One of the hardest
years of my life …

As 2018 comes to a close, I have to say it’s been one of the hardest and most challenging years of my life. To say it’s been stressful, would be a gross understatement. But through my own struggles with stress, I commiserated with you, got inspired by you, learned from you, cried with you, and in turn shared with you. It’s reminded me that the eternal fight with stress is a journey…perhaps one that continues forever and may never go away but one which we’re in together, so we have to hold hands and travel it collectively finding solutions along the way.

My marriage of 15 years ended this year which was one of the saddest and most heart-breaking moments of my life. It is definitely something I consider a personal failure.

I also turned 55 this year. Wow, that’s a big number! I still have trouble wrapping my head around that. I am completely disassociated from my age — I don’t look it, I don’t feel it, I don’t act it. I am a middle-aged woman stuck in the psyche of a 35year old!

Sarah, Alexa and Jackson

And so, halfway through my life (or at least I hope!) I basically had to start over. And, with an 11-year-old daughter that is not easy. So, I enter 2019 as a single, working mom. Can anyone relate to that?

Through all of my struggles, I really felt the challenge of being a woman this year. I never would have considered myself a feminist, but I guess you become one when you feel like you are not equal. Despite the advances of the #metoo movement (it’s about time!) there are so many ways in which being a woman is a handicap. It’s still awkward and difficult to get an apartment on your own, get help managing your money and doing your taxes, showing up at a nice restaurant without a man for your dinner reservation, arriving at a hotel for vacation alone with your child. Last but not least, running a business on your own (especially when you have a board of directors that’s all men. Sorry guys!)

Also, despite so many barriers being broken down in society and stigma’s melting away – aging women is not one of them. Why is it that a woman over the age of 40 (maybe 45?) is not seen as cool, sexy, vibrant, desirable, enviable, inspiring, beautiful or relevant? This has GOT to change. My grandmother lived to be 105, if I live as long, it will mean that I will spend far more of my life as ‘past my expiration date’ than in my prime?! Why is it ok to live our lives like that? Especially when we don’t feel like that on the inside and we don’t look like that on the outside?

Between plastic surgery, dermatology, skincare, fitness, wellness etc. women are living longer, feeling healthier, looking younger and living full, vibrant lives (yaaaaas!) – society must catch-up!! I’m so curious to hear from you about whether you feel the same? Have similar experiences? Have thoughts on this subject?

I also feel that during the first part of my career, I was inwardly focused — where was I going? How was I going to reach my goals? When was I going to realize my success? Now I am more outwardly focused – why am I on this earth? What is my legacy going to be? How can I give back and help others?

On a very positive note, it has been a great year for skyn ICELAND! And thank goodness for my (other) baby, because it helped me escape a lot of the struggles I was having this year. It was great to be able to throw myself into what I feel most passionate about and reminds me every day of what I have created. It felt like this year was a real turning point for the business – it was as if we hit our stride and all of a sudden we were firing on all cylinders – we opened up many new retailers both at home and abroad, we launched exciting new products, our HQ and field teams grew exponentially, we input new systems and procedures, we moved warehouses, our social media audience took-off (thank you!!) and we invested in growing the business. We are poised for a ground breaking 2019!

In looking back at my end of year blog post from 2018, I noticed that I didn’t make any resolutions. So… for this year, with so much going on in my life personally and professionally… I felt it was time to make some serious New Year resolutions!!

  1. Become an advocate for women/support women entrepreneurs
  2. Take skyn ICELAND to the next level!!! Grow +40% in revenues, expand into more doors, open new retail accounts, hire great talent, explode out our social media, and launch our most exciting new products ever!
  3. Spend more time with my daughter. Pick her up from school once a week
  4. Take a trip to a new and exciting destination (wellness oriented)
  5. Get a massage at least once a month
  6. Take a class in a wellness-oriented subject
  7. Spend more time with friends. Entertain in my home.
  8. Find a day care class for Jackson (my Havanese puppy) so he can make some friends and not spend everyday home by himself
  9. Take time for myself. Rediscover my hobbies (reading books, going to movies, skiing, speaking French) and focus on self-care (taking supplements, acupuncture, meditation, facials, juicing, etc.)
  10. Finish decorating my new apartment
  11. Stop letting others dictate how I feel about myself. Make my morning mantra “I rock!”

In closing, I am so grateful for my family (especially my beautiful daughter), my friends and my dog. To my skyn team – you are incredible – committed, hardworking, dedicated and passionate. And, to my amazing business partners, customers and fans — THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for making my dreams come true and for enabling me to do what I love every single day. Your support, feedback, stories, love, posts are everything. Here’s to a great 2019!!!

Xoxo

Sarah Kugelman

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