Courtesy Joanna Gaines
Joanna Gaines is opening up about finding new perspective in her 40s.
Earlier this year, the Fixer Upper star, 44 began to feel burned out after years of running at high capacity, and the pressure of her own expectations.
"I was about to turn 44 and I realized, the last 10 years, a lot of it felt like a blur," she says in this week's issue of PEOPLE. "It was fast, it was exciting, and there was so much to be grateful for, but there was something in me that just felt so tired. I wanted to go back and regain moments that I had missed along the way."
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Joanna began journaling and wound up on a deeply personal journey of self-discovery and healing. Now, she's opening up about finding her true self, and how letting go of control has led to more happiness, in her new memoir The Stories We Tell, available Nov. 8.
"I feel thankful for the process," she says. "In the beginning, I never thought I would share this with anyone. But then when I realized in that vulnerability, when you do share your story, if it inspires one other person to write their story down so that they can see that clarity and purpose in their own life, it's worth it."
In an excerpt from her revealing new memoir, Joanna writes about embracing her inner child.
Coming into my forties has brought the younger version of me into focus. The past handful of years has had me craving that head-up, arms-out, free wheelin' feeling. Because all those layers of pressure and expectations, all those outside forces, did pile on top of me. And they turned me into someone who, on one hand, is super responsible. I take care of things. I always have. But all those forces also turned me into someone who can take life too seriously. Writing out all these chapters of my story has shown me why I hung up my skates all those years ago. It makes sense now why I became shy. Why I became a little guarded, a little rule oriented. Reliving pages of my history has shown me how performance and perfection got ahold of my spirit. Sometimes I catch glimpses of that girl I used to be. When my kids catch me dancing barefoot in the kitchen. Moments when I feel light and at ease, where I'm not worrying about whose eyes are on me. They are sacred yet fleeting reminders that there is more to me that bubbles at the surface every now and then. And I'm over reining it in. I want a life that's brimming with unfettered delight. I want days unfurling with joy, with glee. I want more of whatever used to make my soul sing so easily. I'm relearning what it means to nurture those most precious parts of me. Some days, it feels like a fight. Fighting for the willpower not to care who is watching. Not giving fear the real estate it's had all these years. Not letting people's words or ill intentions be a reason to hold my arms close again. But I'll do it. I'll fight to be a woman with a little girl's heart.
Excerpted from The Stories We Tell. Copyright © 2022 by Joanna Gaines. Reprinted by
permission of HarperCollins Focus and Harper Select.