One year ago, We sat across from each other with our bottle of champagne, the last of its contents poured into two glasses that sat next to a demolished cheese board. After 4 years of being governed by a toddler dictatorship that revolved around nap schedules, feedings, white noise and monitors. We had decided that it was time for a new chapter.

We raised our glasses. It was time to take our lives back.

*clink*

So, That’s how it started. 2018. Our year.

It was just an idea.

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An idea of doing something for ourselves. Not to be a better Mom or Dad. Not to be a better Wife or Husband.

Just for us. Remember us?

Remember who we were before the blur of wants and needs and responsibilities started being catapulted at our head?

We talked about them as if they were people we once knew.

But they weren’t gone—they just…had kids now.

And damn it, we love those kids. Have you seen them? They are so flippin’ cute. We love our life we have created.

We are just about as happy as two people that went and had three babies in two years could possibly be, even after those babies became mobile and hungry and insane and independent…

And even more impressive—we still love each other.

We are one of the eye-roll inducing, never fight, happy camper couples that people tell you don’t exist.

But you know what?

Intertwined in all of that happiness and squished in family selfies and island life magic were still two separate people who felt like something was missing in their own personal lives. We didn’t know what, we just knew we both really wanted to take the year to really focus on ourselves—and frankly just go Beast Mode on life.

And let me tell you, when you are on this journey, and you start taking the steps and picking up the pieces and start putting them all together…

People want to know what the heck you are doing. They ask you quietly at a coffee shop: “You are glowing, what have you been doing?”

“I saw your husband today, he looks incredible, has he been working out?”

“You guys seem so happy, what’s the secret?”

And in the same vein, YOU want to shout it from the roof tops. You want to tell everyone: “Listen up everyone, I found it! I found the secret to living your best life.”

I know you’ve heard it a hundred times over. At least I have. Everyone has a version of what this looks like.

I have an inbox full of people inviting me to join their program, buy their shake, wrap myself in their cloths, use their brand of lotion, paint my lips with their stain that won’t rub off,  press on their nails that last the longest. Because for them, these were their missing pieces. These are things that have brought joy and goodness into their lives. These are the things that help them walk a little taller and smile a little bigger.

I can scroll though a hundred peach-colored Instagram moms holding rolls of stomach skin, smiling with their eyelash extensions and wrinkle-free foreheads, announcing that they finally can say they love their bodies. I can scroll though just as many pictures of cauliflower “tortillas” made by glowing 20-somethings with six packs who start their mornings with yoga in a field and juice from a celery plant.

If you are looking for missing pieces in your life, know this: once you start looking, you will find they are everywhere. They are dropped by people who have already found their answer like bread crumbs. The only problem with following those bread crumbs is that they often lead to someone else’s version of THEIR best life.

The secret is there is NO secret. There are no missing pieces. There are just pieces that belong, and pieces that don’t. You just have to look at YOUR life to find out which ones are which.

So what does that mean?

It means you dissect every nook and cranny of your life. You eliminate every time suck, every daily annoyance, every thing that doesn’t bring you happiness or make you better. Throw them away. Donate them. Cancel them. Stop doing them.

It means you replace those things that aren’t working with things that do. Things that do bring you happiness, that do make you better. And by the way most of those things? They aren’t even really things. They are 30 minutes in a steam room. Sitting on the beach in the sun with a book.

It was just an idea.

But we took it and ran with it.

What started out with some small changes soon trickled down into every corner of our world. We have spent this entire year reconstructing EVERYTHING in our lives. I mean everything.

Everything from rescheduling our days to give each other alone time, to throwing away all the random sippy cup tops in our cupboards, to changing the way we eat, the way we drink, donating nearly all of our kids toys, getting physical therapy, having our blood drawn, taking vacations, not watching TV, joining a gym, reading books, listening to podcasts, researching vitamins—all the way down to buying nice smelling, homemade soap. And new socks.

Everything.

There are new habits we have mastered and the intentions we are still fumbling with.

But for now I leave you with what I know for sure: you don’t need a goal weight to start being healthy. You don’t need the perfect property to plant a magic garden. You don’t need a reason or even a why.

You don’t need a countdown to midnight to start living life to the fullest.

You just have to start.

This post originally appeared on Planting Marigolds.