The Perfect Year—Wrecked

It was the year that everything went right.

An editor of three regional newspapers published my first article ever, which jumpstarted my writing career. The story appeared in all three papers the same week.

Within a month, I was offered a weekly human-interest column. Connections with the paper led to an opportunity to write for a glossy magazine, covering stories about homes and lakes in our state.

About that same time, I received an email saying a renovation article and photos I submitted to a national home improvement magazine were under consideration. Our nearly hundred-year-old home (along with our family) was featured in their September issue.

Before the magazine hit the stands, we sold the centenarian home for four times what we paid. My husband and I wrote a check for a small beach cottage just 700 feet from the ocean, along a stretch of the beach realtors call “The Golden Mile.”

My husband’s home improvement business skyrocketed with the move.

Our kids were also doing well. Our son’s job offered him promotions, a flexible schedule, and travel. Our daughter’s boyfriend bought a fixer-upper. When they had time off from their jobs, they renovated the space.

And I, well, I was miserable.

Hopeful 2008 was the beginning of a better life, I ran faster than before to escape the pain of my past. I talked often about having a good life, but I didn’t feel good or grateful or even glad to be alive.

I remembered a counselor asking, “Do you feel like you’re dying?”

I bawled. For the first time someone acknowledged how much I was hurting.

“You are really being born,” she said.

Turns out, she was right. I took baby steps in 2008 toward a better life, although not according to my plan. I let go (more like tug-o-war) of ideas that being published, living beachside, and family accomplishments are easy fixes.

I mourned missed opportunities, painful consequences, and lost years, all a result of my fears and denial. Mostly, I took responsible for my pain and the part I contributed to the wreckage.

And now? I’m writing about it to be sure my miserable years don’t end up a waste.

About the author: S. Kim Henson is a freelance writer whose stories appear in dozens of regional and national publications. Kim’s goal is to finish her book that already has a title and page numbers. She and her husband, John, have a son, a daughter, a son-in-law, and three furry grands. Read more at S. Kim Henson’s website and blog.

About the Author


This is a post by a guest author. To submit your own story of how you got wrecked, click here.


  1. Funny how the year that everything goes right can be the year that we’re forced to face the wreckage we’ve been ignoring for too many years.
    Appreciate the honesty of your post, Kim. Great insights!

    • Thanks for your encouraging comments, Beth. It certainly was a life-altering year!

  2. Michele Kirkey

    What a great story! So brave to deal with that pain. 🙂

    • Wish it was bravery, Michele. It sort of felt like I was backed in a corner (me and my pain) and I had no choice. But I sure appreciate you seeing it as brave. Thanks for stopping by to comment.

  3. I took responsibility, not “I took responsible.” Read this a dozen times and just caught the mistake near the end. Oh well, so much for writing perfectly about our perfect year.

  4. Your story needs to be told. Too many think that the perfect man, marriage, children, job, and home will make us happy. But you know it doesn’t. And God has gifted you to share it in a nonthreatening way with a dash of Kim Henson humor to keep us reading! Thanks Kim. I wish you buckets of favor and peace. ~andy lee

    • Andy, thanks for consistently offering support, and for confirmation that our stories need to be told. I so appreciate your comments here and on my blog.

  5. Oh, Kim! I had no idea when we hit it off how very much we had in common. 2008 was a pivotal year for me as well. Felt like I was dying. Found it it was part of finding my voice as a writer. Road trip for chocolate upcoming. Leave the door open. 🙂

    • Funny, Carol Anne. I saved a candy bar pic to post on your page, then the day got away from me. It’s coming though. Sounds like we’re on similar paths. Hope it brings us face-to-face! Thanks for stopping by to comment.

  6. Linda Calvanico

    You are so brave to share this. I think more of us than we realize have similar sentiments. Where everything seems fine on the surface, but lots of hurt inside. I believe by sharing, you will help many others get through their own difficult times! Thank you!

    • I think you’re right, Linda. We help ourselves and others when we share. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Figuring out life together. Thanks so much for stopping by to comment.


  1. […] post was rewritten and featured by Jeff Goins on his site, Wrecked. Click here to read “The Perfect Year – Wrecked.” Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterestGoogle +1EmailPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]

  2. […] This post was rewritten and featured by Jeff Goins on his site, Wrecked. Click here to read “The Perfect Year – Wrecked.” […]

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