It’s Monday morning and I have a house full of kids because it’s a long holiday weekend. Four of them are my own and everyone has a friend over. I love the chaos of kids laughing and playing. Nobody is fighting (yet). Coming from a large family as the oldest of five, I knew I wanted to emulate the same. Although there was a lot of dysfunction, we got through it together and created bonds that I’m forever grateful for. I married a man who I’ve been with for twenty years who has loved me unconditionally and supported me through some of the most difficult lows of my life-sexual assault, postpartum anxiety and panic disorder, and substance abuse.

I’ve always been goal oriented in my personal life and professional career. I make vision boards, journal, engage in guided imagery, read, meditate, pray, and love hard. The saying is true, be careful what you wish for because your dreams might actually come true!

I set goals in my 20’s of earning a masters degree, qualifying for The Boston marathon, getting married, and moving to Southern California. All of which came to fruition. In my 30’s I wanted to have children, own a home, open a private practice, and publish a book. There were many diversions but all goals were eventually achieved. In three months, I turn 40. I live a life of abundance beyond my wildest imagination. I’m at peace with myself and in my relationships. I feel balanced and I love the community we’ve created. Working through an enormous amount of adversity I am spiritually awake and that has made all the difference.  

I’ve been asked to lead women’s retreats, speak at galas to raise money for causes I care deeply about, and contribute to creative projects. I’ve cried tears of joy three separate times this week yet I’m afraid.

Is this real? Do I deserve this? Am I worthy? I attended my Sunday morning 12 step meeting and the topic was joy. I had coffee with two women and we shared transformative experiences with one another. Joy radiated within our circle. I met my sister and a friend at church and the topic was joy. Tears streamed down my face. I can truly say (most days) that I am happy, joyous, and free. This is a gift and often times I hold on so tightly because I’m afraid of losing it. I wait in fear and anticipate the other shoe will drop.

One of my sisters asked me the other day what my goals are for the new year. I was at a loss for words. I have achieved everything I’ve set out to do albeit a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and hustle. Well, almost everything- I’m still waiting for that call from Oprah to be a guest on Super Soul but my answer to her was maintenance. I want to embrace what’s right in front of me and continue to practice gratitude. One of my wise friends said to me, “When we’re in our toughest spots we think life might never get any better and when we’re feeling joy, we fear it will quickly vanish.” Life is about the highs, we grow in the lows, and we breathe during the in betweens. Nothing is forever. I want to feel all of it. So in the meantime, I’ll ride my pink cloud and continue to be aware of my blessings. My hope is that you can do the same. 


Featured as one of the “Limit Breaking Feamle Founders” published on Thrive and Huffington.


  • Kelley Kitley, LCSW psychotherapist

    Media Mental Health Expert

    Serendipitous Psychotherapy, LLC

    Kelley Kitley, LCSW owns SERENDIPITOUS PSYCHOTHERAPY, LLC on The Magnificent Mile in downtown Chicago. She's a sought after international women's mental health expert, author, and has appeared in over 100 national publications, podcasts, live news, and radio including WGN, NBC, The Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, Dr. Oz, Dr. Drew, Access Live, and TODAY. Kelley is the author of the award winning best selling book, ‘MY self: An autobiography of survival' and TEDx speaker: 'I show my scars so others know they can heal.'