NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. — Joanna Gaines feels change in the air.
“I sense it’s coming. I don’t even know what it is, but I do feel like my heart — like instinctively, I know I’ve got to prepare,” she told Hoda Kotb on TODAY Tuesday as she discussed her new memoir, “The Stories We Tell.”
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“At 44, I feel like I’m stepping into a new season,” Gaines said. “Like, I have half my life, it’s been great, but now I want to really be intentional about what I carry with me as I move forward.”
The past two decades have no doubt been exciting for Gaines and her husband, Chip, who launched their first Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas, in 2003 and transformed Magnolia into a full-blown media and retail empire (and welcomed five children in the process).
Now, Gaines says she is taking a step back and thinking about where she wants to devote her energy going forward — something she’s been reflecting on a lot as her children grow older and more independent.
“My oldest son, he’s going off to college next year (and) my daughter, 16, just started driving two weeks ago,” she said. “Life is moving so fast, and for me, I think the biggest thing is just embracing this moment as a mother, as a wife, and then even with Magnolia, that feels like our baby.”
Gaines has also been thinking about the role Magnolia has played in her life, and even her identity, over the years.
“Right now, I’m wrestling with my role in our business,” she wrote in her memoir. “Since 2003, Chip and I have given Magnolia every inch of us, and because it has become so intertwined with who we are, sometimes it’s difficult to make out where Magnolia ends and where we begin,” she wrote in her memoir.
She added that her personal journey has always been closely linked to the success of the Magnolia brand.
“All these years I’ve thought, when Magnolia fails, I fail, and when I fail, it follows,” she wrote. “In some ways, that reality has lessened what I’m willing to share with the world — the parts of me that want to learn what else I could grow to be, or, God forbid, the parts of me that aren’t so pretty."
Gaines may be taking stock of some things right now, but when Hoda asked the lifestyle mogul if the Magnolia brand would continue, Gaines did not hesitate to answer.
“Yes, I do,” she said. “In a lot of ways, I feel like it’s just getting started. She’s — I say ‘she’ — 20 years old, but there’s still so much life. So I’m excited about what she — it — will grow into.”
In a later chat with Hoda and Jenna, Joanna reflected more on her intuitive sense that something is shifting in her life.
“I think it all starts for me, it always starts with this internal gut instinct," she said. And I felt like with that instinct, I need to ready myself."
And she embraces this new chapter, Gaines is leaving some things behind — including a fear of failure that she carried in earlier years.
"The idea that I have to control, that everything has to be perfect," she said. "That’s not even possible, and I know that now, and it makes me sick to think that that’s how I operated for so long.
"I feel like once you get past all the stuff, the junk, and then you realize I have this one beautiful life to live, and I can choose how I live it," she added. "I can choose how I carry and hold my story.”
Gaines’ memoir, “The Stories We Tell,” is out today.
Watch the full TODAY interview below: