my sweet little sidekick. She was a little bewildered by all the snow we got today, but by the end of the day she was frolicking through it. I so appreciate this little girl and all the joy, laughter, and comfort she brings. Tell me about your pet.
  • Let’s see if I can make it through this without crying. If you’ve been following my Stories, you’ll know that I left town on Wednesday. I mentioned that this isn’t a fun trip, but I followed that up with images of cute dogs and a gorgeous view of Lake Michigan. What I didn’t show was a day spent at the hospital as I visit people I love dearly, one of whom is in ICU and may not get better. This would actually be a great segue into “Instagram is curated,” but not today.

Yesterday was a hard day. It was filled with this view, that brought some peace. It was filled with cute dogs, who brought some comfort. It was also filled with a lot of anxiety and tension and sadness. We ended the day in a group and our conversation was filled with tears as we talked about what’s happening right now and how we feel.

And then the tears turned to laughter as we reminisced about the past and talked about dogs.

It brought to mind that quote by the wise Albus Dumbledore: “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” The day I left, a friend and I were chatting and he said, “Your heart must be aching.” And it is. I wouldn’t necessarily describe anything I’ve felt as happiness, but yesterday I was reminded (because I’ve always known this, sometimes it’s just harder to remember) that the heartache and sadness can coexist with easier moments, too.

I can enjoy this view and accept the peace that it brings as I wonder what the outcome of this will be. I can feel the heaviness that I might not see this person again and accept the comfort that these dogs bring me. I can band together with people that I love to live through a rough day, but also enjoy the good moments that we share in the midst of it.

Laughter can accompany tears.

And when I live through days like today, I wonder if it’s exactly what we need in order to get through them.
  • Happy birthday, Valentino! You have the ability to make me roll my eyes, then melt my heart, all within a matter of seconds. You’re such a delight of a Canine Nephew and the best reason for celebration on Valentine’s Day. 😘

Follow Me!