35

Well, I’ve officially made it halfway through my 30s. And out of those 5 years, this was definitely the weirdest. It started with a big move and has ended with COVID. Talk about high to low…

Making it halfway through 2020 feels like more of an accomplishment though if we’re being honest!

Every year on my birthday I feel a little weird, a little sad, and a little not like myself. So I’m taking the day to do some of the things I love like taking the afternoon off to go to the beach with a book and having dinner and drinks outside with Anel and a few friends tonight.

3 lessons I learned this year

1. Don’t take the little moments for granted. If COVID has taught me anything, it’s that you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. The world as you know it could look completely different overnight. This pandemic has given me, and I’m sure many of you, a deeper appreciation for my health, my family, and everything beautiful in my life.

It forced me to prioritize time with my family in a way that I don’t think I ever would have if we hadn’t been stuck at home together for so long. While those first few months were intense, to say the least, Anel and I both agree that the extra time we spent with Amalia was something we’ll never forget. From indoor obstacle courses to our nightly soccer games, we made the most of a very scary situation, and she loved every minute of it.

2. Fix relationships or move on. The older I get, the more I realize how important quality is over quantity when it comes to friendships and all relationships. In the last year, I’ve had to let go of some of the ones that were not working for me. The ones that made me feel bad about myself. And while making the move to cut ties with a person or group of people is not easy, I’ve found that if you’re already at that point, it’s for the best.

In other cases, I’ve worked hard to have really difficult conversations and confrontations so that my relationships with people I love can improve. I’ve learned that when I feel solid in (almost) every close relationship in my life, it does wonders for my mental health and general wellbeing.

3. Ask for what you want. Be specific. When I implemented Fair Play into my marriage, everything changed. I had never thought to be so specific about what I needed from my husband. But he was totally on board with doing more around the home and owning “projects” from start to finish. We have ongoing conversations about how to make our domestic life fairer and instead of it being a wife nagging the husband conversation, it’s now a true dialogue.

That exercise made me realize that there is a way to be very clear about what you want and need from every relationship in your life without being demanding or needy.

My hopes and dreams for 35

Family: I had hoped to be pregnant while 34 but that has come and gone with no such luck. I weirdly don’t feel stressed about that fact, which is odd given my anxiety and history. I feel it deep in my bones that we’ll have another child and it’s just a matter of when. And if for some reason we aren’t able to, Anel and I have both agreed that we’re ok with that. Amalia is the absolute light of our life and if she’s our only kid, that would still be a pretty great thing. So yes, I hope to get pregnant again this year, but without putting too much pressure on myself or my body.

Work: Right before COVID changed the world, I announced that I’d be focusing more on my marketing consulting. I quickly built up my clientele and was feeling so fulfilled with the work I was doing in that area. But it had to be put on hold so I could take care of my daughter and run Lemon Stripes while we had no childcare.

As things are starting to get into more of a routine, and we have some help with her, I’m trying to figure out how to bring it back in a way that’s sustainable even if everything shuts down again and we’re all stuck at home together.

For now, I’ve been donating my time to work with Black, female-owned businesses and blogs and I’ve met so many incredible women along the way! I’ve committed to keeping on one unpaid client a month and will continue to focus on Black-owned start-ups.

To help make change locally: I hope to become more and more involved in local politics by spreading information about what’s going on behind the scenes as I continue to meet with and talk to the players involved. I hope to encourage other locals to use their voices to help enact change whether that is in terms of creating more affordable housing or banishing racism in our schools. And I’m working with local organizations to promote and put on events that will get the community more involved in the conversation.

And, you know, casually, that the world doesn’t fall apart: Above all else, I just hope that by this time next year, COVID-19 is a thing of the past or there is at least a light at the end of that tunnel, that we have a new president that leads with compassion and empathy, and our government starts taking BLM seriously, working to create necessary change on a national level.

And that murder hornets don’t actually become a thing…

Want to give me a birthday gift? Make a donation today to one or more of these organizations:
ACLU
EJI (Equal Justice Initiative)
Planned Parenthood
Everytown

Here are my birthday posts from 34, 3332, and 31.

Photos by Julia Dags.

J.Crew Dress / Striped Wedges / Sunglasses

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  1. Carrie Navok said:

    Happy birthday! You are leading by example and I think that’s AMAZING!

    7.9.20 · Reply
  2. Grace said:

    Happy birthday! I always feel a little weird on mine too!

    7.9.20 · Reply
  3. Julie said:

    Happy birthday!

    7.9.20 · Reply
  4. Chelle said:

    Happy Birthday, awesome month! My oldest daughter turns 33 tomorrow! Cheers to another trip round the sun! I hope you’ve had an amazing day.

    7.9.20 · Reply
  5. Katie said:

    Happy birthday Julia! Love the introspection and sense of peace on this post. Hope you have a wonderful day!

    7.10.20 · Reply
  6. Lauren said:

    Happy Birthday, Julia! Wishing you a fabulous weekend of celebrations ahead.

    7.10.20 · Reply
  7. Happy Birthday! I continue to respect and admire your honesty and perspective… I share a lot of your goals and hope to follow your example! <3

    7.10.20 · Reply
  8. Jess K said:

    Happy Birthday!!

    7.10.20 · Reply