By Dave Quinn
December 31, 2019 06:09 PM
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Bethenny Frankel is looking back on a milestone year — and looking ahead to big things in 2020.

On Tuesday, the Skinnygirl founder, 49, shared a candid message to Instagram, reflecting on the many changes 2019 brought her way.

As fans know, those changes included a relationship with boyfriend Paul Bernon, a series of new business ventures (including new reality TV projects with Marc Burnett), and one seismic shift in Bravo-land: Frankel’s decision to walk away from The Real Housewives of New York City after eight seasons with the show.

“2019 was a year of transition, balance, settling and exhaling,” wrote Frankel.

Frankel went on to explain that dealing with some of the more challenging things in her life — including her ongoing divorce from husband Jason Hoppy and the death of her ex-fiancé, Dennis Shields — left her overwhelmed.

“I needed to take a minute to settle, to process and to find some balance…after so much turmoil…divorce, death, departure,” Frankel wrote. “It’s really important to find that quiet centered place within one’s self to reflect on what is really important…and it constantly evolves.”

Helping Frankel through that was her fans.

“You have been such an incredible sounding board, support system, cheerleader and truth teller and I am forever grateful that you accept me for who I am,” she wrote. “And quite frankly, professionally, I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am without you. I give it back to you. No resolutions. No grand gestures, no dramatic statements or unrealistic filters pretending to be something.”

“We are here. We are present. We are evolving and we are starting a New Year with the intention of continuing to be better and stronger each day,” Frankel continued.

She ended her note with a message of hope for her followers.

“Happy New Year!” Frankel said. “No matter where you are in your process, find the quiet to embrace this time and not feel low if your life isn’t wrapped in a perfect Tiffany bow in this moment. Breathe and exhale.”

Bethenny Frankel
| Credit: Sasha Maslov
Bethenny Frankel and Paul Bernon
| Credit: Bethenny Frankel/Instagram

Throughout Frankel’s big year, Bernon, 42, has remained by her side.

He’s a good person who I love,” Frankel told PEOPLE this month. “I don’t know if it’s a yin to my yang, but he’s really relaxed, he’s mellow and he’s very, very funny.”

“Things are wonderful,’ added Frankel, who shares daughter Bryn, 9, with Hoppy. “He has a really nice family too; I’m very close to them. I feel very calm and balanced. It’s nice to just be still and just be happy in the moment.”